Summer Sundress: Then & Now
It’s time for another Fab Collab! Sherry from Petite Over 40 is back and this time we’re featuring that favorite summer staple, the sundress. If you joined our first Fab Collab where we shared styles and stories behind our pearls, you know that each of us represent a different decade in life. Sherry is in her 40s, I’m in my 50s, Nancy is in her 60s, and Mom is in her 70s.All this week you’ll see how we’re styling sundresses these days and read our own personal connections to a particular dress from our pasts. Sherry got the week started styling a Lilly Pulitzer sundress and sharing a story about a dress that made her feel as elegant as Meryl Streep in the movie Out of Africa. Read her story here.We hope you’ll join us all week for the Fab Collab Fun!
The sundress from “then” is pictured below on my 20 something year old body, along with my wonderful grandparents from my dad’s side (they would have been in their 80’s in this picture). This must have been before dental school as I had my fingernails painted—woohoo!! And, of course, I had a pearl necklace on as my accessory, since this picture was taken at a cousin’s wedding—isn’t that what everyone wore to a wedding?
The history of this dress is that my mother made it (of course) just for this occasion. Well, I loved the dress as it was very colorful and fit me perfectly (yes, it’s very nice to have clothing custom made for your body—thanks mom!). Looking at this picture, I might feel the need to wear a camisole under it nowadays, but at that time I didn’t. And yes, I used to try to tan (that’s why I look so red in this picture)—thus the skin cancer scars on my face now!
This was an item I wore the heck out of throughout those years. But what it really reminds me of is an instance from dental school.
As juniors in dental school, we were assigned patients that we treated for all of their dental work. One such patient was an elderly man (ha—he was probably only in his early 70’s—my how my perspective has changed). He seemed like a very nice man, and I treated him as if he were my grandfather. I would help him to walk to and from the clinic and talk with him about his life when we were waiting for the instructor. (There was a lot of waiting time in dental school. Procedures took around 3 hours due to the fact that each step had to be overlooked and graded. Thus I found it very enjoyable to chit chat with my patients during this time and learn more about them.)
One day, this patient commented on this dress. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I took it as a compliment and thanked him. I liked wearing this dress in the clinic because the skirt was flared and long enough that I could work around the patient chair easily, and it was short sleeved which made it cooler for under my lab coat.
A couple days after this event, I got word from the office that this elderly patient had requested a change of dental students. When I went in to talk to the counselor, the fact came out that this patient wanted a male dental student to work on him in the future. It was quite devastating to me, although I really shouldn’t have taken it so personally. Looking back I could see how a man from his generation, would only think that dentists should be males? Or there could be so many other factors, right?
But to me, I blamed the dress. It was feminine and colorful. Being a dentist should be a serious and professional occupation. Especially as a female in this occupation back in those years. So because of this event, I felt that I needed to dress more businesslike and masculine. And I did just that for many years. But luckily getting older started changing that perception and making me realize that although my clothing is my outside image, it can also be somewhat fun & interesting.
And now, my version of the sundress below, isn’t really that different (besides shorter, a different color, more covered up front—but really, not that different, ha ha!)! And if you’re interested…I found a dress very much like the floral one above to get nowadays here!
Jodie’s (50’s) Outfit: I did buy this dress recently and you’ve already seen it two other times on the blog (here & here). I like it because it’s a gauzy material, thus nice and light for hotter weather. There is also a full lining attached, so it’s not super see through! It could actually be a little too short in the waist for me, now that I look at these pictures (since my belt always seems to fall down below the waistband), but it’s super comfortable and it certainly wasn’t expensive.
I’ve been enamored about wearing a small scarf close to the neck recently (I started seeing it on Andrea of Andrea’s Wellness Notes), so therefore I went with some very small earrings. Mom just recently relegated this bracelet to my collection and I thought it was perfect with this outfit! And yes, it is a watch, but it’s not working ! (I bet the bracelet is older than me!!)
Dress: Old Navy (similar here or here sleeveless or here off the shoulder or here)~~Shoes: Payless (similar here)~~Belt: (similar here)~~Scarf: (similar here)~~Earrings: (similar here)~~Bracelet: (similar here)
Thanks for reading—Don’t forget to share your sundress story in the comments—it’s just as fun to learn about you!!
Here are some above the knee dresses—don’t worry, they’ll get longer as the week progresses!