1. The favorite dress of my California childhood - a shiny cotton chintz dress printed with splashy flowers on a sunny yellow ground (my favorite colors as a child - "brown and yellow"). It had a yellow sash - and my sister got to wear it after I grew out of it, as she did with all my clothes, but she HATED it - she'd had a matching dress and wore the same dress for four years in a row for birthday parties.
2. My favorite blouse of all time - a forest green suede weskit - this was my Robin Hood period. I LOVED that shirt - it had long sleeves and a bodice laced up with a leather cord and sharp collar points. I would have worn it every day but Hortense, who was our "girl," wouldn't let me. Somebody washed it in hot water (I think it was my mom but she never admitted it) and it shrank into a doll-sized shirt, too stiff to do anything with. I cried and cried.
3. In high school, I had another blouse I loved - long sleeved cotton printed all over with #2 yellow pencils. It didn't quite go with my felt circle skirt with the poodle and gold chain applique, but almost. Of course, the felt skirt was worn over two crinolines. I don't know how I ever fitted into my desk in any classroom. I would have worn that every day too, but by then, I knew that I had to wear something different each day of the week. This was also the era of circle pins, Peter Pan collared blouses, angora sweaters, bubble saddle shoes, bobby socks, and skinny little silk neckerchiefs, all of which I had. And even felt fashionable in. But chunky. That was the description for someone 20 lbs overweight. Chunky. Sigh.
4. My mother and I shopped for my college wardrobe together. We had often shopped together, it was my mother's favorite pastime (not mine, though I loved eating lunch out which our shopping trips always included). Most of my new things came from the sale racks at medium priced department stores, but since my mother was such an expert in the field, everything looked expensive and fitted well. The most perfect item was a long-sleeved cherry cashmere cardigan, the most expensive piece of clothing I had ever worn, despite the fact that she had bought it at 75% off. It was a perfect match (everything in the 50's had to match) for Revlon's new lipstick "Cherries in the Snow."
5. In college, I had a maroon dobby weave dress with brown squares - it sounds really nerdy, and maybe it was, but it fit me like a glove, the waist was really where my waist was, it highlighted my (ample) bust perfectly, and it had a full and swinging skirt that showed off my legs as I ran across campus, late for another class.
6. With my first paycheck at a job in Chicago, I bought a black wool dress at Rothschild's. It was short sleeved, form fitting, with epaulets (no shoulder pads) trimmed with round gold buttons through which a black and white houndstooth scarf was wound. That dress served for every occasion until I got too fat to wear it with my first pregnancy. And looked really smart with even the cut-off cherry cashmere. The scarf could be worn in a dozen ways, which the saleswoman demonstrated to me. Everyone had to have a little black dress, and that was mine. I also wore three inch heeled black pumps with it. I was the picture of fashion in early 60's Chicago.
7. My first good business suit I also got at Rothschild's. I saved up for it for two years. It was a simple dark teal worsted wool twill, single breasted, fully lined, with besom pockets. The skirt had a kick pleat and slash pockets. Quite the business woman, though I was just a data entry clerk in a bank. I always thought I'd go far in a suit like that. It fit me like a dream and made my chunky figure look almost svelt. It also went with 3" black heels. But the teal color made it feminine and a little different. I never saw another woman in that color suit. I kept that suit for 30 years before I finally gave up and admitted I'd never again wear a size 12 anything. Ever. If Goodwill was smart, they would have sold it to a vintage store. If I'D been smart, I would have sold it to a vintage store.
8. When my mother died, my sister and I searched through her nursing home closet for anything wearable. There wasn't much, housecoats and a few sweaters, too small for me. My sister didn't want the vintage '80's London Fog tan trench coat. That I still wear. Shoulder pads and all. When I first put it on a few months later, there were still a few crumpled but clean Kleenex tissues in the pocket. I cried and cried.