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Break the Rules, Not the Bank: Your Mama's Dress

One of the worst-kept secrets our mothers have attempted to conceal from us all these years is that, back in their day, they were big-time babes.

This is not to suggest that they no longer are—my mom is still as glowing a specimen of the female race as she ever was. I’m just saying that there was a time our mothers wore it differently, and that, chances are, they still own a killer dress or two from back in their wearing-it-differently days. These dresses are probably fossilizing at the backs of their closets, and it is high time for us to claim them.

The reason I’m telling you this is because it is August, which can only mean two things.

1. We can finally tie a tourniquet around the financial bleed that has been the expense of summer clothes.

2. It’s wedding season again.

Why sticky weather leads straight to I do’s, I do not know, but come August, people are getting hitched in droves. With the excitement of such an event comes the pressure to buy new threads for the occasion. But no woman—not with the season veering toward a close—should be investing in an expensive, new summer dress if summer’s almost over.

Which brings me back, full circle, to our mothers’ closets. And our grandmothers’ closets, while we’re at it. Embrace the neglected dresses of the past. At this moment they’re hanging forlornly in attics across America. Swoop in like the superheroines you are, and liberate them.

In addition to our own homes, thrift stores, consignment shops, and websites such as Ebay are amazing places to find vintage dresses at cheap prices.


Below: The first dress belonged to my mother, from the 1980s. I stole it and have no intention of returning it. The second is from the 1950s, bought on Ebay. The third, from a consignment shop in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Inheriting, thrifting, and vintage-bargaining: the trifecta of spending less and getting away with it. Developing this skill set is a significant milestone on our path to fiscal responsibility and sartorial anarchy. Both sound great to me.

chill out music

Courtney Kampa

the bachelor, reality show