I stare at myself in the dressing room mirror. The lights are bright and unforgiving, however as I turn to look at the different angles I’m pleased with what I see. The silk doesn’t cling to my body, but instead it drapes around my thighs, my belly, my lumpectomy scars. I just finished my final radiation treatment and I’m on a mission to find a new uniform.
I remember what I was wearing when I received the call that I had breast cancer. It was a poly/cotton blend shirtdress, leopard print. I had just bought it and put it on that morning knowing that it was either going to be the dress of celebration or the dress of cancer. I remember how the armpits of the dress quickly became damp as I got off the phone with my primary care physician and called my sister. The fabric clung to my sweaty back as I calmed her down and assured her everything was going to be just fine, don’t worry, we’ll get through this.
Clothes have a history. Each item in our wardrobe becomes a uniform for the events of that day. I remember what I was wearing when I met my husband: a graphic t-shirt with a zebra print wrap around skirt. I remember the way the stiff cotton of the skirt hit my mid-thigh as I sampled his ice cream cone.
I look at the price tag of the Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress: $400, an investment piece for sure! I swirl around and admire the view. It is the signature black and white link pattern she made famous when she premiered the iconic dress in 1974, the year of my birth. Even the first lady wore this very dress in a White House Christmas card in 2009. I love that there’s a little collar that lies flat against my collarbone. You can’t even see what lies underneath.
I decide to purchase the dress. I need a new uniform. An investment to life after cancer.