My wardrobe is filled with dresses that I mentally qualify as sexy or ladylike. The past year or so, however, I’ve been very into dresses that combine ladylike elements with sexy little details. This dress I wore in spring is a great example; it has midi length, muted rose color, and simple silhouette, but also thin cotton material, flimsy tie at the bust, and cut-out under the chest. What you get brings to mind that scene in Atonement where Keira Knightley’s prim and proper character jumps into a fountain and comes out soaked, clothes clinging to her all sexy and provoking. I feel like a sophisticated woman who’s about to engage in a romantic tryst in a field somewhere in France or England…swoon.
Speaking of, it’s so funny to me that since traveling around Europe, I now see clothes in my closet as evoking certain countries or cities. I’ll think to myself, that top is very Barcelona, that coat is so Sweden, that hat is very Prague, that dress so Portugal. And this is definitely only based on the time of year I was there too; until I return, London will always be fall fashion, Berlin always summer, Budapest always Indian summer.
Totally another tangent, but I was devastated a few months ago when I read a book about Hungary’s horrifying history of anti-semitism, specifically during WWII but also it’s reemergence today. Budapest was the most magical city to me, I was enamored when I visited it, but now I feel like maybe I only saw it through a naive lens, or if anything, the rose-colored light has dimmed a bit, knowing an inescapable context now. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Germany and the other countries I visited that had been occupied during WWII, and it’s not like the US doesn’t currently have an uprising of alt-right politicos, either. I knew Hungary had been occupied, but I had no idea how particularly evil and willing the Arrow Cross had been, nor did I know how racist members of the current government are towards the Jewish population. It was such a drastic difference from this fairytale like city I explored and fell in love with, it was almost like a punch in the gut.
Also like a punch in the gut? The lyrics of this happy, ditty-like song by Cat Stevens! (And you thought I couldn’t tie this all together–albeit very, very pathetically.) I’ve already written about my mixed feelings on Yusaf Islam, but man, I really do love “Here Comes My Baby”. It’s such a hopeful tune, but the lyrics are a mix of relentlessness and defeat. Your heart aches for his unrequited love, but the music is so cheerful that you also feel like skipping at the same time. And I think this dress goes well with it, because it’s the kind of dress I feel like I really saunter down the street in, in a way that I imagine the woman he sings about does. It’s light and flirty like the music, but something about it also makes me feel unattainable, like the lyrics. Which is ironic, because in reality I think the fit and texture of this dress beg to be touched.
You’ll be mine to hold each day
But ’til then this is all that I can say
I really, really love terms of endearment like “baby,” too, I think there’s something so sweet and sexy in particular when a guy is calling his girl “baby,” or “babe,” or “darling”…swoon.
Listen to it here! “Here Comes My Baby”-Cat Stevens