This Dress

This dress; I picked it up on my last trip back to Australia. After China and before Mexico (the first time). I was running errands in the city with my Mum; doctors appointments, eating sushi, buying a few things. I wasn’t meant to buy clothes because I had enough, but for some reason my Mum likes me to buy things, so when we saw this dress for $7 (bargain) she was like, “Oh it’s so Mexican!” trying to entice me to buy it.

I thought it looked Mexican too, even though I hadn’t been there yet. I loved the colour, as well as the price, so I bought it.

This dress; it’s the only thing I own that resembles ‘dressing up’, so despite the fact that it’s really a casual sundress, it’s become my special occasion dress, as well as my ‘I’m in a yellow town’ dress.

I was just thinking today how I’ve worn it to a wedding and two funerals since I bought it.

Today I attended the memorial of a dear friend’s partner, who, after surviving a terrible motor accident, spent several years in a nursing home in the states before coming to Playa del Carmen to live out his final days. He escaped on a day pass, got on a plane with the help of his family, and made it here in time to see the Caribbean before he passed on in her arms.

It was a touching and inspiring service in celebration of love, life and forgiveness.

I didn’t meet him as I was busy with Tyrhone’s sister’s visit, then away in Vegas when he passed away, but my friend asked me to take photos at the memorial today so I was glad to be able to help in some way.

singing bowl

Thankfully, I had my dress cleaned from the last time I wore it, at the memorial of my nephew.

“I like your dress,” people had said that day, and I was amazed my little $7 number was holding up, thankful that at least I had something suitable to wear. It’s weird the things you think about on heart-wrenching days; how having something to wear still matters even though it shouldn’t.

This evening, I’m still in the dress, editing the photos from today, and I just noticed a little hole forming in the bodice. That’s when I realised, it’s been more than just a sundress, it’s been the dress I’ve worn for celebrations, tragedies, or just a trip to the store, and how this poor el cheapo dress and I had no idea what we would be in for together when me met.

I wore it to witness our neighbours’ wedding, to say goodbye to my nephew and to support my friend as she bid farewell to the love of her life.

I never imagined the depth of the experiences, good and bad, I would have on this journey.

Things I never thought I’d be doing on an ‘indefinite travel adventure’ but which I have done, because life, and travel is like that. You just never know how things are going to turn out.

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This Dress — 38 Comments

  1. Love the dress! Isn’t it fun when we get attached to a piece of clothing that somehow manages to carry us through life? I am not a clothes horse by any stretch of the imagination so I love it when I find a treasure such as your dress!
    Patti recently posted..Dear Life ~My Profile

  2. What a lovely post, and this story could so similarly be written for me (except that mine was $6.) :)

    One night, I started to freak out because I thought there was a bug down the top of it. Oh no, it wasn’t a bug, it was light shining through a hole in it. After 14 months, I had worn it thin, and I finally said goodbye.

    I was so sad, as it has seen as much as I did.
    Dalene recently posted..Just Turn LeftMy Profile

    • Thanks Dalene, oh man I got ripped off then! I have holes in a couple of my dresses, but do you think I can get around to taking them to a tailor or sewing them up?! It’s on my ‘to do’ list, because I’m just not ready to say goodbye yet.

  3. It is a very beautiful dress :-) Carmel is right, the tears keep appearing every time I read one of your posts at the moment, that story about skipping out of a nursing home to see the Caribbean is just heartbreaking. Here’s hoping your dress (and you!) can attend some happier occasions during the second half of 2013 x
    Maddie recently posted..A little bit of luxury on Halong BayMy Profile

    • Yes, it’s a very moving story, isn’t it? There is so much sadness happening around me at the moment, and yet so much love and inspiration too. And I thought I’d just be eating tacos and getting a tan :)
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..This DressMy Profile

  4. It’s a very pretty dress, and at $7, definitely a good deal! I had a similar dress, though I admit it was nowhere near as pretty as yours, that I found myself wearing all the time at the start of our trip as it was so versatile, easily dressed up or down as the situation demanded. But about 4 months into our trip, I realized that after wearing it nearly every day in the Philippines that the fabric in certain places was threadbare… I was very sad to say goodbye to it and have yet to find a suitable replacement. Hold onto your pretty blue dress for as long as you can; they’re definitely rare than you think!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Chewing the Fat with Rika at Cubicle Throwdown!My Profile

    • Hey Steph, the thing is I don’t even love mine that much, it is not the most comfortable thing to wear, but it has seen me through some major events recently, so I’m grateful for that! :)

  5. This was a surprisingly poignant piece! I love that friends and family helped that man escape the nursing home and fulfill his dying wish. I hope mine would do the same for me!

    I bought a bright yellow cotton top at the Chiang Mai airport for around US$5. I’ve worn it so much in the past seven months that a little hole started to form at one of the neck seams. Panicked, I took it to my trusted Shanghai seamstress and now it looks like new again. Crisis averted!
    Heather recently posted..Hotel Madera Hong Kong: Boutique Bliss with Stunning City ViewsMy Profile

    • Thanks Heather, I am a big believer in mending things, especially in Asia where it is usually so cheap, so here’s hoping Mexico can deliver too!!!

  6. My favourite dress, which I bought for $5 on a market when I moved to Cambodia, just got its first hole too. I am a bit heart broken I have to say. Maybe because this is the prettiest thing I own and because I don’t own anything else apart from our two cups, 2 plates and cutlery.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Flashback Friday: The time my bum went numbMy Profile

    • Thanks Kim, yes looking at the hole in the dress evoked a weird flashback to the day I bought it and some of the big events that have taken place since then, so I tried to capture that :)

  7. Loved that dress when I first saw it!! Funny how little things like that can end up meaning so much. I’m sure to can put a little stitch in it and it will bring you many more happy (or otherwise) memories x

  8. I often wonder what certain items of clothing, accessories or other inanimate objects of mine would be able to say based on what experiences they’ve been exposed to through me.

    Lovely, thoughtful post.
    Emily recently posted..Calgary floodingMy Profile

    • Yes, I hadn’t really thought about it until I saw a hole in the dress, which made me think about everything we’ve been through! Thanks for reading Emily :)

  9. Hi Sarah,I always like that dress. I remember how beautiful it looked when you posing against a bright yellow wall and when you attended your friend’s wedding. I guess the beauty of keeping our possessions to minimum is that we get to appreciate and give more meaning to each piece. I hope it joins you in more memorable occassions.
    Marisol recently posted..Jordan: Revived and Floating on the Dead SeaMy Profile

  10. What a lovely post, Sarah! (same goes for the dress :) I so understand not only your mum insisting on buying you clothes while you’re home (mine does it every time I come back!), but also how a dress can become so much more than just a piece of clothing – it really becomes something to mark your journey with, doesn’t it? I love pulling out a dress and remembering all the times I’ve worn it – and in case your case, it’s especially poignant. Thanks for sharing this!
    Candace recently posted..beneath the lantern’s glow: introducing the book of travel sketches…and a giveaway!My Profile

    • Thank you Candace! Yes, I had never really thought of it until the other day, that the dress had a story to tell. Thanks for reading, it’s lovely to hear from you and to hear about your new book, woo hoo!

  11. It’s so nice to have something so versatile in your wardrobe when you’re traveling as much as you do. It’s amazing how much we can fall in love with something that cost almost nothing, and therefore we didn’t have high expectations for it. Now that it has holes, perhaps it’s time to turn it into something else? Maybe a large doily to wrap jewelery in, and just unfold onto the dresser?
    Jessica J. Hill recently posted..Bikaner, India in ImagesMy Profile