The tale of my discount wedding dress – another post from the beginning of Beguiling

Hello, kittens. Well – it appears that Lanier Smith of SCENTS MEMORIES and I have entered into a pact. We demand stories of each other. To that end I am posting this little memory of a time 25 years ago, right before I got married, and Lanier is going to post about the morning he heard Marilyn Monroe had died. Word to the wise – his memory is profound and moving – and mine is not. MEMORY ~ Marilyn in August | SCENTS MEMORY.

This is the portico of Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills where you pull your car around behind the store:


And, this is the story I promised to tell Lanier:

Neiman Marcus of many years ago was one of my mom’s favorite spots on earth, pretty much that whole stretch down Wilshire from Bullock’s and I. Magnin into Beverly Hills and Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman’s. I think she shopped instead of drinking. She had friends in sales in all the designer departments who would call her and let her know when the prices were slashed. Let’s just say she was a retail ninja.

So, when my husband and I planned our wedding we were adamant about paying for it ourselves but I knew I couldn’t deny her the pleasure of hunting for the dress, but I also knew I would need backup or I would be floating around in a gossamer cloud or wearing some kind of asymmetrical Belgian take on a Japanese kimono that I could ill afford.

My friend, Sharen (did you see “The Help”? – she designed the wardrobe), agreed to ride shotgun. I remember the trip down Wilshire in the car and them discussing me as if I were aΒ  difficult design project – small and skinny – Sharen was advocating something simple that wouldn’t overwhelm and Mom was talking about a dress by an Italian designer her friend had told her about.

The valet took Mom’s old powder blue station wagon and she made a bee-line for the wonderful world of Neiman’s. For god’s sake, even people in the candy department knew her name and greeted her. She was right at home and I (perverse young lady that I was) remembered why I didn’t like to go shopping.

Inevitably we headed up toward the Italian dress. It was simple, for something that had a pearl encrusted bodice with a boat neck andΒ  a very New Look Dior-ish tiny waist voluminous pouf of a chiffon ankle length skirt. It was beautiful and it made me feel like a ballerina and the price made my head spin. My mother was angling to buy me the dress and we were heading for one of those situations we all want to avoid in public when Sharen appeared with a linen sheath and waistcoat and short sleeved jacket with long tails held up in the air, “Look! And it’s on sale for $85.00! A little linen suit!”

The rest was all happiness…


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