"What gown and what head-dress she should wear on the occasion became her chief concern. She cannot be justified in it. Dress is at all times a frivolous distinction, and excessive solicitude about it often destroys its own aim. Catherine knew all this very well; her great aunt had read her a lecture on the subject only the Christmas before; and yet she lay awake ten minutes on Wednesday night debating between her spotted and her tamboured muslin, and nothing but the shortness of the time prevented her buying a new one for the evening."
I cannot help it. I love to dress-up. Considering all of the times I have been a maid of honor (once) and a Bridesmaid (3.5)--or almost a Bridesmaid (never a bride...)--as well as formal dresses needed for choirs (at least 3), you can imagine that I had a decent amount of dress-up dresses. One I've been able to wear to church in the succeeding winters and it's been nice to get some good use out of it. (Velvet Sunday, coming up!!) And there's the all-purpose green formal that has been worn numerous times. I've down-sized on the number of formals, but I still have 4. Been trying to get rid of one, but no one wants it. I've only worn it twice!
Anywho. Yes, I find it funny that I love to dress up so much. And it doesn't have to be a dress-up dress. It can be a Heidi dress. (I'm of the old-fashioned group, loving floor-length dresses and anything that makes me feel elegant, sophisticated, feminine, and ladylike. No casual skirts on Sundays for me, thank you. Dresses. All the way.) Anything that gives me a chance to wear a dress, and I'm pretty happy to take it. Only one thing is more comfortable and exciting for me to wear--big, comfy PJs. (One pair of PJs is a floor-length nightgown. Uh, yeah. The "vampire dress.")
With this coming weekend's choir Christmas performances, the majority vote was for the women to wear red. I always forget that I don't have much red in my wardrobe. (Not much green either, which is heart-wrenching since it's my favorite color!) You can imagine that out of the, um, 2 items in the wardrobe that are red, not many of them are dresses. Only 1 in fact. And I really don't want to wear it 2 days in a row, because whatever I wear for the concert Saturday has to be worn to the time I'll be at work, and on Sunday it will be what I wear to Church. I like to get my use out of clothes--but two days straight? Ick. Can't do it.
Thus, the past week or so I have been as Catherine--ignoring her great aunt's advice and thinking way too much on what dress to wear. It didn't take me long to realize that, well, this just might be the excuse for me to go look for The Red Dress (a story in itself) that I have been looking for 15 years to buy. Obviously haven't found it, yet, or this coming weekend wouldn't present my current, self-imposed dilemma. And with the completely unexpected Christmas bonus coming in from my job, I think it could be understood for me to use the ever minisculist amount (still budgeting here!) to buy a red dress. Something lovely and yet practical that I can wear many, many times. And something with already built-in sleeves! I get tired of altering clothes.
So, yeah, I thought that quote highly appropriate on my eve of going out Red Dress shopping. I'm not relying too much on finding anything, and have a back-up option if need be. But if I could finally find my Red Dress...*sigh*
To close, I must include the rest of the quote--the showcasing of Austen's and Northanger Abbey's wit, humor, and true-to-life hilarity!
"This would have been an error in judgment, great though not uncommon, from which one of the other sex rather than her own, a brother rather than a great aunt, might have warned her, for man only can be aware of the insensibility of man towards a new gown. It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire; how little it is biased by the texture of their muslin, and how unsusceptible of peculiar tenderness towards the spotted, the sprigged, the mull, or the jackonet....No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former, and a something of shabbiness or impropriety will be most endearing to the latter. But not one of these grave reflections troubled the tranquillity of Catherine."
It's a good thing that 99% of the time I don't care what the male gender thinks of my clothes. It's all about me. Yes, Jane, you were right. You still are.
"Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone."