Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Dresses

Less to say about First Communion Dresses, except that they're far less varied and interesting than they used to be. Few mothers sew anymore, and a dress bought off the rack at Burlington Coat Factory is going to look very much like most other dresses. An unfortunate corollary is that the quality of a girl's First Communion dress is now simply a function of how much money her family has to spend on it. When they were all handmade and no two dresses looked alike, how attractive, stylish, fancy, or ornamented your dress was, was simply a function of your mom's sewing skill and available time.

We were very fortunate in having Offspring #1's dress made by an extremely talented friend of the family (you can see it in the photo below). Consequently I haven't spent much time looking at dresses, but have dug up a few interesting tidbits. First, definitely click here for proof that life was better, or at least more interesting, in the days when your mother made your dress. Now whatever you think of the suitability of that particular piece of sartorial audacity for the solemn occasion, it takes a pretty cool mom to sew you a groovy minidress with the (briefly) trendy shoulder cape for your First Communion. All it lacks is white go-go boots.

Finally, it seems that in Switzerland and nearby areas, the custom at First Communion was (is? I'd like to know) to wear a simple alb and wooden cross--both boys and girls--and a white wimple for the girls instead of a veil. Given the huge amounts sometimes spent on First Communion gear and parties in some quarters, the disappearance of sewing as a cultural norm, and some scarily materialistic attitudes toward First Communion in some parts of the Catholic world, I wonder sometimes if this isn't the wisest course.


Anonymous Celine said...

Fashion Bug is my most favorite store for dress shopping.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Katherine said...

I am currently shopping for a first communion dress for my daughter. Way back when, my mother did indeed make my dress. Fortunately, my 9 year old has very simple taste - no "poof" here - but the problem is FINDING the dress she has in mind! Plain, simple, floor length, straight, maybe some beads on top and a few roses. I've looked EVERYWHERE... it's hard to find!

12:02 PM  

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