“Oh Mama” Dress

Stacy and Me (click-Queen Stacy and Me flashing some pink. Did I mention Cate Lyon used to work for Victoria’s Secret?)

New clothes cause a stir in my house.  The cause is having two daughters that adore girly dresses and cute outfits and of course, me.  I love a new dress especially when I have had a challenging day.  Way, way back when I was in college, one of the stress busters for registration day was going to Tillie’s in downtown Statesboro and buying another dress. This was in the years prior to computer assisted registration agony.  After I had stood in line for core courses in the old un-air conditioned gym, just to find out every class I wanted was full, and I would have wait and then go to “drop/add” to get the crap I needed.  Not wanted.   Drop/add was equally tough and it required at least a new pair of skin-tight Chic jean. Think 1980. Old habits are hard to break and lately I have been under a lot of stress.

Braving the wet of a steamy Savannah drizzle, I went by Cate Lyon’s shop on 2 Oglethorpe and selected fabrics and watched her draw a couple of new dresses for me.  Then she scheduled muslin fitting when Cate will adjust the fit in simple muslin prior to even cutting a piece of gorgeous satin. It is a very up-scale walk-in. Be pampered, feel special, choose your color experience.  Now honey, I can afford “You want pedicure? “Choose you color” moments, but a custom dress? Not really.  However I can justify it. The way I see it, one dress is commensurate with buying a Talbot’s suit at full price and Donald Pliner shoes to match.  Or it is similar to Channel sunglasses and a Coach bag. For any woman who needs this ammo, think of a foursome at Savannah Harbor with lunch, drinks, and of course, cart fee. Or hunting licenses in Georgia, South Carolina, shells, and what?  Not a hunt club membership, too. Sweetie pie, that is much more expensive! Keep in mind, previous examples serve as rationalizations, as well as helpful reference points to use as needed. 

When I was little, having anything handmade was utterly disappointing. My mother tried really hard, but whatever she made never fit quite right and the fabric looked all wrong.  In fact, if I hadn’t realized how awful it looked, she would tell me in a self-depreciating way. “I just can’t sew.  I don’t know why I try,” she’d say in a disgusted tone. I might wear the thing one time and then banish it to the back of the closet before, years later, giving it to Goodwill.

Cate Lyon realized at a young age that she would learn to sew better that her own mother.  When she was only about four years old, she remembers watching her mother make a grand entrance wearing a blue organza cocktail dress with tons of glittery, glittery jewelry.  Oh Mama! You’re so pretty! To see her very own mother looking like a Queen was so exciting.  The memory stayed with her for years.  If you are fortunate enough to see your mother looking like gorgeous Royalty, then your own dream must be fact.  “I am indeed a princess,” you must sigh to yourself.  It is tremendously empowering to know that. When I said I wanted a fifties inspired dress that rustled when I walked and swished when I flounced, Cate thought of that Oh Mama dress that she had seen her mother make and wear in the mid-fifties. 

Ordering a dress is an ultra-luxury that I can try to rationalize. Why pay Neiman’s 500.00 for a dress anyone with money to throw around can buy?  Let a talented designer make something regal just for you.   Queen Becky C is having her Mother of the Bride dress made by Cate.  Queen Terri recently tried on one of Cate’s creations and exclaimed “I look gorgeous!”  Honey, Queen Terri is terrifically chic and lovely so just try to imagine her with a drop-dead dress on.  I want that. Where’s my checkbook? Do you remember the walk-down-the-street scene that John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever or the walk through the office sequence in Renee Zellweger’s  Down with Love? This is the way I see it.  If all the world ’s really a stage,  I want the right costume.  Preferably something show stopping, in a stunning shade of green.

3 Responses to ““Oh Mama” Dress”

  1. Cate Lyon Says:

    Queen Erica, I finally found and read your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed your eloquant description. Thank you again for everything. We truly enjoy your visits to our shop. Cate Lyon

  2. Erica Says:

    I am looking forward to a new, fun, cotton summer dress. Maybe a print with little cherries. Or Pears. I know you will find the right thing.

  3. Mari Says:

    My friend and I from Iowa happened to sit near Cate while having supper one night. We had a great conversation with her about her design business. Even though she was tired from a long hard day, we thought the conversation was insightful as to what it is like from her perspective. I am looking forward to seeing more of her designs.

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