My Garden Retreat

My Garden Retreat
photo Gridley Graves for Country Living

The Red Dress

Have you seen the movie The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock?

Well, if you haven't...
You should!
I laughed....I's simply wonderful!

My point in asking?
Sandra makes a comment in the movie along the lines of "Just don't ask me to wear that's not in my color palette!
Hello...I'm totally there!

That was my very reaction when April told me she wanted to use RED as her color in the wedding!

I simply don't wear red I told her!
Her eyes rolled...

I started looking for a dress!
But not just any had to be "Old Hollywood"
I was thinking Marilyn Monroe,
Elizabeth Taylor

Or Grace Kelly
Something glamorous and a little more daring than my normal grey or white t-shirt and yoga pants!
That left the door wide open didn't it?

Nope I don't think so! Especially not in RED

I had tons of photos I thought would make the perfect dress to wear to a Las Vegas Wedding

And Late October...
I picked up  the dress I wore to our son's wedding from the dry cleaners and  was putting it away in the small  upstairs closet we never use...
I spotted a garment bag at the very back.
I didn't recognize it.
So I opened it up and inside...
Was a dress that April had bought many years ago!
I could not believe my eyes!
A Vintage 1950's RED cocktail dress!
She had been unable to wear it because it had shrunk a bit when she had it dry cleaned.

I took it out  and gave it a closer inspection.
Could this really be?
It would need to be altered.... seriously...
And changed up a bit. But  otherwise it was perfect!
It started out as an itsy bitsy bodice very similar to this...Women of that era were so Tiny!

1950's style dress

I could just make out under the pleats of organza...the outline of what I wanted.
A sweetheart neckline similar to April's wedding dress.

Something like this....

But in RED!
Well, after weeks of hand removing the stitches with my seam ripper... adding a new zipper, straps and some extra satin to the waist...
I got what I had hoped for.
Better even!

It has the original tulle petticoat to make it fuller in the skirt

Since it is January and I am not a bare arms person anyway...
I found a short red cardigan to wear and changed the buttons to a more vintage style.( It falls just below the start of the satin bodice.)

My shoes and handbag are new but have a vintage feel to them.

I am even excited to wear my new ensemble...RED and all!
Yesterday I spent the day getting my nails done at Pattie's you may know her as the Shabby Chick
She reshaped them to a more 50's shape and painted them RED!
Then Arnold, my hairdresser, altered my hair color so that I wouldn't clash!
He was so funny!
He asked that I bring every thing that I was wearing to him...
As he pulled the dress from the box and tissue...he said
"Oh Girl, this is to die for"
"But your hair has to be totally changed!"
So, to say the least...I have a new do!
And even though Red is not a regular on my color wheel of what to wear...I am looking forward...
To being The Lady in RED!

Who knows...I just might like it!

One last wardrobe note...
All of the men at the wedding except the groom are wearing this tie and matching pocket square.
In April's favorite pattern Paisley

We are heading out the door!
I will show you more when we return!
Blessings to all of you my friends!


  1. Oh My!!!! That dress is amazing!!! I can't wait to see pictures of you in it :0) Love the shoes too ♥

  2. Donna, I absolutely love the dress. The sweater just makes it more 50's. Can't wait to see the pictures. Sending blessing to all of you. xoxo,Susie

  3. the wedding party will be gorgeous. safe trip <3

  4. Oooh, how exciting! You are going to be one gorgeous lady!!

  5. Oh, I love this, how fun!!! You're going to be beautiful in it!! can't wait to hear all about the wedding!

  6. Since red is my favorite color and I wear it all the time, I'm loving this! The dress and it's accessories are beautiful and I guess meant to be; ;serendipity at it's best. Love all of the wedding prep pictures. I think it's going to be spectacular.

  7. Thanks for sharing all the details, you made me feel like I was a member of the bridal party! Congrats and best wishes to you all!

  8. Can't wait to see you in all your REDness. How exciting. And who doesn't like a new do. :)

  9. TO DIE FOR is right! OMGosh- I LOVE It! You are going to look gorgeous and I hope we get to see you all dolled up in it. I am anxious to see lots of wedding pictures. xo Diana

  10. How truly meant to be! That red is stunning and you will be so beautiful. April should be so proud that you are wearing this vintage red dress as mother of the bride. This dress is knock-out gorgeous! Safe travels...

  11. lol. red is also NOT in my color palette at all, never has been, "never" will...but I love the color and especially on others. You may just feel particularly beautiful in that very powerful color! let us know. lady

  12. This was a glamorous and exciting post. I look forward to seeing the photos of this lovely event.


  13. ...(Take a deep breath, Lynne)

    The movie...I cried as well. I love a passionate woman/mother!

    With that said...The RED dress is the reflection of the passion that you have expressed with every detail of April's wedding.

    Donna, your daughter was so "spot on" to insist that you wear RED! What a beautiful heart she has.

    I can tell that your feet are not touching the ground!

    A mother's love is the only thing that could move her to a new color palette! : )

  14. I think you will look beautiful! N.xo

  15. How lovely! Do you have a before pic of the dress? I'd love to see what all you did to change it up!

  16. I LOVE this story!, and can you believe you had the red dress in your closet!!! That's crazy cool. Wow, talk about something that was meant to be. I don't do red either, but you know what, that dress is awesome, it's a good red too... and this is gonna be so fun, plus you are making your daughter happy and respecting her style. I love all soft pinks and creams and well, you know... and my daughter will probably choose purple and black and orange for her bridal colors some day! I hope i have the talent and grace to make a purple and black and orange wedding as gorgeous as you a making this cute wedding! So fun, and i think i love your hair dresser!


  17. Have fun!!!! I adore that red are going to look stunning. I love the story of how you happened upon it. as if it was absolutely meant to be. Can't wait for the pictures and I know your daughter will be so pleased.

    Happy Wedding. :)

  18. Your dress is amazing! Your daughter is going to have the most amazing wedding! Can't wait to hear all about it!

  19. WOW, You have made such an amazing dress. I love it so much!


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~Donna Reyné