Musings + Essays

Blue Dress Voices.

By: Jen Shoop

We were silhouettes moving around a dorm room, or a hotel suite, or a Georgetown apartment, in various stages of preening and outfit consideration. B. always stood on tiptoes while assessing herself in a mirror, and C. always cocked her head to the side before delivering an honest review: “Mmm, the pink ones.” There were pretty faces in the mirror, mouths drawn into “o”s while applying mascara, then relaxing into laughter, then rearranging into the stern portraiture of self-appraisal. There were tubes of lipstick on the counter, curling irons tangled in their own cords, glasses of wine wet with condensation on the coffee table. There was Alanis, or Ariana, or Mariah, or Whitney, or Beyonce, and the occasional loud performance of lyrics. It was 7:42 P.M., and the night not yet unfurled. Our futures, in senses both immediate and abstract, lay enfolded like a seed. There were blue dress voices — that is, the distracted conversation of women half-engrossed in moving through the nuances of makeup application and hair styling. My sister C. and I coined this term when we were maybe 8 and 12, respectively, and we were coloring on the floor of my bedroom, and we realized we’d been carrying on vacant conversation the entire time we’d been coloring without any idea what we’d said. Now she’ll use it as a gentle correction when we’re on the telephone and I’m clearly in the midst of making lunch for my children or applying lipstick in the mirror: “Um, OK. Blue dress voice.” There was always a chorus of blue dress voices in the hotel rooms and apartment bathrooms in which I’d get ready with my girlfriends. This adds to the allure: how beautiful to be around other women, and totally un-self-conscious? To dash across the room half-dressed, with hair half-dried, singing “I Want to Run to You” in your horrible voice, and there is only another voice singing with you, and a “hey J, can you throw me that pack of qtips?” and the distinctive warmth and privacy of female friendship? I could forget myself in their company. I could float above the parts of me that tended to go tingly with self-awareness.

Oh, of all the beautiful things to experience in this life, today I sit here grateful for the unblinking intimacy of getting ready with girlfriends.

Cheers to that, today. Cheers to blue dress voices and the women who bring them out of us.

A special shoutout to my girl B.


+Another moment of gratitude.

+Speaking of Alanis, what was your first CD (or cassette)?

+To a friend going through a tough time.

+On being truly happy for friends.

+A small relinquishing.

+Something small that always moves me: the preparations people put into hosting me.

Shopping Break.

+Semi-surprisingly (?), these elegant trousers have been one of THE most popular items I’ve featured on my blog the past few weeks. I think some of us are going back to work?!

+These Gucci heels are #goals.

+My favorite tees. I own these in bulk in white.

+I just bought mini this book on the strong rec of a Magpie reader!

+Another really pretty tabletop option for Easter. (More Easter finds here.)

+Into this new gingham “hammock” dress from Lake.

+Seersucker hangers for a little one’s closet.

+This outdoor coffee table is well-priced and chic! (More finds to prep us for al fresco dining here.)

+I also just found this attractive (and affordable!) patio potting station if you want to set up a pretty vignette for potted herbs, plants, and gardening gear.

+20% off at Madewell for Insiders — free to join! — and I shared some favorite finds here. I meant to include this cute sage pullover. Love the buttons!

+A chic neutral colored dress. More along these lines here.

+And another chic neutral colored dress — spectacular!!!

+These are just the prettiest glass spoons. These would make a fun hostess gift. My MIL would also probably love something like this — she has such a great, artful eye.

+Loving Little English’s latest collection, especially these shortalls, this blue floral dress, and this bubble.

+I shared pretty paper finds for us yesterday, but I also bought these new notecards for mini!

+A BOLD statement dress in cheerful orange.

+Swooning over this little dress for a little love.

+Just the chicest gingham sheets for a little one’s room.

+Love this sophisticated linen mini.

+I predict I will be living in this dress.

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