The Brown Dress
During the middle of the summer Amish stores would begin to have their back to school fabric sales. It was always an exciting day when the fabric samples arrived in the mail and I would carefully inspect all the choices before me.
Most years I was allowed to choose one color for a new outfit from the select group of colors Mom was willing to buy, while she chose what color my other outfit would be, as well as the shirts my brothers would be wearing.
Blues and greens were so predictable, and it took several years for Mom to realize I really meant it when I said I want a warm brown dress for one of my school outfits. We only got two outfits each. We’d wear one for an entire week, and Mom couldn’t imagine anyone could possibly enjoy wearing brown every other week for an entire school year.
I was twelve the year Mom agreed to allow me to have my dream dress. I watched with interest and excitement as she spread out pages of The Budget to use to create the pattern for my dress. When it had been completed it was even more exciting seeing those patterns being placed on top of the brown fabric and pieces of my dress being cut out.
I had always enjoyed watching Mom sew, but watching my long anticipated brown dress take form under her skillful fingers was a dream come true.
I couldn’t wait for my first day back to school when I could finally wear it.
I loved that outfit, and wore it happily every other week for the entire year. I didn’t mind being the girl in brown, in a sea of girls wearing blues and greens.
That was the only brown dress I ever had until after I got married. I still love soft, warm shades of brown, but nothing has come quite close to being loved as much as that dress had been.
Want to read more? Visit Mary Ann Kinsinger’s blog A Joyful Chaos.
Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.