Dress With Sleeves

January 10th, 2012



Photos by Diana

The SC was inspired by Alyson of That’s Not My Age HERE to participate in her ‘call out’ for photos of dresses with sleeves. This estate sale vintage Diane Von Furstenberg black/white geometric patterned cotton/rayon maxi dress is one of my favorites in this category.  I topped off the dress with an Amy Downs black/white felt hat, vintage black velvet gloves and vintage black/white geometric patterned ceramic earrings and grounded the outfit with Michael Kors black heeled boots that were purchased at a department store winter sale years ago.

Putting this ensemble together was my reward for having completed the task of going through all of Nelson’s clothing, hats and shoes. Everything. Hundreds of decisions were made about what to keep, what to give away to friends and what to donate.  It has been an overwhelming and emotional undertaking, but I was fortunate to have help from Camille.  It has been almost nine months since his death and suddenly I knew that I needed to immerse myself in the flood of feelings that came with lovingly touching every item that he had worn or collected over the years.  It was another step in the acceptance of the reality that he is gone forever.  Forever.

Many ‘grief bursts’ later, I am now ready to go through his extensive collection of books.  He was very cerebral and I have countless memories of discussions about history, race, class, feminism, politics, music, health and every topic imaginable after we read in succession many of the books that cover the shelves and surfaces of his office.  We had the same values and loved to look beneath the uppermost layer of an issue.  Digging into the core.  Dissecting the dynamics.  Discovering possibilities.  Sweeping out the corners.  The recollections of our conversations remain dear to my heart and it is that connection that will be the most difficult to reconcile.

Thank you Jean for requesting a close-up of the above estate sale vintage jewelry worn on the previous post.

Every Body Every Wear

29 Responses to “Dress With Sleeves”

  1. Pam @over50feeling40

    It is so great that you have Camille to help you walk through all of this. I hate to see you weed out the books, but I understand how it might be necessary to move forward. On a happier note, You Look So Amazing in this Dress!!! This is such a fabulous, chic look…you are gorgeous!

  2. That's Not My Age

    Yes, connecting with people on so many levels is a rare and wonderful thing. Good to hear that you are making progress, and I’m so pleased I was an inspiration to you. That DVF dress is fabulous, beautifully accessorized.

  3. Lonnie

    Judith – I feel like an awful friend. I just spent some time looking over your posts from the past few months. I disappeared in to my own misery and wasn’t a very good audience or friend. I am sorry. You continue to be an inspiration in every one of your posts. You are amazing. Love you. Lonnie.

  4. Lonnie

    Just left you a comment and it said I already said that, which I suppose I could have, but it doesn’t seem to be here – I just spent time catching up on your posts. I feel like an awful friend – I disappeared in to my own dark holidays and didn’t even give myself the gift of looking at your wonderfully inspiring posts. You are so wonderful. Keep styling darling. Both Terry and I have taken to wearing hats – loving it. XOXO Lonnie

  5. Ariane

    Judith – must be hard what you are going though – i just can imagine, but you have to be in this type of situation to understand, but my heart goes to you Judith –

    Nice dress and the fabulous hat, when can i say…it is marvelous

    Will have more posts with hats, i am getting to like them more and more

    Ariane x

  6. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    Love it. what a beautiful dress!

  7. puncturedbicycle

    I never fail to be moved by the way you speak of your relationship with Nelson. How wonderful to have had this and how difficult to have to move on without it. I admire your efforts to grow and be strong. And throughout it all, you look wonderful as always.

  8. Shelley

    Judith, I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been, sorting through all of Nelson’s things, and being surrounded by so many memories, but feeling the absense of the reality. Thank goodness you had Camille to help you, and you are moving forward, although I’m sure that many days it feels more like you are stuck in place. That is a gorgeous dress; I love the winter colour scheme of black and white (although we have next to no white here at all!).

  9. rose

    Oh, you poor dear. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of what you are going through. How sad and poignant the physical items of a person’s life are. I have kept a tee shirt of my Dad’s and the ratty old sweater that my mother wore the last time she went to hospital. To this day, I don’t like navy/red/white as a colour combination because of that sweater.

    How amazingly wonderful it must have been to have such a soul mate. To have someone who shared your values and your mind, who was “with” you so completely. I can only imagine.

    You are so brave and your outlook on life so inspiring, not just to me, but to others as well. May your path forward unfold in beautiful ways that are as yet a mystery to you. As I have said before, and no doubt will say again, “hats off to you, my dear Judith!”

    Much love from England,

  10. RobinDenning

    Oh Judith I looooove that dress, you wear it so well.
    And of course, it is the styling that brings it to life.
    Enjoyed reading about conversations, too.

  11. Linda Linda Linda

    I’ve known you some 20 years now and your collection never ceases to amaze me. You are stunning in all that you do.

  12. SizzleandZoom

    Very chic look today. It’s difficult to weed out books when I’ve had to move over the years. I can’t imaging doing it after a loved one is gone. My thoughts and good wishes go out to
    you as you undertake this new venture.

  13. Susan Tiner

    Judith, the DVF dress is stunning, really beautiful, I love how you’ve styled it with the hat, gloves and boots.

    What a milestone, sorting through Nelson’s things, and now the books and the daily reminder of your lost intellectual connection that will bring. The sheer effort of your process comes through in your posts.

  14. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    What an enormous task you have undertaken, Judith. My heart goes out to you as you have been touching Nelson’s possessions that hold so many memories. You look so beautiful in your long-sleeved dress – how I wish Nelson were the photographer today!

  15. Willa

    I’ve always thought that books and clothing are among the most personal of possessions so I can only imagine the monumental task of working through the memories that each item holds while you decide the fate of each – to keep, to gift, or to donate. With each decision, the reality of Nelson’s absence is no doubt felt anew. — I also appreciate this lovely day look. I’ve never been a fan of the DVF wrap dresses, but I admire her use of pattern so this dress is a special one in my opinion. It’s especially nice paired with the graphic stripe the hat brings to the look.

  16. Terri

    This dress is so very elegant! You should enter it the Every Body Every Wear black & white event as well.

    I can only imagine the task of going through Nelson’s clothing. I still own several pieces of my father’s wardrobe and on days when I miss him immeasurably, I will bury my nose in his coat or his Hawaiian shirt. As for the books, is it really necessary to part with them?

  17. Adrienne

    Judith you are an amazing person. I hope YOU write a book some day. You know the say that behind every great man is a great woman and that is you. You are in my thoughts.

  18. WendyB

    I can’t believe it’s been nine months … oh my.

    You look lovely as usual. Your figure is amazing!

  19. Sheila (of Ephemera)

    Firstly, your estate jewelry is incredibly lovely. Such wonderful detail.

    Secondly, your DvF dress is gorgeous – and shows off your slender figure so well!

    Lastly, I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for you to go through Nelson’s things. I hope to have a long happy life with my husband, and I hope to have such a rich and loving life with him as you two did. My heart goes out to you, Judith.

  20. Judith Boyd

    Keeping most of the books, but parting with a few. The books that have special meaning will be with me forever.

  21. Jean

    Beautiful in every way. Where do I begin? LOVE dresses with sleeves (a necessity for me and hard to find!!), the accessories are perfect- especially loving the hat, and finally the setting is so attractive even down to the wall art in black and white!

    Thank you too for the accessory closeup. It’s extraordinary.

    Your generosity, in sharing your process and experience, gives me a glimpse of ways that might help me traverse my own inevitable abysses. Love you.

  22. Corinne

    your dress is lovely, you wear it well. I know your pain, the sorting, the memories. I have no answers to how to do it without pain. But I also believe the pain is essential to accept and to move on. My thoughts are with you. Take care.


    With that dress you look like an extension of the snowed garden.
    So beautiful, my dear friend.

  24. Jaine

    Ohhhhhh….this dress looks incredible with you in it. And I love love love the hat! May yr amazing sense of style continue to lift your heart.

    SO difficult going thru “the things” of your beloved. Words fail. Nothing can replace all that he was to you, all that you shared. The meeting of the minds is one of the deepest gifts a couple can know together. I wish with all my heart this stage of life without Nelson were not so, dear Judith. I can only pray that your life becomes so flooded with quality people and experiences that it creates a new foundation of joy that eases & helps you live with this loss. I wish there were more we could do & say to help. XOXOXOXO

  25. Paula

    When I first saw that dress, I had a hunch it may be DVF. Very chic. and I know you love the longer length.

    I was watching “Schmitt” last night with Jack Nickolson, and he was going through his wife’s closet..course things take a turn for the worse in that movie. (He finds out she was cheating on him with his friend..).

    It must be so hard for you–my heart goes out to you. You are in my thoughts.

  26. Veshoevius

    I was wondering if that was DVF looking at the striking pattern against the snowy background. You are the picture of elegance in it. I hope you find some consolation in the difficult task ahead.

  27. Fairyfiligree

    You have captured the drama of being left behind and having to sort out somebody’s belongings. What they cherished, what they liked, what you liked and what you need and what you don’t and the guilt feelings and indecision of whether you are doing the right thing even whilst knowing you cannot and shouldn’t keep every single thing. Went through the paces after my mother moved on….. so I can sympathise with you completely.

  28. Mardel

    That DVF dress looks beautiful on you and especially glamorous with the hat.

    I am new to your blog and my heart goes out to you as you are sorting through your husband’s things. I cannot imagine all the feelings and memories which must be overwhelming at times.

  29. Practical Paralegalism

    You wearing this dress makes my heart sing, like beautiful art does.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I’m glad you have a loving support group – and obviously many, many wonderful memories. I didn’t meet Mr. Right until I was 40, which makes me treasure him all the more.

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