The Traveling Red Dress

My friend (Sunny) is an artist.  She writes and paints and makes beautiful, whimsical dresses out of found objects and magic.  One of my favorite dresses of hers is the red poppy dress and I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it.  For one thing, it’s not sensible.  It’s impractical.  It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age”.  And I have no shoes to go with it.  And I have no place to wear it.

And I want it.

I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.  Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better.  Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.

And I am worth it.

And last week…?

…I got my red dress.

I didn’t have shoes, or a party to wear it to, or even a valid excuse to own it, but I had the dress.

And it was everything I thought it would be.

But here’s the thing…you are worth it too.  Which is why this week the red dress will begin a journey, traveling from city to city so that other people can wear it and love it and feel as special and vivid and dynamic as they already are.  Because sometimes we all need a little red dress to remind us of that.  So today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for.  And then go fucking do it. Wear a ball gown to the grocery store.  Invite the neighbors to have a picnic on the front lawn.  Get that novel out of your sock drawer and publish it yourself.  Stand on a bus stop bench and belt out a song for the waiting strangers.  Find a playground swing and remember how it felt to fly.  Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.

The Devil-and-the-Details:  This dress was custom-made by Sunny Haralson of Rubypearl and was specially made for this project.  Photographs taken by the amazing Karen Walrond, a woman who knows me so well that she’s become unfazed when asked to meet me in a graveyard with her camera and bail money.  (She *did* hesitate briefly when I mentioned that I’d be in my pajamas and that I’d have to get naked in the graveyard because I can’t actually put on the dress without someone cinching me up but then she just sighed and nodded and reminded herself to renew her license to practice law.)  Click here for her whole set.  Also, I’m bringing the traveling red dress to Blogher in August so if you’re going to be there and you want to get photographed in it then just come find me.  It’s totally worth it.  And so are you.

Comment of the day (although you should really read all of them because you people are fucking amazing): I can only hope like the “Traveling Pants”, the “Traveling Red Dress” is magic enough to make it fit my size 18 self by mere magic.  Honestly, being able to see it.. to touch it and be near it will be enough to prove I will be living my own Red Dress moment. I’m going to Blogher! I’m going to fly (!!!) to New York in 70 days and I’m completely and utterly terrified. But I’m doing it anyway dammit! This is a nerve-racking trip for most people, but for me? It’s so much more than that. For me, this trip will be a catalyst to take my life back from the ruthless clutches of agoraphobia. Sort of extreme exposure therapy. Today I can’t drive to the next town on my own, I can’t be alone at home, I can’t even take my daughter to the beach. I’m so much better than the housebound puddle I was 10 years ago, but I’m stuck. I’m so tired of CAN’T. In 70 days though (god help me), I CAN and I WILL.

That red dress? Home plate. The finish line. And also new beginning.

Thank you. ~ Karen

Updated:  The red dress has traveled to so many women celebrating miracles and overcoming struggles but this is a favorite. 

Also wonderful?

It’s a good kind of weird.

Wear the hell out of it.

Fighting cancer with friends. No mirrors necessary.

Jami, celebrating an amazing, personal transformation.

A summary.

There are tons of other stories…women bringing the red dress to retirement homes or to dying friends or just wearing it to celebrate life. It’s a good thing. Vivid, wonderful and amazing. Just like the women inside.

UPDATED 2012: The red dress is now years old and is a bit tattered but it’s still filled with magic and is currently on the road visiting people who need some magic in their lives. Ideally, we would have 15 red ball-gowns in various sizes all traversing the globe at the same time but I just can’t afford it. If your company is interested in donating red ball gowns, just drop me an email at advertising (at)

664 thoughts on “The Traveling Red Dress

Read comments below or add one.

  1. One year, instead of going to a formal high school dance, my friends and I dressed up all fancy-like and went out the Petronas Towers (in Kuala Lumpur- we went to the mall underneath it.) At one point, we had to buy batteries, so I got to wear my fancy dress to the grocery store. People stared but whatever! It was awesome.

    What I’m trying to say is that your gorgeous dress is probably not my size and it’s impractical to send it out here to Aussie-land- but man, oh man do I love that dress and this idea. It’s so fabulous that it glitters- but in a classy way, not a pre-teen girl way. 😀

    Now I’m going to go buy that impractical petticoat that I want. Because I’m worth it.

    Thank you. <3

  2. That dress is spectacular. I might like to visit the dress sometime. My red dress was a subscription to Rhapsody, a Verizon Juke, and a pair of roller skates. Awesomeness and Fabulosity.
    .-= Plano Mom´s last blog ..Another Why… =-.

  3. Honey, you look beautiful in that dress. You are beautiful (really, I think you have a beautiful face, for starters), and the dress is gorgeous and looks just right on you. And I’m a great believer in pampering beauty and sharing it. Which you did. With the dress, the photos, and the idea. And I thank you for it all. Rock on 🙂

    (I have no idea what my red dress is. But promise to think about it.)

  4. I SO needed this today. I have been pretty down lately, and this is just the reminder I needed. Bless you, Jenny. Your red dress rocks. 🙂

  5. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this idea! Except Red (and yellow) make me look like a corpse – so I am going to go out and find the most awesomest Dark Green Ball Gown I can find and then I am going to meet you at Blogher and we can share a dance together. All of us.
    Love it.
    .-= Kit´s last blog ..Vindictive Love Tips =-.

  6. I love you, and I love that you did this. That dress was clearly made for you to wear it barefoot in a graveyard.
    .-= Mir´s last blog ..Mental =-.

  7. That dress is so rockin’ hot that it doesn’t need shoes. In fact, shoes would just get in the way. That dress begs for free wiggling toes, windblown hair and some dude with Fabio’s body running his fingers over the seams, grinning guiltily… wait.. what was I saying?

    Oh YEAH.. and you’re full of awesome sauce.. and stuff 🙂

  8. Oh wow – that dress is AWESOME and so are you!

    I had an idea awhile ago for a party – the theme was the “justify your purchase” party. Women could all come wearing the gorgeous shoes that they bought that don’t quite fit and go with nothing or the absolutely stunning ball gown that they fell in love with even though they never go to balls – you get the idea. And men could bring the power tools they had to have that they don’t use. So 1) it’s a party and 2) now you have finally worn that dress / those shoes / etc. and maybe men would actually find someone who wanted or needed to borrow the tools – I don’t know. I’m still working on the boy part…

    Your post is making me feel like I need to have a party! 😉
    .-= My Baby Sweetness´s last blog ..An idea as smooth as a baby’s bottom… I hope! =-.

  9. I love this! And you look great!

    This is such an inspiring post. I really love it. I’ve been working really hard to live more like this lately. Just the other day, I went dancing for the first time ever! I’ve always been too inhibited.
    .-= Windsor Grace´s last blog ..OMG, I danced, you guys =-.

  10. I love this so much it HURTS me!! What an incredible post! You are GORGEOUS inside and out dear woman.

  11. “I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.”

    OMG OMG I want those SAME THINGS, TOO but I always get stuck on where I’m supposed to tuck my penis.
    .-= moooooog35´s last blog ..How to Get Social Services to Take your Children Away =-.

  12. Luv it. Luv it. Luv it. I did something similar a while ago. I brought an emerald green silk and French black lace, totally theatrical top. It’s beautiful and impractical and it was way out of my budget. I’m home bound thanks to a chronic illness so I’ll never go anywhere to wear it,( though I could just say bugger it and wear it to my next MRI), but I love it. Every time I look at it I smile. Every now an then I just put it on just cause I want to, and I feel happy. I luv your dress, I love that you were dancing barefoot in a cemetery, I love that you are taking it to blogher, and I love how happy you look in it. 🙂
    .-= Rusty Hoe´s last blog ..Fabulous Fridays: All Hail the Mighty Geek. =-.

  13. I could respond with paragraphs of praise of how this post absolutely was the best thing to read first thing in the morning and exactly what I’ve needed lately but instead I’m just going to cut to the heart of the matter:

    Thank you.

  14. You know I love ALL your posts but this, it’s hands down the best thing you’ve ever written. BTW, you look stunning in the dress, even with no shoes. One day when I find my red dress and finally get to wear it, I’ll send you a photo because you’re right, I’ll be the sort of person that tries to find a thousand excuses why I shouldn’t wear it. But I promise to and when I do, you’ll be the first person I show it to.

  15. Oh my. Oh my. The very first thing I thought when I saw the first photo. Oh my… WHAT a beautiful photo – what a beautiful woman 🙂 (And I *knew* it must have been taken by Karen!) Then I looked at all of them. And read your post. And then read Karen’s. And cried.

    Thank you for sharing your beauty and your fun and your craziness and all of it with us, your internets. Thank you for starting my day with tears of joy and laughter. Love to you!

  16. Love it, love it, love it. You look beautiful in that gown. And as someone who loves fashion and often sees ridiculous gowns in stores that I desperately just want to wear once even though I have absolutely no reason to wear them except to feel pretty, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said in this post.

    It’s doing whatever it takes to feel good about yourself- no need for explanations, no need for apologies.
    .-= Chloe´s last blog ..Outfit Of The Day (Lazy Sunday) =-.

  17. Jenny, one of my very best friends is very good friends with Sunny from Rubypearl and she and her daughters actually model for her. Her name is Katey Gilligan. Maybe you know her? The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller. You look absolutely lovely in the red dress. I hope you get many uses out of it!
    .-= Lisa W.´s last blog ..Father Daughter Dance 2010 =-.

  18. This is lovely. YOU are lovely and a vision in red. I have so many “Red Dresses” in my life. And I do feel like I shouldn’t have them. I don’t think I can buy nice clothes until I’m not fat. It’s something I live with every damn day. I’ll see something I completely love… AND it comes in my size… AND if I scrimp on the Starbucks for about a week it’s not TOO too expensive… AND it’s lovely. But it’ll look better when I’m not fat. So I don’t get it.
    I feel like I want a better job and to make more money. But I don’t see any reason why someone would want me for any better job or more money and if I don’t think I’m worth more than I’m making why would any boss?
    So I love you for trying to tell me I’m worth it. It’s definitely something I struggle with. When anyone tell me that, even if it’s simply a blogger saying it to people she doesn’t know, it cuts me deep and makes me bawl. The truth hurts. So thank you. Hearing that I’m worth it is nice, believing it is the hard part. Maybe someday.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Boogie Nights =-.

  19. Beautiful photos, beautiful subject. I love your message too. I am trying to embrace my “red dress” by working with two fabulous musicians and sing jazz, in public. Possibly for money. Like someone might actually pay to hear ME sing. Oh my colon.
    .-= MidLifeMama´s last blog ..Reflecting on beauty… =-.

  20. When I was young, I dreamed of being married in a beautiful red dress that my mother would make for me. I found the guy and made all the arrangements for the wedding. My mother REFUSED to make me the dress of my dreams. I was pressured into picking a conventional white wedding dress. Every day closer to the wedding I agonized about being married in the color of death. I couldn’t do it. I needed to wear the red dress. My family, friends, and fiance polarized around color of my dress, mostly in favor of the deathly white dress. I never married so I never wore the white dress. I’m 50 now. If I ever decide to marry, can I borrow your gorgeous RED dress?????

  21. When you say that the dress is “inappropriate for a woman my age” it just pisses me off. Young skinny unwrinkled women have not really earned the right to wear such dresses. I have long been a proponent of the idea that we should start out old and get younger looking as we get wiser. Jenny, that dress is completely appropriate for you and next year you are going to need an even prettier one.
    .-= happyhourmary´s last blog ..Becker Malbec =-.

  22. You’re so right. Whenever I start to think, “I’m too old, too out of shape, too silly and clumsy to be a belly dancer,” I will re-read this post. Because belly dance is my red dress and it’s hard to justify it to yourself sometimes. But it’s worth it. I know it is. 🙂

  23. Red is your color! I love how gorgeous and free you look in it! Beautiful pictures hard to choose one favorite!

  24. I’ve got tears too. That was the most beautiful thing. I didn’t know I needed so badly to read it.

    Thank you.

  25. Although I don’t always leave a comment, I want you to know that you inspire me daily. Thank you for kicking ass.


    P.S. I still owe you a leprechaun story
    .-= Jessica Hampson´s last blog ..My Poor Parents =-.

  26. That is a beautiful dress. And you are beautiful too.

    Now, can we just channel the ‘I’m worth it’ you’ve got going on while I freak out over a panel thing I’m speaking on, to like, Media and Entertainment people and holy fuck. I am worth it. I can do this. [breeeath]
    .-= Veronica´s last blog ..Headfuck =-.

  27. Applause. I’m proud of you. I’m not sure what my red dress is today…but I’m going to think about it.

  28. Love this! I wore a red dress to a wedding – long and swirly and fantastic – even though I wasn’t thin enough or young enough and it felt AMAZING. I get happy when I see the photos and happy when I see it hanging in my closet.

    I think definitely we all need to wear our red dresses. I’ll tackle the next red dress issue – it’s easier when I remember how I felt wearing the actual red dress.
    .-= Suniverse´s last blog ..Return of the Migraine =-.

  29. Love the dress, love the photos, love the notion of just ‘doing it’.

    Am now going to skip around the City of London barefoot and fancy-free belting out the lyrics to Mamma Mia at full volume.

    In my undies.

    LCM x
    .-= London City Mum´s last blog ..Foot(wear) fetish =-.

  30. Crying in my cubicle for the second time this morning. (Your fault both times!) Gorgeous. I’m going to dig my fucking novel out of the drawer.

  31. You’re a beautiful lady. But holyshitOMG, you brought your new camera into the graveyard? You’re just asking for more ghost damage, aren’t you?

  32. How amazing you are Jenny. It’s no wonder we all love you. You were born for that dress. I’m going to finish my novel. My novel is my red dress. It seems so pointless and unpublishable. But it’s still my red dress.
    .-= tara´s last blog ..Blame it on the a a a a a alcohol =-.

  33. I love you, Jenny! I LOVE how funny you are but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how you are working to inspire people to love themselves and accept themselves and others.

  34. Last week I finally bought myself a vintage film camera. Many people asked “What special effects does it have?” then gave me a queer look when I said, “None, it’s just a film camera.” I bought my little red dress – it is small clunky metallic, about four times as old as me, and I love it to bits. 🙂

  35. I’ll be sharing this with my friends and then I’ll be out wearing my purple dress. Thank you.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Sam =-.

  36. Oooooo…I love the red dress!!! Although I am already red so I want one in emerald. Oh heck can she make me into a Celtic goddess? I would rock it and not give one flying leap. I love to torture my teenage sister with my funky artsy side ( I dig crazy shoes). As I tell her ” I like to fly me freak flag”

    PS: You look stunning in that dress and blissfully happy 🙂
    .-= Tickled Red´s last blog ..Washers for a waffle iron. =-.

  37. You’re supposed to make me laugh until I cry! Not cry because you’re being profound!

    I’m too damn big for a red dress! lol

    But I might just go and get my nose pierced like I’ve been yearning for for years! Except I keep talking myself out of it because I’m a suburban stay at home mom…
    .-= Susie Kline´s last blog ..Spread The Love–Says Jan =-.

  38. I’m in that group of readers/commenters who are crying now. Thanks for another post that reminds me of what matters most. Plus, you are intensely amazing. Maybe that’s simply because you want to be and have the courage to be.
    .-= Myg´s last blog ..It’s heeeerrrrreeeee! =-.

  39. You amaze me with every post you write.
    This, right here is inspiring.
    Thank you.

  40. Started to think of the looks I would get wearing the red dress (which looks insanely gorgeous) but then I remembered I have photos of me in a halter top and camo mini skirt so then I spiraled off into thought about how soft it must feel. And I always wonder why people question that I’m a normal healthy hetero male…/shrug.

    I need to find my own figurative red dress now, life is exhausting me. Thanks for another inspiring and insane blog post. Always the highlight of my day.

  41. Wow. I’m in utter awe. This post is amazing, the pictures are amazing, YOU are amazing! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!
    .-= Malia´s last blog ..Doubt =-.

  42. Be free girl! I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it when women have the courage to be silly, and crazy, and beautiful, and dramatic, and inspiring, and all of that in public. Glad to see you are inspiring other’s to do the same.
    .-= Kellyology´s last blog ..Monday MckLinky: What are you going? =-.

  43. Jenny I want to thank you and Karen for sharing your RED DRESS. You and the dress are breathtaking. My red dress today is ASKING for the job that I need and has been waiting for me. Letting me use my creativity to inspire others as you have inspired me…

  44. We don’t have a lot of money most of the time, so when I see people who spend a thousand dollars on a stroller or $800 on a dress, I naturally begin to roll my eyes and mutter “must be nice” under my breath. But when I got to the end of the post, I was grinning from ear-to-ear. I think it’s fantastic that you’re doing this project, and encouraging women to LIVE and BE and DO. Vibrantly. <3
    .-= McMama´s last blog ..Short Thoughts on Mothering =-.

  45. you are inspiring and beautiful in your red dress. who needs the damned shoes?

  46. Beautiful idea, stunning dress.

    My own figurative red dress is a motorcycle. Sure I’m worth it, but I can’t afford it and I may be too old to get my leg over it. I have trouble getting in and out my recliner for starters. Plus my wife says when I crash and lose all feeling from the waist down she will not change my diapers. That seems fair…cold, but fair.
    .-= Jonah Gibson´s last blog ..Day 157 – Settling In =-.

  47. This is the most marvelous thing ever. Please let the dress come to Oregon. I will host a huge party for it. I will even make it a cake and make balloon animals for it, if it likes balloon animals. And cake.
    .-= juliejulie´s last blog ..Oprah and Hula Hoops =-.

  48. Gorgeous. So pretty! I, too, have a crazy desire for a red dress like that.

    A couple lesbians I know got married, and one of them wore a gorgeous red princess dress. If it takes a lesbian wedding to get myself one, maybe I need to make some lifestyle choices.

    LOVE your blog, by the way. Get more excited than I probably should when I see it on my Google Reader.

  49. Wow, that dress is amazing! Your friend is a fabulously talented designer and very funny too. You look awesome!
    .-= christina´s last blog ..G-d =-.

  50. “And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible” ”

    This made me bust into tears.
    I need that fucking red dress.

  51. You are resplendent in your swirly red dress. Resplendent.

    And I am crying like a baby because you’ve taken my heart and given it this tender tug. I have a novel and it is ready to go and it is my red dress because I don’t know if it’s good enough and I’m so afraid, so afraid to step off the cliff and just leap. Instead I busy myself with the ordinary day to day of life, making excuses for why I just don’t try. I’m going to slip my dress on and dance and swirl and leap, because I am good enough.

    Thank you, Jenny. I have to go sop up my tears now and then dust off a little something I’ve had hidden for far too long.
    .-= joann mannix´s last blog ..And In The End, It’s All About The Teeth =-.

  52. I have written, spoke, shouted and sent smoke signals, often and passionately, about taking life wherever you can find it, singing loudly, complimenting strangers and generally letting yourself be brilliant, loud, shiny and sparkly. I love this post.

    Many years ago, a week before leaving for college, the mom of my best friend – who helped me through some nasty family crap – gave me a box of three pairs of audacious red undies because THAT was one way a young woman could feel bold and invincible as she took the next step in her life. That woman has a nasty kind of cancer now, and we are fighting for her with every thought. But she is the sort of woman who would wear a strapless red dress to the grocery store simply because it needed to be seen, and she needed to be seen in it.

    Please allow me to extend an invitation to bring the red dress to Wine Country where I would arrange a tour of some majorly glam and/or quietly delicious wineries with some quality women who all *intimately* understand why one would stand naked in a graveyard so an outrageous piece of apparel could be worn properly.
    .-= Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points´s last blog ..And it’s Potluck Day! =-.

  53. Love the pics! Really do. Looked at the others and they were stunning! My daughter will be a junior next year so I am planning out her senior pics, one of MY plans (which she rolled her eyes at and agreed to), wearing a ball gown while standing barefoot in a stream…because that is just her…and she’ll laugh and be herself and so will I…but I like the graveyard idea…for senior pictures might be odd…so maybe just for family photos. Oh, and can I say, your boobs look amazing??!!! I found a victorian lace dress at a second hand store I just HAD to buy…I have no where to wear it, but it called my I think I’ll just wear it to walk to dog… ROCK ON, JEN.

  54. Thank you! Wonderful piece. You look fabulous in your red dress, just fabulous.
    I can’t even dream about my ‘red dress’…. tears falling.

  55. There are many things I love about life…

    • I love that it bothers me.
    • I love that it doesn’t.
    • I love that everywhere I turn people are feeling something…
    • And I love you.

    You’re hilarious, crude, unsensible, magical, entrancing, witty, intelligent, naughty and easy to talk to.
    And yes I mean talk to… I feel like when I read your blog, that when I read a sentence, I get the completely irrational feeling of wanting to ask a question… and then two sentences later you answer it… You remind me of my best friend, I had to leave her in another state in Australia… I felt like apart of me was left behind… And while I do still talk to her… I miss her ways… then I found you! As completely and utterly individual as you are… I can’t help but know.. that is someday… we ever had the chance to meet…

    You would be my best friend… I don’t care how old you are… how unstable… how stable… how saucy… I know that you’d get me… because I feel that you already do.. You’re so amazingly out there that it puts me back in the state of mind that whatever I say… no matter what… I’m hilarious & stupid at the same time.

    Thanks to you blogess I feel like who I am is totally worth it! And you’re post today… it just reiterates that who you are is absolutely perfect.

  56. I am now referencing this exact post for every single client who has an emaciated Venus on their hand or a life lesson of self-worth and guilt. This is EXACTLY the gift they need. Thank you. What a wonderful, perfect, fabulous project. and dress.
    .-= Peggie´s last blog ..I’ve got my life purpose – now what? =-.

  57. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    My red dress is writing. I’m 24, newly married and I haven’t written any thing in about 4 years. It’s not that I don’t have the time or the desire, it’s that I’m scared…I’m scared that I’m not good enough. My fear is that what I think is humorous is really stupid, what I find important and urgent is really ignorance and that the emotions I keep hidden are not worth mentioning.

    However, today I’m putting my fears, doubt and insecurities aside. Today, I’m going to write, I will hold nothing back and be completely honest.

    I want you to know, Bloggess, that this blog has done more than made me laugh, it has caused tears…your honesty and wit have inspired me and renewed my passion for writing.

    Plus, you have some pretty amazing boobs in that dress 😉

  58. Beautiful dress. Beautiful photos. Beautiful sentiment in this post. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share my red dress story with you. My grandma was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. She did so much for so many people and always put herself last. She didn’t want praise for what she did. She didn’t want to stand out.

    When my mom was younger, my grandma used to babysit neighbors’ kids while their parents worked. One of the boys she babysat, whose family became so entwined with our own it’s hard to believe we aren’t actually related, told my grandma that when he grew up and got a job he was going to buy her a red dress. It became family lore because my grandma is not a “red dress” person. The story was told over and over. Every time “Timmy” came to a family gathering, as a young man, as a husband, a father, as a 40+ year old, we would once again hear the story of the red dress.

    One year on her birthday, 40-something Timmy came to the birthday party with a box for her. She opened it and we all gasped and laughed as she pulled a red shirt dress out of the box. It wasn’t flashy or sparkly. It was exactly the kind of dress she would normally wear, except in a beautiful, bright, attention-grabbing shade of red. She wore the dress from time to time. And she glowed in it. The color was perfect for her skin tone and the cut of the dress flattered her tall, slender frame. She always paired it with a white cardigan, but not to hide or minimize the dress. She truly loved the dress and that’s how she felt most comfortable wearing it. I have a picture of her wearing it the last time she ever left her house. I am as big as a house, 7 months pregnant, at my baby shower in September 2004. She is frail and gaunt, sick with pancreatic cancer. But she was there. In her red dress. She died about 6 weeks later, and as was her way, she left detailed instructions for all of us with details on the arrangements she had already made and with requests for after her death. She asked to be buried in one of two dresses. Very pretty dresses in light, muted colors, one of which she wore to the 50th anniversary party we threw for her and my grandpa 10 years earlier. And while we followed and respected her wishes in almost every other case, it was instead the red dress, with a demure white cardigan covering her arms, that she was buried in instead. My grandpa was in a construction accident that left him a paraplegic for 33 years until he passed away in 2000. She took care of him every day, without falter. At her funeral, the preacher, who was a personal family friend, said that he hoped that when my grandma got to heaven, she and my grandpa could dance together, her in her red dress and him with two good legs. And that’s why stories of red dresses always make me smile.
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Baby No More =-.

  59. This was such a sweet and beautiful and inspiring post. I’ve been very low on money for almost a year now working for AmeriCorps and because of it I feel guilty each and every time I treat myself to anything, even if it’s something small. This reminds me that I don’t need to feel guilty for having a little indulgence every now and then.

  60. I absolutely love it. But why give it away? Why not just wear that sucker out on your trips to the grocery store?
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Superstar =-.

  61. About a year ago I found your blog in a reference from another, which shall remain nameless but rhymes with “juice.” I have never – looked – back. You, Jenny…YOU…are a goddess! You are my hero.

    You inspire me to remember myself. You make me laugh out loud at work. And your links never fail to be awesome. You are so smart and funny and loving and GORGEOUS! Don’t ever stop. That’s not a request. (except pretty please please?!!)

    I love you. From one stranger to another, thank you.

  62. This is simply amazing!! I wish I was going to Blogher! I think more women should celebrate their lives & their unique beauty! So wonderful! Thanks for the reminder 😀
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Dancing in Circles =-.

  63. You are so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your joy … I am inspired to find my own red dress and take it out for a twirl. Just because. Well, I just bought black motorcycle boots. Same thing. Will rock them out.

  64. My mother taught me that when you look for a special dress you find a dress that YOU wear, not that WEARS YOU.

    I believe that dress could be worn by none other. Exquisite.
    .-= Pammer´s last blog ..Nine =-.

  65. it fits you so well. Really, I think it means you shouldn’t even restrict yourself from wearing it whenever you want. You’re just beautiful.

    I feel like dressing up now. XD

  66. I love you, Jenny. I really do. I needed to read this today. Thank you and your badass dress.

  67. A friend at work here in San Diego, CA turned me on to your blog. I have laughed so hard that I had to close my door. I’ve cried from laughter so many times that I can’t count as I’ve poured through your exploits. This post, however, touched me deeply. It is one of the most sweetly articulate things I’ve ever read. I was moved to tears – and not from laughter this time – in my office at work today. Thank you so much.

  68. One of the reasons you’re so beautiful is because you’re wearing a red dress while barefoot. You look amazing. A swirl of red silk around your hips and green grass poking between your toes. How could you NOT look beautiful?

    And everyone should get naked in a public place at least once.

  69. OK I love you. I love you for nurturing a seed of an idea that plants itself in others minds. You fucking rock!

  70. I lived my youth like this. Somehow we all seem to think that as we get older things become inappropriate or that we don’t deserve them anymore. Thank you for this post.

    I have a red dress story, it is from my university years. I have always had a knack for picking out gems at second hand stores. One of my best friends came with me and enlisted my help in picking out a dress for the weekend. I asked her what she wanted exactly and she said “long”. All I did was bend over and look underneath the rack for the longest dress I could find. It was polyester and it was pleated with an empress waistline. It was sleeveless with a mock turtleneck collar. She said “It is gorgeous! But I *can’t* wear red!” I insisted that she try it on. It fit like a glove and she was stunning. She wore the hell out of that red dress. Yes, it didn’t cost $ 800 but it was a treasure, indeed.
    .-= melistress´s last blog ..My Google-Fu Has Failed Me =-.

  71. I don’t know why this made me cry……wait, yes I do. I spent last night watching my students graduate from high school, and drove home with tears streaming down my face. I cried because I would miss them, I cried because my part in their life is done, and I cried with happiness for the adventures they are getting ready to go on. And maybe I cried because I didn’t believe I could still feel that free. But, now I’m crying because of your post because I realized NOTHING is impossible. And damnit, I am going to find my red dress.

    You kick some major ass, Jenny.

  72. I just love you!
    My red dress is a black and purple zebra print purse.
    It makes no sense, it goes with absolutely NOTHING I own.. but I want it. After reading this post, I’m going to go buy it…. today!

    Thank you!
    We ARE worth it.

  73. I want to frame this post and hang it in every room so that my daughters grow up knowing that they can have their red dress and their crazy dances in public and their nonsensical sparkling shoes. World? Oyster. Thank you.
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Some apples barely fall from the tree. =-.

  74. Thanks for making me tear up and consequently choking on a spaghetti noodle that I was shoveling into my mouth while reading your post. Love this post!!!!!

  75. Is it possible to love someone that you’ve never met? Because I totally love you. Seriously. You look amazing in the dress, and I absolutely love that you took the pictures in a graveyard! I would definitely do that, other than the fact that I’m terrified that dead people are going to reach out of their graves and grab my feet if I walk on them. It’s terribly hard to walk through a graveyard without stepping on any graves, and I know I look funny trying to skip around them all. So I doubt the pictures would be all that great.

    Wooh, anyway – you inspire me on so many levels! Rock that red dress.
    .-= Kendahl´s last blog ..I Looked Out The Window And What Did I See? =-.

  76. I never wear heels because they aren’t practical, I’m tall enough as it is, and they sink into the turf at the park.

    That’s it. I’m getting heels. I’m going to stand tall. I’m going to shake my hips when I walk. (More than they already shake.) And I’m going to smile from ear to ear.

    I hope I pull it off as well as you did in that amazing red dress.

  77. Oh, and PS? You should include some sort of warning about the tears this post, and especially the comments, may cause. Something like “not really safe to read at work if you work around a whole bunch of people that may look at you like you’re crazy when tears are streaming down your face”. You know, something along those lines.
    .-= Kendahl´s last blog ..I Looked Out The Window And What Did I See? =-.

  78. All the people who posted before me already said all the things I’m feeling, but here goes anyway. This post and your beautiful pictures are truly inspiring and exactly what I needed today. I have nothing clever or witty or sardonic to add. Just this: Thank you, Jenny! I love your Blog and I love that dress!

  79. Jenny, you are one of my favorite people in the world (except for key members of my family which I won’t go into because I don’t want to make the others jealous). I’ve always loved your sense of humor and blunt approach, but this is truly one of the most lovely things I’ve read in a while. I adore the fact that you bought this dress just because (and you also look amazing in it!). We spend so much time denying ourselves that we let life pass us by and that isn’t what it’s all supposed to be about, is it? So thank you, Jenny, Mistress Bloggess, for reminding me that life is short; too short to ignore life’s simple little pleasures.
    .-= Danica Avet´s last blog ..Advice From Non-Writers =-.

  80. These photos are absolutely gorgeous! You are fantastic, and this post is so inspiring. I am about to graduate from college, and this helps remind me that there is more out there than work or school… Thank you!

  81. I’ve been having the shittiest month I can rememeber and this post totally made me cry, at work, in my flip flops and pony tail. Thank you for making me remember life can be fun.

  82. Love the dress, love the post, love what you are saying and really love the idea of posing in that red dress for a photo at BlogHer. If the line isn’t two hours long (i.e. Can I make an appointment with the dress?) I will be accosting you in person soon.

    Just bought my plane tickets today, in fact!! W00T! W00T! Best BlogHer evah!!!!!
    .-= Amy @ The Bitchin’ Wives Club´s last blog ..Living the Dream (?) =-.

  83. I have to say, I was having an absolutely horrible day. In fact, I’ve been in blubbering hysterics most of today as I found out someone very dear to me recently ended his long term battle with juvenile huntington’s disease. I came to your blog looking for a pick me up, because you are amazingly witty and charming in your own insane way, and it does brighten my mood to read your posts. Then I found this, and went and looked at the entire set of pictures, and I found myself smiling. You are a strikingly beautiful and unique person, Jenny. Your smile is infectious, and you should know that today you helped brighten a complete stranger’s day with a red dress and a genuine grin.

  84. Sigh.
    Jenny, I love your crazy days, but you know, I just might love you more when you turn that off.
    Another reason to regret not making it to BlogHer. Maybe someday I’ll take a weekend trip to Houston and hunt you down.

  85. I love it and I totally agree. A few (too many) years ago I spent and entire summer looking at a dress in a store, but never bought it. Red with polka dots. I was in heaven!!! Finally at the end of the summer I spent the money and bought the dress. I loved the dress and everything it represented. I wore it with totally ridiculous shoes that were as awesome as the dress. I loved it!! Thanks for sharing your red dress with us, it is great!
    .-= Kellie´s last blog ..Summer Vacation =-.

  86. You bring happiness to so many people and the idea behind your red dress is pretty much the epitome of how we should all live our lives. Plus you look a-may-zing!


  87. What a positively awesome way to celebrate you! Great idea! I’m going to go find my red dress (without shoes to match) and have a picture taken, too! Fabulous idea! Go you!
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..Teetering On A Tightrope =-.

  88. What a great post!

    Thank you, Jenny, for reminding me to shine — in whatever form that might be!

    Great dress, great photos!


  89. My daughter got married (well, for the fourth time) in a MAGENTA ball gown – and it was gorgeous!

  90. Hey Lady! I LOOOVE this post. That Beautiful Dress. Your Beautiful smile while wearing that dress. You ARE SO worth it. So am I. Everyone is.

  91. Awesometasticious! You are worth it. I am considering going to BlogHer just so I can share a cab with you again. Now I’m adding the red dress to my list of reasons to stalk you.
    .-= mamikaze´s last blog ..finding a new hairstyle =-.

  92. Wow. Just this weekend, we drove by a house that was a deep red colour. I told my hubby that I loved that colour and then remembered how I had always wanted a dress in the colour. In velvet. And it must be of the deepest, darkest red. And then I thought, “Oh well. Guess I won’t end up doing that. My body is not worth putting into a dress like that now.”

    But you know what? You’re right. I’m worth it. And my body is worth it too! It may be worse for wear after bearing two children, but that just proves its worth even more. 🙂

    Also, what Gregg said.

    And I hope to see you at BlogHer 🙂

  93. Damn–I got a little watery. Let me just add that it is never to late to “put on your red dress”

  94. I am signing up for culinary school today so that I can create and cook and blog and be happy.

  95. Such a refreshing post! Yes I am worth it, we all are! I have a little black number that has been sitting in my closet for 2 years. I’m thinking its time to take it out.
    .-= AS Novus´s last blog ..important things… =-.

  96. Girl, you make that dress look good – the pictures are really stunning.
    Well done, you!
    And, the post in general made ME cry, because I’ve been thinking of all i’ve given up and not done since moving to Wales. And since I’m gonna miss Blogher this year…

    I don’t know what my red dress is, but I’m gonna figure it out. Thanks for that.

    You really do look gorgeous!

  97. I just woke up. I just woke up after a night of questioning myself and what I want to do with myself in a year when I’m done with college and what story I want to use to make a name for myself and if I can even do it. It’s the hundredth time I’ve spent a night and morning/early afternoon this way.

    And once again, because this certainly isn’t the first time, I’ve woken up to YOU reminding me that I’m not going to make it if I don’t just throw it all out there and TRY. I’ve got a shot and I need to take it, whether I miss or not. I’ve always got a “red dress” and I’m always too hesitant to wear it, and then you make posts like this and I want to just metaphorically break out my red dress and run around in the street.

    So, thanks for that, Jenny. Never ever EVER stop being who you are, because some of us need that little reminder to be who WE are every now and then and you’re the only one with the balls to remind us.

  98. Why is it that today? Out of all days…. When my dog chewed my favorite pair of shoes and I was late to work and I stepped on poo on the way out and that made me even later and then I had to clean my shoe and had a literal titty attack on my living room floor! You write this absolutely beautiful, inspiring, and friggin’ awesome post. THANK YOU. I so needed that today. p.s. You look gorje in that red dress honey. Work it! Even if it’s at the grocery store.
    .-= Annah´s last blog ..100 Days of Torture: Day 12 =-.

  99. Going to BlogHer this year IS my red dress! So what a delight it will be to have your dress there to greet me when I arrive. You are amazing.

  100. Really needed this today. In the last two years I’ve gained 20 pounds and lately I’ve been feeling like my boyfriend is losing interest in me (although every now and again he goes out of his way to do something nice for me, so really I know I’m just being silly… ) So I guess my big red dress is probably rich, greasy food and possibly belly dancing.

    Did I mention I’ve been belly dancing for 3 years? That’d be my other red dress. You should join us. In a belly dance outfit that exact color. (We’re in Houston, so, y’know… 😀 )

  101. I love the photos – & your blonde hair! I want you to know that I did this exact thing not too long ago – well, except for the getting-photos-taken part… I always want to try on the prom dresses in department stores but I never do because I have no use for one, being a mom & stuff. I passed one last time I was shopping that was cherry red & sequiny & beautiful & I decided I had to try it on. Once I tried it on, I decided I had to own it. I have no place to wear it to, but I did something spur-of-the-moment & maybe a little over-the-top, & I did it just for me. You are a good influence. Now maybe I will be brave enough to take the dress out of hiding & wear it somewhere!
    .-= Dizzy Goddesski´s last blog ..FlyteAphrodite: Self esteem may be at an all-time low. I am NOT Demi Moore. I am NOT Demi Moore. I am NOT Demi Moore. I am NOT Demi Moore. Argh. =-.

  102. Also, that is totally not my “blog” – because I don’t have one. Where’s the thing that you have to put your twitter info in? I’m so confused now. I may never comment again out of sheer humiliation. 🙁

  103. Wow, pure and simple. I cannot thank you enough for this post. Finding it this morning was both a “we are led to the things we need” and “everything happens for a reason” moment. I’m not sure if I believe in those things, but I do believe I needed to read this today.

    I have dedicated my life to helping others live their lives to the fullest, to choose happiness in their every day life, and to spread positivity to those they love. But, WOW, did I forget about me. I spend so much time fussing with other’s emotional states and have all but forgotten my own.

    And on Sunday I turned 26. And vowed I’d do everything bigger and brighter than before without really knowing how. And now, I think I do. And I’m jazzed. And it’s all on you. Thanks.

  104. What a great post and great photos! We all need to find our red dress. We get so caught up in our day-to-day jeans and tee shirt existence that we don’t stop and and take the time to do the things that rock our faces off. And we should. Now I’m off to find my “red dress.”

  105. Jenny, reading this made me tear up. You have said all the things we all want to say, and I love that red dress in its beauty and impracticality. I’d pose in it if you sent it to Iowa.

    Sometimes, when no one else is home, I put on my wedding dress (from 3 years ago) and walk around the house in it. I feel fabulous again for that short time.

  106. I have a pair of red leather snakeskin pants. I wore them to the supermarket one day and this woman stopped, stared at me and said, “You know, not everyone can pull that look off.”

    It had never occurred to me that those pants warranted any other comment but I LOVE YOUR PANTS. I was incorrect. As I often am.
    .-= Suzy´s last blog ..Why I Can’t Do Drugs =-.

  107. I commented already but then when you tweeted about the comments, I had to come back and read. You’ve made all these people cry at work, Jenny! But totalyl worth it.

    I’ve got a few ideas as to what my red dress might be…probably grad school, but I love Kristin’s comment: “You’re so right. Whenever I start to think, “I’m too old, too out of shape, too silly and clumsy to be a belly dancer,” I will re-read this post. Because belly dance is my red dress and it’s hard to justify it to yourself sometimes. But it’s worth it. I know it is.”

    I love that because I doubt myself for the things I’m passionate about, I’m not skinny enough to be a dancer, I’m not smart enough to go back to grad school, not talented enough to be a writer or a professor, not pretty enough to be loved or to deserve the happiness I have.

    AH. JENNY. Thank you for posting entries like this for all of us who try and act normal and have on a happy face but inside are struggling with doubt or fear and then we come read this and you say it so simply but eloquently and we are ok for another day.

  108. I love how in musicals people just break out in song. So I taught my friends a song so that we could lived in a musical! And one day, over ten years ago, in Providence, Rhode Island, it began to snow. The song was about snowing so everyone just started singing their parts without any effort or plan — months after I’d taught them. (It actually took me a minute to figure out what was going on.) I still fall in love with my friends and that moment every time I think of it.

    It’s a red dress moment for me 🙂 I just it’s time for another one. (But I can totally teach you the song at BlogHer. It’s worth it.)
    .-= Alex@LateEnough´s last blog ..Why Old Men Should Stay Home. Or At Least Not Talk To Me. =-.

  109. do you think the dress could ever make a trip to south carolina? i’d return her. tonight, I am going to the river. I am going to sit on a rock at the river with me feet in the cold water, watching the sunset, reading a book, and feeling the smells wash over me and pretend that I am once again little and at the lake. or if I get off early enough, I will drive to the lake to do the same thing.
    .-= Luna´s last blog ..{searching} =-.

  110. beautiful. you AND this post. Also? You made me cry, which is verboten here at work because I like to appear heartless and mean and you are DESTROYING my image.

    AND…I’ll be in New York. If I suck it in, can I squeeze it on? <3
    .-= briya´s last blog ..My Weekend (In Pictures) =-.

  111. Well, you and this dress were obviously made for each other. And I get the blond hair now! I tried red dresses a couple of times, because I wanted them. I really did. But they make the rest of me look red. How stupid is that. And right now I want to wear either no clothes, or clothes like bags, and bits of strings or chop sticks in my hair. And non matching underwear. I think something’s wrong with me.
    .-= Sandrine´s last blog ..Week end charter : Marianne’s Cuba not so libre =-.

  112. You are just beautiful in that dress. I have my trains and our golf cart. Which my daughter and I are going to spray paint bright yellow with a black racing strip and the number 6 because that’s what she wants. I’ll post photos when we get it done. It’s also really old and has a great local history. A number of people where I live have owned it and one used it til he died. It’s good to fix it up.

  113. This post has inspired me to get off my toush and get my business going. Designing cross-stitch patterns. And old-lady hobby that I love because my Meemaw taught me how to cross-stitch. My sister will create the designs, I will run the business side. Has been a dream of mine for 4 years now, but I have been too scared to try it.
    Thank you Jenny for the inspiration. This business idea will be my red dress.

  114. When I was 18 I had a nervous breakdown, dropped out of college and received a partial tuition refund. I “should have” put the money in savings, or something equally responsible.

    I bought myself a sapphire and diamond ring.

    I still love it.

    This post is beautiful. You are beautiful.
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..What kind of Mother are you?! =-.

  115. You fucking ROCK like nobodys business you know this right?! Holy fucking GORGEOUS….you are simply STUNNING and now…the PIT wants the red dress. I told her AuntieBloggess was in charge of wardrobe.

    No. You know what. Im going to put on my lil red dress for no good reason and Im going to rock the fucking SHIT out of it.

    Again…..stunning pics and a true inspiration~
    fucking love your guts lady
    .-= singlemomma_cc´s last blog ..Week Two’s to do (clever title I know. Im very very tired) =-.

  116. 1. My red dress will be claret colored, “Chateau Margot, 1896”, like Harriet Vane’s in the Lord Peter Wimsey books. I haven’t found it yet, but I’ve been looking for years.
    2. In the meantime, I’ve been sublimating with red shoes, which serve nicely to fill the gap. I highly recommend them.
    Jenny, you totally rock! i wish I were going to Blogher, but I will be attending either a family reunion or the National Hobo Convention (and I’m rooting for the latter). Give your skirts a swirl for me!

  117. God I hope I’m not the only one crying in my cubicle right now…
    Jenny you are a thousand different kinds of awesome. I read all the time and hardly ever comment but I wanted to thank you for this…for reminding me that I’m awesome and worth it too and for being a perfect example of what living the hell out of your life looks like. The next time I’m not sure I can or worried about whether or not I should I’ll think of you and your red dress.

  118. My “red dress” is finding someone to take pictures of me like yours. I want tobe photographed like I am a model. I am tall but “big boned.” I look good in person but photos always make me look thick. I’d like to feel beautiful in front of a camera: carefree, happy, sexy. I’ve never tried to do it because I don’t know any photographers, plus what’s the point? I’m not going to try and be a model…

    Im going to pursue this in solidarity with the women and men in your comments. And with you, one of the most inspirational people I have encountered. I am thankful to be part of your universe.
    .-= Memoirgirl´s last blog ..It Only Ends Once – My Take on the Lost Finale =-.

  119. Like moooooog35, I too would have some issues knowing where to tuck. BUT, I do have the perfect 4″ shoes for this dress should it ever come to Salt Lake.

    I would also like to note that this comment officially pops my comment cherry. BOOM baby.

  120. What beauty… wow…

    I can’t go for the red dress. But I do have a red shirt that I picked up at a thrift store about 10 years ago. I put it on and immediately become “Pablo,” (it says so on the name label).

    Pablo is way cool (almost as cool as me).
    .-= The Queer Next Door´s last blog ..On Being Blue =-.

  121. I already loved you. Now I love you even more. Once in a while, when I splurge on myself, when I can – it’s a fantastic feeling. What I need to do is recognize myself and value myself constantly – without spending money. Self worth/value/esteem is my work in progress. I love that you got your dress, and that you are sharing it. Thank you for this.

  122. Jenny, you have personality, looks AND substance.

    Will you marry me?

    Just like the #happyisucklessthanyesterdayday post, the Boobquake post, and the “Hi, It’s me” post, you have once again inspired your readers to love themselves and everyone else. Thank you!

    I feel as though I’m living my Red Dress moment every day. In February, my husband decided not to be married any longer. We had been together 8 years and married over 4. For 3 of those years, I had worked at a job I hated because he didn’t want me to lose my benefits. Since February, I have moved out on my own (for the first time), made tons of new friends, realized the immensity of the support network of friends and family I do have, went out and had fun, took art classes, enrolled in a graphic design program, launched a set of my own designs on photo prints and screenprints that I do by hand, and tried eel sushi. But the most terrifying and exhilirating change came when I turned in my notice at work. I lost my mother when I was 16, and have always known that we only have ONE chance at life, and if we are unhappy, we never get a re-do. And I was so disappointed in myself when I realized that I hadn’t been living mine the way I wanted. My one chance is way too valuable to waste it on a job that I hate. It’s terrifying because I DON’T have a “foolproof backup plan” or a safety net or a superawesomefantastic benefits plan. I am smart enough to know I could fail as easily as I could fly. But I deserve to give myself the chance.

    So here I am, weighing the most I ever have from eating delicious comfort food for 4 months (damn you, Graeter’s Ice Cream), living alone, and soon-to-be-jobless, and I have never felt happier, or more confident, or more beautiful, than at any other time in my life.

    So I hope that each and every person who comes to your blog truly takes your message to heart and finds the courage to put on their Red Dress, whether it is a real dress or one that their hearts wear, because just as you found, wearing a red dress makes you feel fucking beautiful!

    Columbus, OH
    .-= jannypie´s last blog ..Promo designs for a DJ friend =-.

  123. fantastic – what a beautiful lesson! I’m all about doing the non-sensible, the impractical & out of the realm of (most people’s) possibility – LOVE THIS and so glad you got your red on. Going outside to do a cartwheel right now – because I can & it’s fun!

  124. I’m overwhelmed by this post! It brought tears to my eyes.

    I. Want. My. Own. Red. Dress!

  125. I was raised Mormon and I’m not anymore. There was a poem that I loved/hated… And it was NOT wanting my life to be like this that made me leave the church (along with a LOT of other things)
    The red dress made me think of it!
    I think I’m gonna buy me a red dress.
    If you are curious, I put the poem below. If not, ignore it:) I think there is a LOT of truth to it, whether or not you are Mormon.

    It hung there in the closet
    While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
    Like a gash in the row
    Of dark, old clothes
    She had worn away her life in.
    They had called me home
    And I knew when I saw her
    She wasn’t going to last.
    When I saw the dress, I said
    “Why, Mother – – how beautiful!
    I’ve never seen it on you.”
    “I’ve never worn it,” she slowly said.
    “Sit down, Millie – – I’d like to undo
    A lesson or two before I go, if I can.”
    I sat by her bed
    And she sighed a bigger breath
    Then I thought she could hold.
    “Now that I’ll soon be gone,
    I see some things.
    Oh, I taught you good – – but I taught you wrong.”
    “What do you mean Mother?”
    “Well – – I always thought
    That a good woman never takes her turn,
    That she’s just for doing for somebody else.
    Do here, do there, always keep
    Everybody else’s wants tended and make sure
    Yours are at the bottom of the heap.”
    “Maybe someday you’ll get to them.
    But of course you never do.
    My life was like that – – doing for your dad,
    Doing for the boys, for your sisters, for you.”
    “You did – – everything a mother could.”
    “Oh, Millie, Millie, it was not good – –
    For you – – for him. Don’t you see?
    I did you the worst of wrongs.
    I asked for nothing – – for me!”
    “Your father in the other room,
    All stirred up and staring at the walls – –
    When the doctor told him, he took
    It bad – – came to my bed and all but shook
    The life right out of me. ‘You can’t die,
    Do you hear? What’ll become of me?’
    ‘ What’ll become of me?’
    It’ll be hard, all right when I go.
    He can’t even find the frying pan, you know.”
    “And you children – –
    I was a free ride for everybody, everywhere.
    I was the first one up and the last one down
    Seven days out of the week.
    I always took the toast that got burned,
    And the very smallest piece of pie.”
    “I look at how some of your brothers
    Treat their wives now
    And it makes me sick, ’cause it was me
    That taught it to them. And they learned,
    They learned that a woman doesn’t
    Even exist except to give.
    Why, every single penny that I could save
    Went for your clothes, or your books,
    Even when it wasn’t necessary.
    Can’t even remember once when I took
    Myself downtown to buy something beautiful – –
    For me.”
    “Except last year when I got that red dress.
    I found I had twenty dollars
    That wasn’t especially spoke for.
    I was on my way to pay extra on the washer.
    But somehow – – I came home with this big box.
    Your father really gave it to me then.
    ‘Where you going to wear a thing like that to – –
    Some opera or something?’
    And he was right, I guess.
    I’ve never, except in the store,
    Put on that dress.”
    “Oh Millie – – I always thought if you take
    Nothing for yourself in this world
    You’d have it all in the next – – somehow
    I don’t believe that anymore.
    I think the Lord wants us to have something – –
    Here – – and now.”
    “And I’m telling you , Millie, if some miracle
    Could get me off this bed, you could look
    For a different mother, ’cause I would be one.
    Oh, I passed up my turn so long
    I would hardly know how to take it.
    But I’d learn, Millie.
    I would learn!”
    It hung there in the closet
    While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
    Like a gash in the row
    Of dark, old clothes
    She had worn away her life in.
    Her last words to me were these:
    “Do me the honor, Millie,
    Of not following in my footsteps.
    Promise me that.”
    I promised.
    She caught her breath
    Then Mother took her turn
    In death.
    ~Carol Lynn Pearson~
    .-= Ariel´s last blog ..Text message to my husband, 20 May, 2010 15:10 =-.

  126. My red dress is big. I’m not sure what size it is, but it’s enormous. In fact, it’s as big as a house and you know what? I just bought a house. THAT is my red dress. My GODDAMNIT, I’M WORTH THIS HOUSE AND I’M GONNA FIND A WAY TO GET IT red dress is actually a house and I’m going to wear the hell out of that, too.

    The great part about that is that it fits everyone I know. You’re welcome to put it on when you come visit me. I’d love to have you in my red dress and holy shit, this just became a little creepy and Red Tent like, but you love me already so you know what I mean.
    .-= Mocha´s last blog ..Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch =-.

  127. I think this especially holds true for us moms, who put everyone else first and look upon doing something seemingly frivolous for US as being, well, selfish.

    Thank you. Thank you. This post was more inspirational than you can imagine. I think it’s time I take that red dress out of my own closet.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Blame Canada =-.

  128. What an awesome post and gorgeous pictures. You totally rocked that red dress! I am still in search mode of my “red dress”……who knew it was going to be so hard? When we were teenagers we seemed to know exactly what we wanted as grown-ups! Now, though, just plain difficult!
    Also, I will be at BlogHer and if I can past the awe of being in your presence I may just have to try on the that red dress! 😉
    .-= Cathy ´s last blog ..Why do I even Bother to be "Green"? =-.

  129. Oh my what a beautiful post! We all know how beautiful you are inside and outside and its wonderful to see you celebrate it for us so artistically… as an inspiration! My red dress was grabbing my life and deciding to live it the way I wanted and not the way others told me I should. I wrote an erotic romance and its sequel (unpublished so YOU are right.. I’ll self publish it, dammit!), I started blogging my stories, got myself to the gym and threw myself into the online dating world. Rediscovering my joy in this processes is the greatest gift any one person can give to themselves. THAT is what all our Red Dress’s truly mean…. it is YOUR life, grab it and enJOY it and Fuck what others say, think, do or judge. Its as freeing as you twirling in that gorgeous gown. Hell, think of all the “life” you’ll add to those bored people around you. “Guess what I saw today!”

  130. Not the slightest bit hormonal this week, and still brought tears to my eyes. Especially when I realized that this is exactly why I bought the sparkly sequined chinese laundry shoes a few months ago. And many other pairs of very impractical, but wonderfully beautiful pairs of heels. Recent divorce, kids growing more independant, and stress diet that led to loss of 50 pounds all factor into the new found love of life and doing things I’ve always wanted. Eating frog legs, riding a mechanical bull, flying to atlanta georgia to meet an old high school friend. Next up is roller skates, learning poker and now it looks like I’ll need a pretty dress! 🙂
    Thanks for this today, I needed this exact piece to read.

  131. Have you ever been so bogged down and just stunted in your life that even if you could choose anything in the world you’d just die to do, nothing comes to mind? Nothing at all? I don’t know what happened to all of my dreams and aspirations, but I guess my goal right now is to find them. Oh, and I’m going to BlogHer this year and I am SO trying on that fucking dress. Maybe it’ll inspire me…
    .-= Lynn @ Walking With Scissors´s last blog ..Happy Moth’s Day! =-.

  132. I’m *sobbing* like a child as I write this. You are so fucking amazing. <3!

  133. Thank You, a million times over. I always forget about me, Thank you for the wonderful reminder, and a chance to cry today for a happy reason!

  134. You’re so gorgeous!

    I’m in training for something called the Warrior Dash. I’d have to say that that’s my red dress. It’s ridiculous and impractical and “inappropriate for a woman my age” (and size- the promotional video shows a bunch of tiny little college students). And it could go horribly, horribly wrong, but I’ve signed up for it anyway. (The link below- six impossible things- has a short video of my training thus far. Prepare yourself for a good laugh. Watching it gives me belly chuckles every time.)

    Love you!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Six Impossible Things =-.

  135. I love going into the grocery store or gas station on the way to a formal event or a fab night out, just so I know for once I am the prettiest girl in the room , hands down 🙂

  136. Even though it’s only Tuesday, I am having an incredibly hard week. I usually find myself in doubt of my life decisions (this time going back to college) and my mind plays the old familiar tape of “I’m worthless. I’m going to fail.” This post was like a life preserver. Thank you! Thank you for reminding all of us that we are worthy of our dreams. And thank you for making my day a million times brighter with your beauty and contagious smile. I’m off to chase my red dress.
    .-= Ashley B´s last blog ..Black Dog Syndrome =-.

  137. You are truly an inspiration, and such a beautiful woman to boot. I have a confession: Although my loudest protests were against my dislike for convention and for the majority of my peers and for formal dances, one of the biggest reasons why I skipped prom both junior and senior year in high school is that..I was too much of a coward to find a dress. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to wear pretty dresses, but it doesn’t work out; I’m too fat, I’m too introverted, my arms are flabby, I’m not girly enough.

    Now more than ever, I am determined to find a dress that fits me, inside and out. Thank you.

  138. thank you for clearing up the “mystery of the meeting in a graveyard with camera and bail money.”

    and thank you for being you and for sharing you with us.

  139. You are fucking awesome. And so very, very right on the mark. You can tell Victor I said so.

  140. I want to marry you. Pish to that whole gender thing. Oh, and to the fact that we’re already both married to other people.

    I think I’m going to blow the dust off that book that’s been crashing around in my head that I “didn’t have time to write.” Bullshit. It’s my red dress.

    I love that you picked a cemetery as the location of the pictures. You are my hero.
    .-= Andrea (@shutterbitch)´s last blog ..I’m Not Even Going To Offer An Excuse for My Blog Absence This Time, Frakking April =-.

  141. Most of my life is that red dress.

    I spend all of my money, my time, and myself on everyone else. I have spent my birthday money on things for my kids, and not because we don’t have the money to get those things for them. Because it is so easy to see that I should splurge on them, to see things they would love and want to treat them to it, because hey, there’s only so long that he’ll enjoy that chunky wooden puzzle or she’ll like that stuffed sheep.

    I do have things I want, but I just can’t ever justify it. Thanks for turning on a light somewhere in my mental house. I may have to roam the halls for a while, but maybe eventually I’ll go in there.

  142. Jesus Jenny!
    The Re Dress made me cry! That’s not how I usually start my morning. I’ve been reading you for the past year and sometimes you make me pee my pants with laughter, and sometimes give me a great story. Now, you are making me think and feel. Sneaky! You are finding an amazing path and it’s been interesting to watch. You are a great talent and have great instincts. Thanks for giving life to the Red Dress – it is a project worthy of you!

  143. This is exactly why I’ve just hired a photographer. To take photos of me in my running gear as motivation for my next marathon. My mother would be shocked. But I…I am worth it.

    Now I need the red dress and my running shoes …together.


  144. So here I sat, contemplating my upcoming 30th birthday with much trepidation, mentally abusing myself for not being what I think I could have been and planning to buy a dress in the size I think I should be and try to punish myself into it for my birthday and I just realized – I should buy what I love, in the size I can breathe in – and make everyone smile and roll their eyes at my awesomeness… Because it would be great. And who the hell says we need more of a reason than that.

    If your dress wants a picture in wyoming, I know the perfect spot.

  145. Jenny,

    I have been a faithful reader, but have never commented.

    Simply put, you define awesomeness.

  146. You’re beautiful, it’s beautiful, this post is beautiful. Thank you.

    (I got my red dress (which isn’t a dress at all–it’s a formal, full-length, custom-made, steel-boned corset) last summer… thereby joining the ranks of audacious fat broads, everywhere. I have the footwear, but need to work on the rest of the ensemble.)

  147. p.s. I was so HAPPY to read this post, I forgot to tell you how beautiful you are. Wearing a princess dress brings out the radiant countenance in the wearer…I’m convinced of that.

    Sunny is an amazing artist; so is Karen. I want to know them both…mmmmmk?

    .-= Robin ~ PENSIEVE´s last blog ..The color of happy =-.

  148. Oh, Jenny. This made me cry and cry and cry. I am having a god awful month and things seems to be getting worse and even heavily medicated I have trouble finding a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I wish I had a red dress.

  149. You rock!

    Now seriously, I fully understand the red dress concept. Okay, I’m about to get really serious, you may want to refill your coffee, or get a twinkie or something.

    Six months ago my husband was critically injured in an accident. In a coma for 4 weeks, in the hospital for 10 weeks, and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. At age 48. The odds of him living beyond another couple of years aren’t good.

    Not looking for sympathy! Please!

    However, this whole thing gave me a new outlook on life and just how precious it is. Now is the only time you have. Pull out that list of things you would like to do and do them! I started a humor blog, am learning to cartoon, got a pair of those funny new workout shoes, and walk two miles a day (that’s just for starters). I realized that I have to define myself and my life and make the best of both. All while taking care of my husband and helping him adjust to his new reality.

    I’m bookmarking the red dress post and printing out the photo. Again, you rock!

  150. Okay, I want to try on the red dress at BlogHer, even though I do not have the jumblies (my sister’s word) to do it justice. As for my own personal red dress? I know the one I pine for, but the pattern isn’t even available any more. It’s my silk charmeuse “accepting an Oscar” dress–a vintage 1930s pattern. Since I do nothing that would ever be recognized by an Oscar, I’ve never sprung for the dress. But now, oh how I wish I could.
    .-= MommyTime´s last blog ..Six is the New Five =-.

  151. Jenny- just found your blog today. A lovely post. I love strong, empowered, bad ass women who encourage others to sing their song, find their dream and believe in impossible possibilities. Today I will paint my nails black because I’ve always wanted to (I’m kinda the opposite of goth) and I will be thankful that I found my song. I will find something red and put it on while I paint to celebrate and honor your spirit and talent.

    Hedges & Hares

  152. Remember being a teenager and you’d see that girl in the hallway who was so fucking cool and beautiful, and you thought…well, if I can’t BE her, can I at least be her friend? Yeah…that’s what reading your blog always makes me feel like.

    Of all your beautiful, crazy, inspirational ideas, I love this one the most and I’m not owoing to call my girls and plan a photo shoot to remind them that they are beautiful and fantastic and amazing and worth it!!

    You rock, Jenny!!!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Yeah, I’m That Liberal Freak… =-.

  153. At first seems wonderful and amazing but life should be like that everyday.

  154. Yesterday, the most-expensive-single-item-of-clothing-I-have-ever-bought was ruined when I unthinkingly threw a dish towel into the wash with a huge cupfull of bleach after my husband used it as duster in the basement. They were incredible pants, linen, from a store I shouldn’t have even BEEN in, it was so out of my price range. I finally talked myself into buying them… they fit great, they flattered the way they needed to flatter, and I needed the confidence they would inspire when I went to my grad school application interview. I didn’t get into grad school, but I didn’t blame the pants. I needed them again the next month, when a dear dear man I knew from high school committed suicide and his funeral was the day before my uncle’s, as my uncle had finally succumbed to cancer. I needed those pants, and I had them.
    Yesterday, I ruined them. I hated myself for wasting the money, for not taking care of the pants and having them for the however-many-years it would take to justify the price. Your words helped tremendously. Being able to stride into that interview, not worrying about the way I looked (because I knew I looked fabulous) when I hugged hundreds of people I hadn’t seen in years in front of the casket of my friend; that was worth the stupid amount of money I paid for them.
    And, now, since they’re that horrible pinkish-white, I get to buy a bunch of dye and see if I can make them a different kind of fabulous. I mean, hell, I can’t ruin ’em any MORE, right?
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Hotel Indigo =-.

  155. You’re gorgeous, and the dress is just outstanding.

    Thank you for this post, and the tears that came with it. Sometimes we need to realize that it’s true.. Sometimes you need to say screw it and go for it!

    Thank you Jenny.
    .-= Dora´s last blog ..I totally suck.. =-.

  156. I am so in love with this blog! I have been worried about the white dress I ordered for my vow renewal being too fancy or “bridal” for a renewal of vows. Ms Manners says you can’t wear a “wedding” dress for a renewal and it must be less formal and not white..After reading your blog I realized these are MY memories and MY pictures and I should concentrating on being happy and in love after 10 years and getting to say so all over again on a beach just like I have always dreamed of!! You are a wonderful writer and I can’t thank you enough!!! Jamaica is going to be perfect and screw Mr. Manners!

  157. I would love to host that beautiful dress next, although you are probably a size or three smaller than I. Seriously – a friend send me this link, and after a zillion hours of staring at the back of Anissa’s laptop, where this is a nifty The Bloggess sticker, I finally read this. I needed it. For I will wear my gown to pick up my kids from school – shamelessly!
    .-= Lori V.´s last blog ..Playtex Bra Makeover Contest =-.

  158. My twin sister and I just turned 50. We have both fought our way through the hell that is breast cancer. Our mother is now fighting that same fight. We NEED to wear that red dress and be photographed simply because we are still alive and we want everyone to know it.
    .-= Tami Wyatt´s last blog ..I’d like to make an announcement…. =-.

  159. I forget how I found your blog but I’ve been reading for months now and have developed a full on girl crush on you. And now this. I’m in lurve. I also need a red dress.

  160. You. Are. Freaking. Awesome. And is it wrong that this totally reminds me of that one episode of Firefly where Kaylee finds that adorable dress and Mal is all dream-crushing and she stops talking to him and then he has to go and get cows from that rich dude and he takes Kaylee to that ball and she gets to wear the pretty dress and they’re friends again? I love that episode. Also, this blog.
    .-= Daisy´s last blog ..Life Update, Sudden but Inevitable betrayals, and more rap! =-.

  161. You just made my year. Thanks for being such an amazing inspiration. You make me laugh, cry and giggle all in one post. You are the funniest person I know, and I don’t even really know you. Thank you for brightening my day and bringing it all into perspective!

  162. I’m really honestly and truly hoping that at least one other person thought of Kim Addonizio’s poem “What Do Women Want?” which is all about wanting a red dress and wearing it with no reservations. It’s one of my very favorites, and I love how the speaker gets an “I don’t give a shit if you think it’s slutty, this is what I want, and I will have it.” Anyway, here is the link, I hope you check it out.:

  163. Love this! The sisterhood of the traveling red dress. You so deserved that red dress and you rocked your beauty and joy in it. This reminds me so much that I need to take the plunge on a lot of things that I’ve been dreaming about lately but feeling like I somehow don’t deserve or am not worthy of having come through. Thanks for the inspiration, Ms. Bloggess!
    .-= Solo @ 30´s last blog ..Two Thumbs Up and A Couple of Nerds =-.

  164. You definitely are worth it! An you look beautiful! I wish that dress would travel to NYC for the weekend as I am going to a wedding and would love to feel as fabulous as you look.

    Cheers to you!

  165. You are so beautiful and amazing! This made me cry. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m always the one to hold myself back. Thank you! The dress is gorgeous and you’re right, you do deserve it!
    .-= Tizzy´s last blog ..Waist Deep In Thought =-.

  166. Katie is totally right. The Kim Addonizio poem is perfect for this:

    “What Do Women Want?”
    I want a red dress.
    I want it flimsy and cheap,
    I want it too tight, I want to wear it
    until someone tears it off me.
    I want it sleeveless and backless,
    this dress, so no one has to guess
    what’s underneath. I want to walk down
    the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
    with all those keys glittering in the window,
    past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
    donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
    slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
    hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
    I want to walk like I’m the only
    woman on earth and I can have my pick.
    I want that red dress bad.
    I want it to confirm
    your worst fears about me,
    to show you how little I care about you
    or anything except what
    I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
    from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
    to carry me into this world, through
    the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
    and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
    it’ll be the goddamned
    dress they bury me in.

  167. I was running late to work this morning but not quite ready to leave the house on account of my waking up on the “YOU’RE DOING LIFE WRONG” side of the bed. Despite having no time, I checked the bloggess in hopes of a morning laugh. Thank you Jenny. I needed this post a little extra today.
    .-= Liz´s last blog ..For Maddie Sue =-.

  168. You really are remarkable and wonderful and better than ice cream on steak. Seriously. I should comment and say that more often. I always read, but rarely comment because I figure you have so many people telling you that…well, that me saying it too won’t matter.

    But for today…let’s pretend this comment is wearing a red dress. 😉

  169. wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! you are so beautiful and that dress is spectacular on you! leave it to you to be the creative director of such a fanfuckingtastic project. can’t wait to see more from your travels with the red dress!!!!
    .-= pattypunker´s last blog ..10 important factoids about me =-.

  170. I wish I read this story 5 years ago!!!
    My husband and I did things a little backwards… getting pregnant, then moving in together, then having a baby and buying a house and THEN getting married (5 years ago this Sept)! We were pretty untraditional about the whole wedding and wedding planning as well. I took my huband-to-be dress shopping with me (mostly so he could hold our 3 mos old baby and change diapers!) and I found this GORGEOUS red dress at Macy’s. It was a floor length dress, kind of a jersey knit and the top part was cut like a Marilyn Monroe dress and it fit….it FIT as amazingly as I ever would pray for a dress to fit at 3 months post baby. I felt amazing in it!! But at the same time, I was scared about having a red dress as my “wedding dress”. I decided to put the dress away till the next day and retry it on. When my husband saw me tucking away the red dress he looked shocked, and thought it wasn’t appropriate and wondered out loud what his (catholic, traditional, italian) mother would think and say of me wearing red on my wedding day. Sleep deprivation and nerves and the thought of his mother dissaproving was enough to make me leave my dream dress behind. I regretted every minute of it. In the end, I found another dress from some crappy teen store in the mall, and it was white-ish and fit sortof and was on sale for 49.99 and I was tired of shopping and knew i’d never find another dream dress. And now every time I look back at wedding photos of me in my dress, i’m sad and regrettful and hate the way I look. Seriously, why the heck did I wimp out?? I tell everyone to go with their hearts as far as wedding dresses are concerned and maybe i’ll cross paths with my red dress again….and not let it get away!!!!!

  171. It amazes me that the people in this world who are truly and genuinely beautiful seem to be completely unable to recognize just how beautiful they are.

  172. Great advice. But be careful about breaking into random songs. True story: My best friend does this all the time and apparently she was in the bathroom at work singing about taking a poop … and then someone coughed a couple of stalls down and it was her boss. ? I’m takin’ a poop poop pooopy poop poop ?

  173. My god. You and Karen together are unstoppable. You are an old-school film legend, a fairy ballerina, and the royalty of a foreign nation in those shots. The dress is not in the least bit too vibrant for your personality, you compliment each other perfectly.

  174. Yes , yes! Everything you said. And not to be all, I do that already because it’s an excellent message which I do need reminding of but after suddenly losing my father several years ago I decided I would live my life trying to seize those moments , just because life is entirely too precious.

    P.S – I wish I was going to Blogher because red just happens to be my favorite color

  175. Jenny, you help keep the free spirit that dwells within me (and often surfaces) alive and well. Thank you.

  176. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU. I’ve had one of the worst days (years?) in recent memory, and this is exactly what I needed to read. And so if this dress is making it to NYC I would love to take it for a spin. Because it rocks and we all deserve to look so beautiful, if only for a little.

  177. Man, I just want to give you the biggest hug. You and that dress are gorgeous and the project is brilliant. You brought a tear to my eye today and have inspired me to think about exactly what my red dress is and go after it. Thank you!

  178. Oh Bloggess, this is fantastic. I happily join the Red DressMovement!

    My red dress: a MASSIVE OCTOPUS RING. It’s 3″x2″ has pink rhinestones for eyeballs and 8 glorious rhinestone-covered tentacles. I tried so hard to justify the purchase to my starving-but-financially-responsible-twentysomething-in-NYC budget until I shut myself up and said, “I have never seen a more beautiful piece of jewelry. It’s impractical, garish, and will never be more loved by anyone than by me.” So I bought it.

    Every time I wear the ring I get judgmental looks from people who wear beige. I don’t care. You’re right; it’s so worth it. When I put the ring on, it’s like wrapping myself up in rhinestone-clad self love. Every glint of a ridiculous rhinestone says, “Hey self, you’re great!” As someone who has waged war against myself more often than not, this ring is no less than a revolution. The octo-ring is pure self love, just like your red dress.

    Plus, the octo-ring would make one hell of a mark should I choose to punch someone in the face while wearing it. They would be totally octo-fucked up!

    Rock on, Bloggess. Rock on.

  179. Oh, Jenny. You are beautiful, inside and out. I’m telling you now that I want to wear it at BlogHer. I will probably loose my confidence to do it once we get to NYC, so please remind me that it’s worth it, and if that doesn’t work please hold me down and force me into it. I know I can count on you.
    .-= Ally B´s last blog ..Sq-worm =-.

  180. I would say that this needs to be recreated in Greece, or somewhere else wear a fat ass blossom in your hair seems like it would fly no matter what. I’d also insist on going, but I cannot fly. Immediate, urgent physical need for Immodium and emotional need for delivery from soberness are required to even begin to manage the wait on the tarmac. I will be in NYC because I can train there. Maybe I can borrow the veil, that was hot.

  181. Hmmm… I have my son’s first birthday in the beginning of July and not a damn thing to wear.

    It’s ironic b/c I guess my son is my “red dress”. I always told myself that I wasn’t good enough or responsible enough to be someones mother and then when infertility hit, I told myself that I wasn’t meant to be someones mother b/c my body failed me. But I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t wear your red dress with pride knowing that I am the best damn mother my son could ask for.

    Thanks Jenny for making me realize that I have my red dress…..

  182. OMG – you are a goddess in that dress!! You look wonderful and you definately deserve it. You are right in so many ways when you say we all deserve our red dress – there are to many moments that women give up so that those around us can have what they want and deserve and we stand in the shadows to let them have their moment when what we really need it to find our own spotlight.

  183. Wow, dude. I started reading this post and I was feeling all happy for ya, cuz you got your sweet dress. Had that warm, fuzzy feeling and then BAM! You’re all, “… you’re worth it, too.” And my guts wrenched a little and tears stabbed at my eyes. I have 4 kids and a husband and you know, a life. It’s awesome, but hectic and busy and a little crazy (the youngest of the kids are 2 and 1). But I get so wrapped up in doing stuff for everyone else that I *forget* about me. Thanks for reminding me.

  184. Your red dress made me apply for a job that is impossible logistically speaking, but highly desirable. I wasn’t going to, but then your dress got very angry and threatened to smack me…it was self-defense, really. {P.S. Yo’ so pretty!}

  185. You look AMAZING!!! What joy…and the bare feet make the outfit.

  186. Yay for red dresses! About five years ago, I bought a pair of red leather, knee-high, high-heeled boots. There was absolutely no need for them, but I wanted them, dammit! And I wore the hell out of them. They’re pretty much dead now, but I can’t give them up just yet. I haven’t found a replacement for them. So I’m holding on to them until something new that I absolutely do not need but is red and fun finds its way into my life.

    Thank you for the inspirational blog… and thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures. I hope you have many, many happy days with your gorgeous red dress!

  187. This. is. so. good. Wish you were in LA – I want to wear that dress too!!!! excellent post.

  188. thank you. i am going to bookmark this for when i’m sad. you are freakin’ amazing. and gorgeous. all of the pictures are absolutely fantastic.

    oh, re comment #36 – you should also perform michelle’s ceremony. that would be kick ass.
    .-= holly´s last blog way better ending to lost. =-.

  189. LOVE this. Absolutely knock-OUT! Love the sentiment, adore the pictures and the dress is, simply, sublime. It’s giddy, heady delicious stuff and I really, really thank you for posting it. Brilliant, Jenny!

  190. Thank you, Lovely Lady in that glorious, outrageous red dress!

    I know this joy, too. Mine is a burgundy drum kit. And I beat the hell out of it all the time. Unadulterated, unimaginable joy.

  191. First of all I’d like to start by saying that you are amazing. You inspire and touch people on a daily basis. Whether its a story like the one above that makes one tear up as they read or its an entry about GPS systems that makes you laugh your arse off you make the day better.
    As for the red dress. My “red dress” was culinary school. I have made a 101 excuses as to why its not a good idea and yet it was all I ever thought about. I realized that I was encouraging others to take risks and was about to enroll in dental hygiene school. Where was my risk? So I’m taking the leap and meeting with the instructors next week.
    Thank you for all that you do and please never stop writing.

  192. “Young skinny unwrinkled women have not really earned the right to wear such dresses.” – happyhourmary

    I knew this post was too good to be true and that, if I read long enough, something would make me go back to feeling not quite so worth it.

    Jenny? Thank you for being such an inspiration. You truly are a vision both in and out of fabulous red dresses. If I lived in the states, and if the dress would fit me. I’d totally have loved to be apart of this project. Seeing as I don’t and it won’t, I think I’ll just enjoy the sight from the sidelines. At the very least, it’s a lovely view.
    .-= S.J. Collins´s last blog ..Ninjas and Pirates and Zombies, Oh My! – Interviewing Molly Burkhart =-.

  193. Damn! That dress fits you perfectly. It was meant for you.

    I think you should wear it to the grocery store (and get pics) before sending it around.

  194. You know what? This is brilliant. I went dress-shopping with my sister yesterday and I tried on a few REALLY pretty ones. I should have got one of them just because.

    Maybe I’ll go romp around in the wedding dress I keep swearing I’m going to sell.
    .-= Margaret´s last blog ..Your Mother Got Engaged on a Pirate Ship! =-.

  195. You make the world a better place…like cream soda and vanilla ice cream.

  196. I love this idea! As a belly dancer/yogini/photographer/artist who also has a day job, I’m very much a fan of finding & wearing your own red dress. Every Halloween, I go grocery shopping in my costume.

    If you come to the Toledo, Ohio area, I’d love to try on the dress & be photographed in it and photograph people in the dress. 🙂

    Beautiful idea!

    -Jen Bak

  197. Jenny, in fiction land where I’m a successful blogger, and have enough money to fly to the states and get to Blogher in August, I would don my totally awful gothic prom dress (which looks really kind of hideous, but it’s all I have) and I would high-five you like someone who accidentally fell out of an episode of ‘Saved by the Bell’.

    Hey, maybe I’ll wear my awful gothic prom dress to work tomorrow!

    No, maybe not, that will get me fired.
    .-= Jo and the Novelist´s last blog ..Oh my GOD! No, wait, wait, please listen, listen – don’t play the music yet… =-.

  198. Yay! I know it sounds horrible and shrew-ish, but right after I got divorced at 25 (a year ago) , I realized that life was meant to be lived. It was supposed to be fun. And it was supposed to be full of random awesomeness. I bought expensive shoes with no purpose (that I have worn WAY more than I thought I would). I made a bucket list even though I have no known disease and plan to live another 70 to 80 years. I’ve already checked almost 8 things off. I’ve gotten on stage at a concert and shaken my booty. Danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly. I’m taking boudoir (can’t spell that) shots in a week, just for me. It’s the silly little things like those shoes (or a beautiful red dress) that make you feel the most like you, and the true-est you is the only you you’ll ever be able to love. 🙂

  199. I want to take singing lessons. That is my secret dream that I don’t talk about with anyone. But now it’s on the internet so i guess it’s not a secret any more. It will never happen though. I’m a single mother in my forties, putting kids through college, etc and I feel like it’s too late. Although Susan Boyle is older than me and she achieved her dream. I also have a fear that I will open my mouth and the vocal coach will run for the hills.

  200. As my friends and I agree – the best part of being a “woman of a certain age?” We no longer care what others think of us – so we’re free to act silly, to do (and buy) what makes us smile. I dance down the street when listening to my iPOD on power walks…indulge my sense of whimsy…and after reading this post – I think the time has come. Yes Yes! – I’m going to go buy those red cowboy boots!

    I’ve long done my best to live by Oscar Wilde’s line – “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

    You go girl.

    (I LOVE your blog and also Sexis. A male friend pointed me your way. I was laughing so much over one post ]I started snorting. Good thing I don’t care what people think of me, since I was in a public place. You’re a hell of a writer. 😉
    .-= Mary Schmidt´s last blog ..Wow, “Link” Makes All the Difference =-.

  201. I love this. Love it love it love it. I loved the whole set. You look amazing. And I love what your photographer friend said about you on her blog, that you exude beauty. I definitely need to go find my own red dress.

    And I hope Howard Hughes got a look at you!
    .-= Busted Kate´s last blog ..Happy ICLW! =-.

  202. Jenny – I’m a faithful reader, but never comment – mainly because I never have anything worthy to add – but I’m coming out of the closet, so to speak, to tell you that this post has touched me on so many levels. With tears in my eyes, I smiled to see the pure joy on your face.

    I will definitely be looking for my red dress. And when I find it and “wear” it – I will think of you with gratitude & love.

    PS – next time I come home to Houston – I am SOOOOO finding you! Just to give you a hug.
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..Apparently there is some little jezabelle running around trying to steal my son’s heart. =-.

  203. Jenny, you look beautiful. Look how happy you are. You are worth it.

    I’m always jealous of awards shows and photo shoots because those few lucky people get to be made into the best version of themselves. And the rest of us have our weddings in our white dresses and that’s it. I’m not counting bridesmaid dresses because most times it’s the OPPOSITE of glamour.

    I’m gong to Blogher. I can’t wait to meet you, whether or not I get to wear the dress.

  204. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! This is exactly what I needed to read today.

  205. And this is exactly why I follow your blog. Amazing. Oh I wish the dress would find it’s way to Ottawa, Canada!

  206. Very cool. I don’t quite know what my red dress is…though I did ponder flying lessons the other day. Maybe scuba lessons.

    You look gorgeous in the dress and I love the one from the whole set where you are laying down with the veil like thing over your face like woman at the beginning of Mystery! on PBS. Was that what you were going for because if so, that makes you even more awesome. I always used to pretend I was that woman as a kid. Yes, I was a bit strange and morbid as I child. 🙂 Still am.

  207. I love it! That’s the same reason I just splurged on a $200 Betsey Johnson bikini. I worked hard for this body and I look fierce in that bikini. And no I would never wear it to the river or the beach, but … who cares? I wanted it!!

  208. i am SOOOO gonna buy a red dress tonight! Except I want a red silk kimono, and if anyone asks me why I’m wearing a kimono I’ll say “BECAUSE IT’S PRETTY!!” and then I’ll dance a jig.
    .-= RedDressMama´s last blog ..The last few hours =-.

  209. I loved this post, Jenny. I will come back to read this and all its comments in a few weeks’ time when I’m not meant to be studying for my life.
    But after all that unnecessary stress, I have a month’s break which I plan on filling with magic. From going my friends’ musical gigs, to watching movies under a blanket fort (we’re in our twenties), to getting an interesting haircut, catching up with everybody I know, losing weight to go skydiving later, and making out a lot.
    For now, I will stick to wearing my new Ugly Shoes. They’re not ugly (they’re rather cool actually), but their unique colour combination of white, black, neon yellow, sky blue and barbie pink means they will never match anything I wear with them ever. Since they’re joggers (trainers/runners/walking shoes) I’ll wear them with my dresses.

    I love your dress.

  210. How many words to express how I love this post?
    And I’m wondering if my red dress can be- not getting all embarrassed about being my ridiculous self? Just that. And maybe a white dress with emerald accents, my husband, and Niagara Falls for the wedding I REALLY wanted.

  211. You’re going to accuse me of denial, but I honestly can’t say I want to wear the red dress.

    I’m glad YOU liked it, though!

  212. Usually I read all of the comments and then get so enamored with your many witty followers replies that I wuss (sp?) out on leaving a comment. This time I scrolled all the way down (348 posts, i think?!) to tell you how fucking incredible I think you are.
    I love that dress.
    I love to see you smiling in that dress.
    I love the analogy for a happy life you created in a succinctly apropos 4 words – FIND YOUR RED DRESS.

    You rock, honey – because of (and in spite of!) the stabby, cat-wearing, fucking-Shatner, zombie, Canadia-money-hatin’, japanese-field-tripping antics that are your life.

    When I first found your post, I went as far back in the archives as I could to immerse myself in your words, thoughts and vocabulary. Thanks for the many laughs that have made this past year a lot funnier than it would have been with you not in it 🙂

    live the life you love, love the life you live…