A Dress and a Drama - www.ForeverAmber.co.uk

A Dress and a Drama

Lindybop 'Marlo' dress in green

green 50s-inspired Lindybop dress

Gren Lindybop Marlo dress

This post WAS going to be about my new Lindybop ‘Marla’ dress, which I tracked down on Amazon over Christmas (The green version is hard to find, but the black is available here), and how its arrival last week resulted in me ending up with a Lindybop wish list as long as both my arms. (Suffice it to say that this was my first purchase from this particular brand, but it definitely wont be the last. By which I mean, “I’ve already bought another one, and you’ll be seeing it soon.” Ahem.)

That was before The Drama, though. Because yes, leave it to me to turn the simple act of wearing a dress into the kind of performance that’s normally accompanied by a Greek chorus, and a couple of drumrolls, at the very least. < insert heavy sigh here >

The dress was actually only a bit player in this drama, though. The real star of the show was the small green brooch, which you can just see clinging onto my collar in the last of the three photos above. Let the fact that this brooch doesn’t appear in any of the other photos in this post provide all the foreshadowing necessary for you to go and pour yourself a stiff drink before reading the rest. I certainly had one while I was writing it, after all…

The brooch wasn’t a valuable one: it was just a piece of costume jewellery, probably worth very little. It had, however, belonged to my grandmother, so it had enough sentimental value for me to be pretty upset when I realised it was missing.

I didn’t notice it was gone until I looked back at the photos. We’d come home, and I’d taken off the dress and gotten changed into my dog-walking uniform. (I realise this might spoil whatever illusions you might have about me, but not even I wear Louboutins and a petticoat to tramp across muddy fields with the dog…) Then Terry volunteered to walk the dog instead, so I switched on the kettle, and started flicking through the photos on the camera.

“Hmm,” I thought, looking at the first few photos, in which the brooch could be seen, kind of dangling from the collar of my dress. “That brooch looks a bit weird in these: almost like it’s about to fall off!”

black and white photo

Almost instantly, my heart fell. I’d just taken off the dress… but I hadn’t taken off the brooch: or not that I could remember, anyway. Willing myself to remain calm, I scrolled forward through the camera roll, zooming in on my collar in each picture. Sure enough, after those first few shots, the brooch was nowhere to be seen.

I checked the dress anyway, just to be sure. Then I checked my jewellery box. I knew I wouldn’t find it, though – if it wasn’t in the photos, that meant it hadn’t come home with me. Unless…

I went back to the camera and flicked through the photos again. We’d actually taken them at two different locations, very close to one another. The ones we’d shot at the first location hadn’t worked out, so we’d jumped back into the car and driven around the corner to take some more. When I looked back at them, I could see that the brooch was in all of the photos from the first location, but not in any of the ones from the second. This was good news, because it meant the brooch was probably in the car, having been knocked off my dress while I was fastening my seatbelt or something.

I put on my shoes and ran out to the car, which I searched so thoroughly the neighbours probably thought I was looking for drugs.

The brooch wasn’t there.

I went back into the house, trying not to cry. If it had been one of my own brooches, it wouldn’t really have mattered (Or maybe it would have, actually. I mean, you all know how annoyed I get when I lose something, don’t you?) But the fact that this particular brooch had belonged to my gran, and had been entrusted to me by my mum, meant it had a ton of sentimental value, and I just couldn’t stand the thought that it had been passed down through two generations of my family, only for the representative of the third generation to lose it while taking photos for her stupid fashion blog.

When my mum gave me the brooch, she told me – as she tells me any time she gives me anything, actually – not to be upset if I ever lost or broke it. (It’s like she KNEW, isn’t it? I WONDER WHY SHE THOUGHT I MIGHT NEED THIS ADVICE?) “They’re just things,” she said, in the manner of the wise woman in a movie, “they’re not people. And you always have your memories, which no one can ever take away from you.” Then she started telling me something about how “J-Law” had broken up with Chris Martin, and I stopped paying attention. But I think I know what she was trying to tell me.

What my mum was trying to tell me, of course, was that objects don’t really matter, and that it’s silly to attach so much sentimental value to them. I don’t need a brooch in order to remember my gran: she’s always there, in my head. (My mum was ALSO telling me that she never though Jennifer and Chris would last, but that has nothing to do with this particular story…)  She was talking to the girl who once refused to throw out a used tube of toothpaste, though (I was, like, five at the time, in my defence. I still understand the logic, though…), and she was also talking to the girl who has an entire category on her blog called ‘Things I Lost‘.  I’m pretty much a lost cause with this stuff. I have the ability to attach sentimental value to just about anything, so you can probably imagine how upset I was when I realised I’d lost something that had ACTUAL sentimental value, can’t you?

(I’m really hoping you answered ‘yes’ to that, by the way, or you’re going to find this post pretty stupid, and want to remind me that there are children dying in Africa while I’m crying over a piece of costume jewellery, boo hoo!)

retro-inspired photoshoot

Well, obviously I had to return to the scene of the crime to search for it, and obviously Terry had to come too, to help. (Also Rubin, but he wasn’t much help, if I’m honest.) We had to leave RIGHTTHATVERYSECOND, because the sun was about to go down (and also because I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t search for the brooch immediately), and then we had to sit for 40 minutes in traffic, while the light leaked out of the sky, and I imagined my poor little brooch, lying twinkling in the dying light, in some muddy puddle somewhere. It was a tense time, to be sure.

Finally, we were on our way. The location we’d taken the photos in was a quiet spot, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, as we reached the turn-off for it, we saw a busload of people pulling away from the very spot I suspected I’d dropped the brooch, followed by a large van.

“Someone will have taken it!” I said, bravely suppressing the urge to jump out of the car and attempt to search the bus. “Or driven over it! Or…”

“Shut up, Amber,” said Terry, not unkindly. “We’ll find it.”

It didn’t seem likely, though. We went to the second location first: I remembered getting out of the car and running for a few paces to get to the designed photo spot (Yes, in THOSE heels.), and I suspected that might have been what dislodged the brooch. I was hoping we’d pull into the parking area, and instantly see it, glittering on the ground. Instead, we saw three SUVs full of people, who all watched in fascination as Terry and I got out and started to scour the ground, me using my phone as a torch. (It actually wasn’t totally dark at that point: it just made me feel more like I was in Scooby Doo or something…)

We didn’t find it.

“It’s GONE!” I wailed, as we got back into the car. “Someone has definitely taken it! I will never, ever see it again! HOW WILL I TELL MY MUM?!”

Terry ignored me, and drove the short distance to the first place we’d taken photos that day. He stopped the car, we both got out… and within seconds, Terry was calling me over, and pointing at the ground where we’d parked. “I’ve found it!” he shouted.

And he had.

It was right where I’d been standing before I got back into the car, and unfortunately, someone (possibly even us) had driven over it, bending the casing, and making most of the stones pop out. It was bashed and broken… but it was there, and that was the main thing.

We scoured the ground around it, and managed to find all the stones. It was handed over to my dad the next day, and that evening he sent me this photo:

green brooch

There are a couple of stones missing, but those were always missing, as far as I can remember, so while it’s still a little buckled, it is at least in one piece again, which I think is a pretty good result considering it was run over at least once.

There’s always been a part of me that tells me not to wear the things I love most, just in case I lose them. (And knowing me, I probably WILL.) There’s a larger part, however, which argues that beautiful possessions are completely worthless unless you use them, and love them and enjoy them. So that’s what I do. I don’t think it would make my gran happy to think I just kept her brooch in my jewellery box, and never let it see the light of day, after all.  “Never worry about THINGS,” my mum told me again when I saw her on Saturday. “Things don’t really matter”

Then again, my mum IS the one who tried to throw out The Goodie Bowl, so maybe I should take that with a pinch of salt…

green dress at sunset

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WEARING: Lindybop Marla dress , Christian Loyboutin shoes, eBay petticoat

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  • Georgia


    Your blog is SERIOUSLY my favourite.

    January 12, 2015
  • Holly


    This is such a touching story (and just the sort of thing I have done many, many times…). I am so pleased it had a happy ending. You could probably replace the last couple of stones with some Swarovskis if you so wished, too.

    January 12, 2015
  • Rachel


    I lost a crystal bracelet my great gran gave me, the clasp was loose but it was such an itchy bracelet I was sure I’d noticed the instant it dropped off…but I didn’t and I have never found it and I only left my house to go to work then straight home from work so theoretically it should have been easy to find. Like you said, it’s only a “thing” and I have memories and photos of me with my great gran and to be honest I’m not sure she even liked it but it’s still awful, she gave it me.

    January 12, 2015
  • I have a possibly unnatural obsession with Lindy Bop too as of late, but have managed to restrain myself and only bought one dress so far from them, not that many others haven’t made their way to my basket, and others were unfortunately (fortunately?!) not available in my size in a vintage shop I found them in recently! This one looks gorgeous on you – love the green, as always!
    Ah no, that sounds so stressful about the brooch! I’m the same if I lose something (especially something like that) – I lost a very important ring once and spent hours and hours (days that extended into weeks) searching every possible place it could have been, and also places it couldn’t really have been. It even got to the point where I was typing “how to find a lost ring” into Google and considering whether a psychic might be able to help me! In the end, I had to give up…only for it to turn up more than a year later in a pocket in a pair of Ben’s shorts – what?! After all his moaning at me for losing it, it was a pretty good outcome considering he could then take most of the blame ;D

    January 12, 2015
  • Well, the dress is lovely. I received my first (and second) Lindy Bop dress for Christmas and they’re lovely. Not that I’ve worn them yet.
    I have to admit, I used to feel like this – never wear the things you love the most in case you ruin them. I have a tendency to wear out shoes, or spill food down clothes. But then one day I told myself that it was stupid that I have a huge collection of shoes I love, yet used to just wear my hated trainers every day for college instead, or whatever. No point having things you like if you don’t get some enjoyment from them, right?
    Unlike the Elvis Barbie doll which I was given when I was a kid and told I was never allowed to take out of the box. Waah.

    January 12, 2015
  • I would feel exactly the same way at every point in this story! I am a horrendous hoarder and, like you, have at points in my life found it difficult to throw out empty packaging. My worst offence is probably tickets for things I’ve seen so long ago I can’t even remember the visit, but, you know, doesn’t matter cos I still got the ticket. At one point, cinema tickets were included in this but even I had to realise that was ridiculous. I’m so, so glad you found it! And I also hope you don’t stop wearing it as it’s so cute. And works so perfectly with this dress. And I also love Lindy Bop – if only because they’re the first ‘swing dress’ reproducer that did petite sizes. And therefore the first one that made a dress that fit me with no alterations. And such good prices. I heart them!

    January 12, 2015
  • TinaD


    The dress is a lovely (if perhaps familiar?) color–I seriously did not know there were this many green dresses in the world til I started reading you. (Pleased that there are.) I long held the notion that things were just things, unlike my mother, who has a section of her closet designated for “clothes too good to wear” and a section of her jewelry box designated “things to be buried in.” Seriously, she’s going to turn up before St. Peter Wrapped like a burrito and festooned like a Christmas tree. I used to mock her archival attitude toward family things as overly sentimental and a vestige of a refugee mentality; now that my extended family is passing over at an alarming rate, I have done a 180 and would willingly enshrine small European countries to their memory. Don’t apologize for sentimentality, even if it means hunting lost things in the dark; we throw too much away.

    January 12, 2015
  • “There’s a larger part, however, which argues that beautiful possessions are completely worthless unless you use them, and love them and enjoy them. ”

    Right? What is the point in having something nice if you are terrified to use it. At the very least, if you do lose or ruin it, you have amazing memories behind the items. A smile is worth the world. I am glad you found it though. When I lost my favorite owl ring as a kid, I never did find it. I miss it and have fond memories of said ring.

    January 12, 2015
  • Fran


    So glad you found it again! Things are just things, but they are also the biggest triggers of memories. Don’t worry. 🙂

    January 12, 2015
  • Love LindyBop, too, i think i’m obsessed!

    January 12, 2015
  • This story is exactly why I read your blog. You have such a way with writing a story that a lost brooch becomes so interesting!

    January 12, 2015
  • I’m so glad there are other people out there who behave like me. I once managed to lose an earring – a recent but inexpensive gift from my mother – while walking to a friend’s house. I went back the next day along at least two miles of road searching for it. Eventually I realised what I had at the time thought was a stone or something that had been knocked from a window ledge and had bounced off my shoulder had in fact been the earring… and that narrowed it down to one corner which I searched and searched (even crossing the road back and forth should it have bounced away). Eventually I did find it and was very happy yet my partner still laughs about “that time you spent hours wandering the streets looking for a lost earring.”

    That moment of triumph when you find the lost item and realise it was all worth it though, what a relief!

    January 12, 2015
  • Yep, I needed this today. It was day 1 of mum house clearing. At one point I cried over blank paper (there was a story to that unopened ream of paper, and my mum kept hold of it for the best part of 25 years and it therefore held intrinsic value. None of which stopped my other half from smiling kindly as he threw it in the skip…)

    Things don’t have value. They are memory prompts at best and that is all. However, I will be framing the folded, yellowed piece of paper from 1973, because it has the name of my mum, and the solo clarinet piece she played, of the song I had played at her funeral. That someone has written a sum in the top left corner thinking it scrap paper once, doesn’t change this at all.

    January 12, 2015
  • I’ve had things like this happen a number of times over, and it leaves the worst sinking feeling in your tummy. Things aren’t just things if they have sentimental value, even if we try to tell ourselves that.
    I thought I had lost an art deco czech glass earring last birthday – I was walking down the street from the restaurant and suddenly went, ‘OH my earring is gone!’ I retraced my steps, checked the bathroom I’d visited, then marched back into the restaurant and proceeded to search under the table I’d been dining at. I don’t think the people now sitting there much appreciated it. It was a busy weekend day, and I figured it was gone. Just as I was about to give up hope – I spotted it down the drain on the street. I was so lucky, much like you were 🙂

    January 13, 2015
  • Oh I’m glad this had a happy ending! I hate losing things, so I feel your pain. I am currently turning the house upside down looking for my spare camera battery and camera battery charger, which seem to have just disappeared in a puff of smoke.

    That’s such a pretty green brooch that will go with so many of your outfits, so it would have been a pain to lose it. Gorgeous colour green on that dress, I had seen the black but didn’t know they’d made a green version. I had a few Lindybop items for Christmas but some didn’t work out so I’ve been exchanging and refunded and hopefully will be able to show off a few of the items soon in a blog post.

    Have a good week! x

    January 13, 2015
  • Selina


    Thank goodness I’m not the only one who personifies things. I’m almost afraid even having anything if I think this might happen. I can’t stand thethought of objects being lost and lonely

    January 13, 2015
  • I’m glad you found it and managed to mend the brooch! While your mum is right of course, it’s hard not to be upset when something handed down to you is lost. I lost a necklace of my grandma’s that I loved and was quite upset (I got over it though obv!). Unfortunately I had no idea where I’d dropped it along a long stretch of road, cue much searching and tears of frustration!

    January 14, 2015
  • I’ve just remembered my mum lending me a toe ring (it was 2000, alright?) to go to my leaving school ball and for some reason she was quite concerned I’d lose it. Of course, after some shenanigans in a field I did promptly lose it!
    I was so worried about her reaction I went back the next day and scoured the entire field, miraculously I found it! Cool story, I know.

    January 14, 2015
  • Great read, what a gorgeous brooch! You cant really notice the missing stones and you are so right, beautiful possessions should be used and shown off 🙂

    January 29, 2015
  • I don’t believe in ‘saving things for best’. I had several ‘for best’ dresses as a child, and promptly grew out of them and never got to wear them at all.
    I inherited all my Gran’s jewellery, and while it is all hugely precious to me, I wear it all the time. She left them to me. In her will, as a separate entry, there I am. A little money, and the jewellery. Nothing else is mentioned like that, just everything split between my dad and uncle. It was important enough to her that I had it; I owe it to her to wear it and enjoy it.
    It seems we had similar taste and her jewellery blends perfectly into my wardrobe, and I am always complimented on the pieces that were hers. It’s like having a little piece of her with me at all times.

    January 30, 2015
  • I’m so glad you found the brooch again! I recently lost a ring that my Grandma gave me. It was gorgeous and so unique and I’m still upset about it. My Grandma is still alive and wasn’t mad at me – she says it’s just a thing after all. But I’m still annoyed with myself.

    February 6, 2015
  • Marie Lund


    What did you think about the sizing of the dress? I want to order for my daughter, but don’t know what size to get. Does it run small? What size did you get?

    September 20, 2015