The blue nautical dress from Talbot's was my mother's favorite for almost two decades. She wore it so often that my young cousin Patty asked her mother if the dress was auntie's uniform, as if she were a private school student or an officer. The dress does have a military vibe with the flags.
When my cousin and aunt would see my mom, they'd exclaim "Auntie is wearing her uniform today!"
The uniform became a family joke. We all found it comical that she was so reliant on this one article of clothing when she had more clothes the average Talbot's store. But at least it was one thing never changed about her.
She loved the dress because of the comfy elastic waist in case she went to Grand China Buffet, and the wrinkle-free polyester which made it easy to pack. She believed the dress was so universal that she bought ones for my aunts and grandmother. But they didn't take to it like she did so she kept them all. I read Karl Lagerfeld also buys four (I think it's four or more!) of every item of clothing but it's because he keeps identical closets in every city where he has a home.
When clearing out the garage with Geneva, I was reluctant to let go of the uniforms. They were my mother incarnate. Geneva suggested I use the fabric to upholster a chair. Then mom will always be with me in a permanent but more silent way.
Seeing the uniforms billowing off the garage door comforts and unnerves. It reminds me that my worst nightmare is an army of mothers in the dress, telling me to put on a sweater and to call more often.