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The Dress

By Misty Corrales

Here’s a fun story. I know a lot of memes like to poke fun of BX clothes.

My dad was stationed at Hickam AFB, HI the year I turned 10. So the BX at Hickam will always be the BX I consider MY BX….the one that all others would be mentally compared to and found to be wanting.

When I was in Hawaii (aged 9 to 12), I was small for my age. Clothes that were sized for my age? Yeah, not an option. I was extremely tiny (to the point where in 8th grade, some knucklehead would not believe me when I said I was in 8th grade…. he was convinced I should be in 4th, and finally to shut him up, I just told him I was extremely smart rather than trying to prove how old I was.) So…. if I looked like I was in 4th grade when I was in 8th grade, you can probably guess that in 4th grade, I barely looked like a 1st grader. And MY clothing selection at the BX kind of reflected that too.

But when I got my ID and could go by myself? I always went to the Jr. Miss Section. I had no business in that section. Nothing was going to fit me, but I still went there — every single time.

And there was this dress. I imagine it was supposed to come down to the knees, but when I tried it on (because oh yes I did), it came down to the floor. This dress, and mind you this was in the late 1970s…and at the BX, cost $40.

I don’t know how many times I tried it on. I showed it to my mother once (while on the hanger). She was unimpressed with it.

But I loved it.

It was navy blue. It had translucent navy blue cap sleeves, and those buttons like you see on bridal gowns (only in navy blue) going down the back. I must have tried this dress on 10 times. It was, to my mind at the time, the epitome of elegance. But I never bought it. After all…. what use would a 10 year old have with a $40 dress which didn’t fit?