I remember the movie Whoopi Goldberg starred in called, The Color Purple. It was a poignant movie with a title that’s been etched in my mind ever since its release in 1985. In the film, Purple symbolizes authority, dignity and elegance. At the start of the movie, Celie doesn’t wear purple attire, which suggests that she has no freedom or self-identity. The film tells the story of a African American girl, Celie Harris and illustrates the sorrowful issues African-American women faced at the start of the 20th Century. Those challenges included incest, domestic violence, poverty, pedophilia, racism and sexism. In this story, Celie finds her self-worth with the help of two courageous and bold female women. Thankfully we have come a long way from there and I am hopeful for what lies ahead for women like Celie and the future for all women.
This past week we saw our new 1st Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, wearing striking shades of the color purple on the night before the inauguration at the memorial service by the Lincoln Memorial. The remarkable passionate purple outfit included lavender leather gloves, pale lilac shoes, and was designed by La Jolla born, Jonathan Cohen.
We then witnessed Kamala Harris on Inauguration Day being sworn into office as our country’s first female Vice President wearing a bold and beautiful amethyst dress,with matching winter coat, designed by two young American designers Sergio Hudson from South Carolina and Christopher John Rogers from Baton Rouge. I must say, whether you like her or not. Whether you agree with her politics, or not, this woman has opened the doors for women. For that I admire and respect her. Many women have had to sacrifice, fight, use their assets, and sometime’s sell themselves short, just to get to where they want to go. Ms. Harris has a reputation that many judge her for unfairly — If she were a man would they criticise her for her connections? Perhaps not, yet – I don’t know one man or woman who has not sold themselves short in one way or another at some time in their lives when to try to achieve their dreams. In a patriarchal society this has been de riguer. Maybe now we change will truly come.
Purple is a majestic color. It is the color of the crown chakra (seventh chakra): The universal, connection with spirituality and consciousness. It is the color of my alma mater, the University of Santa Monica School of Spiritual Psychology as well. It’s for these reasons that amethyst was one of the first colors I produced of The Dream Dress!
I will share with you a little story. It was a few years ago, the day before my birthday and the man I had been dating for several years called to break our date for the next night. Of course he had a valid reason and I was expected to be understanding when he told me to cancel the dinner reservation at a popular restaurant in Venice Ca. A reservation that had been made over one month prior. I agreed to cancel it because he said he would “make it up to me.” This came on the heels of a list of disappointments that had occurred and our relationship was not growing into what I really wanted. A life partner, a husband, someone I could count on.
I went to sleep that night and began to think about the many times he had told me he would “make it up to me.” It took that to make me finally realize I had been selling myself short. I woke up the next morning on my actual birthday and thought, No way am I going to cancel my birthday reservation! It’s my birthday and I mean to celebrate! Then I thought hmmmm, who would be available at such short notice?
It just so happened that I had run into an old friend named Laurence a few days before. Laurence and I had dated 15 years ago but I hadn’t seen in years. I had been smitten with him back then and I even dreamed of marrying him. But he was a fish that got away. Our timing was off, still we remained friends over the years, however distant. Over those years both he and I had been involved with other partners and our careers kept us busy as well, so it was rare that we would cross paths. Still, if I needed business advice he was always there to encourage me and give me the thumbs up. I appreciated his kindness and remembered him fondly.
On the recent night I’d run into him, he shared that he had been through a life threatening illness and had miraculously survived, only it led to the end of his significant relationship with the woman he’d been with for many years. I felt sad for him because the illness had challenged him physically and I could see by his posture, the break up had beaten him down.
So as I pondered over who to call to join me for dinner, naturally, he came to mind. I sent him a text and to my surprise he replied, “Sure, what time and where?” He didn’t know it was my birthday or any of the back story to why I had called him last minute, but he was game and showed up to meet me.
I decided to wear the sample of my purple Dream Dress to dinner. I hadn’t launched the dress publicly yet, I was still trying to figure out how to get them made. When he walked in the door he said, “Ok LL, I know I’m your plan B, so who’s the jerk who stood you up?” I laughed, although the years apart had seen us both through some tough times, he still had that funny wit that I found sexy as all get out.
The hostess led us to our table and as we were seated he said, “What a pretty dress!” I blushed, did a quick turn and a model spin, grinned and said, “Really, you like it?” “Yes, he said, and I love the color!” Wow, I thought, that’s so cool he likes my dress! My instincts were right! I replied, ”You know, I designed this dress myself. It’s called The Dream Dress!” “Really, tell me more!” Said Laurence…and the .
I didn’t know if there would be a broader future for my friend and me or not, and I wasn’t trying to start one…but that night as I drifted off to sleep a change took place inside me. By this birthday, at 59 years old I realized that in my life I had endured and survived neglect, abuse, sexual harassment, sexism, abandonment and death of a true love. I decided that I wouldn’t sell myself short or abuse myself ever again. I realized I deserved better after all I had been through.
The next morning I called and ended the relationship with the guy who’d stood me up and I felt lighter and stronger immediately. I decided to put myself and my dreams first, trusting that somehow they would come to fruition.
We women must realize that it’s up to us to take responsibility for the manifestation our dreams and that the choices we make for ourselves are what matters. We are worthy, we are deserving and we can have the respect we desire, but only when we respect ourselves first. As an image consultant I serve to help others understand how to dress for our dreams from the inside out. The color of courage, faith and love just may be the color purple after all!
PS: Laurence and I are engaged to be married this year!
The Dream Dress comes in sizes Small to 3 X to fit all sizes in the color purple, black, and chocolate brown!
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