17 February 2022

Windows: The Wardrobe

[Ed: Look what I found!]
[Ed: It’s an entry from your diary.]
I don’t have a diary!
[Ed: Okay, then from your scribblings. It goes back quite a bit.]
Let’s have a look..
Ah yes that was a night! I don’t remember ‘scribbling’ it down as you put it.

[Ed: Shall I post it? It’s been sometime.]
Why not, it will show that I’m still around.
Just make sure I haven’t mentioned anybody by name. As me dad use to say ‘no names, no pack drill’ usually for no apparent reason when I think about it.

[Ed: So as Madam has given her consent here it is.]

This was the early 80’s and I had to go with a colleague to Berlin for a meeting. As my colleague was from the city he said we could take the train, overnight at his parents’ house and have breakfast before going to the meeting.
I though this a good idea as it gave us time in the train to go through our presentation. After arriving in Berlin we took a taxi to my colleague’s parents’ house.

The ‘house’ turned out to be a mansion in a very posh area of the city. After an excellent meal, plenty of wine and fascinating small talk, I was shown to one of the many bedrooms off in one of the wings of the building. It was quite a way so I made sure I remembered how to get back to the breakfast room in the morning. I unpacked my case and looked for a place to hang up my clean shirt for the meeting on the following morning.
There was a wall to wall wardrobe and so I opened one of the doors to see if I could find a spare coat hanger. To my wonder and delight it was full of dresses and evening gowns! Before I lost myself in peaking at them a little closer I searched the other doors. My pulse went up a notch by the opening of each door all full of colourful beautiful fabrics!

This was going to be an interesting night!

I found eventually a spare hanger hanging on the back of the bedroom door! If I had seen it when I came in I wouldn’t have discovered the wall of dresses. I made use of the hanger and as quietly as I could turned the key in the lock. I didn’t want anyone walking in and wishing me a good night or a night cap as I had some exploring to do!
One problem was the building was old and the woodwork was typical for these types of houses especially the floors, they squeaked and groaned as one walked across them. The doors to the wardrobes were not any better. On opening them it was like somebody adding sound effects from a haunted house film!

I was a little apprehensive due to the acoustics about taking a longer look at the goodies in the wardrobe. Maybe it was a little paranoid, but I thought every move I made would be heard and interpreted correctly! On reflection I suspect I wouldn’t have been heard as the place was large and I surmised, considering the walk to my room, in a not so frequented wing of the mansion.
I decided not to look and got ready for bed and went through the data for the morning. The house was now silent which I took to mean that the household had retired. I went through the data again but was distracted by looking up at the wardrobes and what treasures they contained.

After about half an hour I couldn’t take it any longer. My curiosity got the better of me, and, as Abi was making such a protest in my head, I could not concentrate any more on the report anyway.
I got up and carefully went over to the wall and opened all the doors.
I must say I have never been in such a close proximity to so high a concentration of woman’s evening wear all in one place - that is without getting funny looks from department store assistants.
Going by the number of gowns hanging before me the lady of the house must have, or still was, a part of the high society of the city. The collection was diverse in colour as well as material. I went slowly through them, pushing the dresses apart and admiring them without removing them from the rack.
After numerous times going through my mother’s wardrobe in my youth, I was well trained in remembering what I had removed from where and where to put them back as found. Here with the unfamiliarity of the ‘dress-scape’ and being slightly giddy from what I had before me, I would certainly have made a blunder in trying to leave everything as found. I settled to just look and admire, which I admit wasn’t easy by far..
I’m not an expert in woman’s clothes, maybe I have a little more savvy with wedding dresses due to watching daily bridal programs on the box with MrsA., but I got the impression at the time that this collection was made to measure and must have been very expensive. I could identify classical styles like the 20s, 30s and 40s as they are my favourite decades for woman’s attire all in beautiful material and glitter. After a while my light headiness almost made me stop to get my breath back.
And there I saw it. I’m not sure why, it was not as elegant as some of the other dresses I had looked at, but I stopped browsing when I saw it. 

It was a half-length chiffon dress, colour apricot.
It’s now nearly four decades since that night and I have only an impression in my mind of what it looked like. I think the picture (right) is the closest I could find to what it looked like.
The next moment I realised I had taken it out of the wardrobe and was on my way over to a full length mirror on the inside of one of the open wardrobe doors. I held it up to me and knew what I had to do.
It looked a little wider than the others. Maybe it was a later model and she had put on weight. It didn’t matter, in my mind’s eye I knew this would fit and I just had to try it on.
I also knew if I didn’t put it on I would never have the opportunity again to try on something so elegant.

I was very careful and took my time, which was difficult as my nerves were getting to me. The feeling of the material was astounding, nothing like I had felt up to then. Now with my collection of dresses I can in some way repeat the experience but then I was high as never before.
Luckily I didn't try and zip it up. Not that I didn't think I could, only I was quite sure I would have great difficulty getting it down again when the time came!
No matter, I was in, and fell in love with how I looked. It was that same warm feeling, a sort of home coming, that I got years later when I put on my pink prom dress for the first time
(see Pink Prom Dress: I to III).

The feeling was short lived, replaced with panic, so I slowly removed it and was relieved when I had hung it up again in the wardrobe.
I reluctantly closed the doors and made my way back in slow motion to my bed. I put the report away, turned out the light and drifted off to sleep with the feeling of the dress on my body and in my mind.

Next morning after breakfast we got a taxi to the company, had the meeting and returned to Cologne on the afternoon train.


  1. You wouldn't believe how many times that wardrobe scenario has cropped up in one of my dreams.
    Actually, since I think we've probably talked about this, maybe you would.

    1. Yes we have talked about it. That was the reason for posting it, before I totally forgot the details of that night. At the moment I working on another post about a wardrobe and its contents much closer to home…

    2. What you want is not so much a walk-in wardrobe but a walk-through one: one where you have a whole department store of clothes on the other side. Or a Tardis. How else did the Doctor go in one day and come back out as a Northern lass.

    3. I suspect your right about the Doctor, he/she probably has a room somewhere in the Tardis where one can be ‘flexible’ gender wise with the appropriate period attire. I’m not sure if it would be a good idea to have a police box in the cellar, too many awkward questions..
      The entrance to my wardrobe is more Narian as you will see. Wouldn’t be a good idea to have a department store behind it, may forget to come back..

    4. I am minded of a German lady who made her own TARDIS...

    5. Thanks for dropping by Joanna, l’ll take a look at the video.

  2. Did you not take the opportunity to wander all the way through the wardrobe and visit Narnia?

    Apparently time moves differently there, so you could've had weeks looking fancy. That and overthrown a despotic regime.

    1. No I didn’t think about going in. Even with temporal dilation I would still have missed breakfast. Thanks for the idea thro I will now add to my bucket list ‘Overthrowing a despotic regime in a apricot chiffon dress before breakfast’