When I was a kid, I had a collection of dress up clothes. I particularly remember a brown and white striped jacket and skirt ensemble that must have been one of Mom’s castoffs. I had some of Grandma’s old slips. Scarves. Costume jewelry. Old Halloween costumes.

I loved lacey, frilly, floaty anything. But playing dress up wasn’t about how I ACTUALLY looked in whatever get-up I cobbled together. It was about how I FELT in my dress-up clothes. Like a princess. Like a nurse. Like a grown-up. Like a ballerina. The clothes were just a prop for my imagination.

You can see from the pictures here in an old photo album that I would not have been mistaken for a REAL princess or woodland fairy. But, oh, I felt like both if only for an hour or two.

I still play dress-up in a way. Even now I own pieces that make me FEEL different. Special. Like I have it together. That pair of fabulous heels that make me stride into a room tall and confident. The necklace and earrings that say, “tonight is special.” The dress that makes me feel young and sassy. The scarf that leaves me feeling like a Victorian lady ready for a cup of tea in my cozy parlor. The tweed jacket that proclaims–I am a writer (if only it had leather elbow patches). The white tennis shoes that leave me feeling like I’m in high school again (only better able to keep my shoes clean).

I think it’s good to have items I can put on and–just like that–feel something special. The world’s a tough place. It’s good to have a bit of armor–a sparkly, frilly shield if need be. Because we’re all special. And it’s good to have a pair of shoes that remind you of how special you are.

What’s your favorite piece of “dress-up” that makes you feel a certain way?