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Introducing What I Put On Today
An anecdotal substack about how fashion fits into our lives.
It’s 7:59 am on Sunday morning. I’m sitting in my bed staring at this blinking cursor. Trying to figure out how to start this Substack.
When I think about getting dressed, I think about being 9 years old. Just before my ninth birthday, my grandmother Dorsey drove over to my house in her old white Mercedes convertible and dropped off three large boxes, beautifully wrapped in different floral paper, each with a small bouquet of dried flowers tied to the ribbons with a bow. She was on her way to Europe with my grandfather, Howard, and she was going to miss my birthday. My mother placed the boxes at the top of my closet. Three days before my birthday I pulled them down from the top shelf, carefully opened them, tried on the dresses inside, then perfectly wrapped them back up and put them at the top of my closet. I’ve never told anyone that I did that until typing this right now. But I have loved the industry of fashion and getting dressed ever since.
I didn’t grow up getting many new things. Everything I acquired was very special to me and I wore it often. So often, in fact, that in 4th grade I wore the same two outfits to school for the entire year.
I remember everything I have worn for the most important moments of my life. From an orange GAP crewneck I put on for the first day of 6th grade to a red Zara blouse I wore for my first big board presentation in my mid-twenties. I threw a black blazer on to check into the hospital for my c-section.
I have loved personal style for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was the impetus. Through thick and thin, she was dressed. In great jewelry. In an oversized coat. Through every imaginable life moment. Even grief.
Dorsey was a force of a woman. Her mother passed away in a car accident when she was 5 and she was raised by her father’s new wife. She always told me that she felt her stepmother did her best to raise someone else’s daughter. She met my grandfather when she was 24. He stood her up for their first date but she later married him in a white dress and a fur coat. Together they had 5 children, 25 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. The love story I’ll always look up to and think of as I age.
She couldn’t cook to save her soul and she kept a perfect rose garden. Her sweaters were stacked and organized in her closet by color and cut. There was always an empty glass of champagne sitting next to her bathroom sink after she’d left for a party at night, and my love of over-slouched jackets comes from her. How she wore jewelry inspires every collection we’ve ever created at Dorsey.
Dorsey was articulate, interested, and witty. A perfect dinner party companion. During an argument with my grandfather she’d look at you and roll her eyes. He called her babe for 73 years.
She never missed a thank you note or a birthday card. For most of her life we didn’t know her age. A deeply private person, she never let anyone take professional photos of her beautiful home.
You would have loved her.
The last day I spent with Dorsey we took this photo. I was home to visit her with my daughter and my husband for a few days during the summer of 2021. You might remember those blessed three weeks between June 20th and July 15th when the end of Covid looked clear but the delta variant was nearby.
I had wandered down to her pool while my young daughter took a nap and Dorsey came to sit next to me. At 96 years old, she flipped through the pages of my Vogue cover to cover. When she closed the magazine, I told her everything she meant to me.
It was the last day we spent together.
2022 was the first year building the company I named for her without her here. In the days following the loss, every single part of my day reminded me of her. I could barely look at our logo without sobbing. So for the first few months I took all press interviews on Zoom without video. I was never sure when I’d tear up mid conversation.
But because of Dorsey, every single day I got dressed.
If there is anything I learned from her, it’s that moving forward as yourself is important.
Welcome to What I Put On Today. An anecdotal substack about how fashion fits into our lives.
Weekly entries (including imagery and links) to follow.
All my very best,
Founder | CEO | Creative Director @DorseyOfficial