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Karina Chronicles

WHAT TO WEAR: The 35th High School Class Reunion


KD Crystal BIOCrystal Hammon is a vintage fashion enthusiast who blogs at Dressed Her Days Vintage. When she isn’t working as a writer, she teaches yoga, plays golf, sews and reads. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.



Who: Crystal Hammon
What: Leopard Print Josie
Where: My 35th High School Class Reunion, Benton, Illinois

High school class reunions mean different things to different people. My family moved three times during my high school years, so I attended high school in three different states. I graduated with a group of kids who were total strangers to me—and I to them—which isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person, but still a loss that left a lifetime of quiet longing for things that might have been.After 37 years, you think you’re mostly over stuff like that. During those years, I missed other reunions. No one knew how to contact our family and I doubted that anyone would remember me anyway. When my parents moved back to the area about 10 years ago, I rediscovered a few classmates and made sure they had my address.

What I wore

When I received my invitation, I was ecstatic. It suggested casual dress, so that Saturday night, I picked the most fun, comfortable thing in my travel stash—a long sleeved Josie, which I paired with a scarf, boots and a vintage 1950s handbag. At 5:30 p.m., I left my parents’ house and told them not to wait up. “You’ll be back by 10:30,” Mom said as I went out the front door. “Don’t count on it,” I hollered back.


How I felt in my Josie

I stepped inside the Benton Elks Club at 6 p.m., confident that no one would enjoy the evening more than I. How could it matter to anyone else as much as it did to me? I worked the room that night as if my life depended on it, determined that no one I knew would leave without a hug or a greeting.


Whether or not they recognized me hardly mattered. All my childhood buddies, confidants, tormentors and crushes were alive and well in the same space—different, but the same as ever. When dinner was served, I wanted to yell, “Eat quickly. We don’t have time for trivial things!” I hoped for a lifetime of knowledge in just a few hours. Looking across the room, I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging and a rush of pride when I considered our collective accomplishments. Wow. Just wow.

When I stepped out of the shower the next morning, there was my leopard print Josie, hanging on the bathroom door. I had several clothing options for church Sunday morning. I fingered the dress and a waft of soft perfume floated though the air. My dress had absorbed all my classmates’ fragrances. Their combined hugs were lingering in my Karina. And yes, I decided to wear it again.






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