Of all the dresses in her closet, and even other white dresses in her closet, this is the dress she writes an analytical emotional poem about. Perhaps she is discussing a one time special occasion when she was wearing the dress, perhaps when she got engaged, met a special friend, or maybe she is expressing her desire to wear the formal reserved dress more often. The deep fascination she has with the dress is very intriguing, because the strongest emotional empowerment she feels to the dress is invisible, but overwhelming.
In her line in the first paragraph We itch to feel it, it itches to feel us, it feels like an itch (Emanuel, par. 1 lines 3, 4). This line is saying there is an underlying emotional reason why she was attracted to purchase that particular dress in the store, amongst all other dresses. Everyone, or at least all women, experience this sudden click when they see a dress or other item when shopping.
There are items everyone buys, for example everyone needs clothes. Most clothes are purchased because the look good, or we need them for something coming up. Then there are items that click with us. When this happens, we always just happen to have the money, sometimes it may be barely enough, and more often than not, it is on clearance or better than average price. When she talks about mutual itch she is describing that sudden click when we see an item calling out to us in the store.
Next paragraphs she speaks about its decorations, the actual character or identity of the dress. Encrusted with beading, its an eczema 5 of sequins, rough, gullied, riven, puckered with stitchery (Emanuel, Par. 2 lines 5, 6, 7). Bouquet of a womans body, or its armor and it fits like a glove. She is saying she becomes the decorations, comparing her body to a bouquet of flowers, the dress acting as a vase.
There is a phrase or saying in professional ballroom and salsa dancing, the man is the frame and the woman is the picture. The dress frames or outlines her body, like a vase, but she is the actual attraction inside the dress. But she is enslaved to the dress to make her look good. When were in it were machinery. (Emanuel, Par 4, line 13). Right now its lonely locked up in the closet; while were busy fussing at our vanity (Emanuel, Par. 5, 6 Lines 15, 16, 17).
The tonality of this poem is consistent from beginning to end. A woman talks about a formal dress in her closet reserved for special occasions. She obviously had a very special event with the dress, probably meeting a special person or friend who made am important impact on her life. Not many of us think about any of the clothes sitting in our closet, not even the formals that stand out until we are planning an occasion we will wear the dress, or within the first few moments we bring it home.
There is a hint of guilt in some of her lines, talking about the dress sitting in the closet, waiting for it to be called upon again. This poem sums up her powerful invisible connection to the dress, talking about it like it much more than just another item. She identifies herself with the dress, almost like she is becoming another person or going into another realm of the universe when she puts on this dress.