Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Damsel in This Dress

I rarely wear dresses. My lifestyle of carpool and making dinner and doing laundry doesn't require it.

I have an event coming up that is dress worthy so shopping was necessary.

I am not much of a shopper. 

A thrifter:  yes. 
Taking items from my neighbor's curb on trash day:  yes
Going to the mall:  no. 
BIG no. 
Don't love it.

I find shopping easier when there is a clear mission. I am easily distracted so I am most successful when I know exactly what to look for. In this case the mission was a dress so I was good to go.

For many reasons I decided to avoid the mall (mostly because of the aforementioned lack of love) and go to TJMaxx. I guess it has been awhile since I have dressed shopped because I was shocked by all I found. The dresses were either extremely short or floor length. Nothing in between. They were strapless or off one shouldered. There were several that I didn't understand on first glance. I decided that if it took me more than 5 seconds to "figure out" the dress, I should move on. You know, questions like:

Where is the front? 
Is this a belt or a scarf? 
Is there a neck hole somewhere? 
And:  What is all this elastic here? 

If I ever asked (usually out loud) "Are you kidding me?" when looking at a dress, I moved on immediately.

I realized that sizes are arbitrary. There was such a range of sizes in my cart (yes, cart, remember I am at TJMaxx) that you would've thought I was buying for 3 different women.

The fitting room is where it all gets real REAL fast. Some dresses are so big that you think to yourself that a huge sandwich is in order for dinner and maybe even a mini Blizzard from Dairy Queen for dessert because, my goodness, you are looking somewhat scrawny. Then you put on a dress so tight that you can see the shape of the mole on your rib cage and you beat yourself up for the sandwich and Blizzard that you
didn't even eat 
ON TOP of the fact that you haven't had that mole on your rib cage checked out yet.

I got stuck in one dress. It was a red wraparound with more complicated layers than I first observed. When I slid it over my head (unknowingly on the south side of some of the inner layers) the slit went dangerously close to my bra line--in the FRONT.

In awe, I fired off a barrage of questions at my reflection,

Is this a joke? 
Am I on Dancing With the Stars?" 

Then I realized my operator error and tried to fix it.

I got stuck in between layers.

The layers enveloped my head and constricted my arms.

I panicked instantly 
(I am no good in emergencies). 

I writhed and tugged and pulled and convinced myself that I'd have to scream for help and 9-1-1 would be called and strange men would have to see me in my underwear half in and half out of a Dancing With the Stars dress that was clearly too tight and too young for me. And they would ask if I had gotten the mole on my rib cage checked out yet. 

Through prayer and violent wriggling, I was delivered from the red mess, thankfully, and albeit breathless and slightly sweaty, still free and able to move on to the business of finding a dress.

It's so funny what I found cart worthy on the store racks that just looked hideous hanging on the dressing room hook.
Shoulder pads? 
Gold zippers? 
ALL over the dress? 
Was I with me 10 minutes ago 
when these decisions were made? 

But then compromise is the name of the game when the dresses go on:

Maybe purple doesn't wash me out because call me crazy 
if this floral print isn't slimming! 
Who needs to wear a bra? This is just adorable! 
So what if I look like an Aztecan rug? This drapey neckline is flattering! 

But something jars me, waking me up. What am I doing? These dresses are:


I just want something appropriate. I don't want to be a focal point. I don't want a hush to come over the room when I walk in because I am wearing something so, well, so room hushing.
No way. 

I just want something situationally suitable that makes everything on my person look like it has held up (or being held up--I found the shape wear section of TJMaxx) the test of time.

And I want it to be cheap.

Is that too much to ask?



Because I bought something purple.

And floral. 

With shoulder pads. 

Don't you DARE hush if you see a woman walk in a room wearing a purple floral dress with shoulder pads anytime in the near future!

You don't know the 
wars that have been waged, 
battles fought, 
injuries nearly sustained, 
compromises made. 

No, do the woman a favor and when she walks in the room. Keep right on talking, stopping only to give her a wave and a quick thumbs up to her



  1. Anonymous11:29 AM

    LOL!!! I just read this and could hear you and see you walking through TJMaxx and commenting on the dresses! I can totally relate to getting stuck in those complicated layers! I bought a shirt like that and it takes me 30 minutes to put it on EVERY time!!!! Needless to say, I don't wear it much:( Thanks for the laugh -- I love the way you write! Sumita

  2. Ha! So glad to know it's not just me that is dress-challenged. Love the way you described your experience... hmmm, that feeling of thinking someone is going to burst into the room when you're in your underwear to rescue you? Nope, sorry, can't identify with that AT ALL.;)

  3. I'm still laughing out loud! I feel your pain. And you are so right, the dresses touch the floor or barely cover anything. And, btw, you need to get that mole checked! :)

    Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursday. I love to laugh!


Toddler Tired

In the midst of hosting family from out of town, we decided to host whoever wanted to come over at 5:00 am  to watch the Royal Wedding ...