Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Dress I Don't Need

Has this ever happened to you? You’re browsing at your favorite thrift store and they are having a 50% off sale for their valued customers who are enrolled in their Super Savers Club. You happen to be a card-carrying member of said club. You’ve already filled your shopping cart with some sensible (and cute) work clothes which don’t violate any dress code rules. Nothing is too tight. Nothing is too revealing. It is unlikely that you will be ticketed by the dress code police or that you’ll make your coworkers cringe. You’re enjoying the retail high induced by the bargain basement prices. You give yourself a little pat on the back for being frugal-ish and staying under budget. You remind yourself that you’re also being green-ish by buying used, or pre-loved, goods. The retail therapy is working better than prescription drugs.

Everything is going great until you decide to just have a little look-see at the formal dress rack, just for kicks. You’re just browsing. You chuckle to yourself at the hideous 80’s prom dress on the rack. You let your hands pull out the dresses that actually look cute, but you’re not a size 2 and probably couldn’t even fit such dresses over your head. Then it happens. Something catches your eye. There is a heavenly glow emanating from a dress you almost overlooked. Suddenly you hear the heavenly “Aaaah!” of an angelic choir. You look around to see if anyone else heard it, but it is only in your head. The gown is shiny, and sparkly. You LOVE shiny and sparkly things! Yet, the dress is also elegant and appears figure-flattering. The biggest shocker of all is that the dress is actually in your size. That’s right. It is in your size, which is virtually impossible to find in formal dresses. Maybe a person your size isn’t supposed to wear something like that. It might scare the children, but you just can’t look away. The fabric is a turquoise-blue shade, one of your favorite colors. The color compliments your fair skin tone and is a great contrast with your red hair. You move your eyes to the bodice and admire the lace and sequin detailing. Sequins! And they’re not tacky! You hold the gown to your body, imagining your Disney princess moment if you were to wear the garment. Then you start to come down from that fairytale high. Miss Reality slaps you in the face.

The dress is a garment that you don’t need nor do you have an occasion to wear it to. You really have no business buying it. The cost of the sensible collection of clothing in your shopping cart has reached the limit of money you had allotted for this shopping spree. You reluctantly flip over the price tag to check if the dollar amount they are asking for the dress is reasonable. You inhale and hold your breath. The tag turns and…. Oh it is such a good deal! You take into account the 50% discount. You calculate how many minutes or hours of work you have to do at the office in order to pay for it. Then your practical side kicks you again. You gaze at your sensible clothing choices. You need work clothes. You don’t want to trade them in for a dress you don’t have a need for. You can’t bear to put away the owl figurine at the bottom of the cart (which was uh… totally in the budget… heh heh You need owl figurines). The reality is that your life isn’t exciting enough for a formal gown. You live in a stereotypically casual town in the stereotypically casual Washington State. You don’t get invited to fancy parties. You can’t even think of a restaurant formal enough for such attire. As you’re about to turn away and say goodbye, you suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to grab the dress and pile it on top of the stupid sensible clothes in your cart. You find your shopping cart pulling you towards the fitting rooms. Must be something wrong with one of the wheels. The cart is out of control! You can’t help it! It finally stops when you reach the dressing rooms.

You sneak into a fitting booth with “the precious”. It’s not like you’re seriously thinking of buying the gown. You just want to try it on and have your little princess moment. But of course the dress fits like a glove. Okay, technically it fits like a glove that needs a few alterations. You don’t quite have the boobage to fill out the top. Okay, it is technically a little too long or you’re a little too short. That could easily be fixed with high heels or alterations. But it is sooo pretty and shiny and you’re reminded of your fondness for sparkles. The fabric hugs your curves in all the right places, as if it was designed by someone who understands a larger woman’s body. Upon further inspection, you can’t even find unsightly bulges anywhere. For just a moment you forget that you’re not a skinny bitch. You forget that you are a plus-sized woman. Your ample arse doesn’t look quite as large. Your arms appear less sausage-like. You actually let go of your negative body image issues for just a moment and feel pretty, almost beautiful.

You call your mom on the cell phone from the dressing room and ask her to scoot herself over from the other side of the store in her wheelchair to come check it out. You twirl to show off the fabulousness of the dress. Your mom agrees that the garment is gorgeous. You still have no need for the dress. Your life is too casual and boring and you don’t ever go to formal events. Sigh. You’re in love with the dress you don’t really have any business buying. But the heart wants what it wants.

Somehow the dress ends up in that wacky shopping cart again and you’re guided by the force of the cart to the register. At the last minute, as you try to put the dress back, you generous mom insists that you have it and pays for it.

What? Really? That’s exact thing has never happened to you? Well, it happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I put the dress on when I got home and wore it while doing laundry.

I’m hoping to find a local Second Chance prom or some other excuse to wear the dress. If nothing else works out, I can use it for a Halloween costume.

In the end, the dress is just a dress. Someone probably wore it to their high school prom or perhaps to a wedding. Some of you will probably even think that it is tacky and that's okay. This experience was less about the dress itself (although I do love how it looks) and more about how it made me feel while I wore it. I've never though of myself as being sexy in any way. I make sure to wear clothes that cover the jiggly bits. But for once I was able to just look at myself in the mirror and feel pretty.


  1. This dress was made for you. Just seeing you look so happy for wearing this beauty for a moment was forth a million bucks. The red in your hair, your skin tone and the rich turquoise of the gown play perfectly together : It's your dream gown. I'll be soon back on my feet: let's find me something wonderful to wear and get dressed up. Let's have a wonderful Girls' Night Out and have a fancy dinner, get dressed up, and let's just ENJOY LIFE for a moment. This really means just us girls, nothing that could keep us back from great foolishness for one great night.Let's do it !