My awesome husband earned us a free trip to New York City that he wasn’t even trying to earn. His company just awarded him with it because, as I mentioned, he is awesome and it shows in the job he does. So, we get the itinerary (so exciting!) and there are “clothing suggestions” for the different activities. Uh-oh.
Now, let me just say, I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. I do wear the occasional casual/comfy maxi-dress around the house and wear dresses to church, so I’m not a complete slob… but I prefer comfort to dressy. This works of course, because I am a stay-at-home-mom and can pretty much get by with it. Come to mention it, before that, I owned my own business and was the boss, so I wore what I wanted then too. So, when I’m faced with a dress requirement it kind of stresses me out. The “helpful” definitions at the bottom of the itinerary are not exactly helpful either. For example, it states:
Casual Evening Attire: Women will be suitably dressed in casual dresses, skirts and blouses or dressy pants and tops.
Elegant Evening Attire: A nice dress, skirt and blouse, or pantsuit for the ladies will be appropriate for the recognition evening.
This is the kind of thing that stresses me out. I mean, the line is pretty gray there. Of course my go-to little black cocktail dress does not fit to my liking anymore, so I decide I need to go shopping for a new dress that fits into the “Elegant Evening Attire” category. I can do that, right? I mean, a free trip to New York is a reason worthy to buy a new dress, right? Heaven help me.
I am not a fan of clothes shopping. Oh, I can buy cute clothes for my kids all day long, but when it comes to using that dressing room myself. Well, let’s just say I don’t like to use the “h” word, but it’s something I strongly dislike. I posted something to that effect on Facebook the other day, and was met with resounding “me too”-s from multiple ladies. Why is that?
I’ll tell you why. 80% or more of women are not happy with the way we look. (Okay, so I made that number up — but trust me, it’s a lot!) Shopping for a new dress becomes a stressful event because: 1. You have to admit you are not the size you’d like to be. 2. Even in that size, certain dresses hug you and show off curves you’d care to rather not show off. 3. Your shopping buddy is a 13-year old with the body of a 20-year old model who looks cute in anything.
Oh, wait — maybe that last one is just me.
Day 1 of shopping actually didn’t start with the gorgeous teenager, but with the cute 8 (almost 9! When did that happen?!) year old. She was SO patient with me. I don’t think I even tried anything on in the 3 hours we were out shopping. I just couldn’t FIND anything. First of all, there was that whole vague definition of “Elegant Evening Attire”. What is that even about? Everything I came across looked like it was either for a teeny-bopper’s homecoming dance or perhaps a *a-hem* lady of the night. No thanks! On the other extreme, you have the “mother of the bride” dresses. I am not there yet!! I did see one dress that I might have tried on if it weren’t $160. Nope. Not in my budget. As tears of frustration welled up in my eyes at the end of our shopping excursion, my sweet little redhead looked up at me, rubbed her hand in circles on my back and said “It’s okay, Momma. Don’t worry. We’ll find you a dress.”
Outing #2 was also a bust, although I did find this cute top, and bought it.
Please ignore the face I’m making at my punk daughter. (Actually, she’s not a punk. She was trying to be helpful, but there’s only so much of the dressing room you can take. We were cracking up at the ladies in the next stall who were laughing so hard they were snorting.)
It took one more outing before I found a dress. We had been to two malls, half a dozen shops and even the Salvation Army… I was down to the bottom of the barrel. I found it at Cato, if you were wondering. (The second Cato I’d been to, actually. The first was a no-go). It wasn’t the “oh-this-is-perfect” dress, but it’s black, long, has a small sleeve, and doesn’t make me feel like a hippo, so at this point, it will do.
Now I just have to figure out what accessories to wear. Such a hard life I lead…