Taking “Obsessive” To A Whole New Level.

I have recently been involved in a self-created comedy of errors and thought, if nothing else, it might be an entertaining story to post here.

You see, I am going to a special event in the city this Thursday evening. Part of the event proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign, and the invitation says “Red dress or red shoes optional.

When I first put this event on my calendar a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t all that concerned about what I would wear. After all, I am no fashionista. Anyone who knows me can vouch for that. I don’t even know if I have a personal style, let alone what it would be called. (“Boring”, perhaps?) I own mostly solid-colored clothing items (there are a couple of exceptions), because patterns are too memorable and I don’t have that big of a closet (or budget) (or desire) for the amount of unique pieces required to keep people “guessing”, or “excited”, whatever the case may be.

I figured that, for the event, I might wear this nice, red blouse I have, with black pants and black shoes.

Then I wore that nice, red blouse to work and was reminded that the 3/4 sleeves feel a little goofy because of where they rest on my arm. And the fabric, well, it’s a little stiff. And annoying. And doesn’t move well. So, the blouse was fine for wearing to work for a few hours, but not for an event at which I want to feel comfortable in, and not be worried about, my clothing.

Also, red is my absolute favorite color to wear, so why not go ahead and try to find something new?

(That, my friends, is the question that started the unraveling.)

A week ago Saturday, I went to the JCPenney’s at the mall near my house, my old stand-by, and found no red dresses. Wait, let me take that back. I found red dresses. I found red dresses that would be great if I were about twenty years younger and fifty pounds lighter. I found red dresses that would be great if I were twenty years older. I found red dresses that would be great if Thursday’s event was the prom. Other than that? No red dresses.

I left that mall and decided to drive to the Designer Outlet mall, also not too far from my house.




I gave up for the day.

The following day, I decided to head over to a mall I don’t normally visit, just to see if I could find a red dress. I was on (and off) the phone with a friend the entire time, keeping her apprised of what was becoming a very–in my own mind–desperate situation.

I have to say that the very idea that I was becoming an anxious, out of control, total mess over an outfit was highly annoying, and I was completely disgusted with myself.

The JCPenney at that mall looked, at first, like it had put an all-out ban on anything red at all:

After I did a couple of laps through the women’s department, I found two red dresses. One? So hoochie.

The other? LOVELY. I thought it was so glamorous, a showstopper for sure. (Not that I was looking for a showstopper at all, but I could really see myself wearing this dress–many times–and looking so awesome.) Unfortunately it cost about twice as much as I had mentally budgeted for this event, and really was a little more dressy than what I had in mind.

And so I moved on.

That mall was a small one, and I turned it upside down only to find nothing red that would remotely work. The next day, I checked out the TJMaxx near work. Nothing.

It was at that point I started to think about red shoes instead of a red dress. The main problem with this strategy is that I wear a women’s size 11. It’s not like I ever have lots of shoe choices, in general; finding size 11 dress shoes in a color other than black or brown at an actual store would be a challenge. At least I always know where to look: the shoes that are size 10 and larger are always in the darkest corner at the back of the shoe store, like an afterthought. (You ladies who wear a size 7 or 8 have no idea how blessed you are when it comes to shoe choices. Am I right, Momo??) Naturally, as I predicted, I could not find red shoes.

That’s when, at Michelle’s (my date!) urging, I turned to online shopping, which I originally wanted to avoid like the plague. I am the type of person who really, really needs to try things on, for many reasons. My mental state over this stupid outfit, however, was becoming quite frantic (Why, again? SO ANNOYING.) and I figured I had nothing to lose.

Online, the situation was pretty close to what was happening “in real life”, at the stores. I could find lots of red dresses for hundreds of dollars, but red dresses and blouses that were within my price range were hard to come by. Michelle had found four (yes, four) online at Kohl’s (I think) and ordered every single one of them. I ended up–finally–finding this dress at Overstock.com, and ordered it, hoping that it would be as flattering as it looked like it might be.

I settled in to wait for my dress, and took a break from the searching for a few days.

The dress arrived on Monday, and I ran upstairs to try it on immediately. Guess which of the following was true about this dress, as it fit on my body:

A. It was too short.
B. It was too clingy.
C. It was too low cut.
D. It hung weirdly.
E. All of the above.

Do I even need to tell you the answer?

So I screamed on Twitter, and made plans to head back to my mall that evening, to cover the territory I didn’t previously cover. I put one of my friends on notice, telling her that I was taking her shopping with me, by phone, and headed out. In the interest of finishing this post sometime today, here are the highlights–err, lowlights–of that trip to the mall:

1. First stop: Sears. I decided to swing by the women’s department on my way to shoes, and found, of course, no red dresses that would work. I found one pair of red shoes. Yay! They didn’t have them in my size. Boo. The young salesman (who must work on commission AND think I’m an idiot) actually said to me, “Tell you what: I can take the size 10 pair to the back and stretch them for you…” I said, “Uh, I’ll pass.” He said, “Really? Because you said you need them; I can totally do it for you.” Gah.

2. I speedwalked across the mall to Macy’s, because a friend had left me a voicemail the night before that at HER Macy’s, she found all kinds of red dresses on clearance. I headed over there, totally sweating. I found a beautiful red Michael Kors blouse, for way more than I would ever spend on a blouse. I couldn’t justify that purchase, and kept looking. Found a just-as-pretty blouse that was similar, in the Macy’s brand, for twenty dollars. Score! This would be my backup. I bought it. Remembered I would still “need” red shoes. (“Need”, at this point, remember, is in my own mind.) Forgot about looking for shoes at Macy’s, and left.

3. Next stop: back to my JCPenney’s. On the phone with my friend, I said, “If that long red dress is here and on sale, I am going to buy it.” Surprise: I saw the dress, and it was FORTY PERCENT OFF. But only available in sizes 4 and 6. Calgon, take me away!!! On to the shoe department: nothing in size 11.

4. Next stop: Carson’s. Fruitless. By now my body is in full workout mode, and I am sweating so much that even carrying my jacket is exhausting. Shopping sucks. I stop at a couple of shoe-only stores in the mall and find nothing, except one pair of red, size 11 Fergalicious pumps. As I squeeze my feet into them, I am thinking about how, if they fit and I buy them, I will have to sing and spell things all night at the event, because that’s what Fergie does. G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.

The shoes are uncomfortable and showed uneven toe cleavage. Blech.

5. Next stop: Back to Macy’s, to look at the shoe department. I found an adorable pair of red suede Jessica Simpson shoes, but of course not in my size. Another area Macy’s has them according to the computer, but when the associate made a phone call, we found out that the computer system was wrong. I resigned myself to giving up at the mall and looking online as a last ditch effort.

Home again, I locate a pair of shoes at Sears online which I order, and have express shipped (I NEVER pay for that kind of stuff: Ack!). The shoes look SO cool–online.

And now you’re caught up. The shoes will be delivered today. I plan to wear them with the LBD I bought for BlogHer ’10, one of my favorite dresses I’ve ever owned. I have told Michelle that I will get my feet into these shoes and wear them whether they fit properly or not, and she might have to get me and my bloody stumps to the car at the end of the night.

Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.

Here’s a question: do you ever annoy yourself? If so, how? (or is it just me?)


©2011 Suburban Scrawl


  • Mom24

    I relate to all of this. Yes, I definitely annoy myself. Just yesterday I was talking to Rebekah on the phone and told her I was having a stressful day, she said she was sorry, and I confessed it was mostly self-induced. My "to-do" list was a mile long, and the worst part was it was stuff I really didn't need to do, I just felt like I did. Does that make sense?

    I avoid shopping exactly because of things like this. So sorry. In the future, I have good luck with 6pm.com, endless, zappos, and piperlime for shoes. Clothes is more hit and miss. Belk is someplace you might want to try online, I got some things for Julianna from there recently and was much happier than at Macys. It is different with kids though.

    Whatever you wear, I hope you feel wonderful and have a great time. That's truly the most important thing. (Please don't wear those shoes if they hurt. So.Not.Worth it.)

  • Megryansmom

    Umm, so I'll be wearing that red sweater and black pants, because, well umm, I am no fashionista and ummm my red dress is too clingy thanks to the 20 lbs that has attached itself to my ass since I last wore it 🙁

  • Heather E

    I'm totally glad you wrote this post because I laughed so much reading it (cause I was afraid to laugh while it was all happening unless you were laughing) 😉 and it was so fun to 'help' you shop hon! Anytime!

    I cannot WAIT to see pics!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    Next time, give me a weeks notice and I will go shopping for you! I love to shop! Which is why I am so glad that all those stores are not within 5 minutes of me.

    My favorite saying of the day is going to be
    "uneven toe cleavage"

  • Jason

    I LOVE to shop! I'm also a big if you can't find it, make it work person. I would have suggested finding any pair of shoes that you liked and spray paint them. That Krylon Fusion spray paint is awesome! You'd be amazed the stuff it sticks too.

  • Dawn

    Annoy myself? Are you kidding? haha No, but I annoyed the heck out of YOU when we were dress shopping the time when our guys' battle group was returning home from a deployment and you found your dress in the first store in the first mall….and ME? I found my dress in the LAST store in the LAST mall (was it the third or fourth we visited?)

    Good times for sure! I'm sure you'll rock your LBD and your red shoes!

  • Tara R.

    This is exactly why I don't like to shop for myself. So sorry that I was laughing while reading, but I was laughing WITH you not AT you.

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    Were you channeling ME? Cuz OMG I do just this kind of thing and irritate the ever loving PEE out of myself when I do it. Some days being a girl sucks.

    Hope the shoes look terrific and you and Michelle rock that party!

  • @NYCPatty

    Days like these drive me NUTS!
    Especially when I:
    -want to shop
    -have the time to do it
    -have the money to spend

    and of course it never fails…I find nothing!

    Can't wait to see the outfit! 🙂

  • TheNextMartha

    Nordstrom Rack dear. That is the only place us giants can find reasonably priced cute shoes. I just prayed to the shoe gods that they work out. Good luck!

  • Melissa

    Do I ever annoy myself…really? Am I breathing?

    I wish I had known sooner. They have a nice little boutique in a town about 10 minutes from me that I would have loved to drag you to. Not sure on the prices but it would have been great to look around.

    I never noticed that you had a size 11 shoe before. And I thought coming up with a 9 was bad…sheesh!

    I hope you have a great time. And no matter what you wear your winning smile makes you look beautiful!

  • Anonymous

    I hate to say this but your father says you take after me. I guess he is right, even tho I hate to say that too. You shold have called I have a pair of red sandals and a great dressy Jacket you know red is my color also.

    Jewlery can dress the whole outfit up. Also if the shoes are plain you can use a pair of clip rinestone earrings to dress them up which I have from Grandma J.

    Grandma W

    P.S. Sorry you had such a bad time finding what you wanted.

  • Lisa

    I did not annoy myself too much with my outfit, just hoping i don't feel under dressed. Me and dresses don't get along and i wanted to be comfy so i'm going w/ slacks.

  • JustOneMiss

    FYI, Jessica Simpson shoes APPEAR comfortable and some are gorgeous but my best friend lost both her big toes after wearing them for a night in vegas. THOSE SHOES ARE EVIL.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    I.Hate.Shopping. The event sounds great and, really, whatever you decide/find to wear will be simply awesome, like you!

  • seashore subjects

    You have nailed the exact reason that I hate to shop for myself. The pressure is staggering! Much easier to shop for my kids or even strangers!

    I hope your shoes are an exact fit and you have a grand evening!

  • Stephanie

    I felt the "and now you're caught up" was written directly for my benefit! Phew! I can't wait to hear how the event went AND see pictures of what you ACTUALLY WORE! Hope you and Michelle had a great time! I HATE SHOPPING TOO! Especially for formal events!