No, YOU Got Stuck In That Dress.

I had a very important task to accomplish this morning: procuring something to wear as Co-Producer and emcee of “Listen To Your Mother (Chicago)”. Fun, right?

Not really, when you’re a person who

1. doesn’t regularly shop for clothing
2. hates to pay full price for clothing for herself, therefore spending the most time in the sale/clearance section
3. has definite ideas on what colors and styles have been both comfortable AND successful in the body flattery department, therefore limiting choices from the get-go

You may remember my search for a red dress in Feburary 2011? Horrifying.

I had a great attitude when I left, though, AND a strategy.


I arrived at JCPenney and made a beeline for the dress department. Here’s what I was looking for:

1. Something in red, blue, turquoise, or black
2. Something with a v-neck
3. Something that goes just below my knees in length
4. Something that is either a solid color or a “gentle” print, since I will be on stage with my co-producer Tracey and although we don’t have to match, I don’t want a print that “screams” either. Also, this show will be video-recorded and will be online until the end of time: I want to have a classic look. Or something like that.

Naturally I found nothing that matched all of those qualifications.

I did, however, find a beautiful dress that I fell in love with immediately, and it matched three out of four attributes on that list:

circle neck print scarf dress

So pretty, right?

I grabbed one and took it to the fitting room. I pulled the dress I wore from home over my head, patting myself on the back for thinking of wearing it, and I put the new dress on after undoing the two buttons on the back at the collar. It was a little, let’s say, difficult to pull down over my chest, but I gave it a good yank and got it into position. I spent a couple of seconds adjusting the bottom of the dress–the air must have been very dry in the store because the static electricity was crazy-bad–and then when I was satisfied it was hanging properly I looked at myself, turning around so I could see from all angles.

“Hmm. Nah…”

I adored the bottom of the dress but the top part was just not flattering at all (which is why I was looking for a v-neck). Too bad. I would have to keep looking.

I undid the buttons again and grabbed the lower part of the dress to lift it back over my head.

It did not budge.


I released the dress and grabbed a different section, trying again. Nothing.

I pushed the top part of the dress back over my chest and figured the rest of the dress would happily tag along. It didn’t.

I contorted myself in ways I never have before in a department store fitting room, trying to get that dress off, without ripping it.

I was starting to sweat.

I looked in the mirror and whispered to myself, “Help!” (Yes, I did.) Turns out, the reflection of me was stressing out just as much as the real me.

For a moment, I thought I was going to have to ask the fitting room attendant to come and help me pull the dress off.

I was pep-talking the heck out of myself. “You can do it! Just relax. You got the dress on…it HAS to come off. No worries! STOP SWEATING.”

I started wondering what life would be like if I ended up living in that fitting room.

And then I saw it, peeking out from under my arm. It was a zipper pull.

I hadn’t noticed it when I put the dress on. It was a shame, really: had I noticed it I wouldn’t have had to tug on it so hard to get it over my chest.

My fingers gripped the zipper pull and as the side of the dress opened up, I breathed a sigh of relief. I would NOT have to rip the dress to take it off. I would NOT have to ask the fitting room attendant for help. I would NOT have to be the girl who lived in a JCPenney fitting room.

I pulled the dress over my head with ease and gently put it on the hanger. After putting my own dress back on, I said goodbye to the pretty dress and the fitting room, and headed for the part of the store where I could find a pretty blouse to wear with my black pants…something a little less constricting.


  • tracey

    Hee hee. BTDT. Many, many times. MANY times. And it almost always ends up with me finding that damn hidden zipper. Glad you can make it to the show, after all. That would have really sucked.

    Like that dress, though. May have to go to JCPenny!

  • Ally Bean

    You and I are two peas in a pod when it comes to shopping for clothes. I dislike everything about the process. That being said, your recap of your recent shopping experience is HILARIOUS. Wish I was there to either: 1) help you find the zipper, or 2) LMAO as you struggle to get out of the dress. Very funny post.

  • Flawless Mom

    Come on!!!! I thought that kind of thing only happened to me. I would’ve done the crying/laughing thing FOR SURE. It’s what I do when I can’t believe how dumb or klutzy I am and I’m panicked that others are about to find out. Awesome.

  • Deb Rox

    Dying. I guess this is why we shop in pairs–so someone can run to Cinnabon for provisions if garment removal is going to be a long process.