I Found THE Dress.

I am a little giddy right now because yesterday I found the dress that—I am 99% sure—I will be wearing on Sunday, May 4 to Chicago’s third annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show*. That’s more than three months ahead, folks. Shouldn’t I get some kind of award for that??

Let me acknowledge, for those who are new here, that I have a storied history when it comes to finding outfits for specific occasions.

Now let me acknowledge something else: that’s a giant understatement.

I have a couple of things working against me, right out of the gate:

1. I don’t much like shopping, which means that if I’m on a mission to find something specific, the pressure can be unbearable.
2. I am frugal, especially when it comes to buying clothing for myself, which limits my choices because I always head for the “sale” and “clearance” racks.

But wait, there’s more. I never know what to expect on my shopping adventures, except for the unexpected. Three years ago I went on a ridiculously crazed search for an outfit to wear to a Go Red For Women event and two years ago I actually got STUCK in a dress (yes, STUCK) while hunting for my LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER outfit, so I really do expect strange things to happen when I shop with a purpose.

I’ve been casually browsing for dresses online for the past couple of weeks, figuring that it would be pretty amazing if I could find a couple of them well in advance of the show so I could make the final decision at home and check “wardrobe” off of my list. I didn’t feel good about what I wore in the show either of the past two years for various reasons, and wanted to really take the time this year to make sure I not only love what I’m wearing but feel really comfortable, too.

I found two dresses that I loved on one website and was disappointed that only one of them was available in my size. I ordered that one (it was on clearance so yay!) and decided to head into the brick and mortar location of the same store not too far from my house to see if I could pick up the other dress in person.

When I entered the store yesterday, I didn’t see the one that I was looking for but stuck around to see if I could find anything else that caught my eye. It wasn’t long before I found something. It was a black v-neck (which I love) with a black velvet pattern on top. The bottom was uneven and flowy. I’m sure you can totally picture the dress on account of the amazing description I just provided for you. Sorry. Anyway, the young salesgirl asked if she could take the dress out of my hands and start a fitting room for me. I said yes and thank you, and asked her if they had the dress in one size larger since I am right on the line between two sizes. She found one and asked what the dress was for. I told her about my special event in May and she walked away to hang them in the fitting room for me.

As I made my way around the store, I found another black dress I absolutely loved. It was in the smaller of the two sizes I wear and I had a feeling it wasn’t going to fit but figured I’d try it on anyway.

As it turned out, the flowy dress skewed a little bit young for me AND flared out at my hips, which is just about the worst place for my clothing to have any sense of flare.

The other dress, though? Fit perfectly. As in, PERFECTLY. It hugged my curves and was flattering and wasn’t too short or too long and I felt pretty wearing it and I was overcome with joy at this treasure I had found. I won’t even mention that it was on clearance for thirty bucks. Oh wait, I just did. SUPER SCORE. That leaves me a little bit of money to spend on a colorful necklace I can wear with it.

On the way out I decided to ask the salesgirl about the dress I had found online, just in case I had overlooked it while in the store. She found one, but it was two sizes too small. I said, “No…that won’t work at all.” That’s when she made the customer service faux pas of the day by saying,

“Well, if you were going to try and get down two sizes, three months would be perfect timing in which to do that.”

I think the only reason my head didn’t explode was because I was so excited about the curve-hugging dress. Here’s customer service rule number thirty-two: if your customer has not brought up anything along the lines of dieting or losing weight to get into a smaller size dress (I didn’t), you should probably not suggest that any particular time frame would be the perfect length for her to diet and lose weight to fit into a dress that is currently two sizes too small for her.

It didn’t ruin my day, though. (I know, right? I couldn’t believe it either.)

She was nice enough and I just chalked her comment up to youthful inexperience and a desire to sell more clothes. I looked at her in slight chin-drop and then laughed, saying, “Oh no, I don’t need another goal right now.”

I hung the dress up on my basement door when I got home and as I sit here on the couch I keep looking at it and smiling. I won’t leave it there until May—probably just for another day or two before I put it in my closet—but it makes me happy knowing that I’ve got my show dress all taken care of and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Unless I change my mind on it altogether. Because that’s a woman’s prerogative, you know.

*Mark your calendar, by the way!


  • Liz

    Congratulations!!! Shopping for “the dress” is not easy, finding good customer service is a lot harder, dagnabit. I know it would take me fuh-ev-vuh to find “a dress” let alone “the dress”. Aaaaand, if you happen to find “another dress,” then that is “one more dress” for BlogHer…SCORE!!!

  • Bonnie

    Love that you found your dress!! I hang dresses to admire for a day or two as well…. In addition, as a good friend as reminded me often, “You can’t fix stupid”.