My oldest son Tom is getting married next week. Even as I write these words, it seems like I am writing about someone else’s life. For almost a year, their wedding day, and the special days leading up to it, have been expanding from ideas to discussions to physical forms. The one area that hadn’t come together for me though, was my dress. I hadn’t bought a dress in years and believed that it was impossible for me to find one that fit well, was comfortable, and looked nice. It has been an interesting process.
A few months ago, I finally found a dress that was pretty good but needed some alterations. After several fittings, I picked it up last week but it was still just OK. Something about it seemed off. I kept trying to convince myself to accept it because after all, everyone said it looked nice, and if I could just be OK with it, I thought I’d feel better.
But I wasn’t comfortable with it, so a few days ago, I went on a marathon dress-shopping trip. At the end of a 9 hr day and after trying on 100 dresses (without buying one), I noticed that I was thinking, over and over,
“I wish that I didn’t have so many rolls of fat to cover up.”
At some of the shops, I actually voiced this, and the response from the very nice women who were trying to help me, was always the same; “You need Spanx.” Well, I had no idea what this was, but as it was described to me, it sounded like a Victorian garment of torture. Turns out, it is a torso-covering spandex garment designed to smooth the tummy, and the “unsightly” rolls, out.
Something just seemed off about this. I was trying on light, comfortable, dresses for a July wedding, but in order to wear a light, comfortable dress, I needed a one-piece spandex suit underneath? No thank you.
And then another thought came which was much more soothing to me:
“There is nothing wrong with my, or any other middle-aged woman’s body. Maybe there is something wrong with the dress designs that require us to squeeze ourselves into uncomfortable undergarments in order to look nice.”I prefered this thought and so I decided to trade it for the previous one.
Then a friend offered to shop with me and I felt like I was on a magic carpet ride. We went to every dress store in Manchester Vt. At one point we went into Armani and there was one dress that was a possibility. I didn’t even look at the price tag, but the dress was silk; very dramatic and elegant,… but not great on me. As my friend and I were leaving the shop she said, “Did you see how much that dress was? It was $3000.00!” and we both laughed. I said, “I am really glad I didn’t love it” (Even though it was on sale for a mere $600.00).
At the end of the day she said, “There is one last shop that I want you to try. Even if you don’t find a dress, it is such a happy shop.” We walked into Five Seasons Vermont (in Manchester Center) and it was like taking a deep breath. Happy, bright, beautiful, fun…AND I found a dress that was comfortable, looked nice and I loved it. It is made by U.S. company called Jude Connally ( http://www.judeconnally.com ) and it is just what I’ve always loved in clothing; pretty, comfortable, washable, non-wrinkly and easy.
When I showed it to Jack last night he said, “It is such a friendly-looking dress!
And that is when I knew what the problem with the other dress was. It was navy lace, dark, pretty,… but not friendly. And the Armani dress wasn’t friendly either. If my clothing is making a statement then I want that to be: “Hi! I am so happy to be here, and I am so happy that you are here too!” not, “Hello, don’t I look fabulous for my age?”
I want to be more interested in how I am “seeing” others, than what I look like to them.
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others. For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness. And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn