I will need a formal dress for a banquet I’m attending this summer, and when I went to my closet I found: nothing.
Well, not quite nothing. I really found:
- a black and gold short formal dress that I wore my freshman year of college (1995), and that wouldn’t zip without a month on Slim-fast.
- a short all-black formal from college that is cute, but much shorter than I’d currently wear, and may not zip either
- a teal-colored long formal from the same general era that is way too slinky in the torso for someone who's had two children
- I must have missed a hanger because I wore at least 4 formals in college, and only saw 3 of them
- a bridesmaid dress, powder blue, from 1997
- a long blue dress I wore to a company-sponsored black-tie dinner in 1999, currently a size too big
- a shorter peach-colored lace dress that spans the bridge between semi-formal and black tie nicely, massively overworn and slightly ill-fitting—last worn while about 12 weeks pregnant with Trystan. Its stretchy.
- a royal purple taffeta, 2-piece gown that I made BC (before Charlotte) for a Mardi Gras party (for about $10 in materials I think). It's fun. Its strapless. And completely open down the middle of the corset-style back (thus preventing the wearing of any support garments). I wore it last year to the St. Louis Mayor's Mardi Gras ball. I was breastfeeding then (and about a cup and half larger than I am now), and was afraid I'd, um, show off to everyone. This year I'd be afraid that the thing wouldn't even stay up. And did I mention the cheap fabric? Because its totally discolored under the arms.
Have I really gone so long without dressing up? Not really, but that peach dress, the Mardi Gras gown, and 3 or 4 maternity dresses have covered all my needs over the last 5 years.
Clearly a shopping trip was in order. Or a weekend with my sewing machine. I'd love to sew another fancy dress, but don't know how I'd get several hours of kidless time without forgoing sleep at the moment. I also figured I'd wait until after prom season was over and hit the clearance racks.
Sunday after church, we wandered the Galleria for a bit with my SIL & co. While she was picking out a nice casual jacket in Macy's, I took Charlotte and wandered through the dress department, for the fun of it. The prom-ish dresses were amusingly impractical. Maybe if I were 6ft tall and built like a beanpole. I guess 16 year olds are taller than I remember... But there were several racks of clearance dresses from the holiday season. I tried on a handful of the remainders designed for the under-60 crowd.
And bought 2! Both black, both shorter formals (one just below the knee, the other about mid-calf). Both are sleeveless, alas, but have good necklines on me. One is actually the dreaded empire-waist style, but it was cut with enough of a flare at the hem and a non-clingy fabric, so it flatters even my waistline without making me look pregnant or requiring a "body wear" purchase. The other was fitted at the waist with a nice fuller skirt. Both combined, after coupons, cost less than $50. Together. And I found another spring-y dress to wear next weekend for Easter for a little under $50 itself.
There are two morals to this story. The first is that I need to clean out my closet. The second is that its totally worthwhile to make your husband entertain two cranky kids in a department store while you shop....