Dress Quest 2010

Three weeks ago, I posted about the agony of finding the perfect dress for my sister’s upcoming wedding.  I talked about the bevy of stores I’d been visiting in person and online, and briefly mentioned the swing towards HOOCH many modern bridesmaid dresses have taken.  As Maid of Honor, it was imperative I find the right dress.  My sister didn’t want something too formal, but being an evening affair it couldn’t be casual either.  She wanted it to be blue, preferably lighter in color, and shortish.  No small order, given most of the dresses I was finding were 1) not blue, and 2) too short for someone as tall as me.  To compound matters, I’d found dresses for my daughters in a pale ice blue – a great color but uncommon – and wanted to try to match mine to theirs.

I am not being dramatic when I say finding this dress was akin to being forked repeatedly in the eye whilst receiving electroshock.  I spent hours online, cruising websites till my buns was numb.  I went from store to store to store, trying on anything that could even remotely work, regardless of price or quality.  If it was blue, I put it on.  Most of what I found was horrific.  Cheap fabrics, poor cuts, too short, too skimpy, too bad.  A few dresses were lovely, and of course those were inevitably wrong, in whatever way.  One was too casual – and waaaaaay too expensive.  Another just too big – and past season.  No smaller size available.  A couple fit fine but were boring beyond belief.  With each passing day my frustration and sense of desperation grew palpably greater, and I was sleeping poorly at night.  Rather than dream, shades of blue would wash over me like waves, till it was time to start looking again.

And then it happened.  I’d practically given up when SHE arrived in the mail.  One look and I knew.  The right size, the right fit.  The silk chiffon was featherweight – no way would I be sweltering in the Georgia heat.  Okay, she was dark, and long, but she was CLASSY.  Formal without feeling stiff, flowy and feminine and beautiful.  The minute I put her on, I felt like a princess.  FINALLY! a dress to do my sister proud.  I’d never have imagined it, but I knew she was the one.

Don’t I scream Matro(fu)n of Honor?  YOU KNOW I DO!!  And it even looks great with the shoes I’d bought!  Even though it’s so long no one will ever even see them!  YAY!!

Now, having survived this experience, I would like to share some of my newly-acquired shopping knowledge so that others may be spared a margin of agony in their own quests.

NUMBER ONE

J.Crew may have nice looking clothes, but they have the very worst shipping policy of any company I found.  I ordered from them twice.  On both occasions I bought two dresses, each weighing roughly 16 paperclips.  The first time they charged me $17.50 to ship.  You heard me right.  SEVENTEEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS to ship mere ounces of fabric.  And of course the dresses didn’t work and had to be shipped back – for an additional $7.50.  That happened not the one time, as I mentioned, but twice.  I told myself it’d be okay.  Well, you know what, J.Crew, it’s not okay.  Your dresses were labeled special occasion but you lied.  They looked like office wear.  And it’s not right to charge 4 times what a normal office dress would cost, plus an extra effing dress for shipping.  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!  (I am so sickened by this whole thing, I can’t even open my eyes – PS: the copier is broken and someone drank the last of the coffee)

NUMBER TWO

If you’re seeking nice footwear for any occasion, Nordstrom ROCKS.  Cutest shoes ever, great price, and the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE!! I ordered online, shoes arrived – mine fit, Maddie’s fit, but Georgia’s were way too big.  I called them up, Adam (my rep) placed an exchange order for me immediately, which arrived tout de suite and fit perfectly.  Oh, and no shipping charge either.

NUMBER THREE

I like Macy’s.  They may have a pretty limited selection of formal wear in my local Portland store, but their website stocks it all.  The orders arrived quickly and without issue.  Free shipping (at least for me).  Can you guess where the Dress came from?  OOooh I feel preeeety, ooh so preettty, and … A+

NUMBER FOUR

Bluefly is a neat website and makes me wish I had buckets of money to spend.  Their packaging was great.  My dress came wrapped in tissue in a nice Bluefly bag and everything.  Just like I’d been at their store (which I don’t think exists, but still..) Nice touch.  Their return policy left something to be desired, as I was forced to print out a return slip.  You know I kept the bag as compensation.

NUMBER FIVE

Like.com is cool. You type in just what you’re looking for, color, style and POOF! there is it, up on the screen.  Little thumbnail pix collected from sellers across the internet.  Simply scroll down and eyeball the selection.  Easy breezy!

So, that’s it for now.  I would say I’ll post more shopping knowledge as I acquire it, but now that I’ve found the dress I am avoiding retailers at all costs.  So instead I will leave you with a parting shot of me & the Dress.  Proof (at least to me) that God exists & loves me more than imaginable.  Amen.

Weeding vs. Wedding

For the past several days I’ve been on FULL STEAM AHEAD.  Not out in the yard, but in every bridal shoppe in town.  Not to mention the mall, several discounters, the outlet stores, a couple thrift shops, and that one really funky vintage clothing boutique downtown.  Plus, thanks to cyberspace, I’ve been cruising every upscale retailer in the country.  All in the quest for THE DRESS.

Back in December I posted about my sister getting engaged.  I joked about being Matro(FU)N of Honor, wearing a Scarlet O’Hara=esque gown, and so on.  Well, fast forward five months.  The wedding is now sitting on top of us and I’ve yet to secure a real dress.  I may joke about a lot of things, but this is not funny.

Without disclosing her private life, my sister is in a grueling school program which barely allows for sleep, let alone shopping.  The fact that she lives 1000 miles away isn’t helping.  Thank GOD she has her own dress already!!  But.. I hear you saying.. the mother of the bride always fills in the gap.  The mother of the bride buys a dress for herself, then helps the bride select dresses for her party, and the bluebirds sing while little fairies float around their heads and they all live happily ever after.  Well, of course.  Except our mother is a high powered executive currently employed out of state.  So NONE of us are together.  And if you haven’t gleaned this quite yet, I am not exactly a shopper.  Don’t get me wrong, if I had bags of money I wouldn’t have a problem spending hours each week in stores, but my life is not like that.  I wouldn’t know an upscale dress shoppe if it bit me on the a$$.  Which IT HAS.

Yesterday I had on a dress that costs more than I have in the bank.  It was gorgeous.  I wanted it BAD.  But it wasn’t quite right.  The day before I tried on roughly 25 dresses at a lovely bridal place downtown.  Many of them were stunning, but none of them was IT.  I have been to Macy’s more times in the past week than I have since we moved here.  I keep pretending this dress is going to magically appear from doors at the back of the store, but it’s NOT!!  I’m just trying on the same damn things I did the day before.

I want my sister to be happy.  I want her wedding to be perfect.  And in my own way I am trying to make that so.  But it is leading me to obsess.  And as many lovely dresses I have seen, in every color of the rainbow except for the one that I NEED, I have seen an equal number that should be stripped from the racks & burned.  The running joke used to be how ugly bridesmaid dresses are.  I think the backlash against hideousness has gone so far in the opposite direction, we’re now actually worse off.  I will be blunt.  I know every woman wants to look sexy and appealing, but if you are unable to discern the fine line between “gorgeous” and “cheap ho” please do us all a favor and stay home.  A wedding is sacred, or should be.  The BRIDE is meant to stand out, not your floozy self. Let’s show some CLASS, Ladies!

And on that note, I am off.  So many dresses to eyeball, only so many hours in the day.  Wish me luck.

Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.

My sister has recently become engaged and I for one am getting WAY EXCITED.  Not only is this going to be great for her. but also for ME.

SISTER: We are getting married!

ME: WOW!  Congrats!!!

SISTERThanks!

ME:  SOOOooooooo…… Are you going to have a wedding party?  I mean, b/c if you ARE, then (ahem) you might like (cough) ME to be your (cough-cough) Maid of Honor, right>?  Seeing as I asked you to be mine. and ALL.  I MEAN, that’s only fair.  Right>? No pressure.  RIGGGHHT>>??

So after being asked so sweetly I of course agreed to be Maid of Honor.  Or, in my case (since I am already hitched) – MATRON of Honor.  I know what you’re thinking.  Matron of Honor sounds like an old prune face having trouble making number 2.  And I couldn’t agree more.  But I am going to put the FUN in Matro(FU)N of Honor!  YAY!

My first question though – what exactly does a Matro(fu)N of Honor DO?  Sure.  I get to stand up at the altar and look good. alongside my sister.  But.. what else?  My husband made a comment about the bachelor party a while back.  And that got me thinking..  Isn’t that my job?  Planning the bachelorette party>>?  If SO. I have a feeling this Matro(FU)n of Honor role is custom tailored to yours truly.  NOT that I am a pervy weirdo who likes baking penis shaped cookies or anything.  But still.  I think I could come up w/ some hooting fun for a group of intoxicated women.  If the need arose.

Unfortunately. I live 1200 miles away from my sister.  B.c of my freaky ear disease I don’t fly.  So I fear this is going to make fun a little difficult to come by.  I was going to suggest to my sister that she plan the party such that I can drive both ways out to Las Vegas (you know, like 2 weeks each way) but I think my kids might miss me a bit.  And my husband might not like it.  When he mentioned the bachelor party he had an impish little grin on his face, but then when I suggested I would be planning the bachelorette party, he looked a little surly.  And then said something about how people nowadays really should be classier.

Does that mean this isn’t the best choice for my gown?  They are getting married in HOTlanta, you know.