There are certain things that fill women with dread.
I don’t care how strong your body image is, I have never met a woman who is excited about the prospect of shopping for jeans or swimsuits. If ever there was a unifying activity for women of all sizes, it’s trying on these items in a small little box with a large mirror and unflattering lighting. It’s horrifying and humbling.
Am I right, ladies?
Because there are styles to fit every body, everybody gets frustrated working their way through the ones not designed for them. It can make a woman wonder whether she might be the most malformed person on the planet when the first 15 pairs of jeans are simultaneously too small and too large. How is that possible?
Or when trying on bikinis, she finds herself trying on XXS tops and M bottoms. Really? Extra, extra small? Humiliating.
Now, I actually like shopping. But even I shudder at the thought of having to endure the search for those right jeans or a swimsuit that flatters/doesn’t look that bad. So I was relieved that on a recent journey to Denver my main goal was not one of these items, but to find a dress to wear to a wedding.
But to my surprise, as I worked my way store by store through the mall, I began filling with the same sense of dread as if I was shopping for a bikini. I was having issues balancing all the factors to find the right ensemble.
The large evening wedding is the union of two of my favorite people, taking place at the top of Keystone Resort during Labor Day weekend. So right there we’re dealing with a semi-formal event, two gondola rides, rugged terrain and unknown weather that could range from gorgeous and sunny to windy and rainy, perhaps even snowy. God forbid.
Add in the fact that I’m not only a guest, but along with Most Reasonable and Practical Friend, we are serving as a point of contact for the wedding vendors to take the onus off the bride and her mother, and we are assigned to make sure the groomsmen get where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, dressed and comported appropriately for the occasion. We have titled ourselves the groomsmen wranglers.
So in addition to the weather, location and wrangling duties, I had to take into consideration something, er, age appropriate.
People, there are a lot of hoochie-mama dresses out there. There comes a point in life when a woman needs to recognize that some dresses are best left to the young. I’m not saying we women approaching a certain age have to dress matronly and can’t look sexy. We just need to do it in a way that highlights our best features. It’s time to stop putting it all out there. Just put some of it out there.
In the 11th hour, with the mall closing in an hour, I stumbled, somewhat discouraged, into BCBGMaxAzria, where I believe I was sent a shopping angel to help me with my angst-ridden task. I started pulling possible dresses from the racks, when David appeared out of nowhere to assist me.
He removed the load from my arms to put in a dressing room, came back and said, “I detected a theme. Are you shopping for an event?” I told him the generalities and he talked with enthusiasm about the options, asking me questions about colors and styles. Then he sent me off to start trying on while he collected more dresses.
I put the first dress and stepped out of the dressing room to get a longer look in the three-way mirror and I heard David approach stating, “You can’t tell me that is not flattering. That looks amazing on you. And I will tell you if something doesn’t look good.”
And he did, as we worked our way through no less than 20 dresses. One with ruffles made me gasp in horror when I looked in the mirror. Another with multiple floral prints made me break into uncontrollable giggles as I looked at the 1980s version of myself. A one-shouldered bandage dress fell into the hoochie-mama category. David agreed.
As we narrowed down the finalists, he brought me shoes and accessories to try, some for a look and some, including a black pump with an inch-and-a-half layered platform and four-and-a-half-inch stiletto heels, “just for giggles, because shopping should be fun!”
He had such contagious enthusiasm for the mission that I lost the nauseated feeling that had developed. We ultimately found a dress and jacket for the wedding, to cover all the bases weather-wise, and he told me what to look for in a shoe and accessories.
We also found a dress for the rehearsal dinner, in the same colors but different style, “so you will be dressed in theme for the weekend.” Genius. I wouldn’t have gone with a color theme if left to my own devices!
So, the moral of my story is this: When faced with a dreaded shopping task, wish yourself a shopping angel to appear and take care of you. Put is in the hands of a professional.
Linda Stamper Boyne, of Edwards, can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.