Friday, December 9, 2011

Frugal Friday: The Magic Dresses

First up, here are today's specials!

Aeropostale: This weekend only, use the code HOLIDAY25 to take $25 off a purchase of $100 or more. That might be a challenge, since there's also a 60% off sale going on. Of course, I love a challenge.

Kohl's: Through December 11th, take an extra 20% off with the code CHEER20.

Folks, I have experienced a Festivus miracle. No joke. As you might know, I sing weddings. A lot of weddings, and when I perform, I try to dress, more or less, as a really boring guest; something simple, elegant, and generally black. If it's an evening wedding, I might add a little sparkle, but not too much. I'm on the altar, so I try to just blend in with the woodwork (er...gold leaf? It's a really fancy church) as much as possible.

I go through a lot of cocktail dresses. I have dresses for skinny days and dresses for fat days, dresses for weddings I know are going to be really formal and dresses for afternoon tea weddings, dresses for hot days and dresses for cold days, dresses with sweaters and dresses with flats...

...dresses that no longer fit and dresses with rips, dresses so old they've dry-rotted with age and dresses that have seen much better days...oh, wait. Those are all the same dresses. I realized last night that a few of my go-to wedding dresses needed to hie themselves to Goodwill, and I needed some new dresses to toss into the rotation. But I'm broke. As are we all.

So, I rummaged through a box of old dresses from college and shortly thereafter, in the hopes that something appropriate might show itself. Of course, the entire search seemed an exercise in futility. I'm nowhere near the size I was in college. Anything pulled out of that box would surely be too small.

And yet, hope springs eternal. I pulled out two dresses that I thought might work. They were in excellent condition from being stored in plastic in an air-tight tupperware box, so they were already doing better than the dresses in the closet. One was black velvet with a sequinned band under the bustline; not really church-appropriate, but with a sweater covering all but the skirt, it could definitely work. I also thought this had a shot at still fitting because it had a loose, a-line skirt, and the bust didn't matter because it would be covered by a sweater, anyway.

The second dress...I knew was going to break my heart. To give you an idea what we're dealing with, I bought this dress six years ago, while I lived in New York. I was dancing regularly, walking everywhere, and drinking milkshakes to try to gain weight. (Yeah, go ahead and hate 25 year-old me. I know I do.) I might have weighed 105 lbs. soaking wet and fully clothed. I bought this dress for a New Year's Eve party, and it was black and nude with black lace overlay, strapless, and completely body-conscious. With a sweater, it would be wedding appropriate (really!), but without, it's as va-va-voom a dress as they come. Bettie Page would approve of this dress. There was no way on God's green Earth it was going to fit over one leg of 31 year-old me. Still, I had to try.

I took a deep breath, stepped in, closed my eyes, and tugged...and the dress slid on...and fit! Not only did it fit, but it actually looked better than it did in my twenties! I have curves now, and this dress was built to show them off. I seriously considered crying.

I slipped on the velvet dress, just to see if my luck would hold out, and I had the same result. No, the dress didn't look like it did half a decade ago. It looked better. I looked better. I looked like a filled out, grown up woman, and not a skinny little girl.

So, yeah, I danced around the room a little bit, and yelled out to Thomas that these had to be "magic dresses". Wouldn't you? But really, there's nothing magical about these dresses. They're the same dresses I've always had. What's changed--what's magical--is me and my ability to feel comfortable in my own skin. 25 year-old me would have freaked out to see 31 year-old Erin's weight on the scale. The sizes on my current clothes would have thrown younger me into an absolute tizzy. And, I'm not going to lie, I'm not thrilled with them, myself. However, I know what I look like, and, more importantly, I like how I look. As long as I'm healthy and happy, the numbers don't matter (as much).

These dresses don't "still fit". I just grew into them.

1 comment:

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