I have recently been involved in a self-created comedy of errors and thought, if nothing else, it might be an entertaining story to post here.
You see, I am going to a special event in the city this Thursday evening. Part of the event proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign, and the invitation says “Red dress or red shoes optional.“
When I first put this event on my calendar a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t all that concerned about what I would wear. After all, I am no fashionista. Anyone who knows me can vouch for that. I don’t even know if I have a personal style, let alone what it would be called. (“Boring”, perhaps?) I own mostly solid-colored clothing items (there are a couple of exceptions), because patterns are too memorable and I don’t have that big of a closet (or budget) (or desire) for the amount of unique pieces required to keep people “guessing”, or “excited”, whatever the case may be.
I figured that, for the event, I might wear this nice, red blouse I have, with black pants and black shoes.
Then I wore that nice, red blouse to work and was reminded that the 3/4 sleeves feel a little goofy because of where they rest on my arm. And the fabric, well, it’s a little stiff. And annoying. And doesn’t move well. So, the blouse was fine for wearing to work for a few hours, but not for an event at which I want to feel comfortable in, and not be worried about, my clothing.
Also, red is my absolute favorite color to wear, so why not go ahead and try to find something new?
(That, my friends, is the question that started the unraveling.)
A week ago Saturday, I went to the JCPenney’s at the mall near my house, my old stand-by, and found no red dresses. Wait, let me take that back. I found red dresses. I found red dresses that would be great if I were about twenty years younger and fifty pounds lighter. I found red dresses that would be great if I were twenty years older. I found red dresses that would be great if Thursday’s event was the prom. Other than that? No red dresses.
I left that mall and decided to drive to the Designer Outlet mall, also not too far from my house.
I gave up for the day.
The following day, I decided to head over to a mall I don’t normally visit, just to see if I could find a red dress. I was on (and off) the phone with a friend the entire time, keeping her apprised of what was becoming a very–in my own mind–desperate situation.
I have to say that the very idea that I was becoming an anxious, out of control, total mess over an outfit was highly annoying, and I was completely disgusted with myself.
The JCPenney at that mall looked, at first, like it had put an all-out ban on anything red at all:
The other? LOVELY. I thought it was so glamorous, a showstopper for sure. (Not that I was looking for a showstopper at all, but I could really see myself wearing this dress–many times–and looking so awesome.) Unfortunately it cost about twice as much as I had mentally budgeted for this event, and really was a little more dressy than what I had in mind.
That mall was a small one, and I turned it upside down only to find nothing red that would remotely work. The next day, I checked out the TJMaxx near work. Nothing.
It was at that point I started to think about red shoes instead of a red dress. The main problem with this strategy is that I wear a women’s size 11. It’s not like I ever have lots of shoe choices, in general; finding size 11 dress shoes in a color other than black or brown at an actual store would be a challenge. At least I always know where to look: the shoes that are size 10 and larger are always in the darkest corner at the back of the shoe store, like an afterthought. (You ladies who wear a size 7 or 8 have no idea how blessed you are when it comes to shoe choices. Am I right, Momo??) Naturally, as I predicted, I could not find red shoes.
That’s when, at Michelle’s (my date!) urging, I turned to online shopping, which I originally wanted to avoid like the plague. I am the type of person who really, really needs to try things on, for many reasons. My mental state over this stupid outfit, however, was becoming quite frantic (Why, again? SO ANNOYING.) and I figured I had nothing to lose.
Online, the situation was pretty close to what was happening “in real life”, at the stores. I could find lots of red dresses for hundreds of dollars, but red dresses and blouses that were within my price range were hard to come by. Michelle had found four (yes, four) online at Kohl’s (I think) and ordered every single one of them. I ended up–finally–finding this dress at Overstock.com, and ordered it, hoping that it would be as flattering as it looked like it might be.
I settled in to wait for my dress, and took a break from the searching for a few days.
The dress arrived on Monday, and I ran upstairs to try it on immediately. Guess which of the following was true about this dress, as it fit on my body:
A. It was too short.
B. It was too clingy.
C. It was too low cut.
D. It hung weirdly.
E. All of the above.
Do I even need to tell you the answer?
So I screamed on Twitter, and made plans to head back to my mall that evening, to cover the territory I didn’t previously cover. I put one of my friends on notice, telling her that I was taking her shopping with me, by phone, and headed out. In the interest of finishing this post sometime today, here are the highlights–err, lowlights–of that trip to the mall:
1. First stop: Sears. I decided to swing by the women’s department on my way to shoes, and found, of course, no red dresses that would work. I found one pair of red shoes. Yay! They didn’t have them in my size. Boo. The young salesman (who must work on commission AND think I’m an idiot) actually said to me, “Tell you what: I can take the size 10 pair to the back and stretch them for you…” I said, “Uh, I’ll pass.” He said, “Really? Because you said you need them; I can totally do it for you.” Gah.
2. I speedwalked across the mall to Macy’s, because a friend had left me a voicemail the night before that at HER Macy’s, she found all kinds of red dresses on clearance. I headed over there, totally sweating. I found a beautiful red Michael Kors blouse, for way more than I would ever spend on a blouse. I couldn’t justify that purchase, and kept looking. Found a just-as-pretty blouse that was similar, in the Macy’s brand, for twenty dollars. Score! This would be my backup. I bought it. Remembered I would still “need” red shoes. (“Need”, at this point, remember, is in my own mind.) Forgot about looking for shoes at Macy’s, and left.
3. Next stop: back to my JCPenney’s. On the phone with my friend, I said, “If that long red dress is here and on sale, I am going to buy it.” Surprise: I saw the dress, and it was FORTY PERCENT OFF. But only available in sizes 4 and 6. Calgon, take me away!!! On to the shoe department: nothing in size 11.
4. Next stop: Carson’s. Fruitless. By now my body is in full workout mode, and I am sweating so much that even carrying my jacket is exhausting. Shopping sucks. I stop at a couple of shoe-only stores in the mall and find nothing, except one pair of red, size 11 Fergalicious pumps. As I squeeze my feet into them, I am thinking about how, if they fit and I buy them, I will have to sing and spell things all night at the event, because that’s what Fergie does. G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.
The shoes are uncomfortable and showed uneven toe cleavage. Blech.
5. Next stop: Back to Macy’s, to look at the shoe department. I found an adorable pair of red suede Jessica Simpson shoes, but of course not in my size. Another area Macy’s has them according to the computer, but when the associate made a phone call, we found out that the computer system was wrong. I resigned myself to giving up at the mall and looking online as a last ditch effort.
Home again, I locate a pair of shoes at Sears online which I order, and have express shipped (I NEVER pay for that kind of stuff: Ack!). The shoes look SO cool–online.
And now you’re caught up. The shoes will be delivered today. I plan to wear them with the LBD I bought for BlogHer ’10, one of my favorite dresses I’ve ever owned. I have told Michelle that I will get my feet into these shoes and wear them whether they fit properly or not, and she might have to get me and my bloody stumps to the car at the end of the night.
Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.
Here’s a question: do you ever annoy yourself? If so, how? (or is it just me?)
©2011 Suburban Scrawl