Not what I had in mind
I received my first wedding invitation of the season last week. Before I even opened the invite or knew whose wedding I would be attending, the imminent question popped into my head —What am I gonna wear? The wedding is still a few months away, so there’s no need to stress the dress, at least not yet.
My brother Frank’s wedding was this past September and I spent lots of time creating my ideal dress in my head — the was the dress I was destined to find, buy and wear to my only brother’s wedding.
I envisioned something long, very feminine and polished with a little sleeve, preferably covered in flowers or at least in a cheerful shade. I’m not usually a “girlie-girl,” but for some reason I felt I had to play up the image of the quintessential little sister – innocent, dainty and a little fragile. Oh, and most importantly, my dress could not be black. There was no way I was wearing black to my only brother’s summer wedding. It just seemed morbid to me.
When I fantasized about my ultra- feminine, non- black dress, I also pictured myself looking very much like Gisele from the neck down. I looked exactly how I wanted (in my head), and everyone would see me for the delicate young lady I was. Things didn’t quite play out like I imagined.
I tried on no less than sixty dresses until I finally realized the style I had my heart set on wearing was not going to work. Out of all those dresses two emerged as possible candidates but I wasn’t in love with either of them. I knew I could do better.
For one, I look nothing like Gisele. It’s easy to dress the body I dream of, but I’m no paper doll. My figure is kind of a challenge to dress, especially when it comes to formal wear. I’m fairly proportionate but on the short side, curvier and definitely not the skinniest of things. I was having a hard time fitting into the style that I wanted to wear so badly. The long gowns didn’t work and the fruity floral prints made me feel too much like the five-year-old little sister I used to be, not the thirty-year-old woman I had grown into .
While I zeroed in on the long dresses, my mom discovered a simple black, “Mad Men” style sheath and she pushed me to try it on. Absolutely not, I thought —possibly out loud — this was nothing close to what I wanted. Mom gave me a look that clearly said grow up.
I got the dress in the fitting room and looked it over. Upon closer inspection, it really was beautiful. It had a brocade design with a symmetrical deep “v” in the front and back, with a vertical grosgrain ribbon detail in the front. It was cute and sexy at the same time. It was “little sister all grown up.” I loved it when I tried it on and even more so when I wore it to Frank’s wedding. I was comfortable and most important the dress was totally me.
We all have that perfect dress in our head and chances are that’s the only place we’ll ever see it — hanging on the little rack in our imagination. If you set out to find exactly what you want, chances are you’ll end up very disappointed. When you know what you’re looking for and refuse to bend at all, those things are almost impossible to find. Be open to suggestions and alternatives. Realize that what you think you want may not work at all.
Ever since Frank’s wedding I’ve wondered when I’d be able to wear my black dress again. Maybe this wedding coming up in August will be the perfect occasion to bring it out of the closet? I could keep it simple and inexpensive…that would be really smart of me.
But then that means I don’t have to go looking for a new dress and where’s the fun in that?