Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Dress (aka I said “Yes to the Dress!”)

At first I was looking forward to shopping for the “special” dress (or in this case, gown) for our Oscar Award Ceremony. I have to say that I like to shop but I don’t love it.

I have curves and many of today’s dresses just aren’t made for a woman that has breasts. Or hips. My body is better suited to the era of the 40’s when it was the fashion to have curves. One look at at the sizes and you have to wonder who wears a size 00? When I hold it up I think to myself that I have a broom that’s wider than it is. Not even Twiggy of the 60’s was that skinny!

What are they thinking with the sizing? So if you wear a size 10 or 12 these days you are almost a “plus” size, when years ago it was a completely normal size to wear. Hello Fashion World! Why not make women feel better about the size they wear rather than make them feel horrible? Our society and this penchant for being the size of a broomstick is scary to me. And nothing is true to size. Nothing.

Not even shoes. I have worn a size 6 for many years now. After trying on shoes to go with said gown I quickly realized that size 6’s were slipping off my feet. Too big! Now it seems I wear a 5 1/2. I haven’t worn a 5 1/2 since I was in high school. (And, as we all know, that was a very long time ago!) Just a year ago I could barely find anything in size 6, let alone a 5 1/2. But now 5 1/2’s seem to be plentiful. I asked the woman in Macy’s who was waiting on me if it was my imagination or had my feet started to shrink? She laughed and said it was true: they are changing the sizing. Huh? I had to wonder if that was for all those size 00 models with feet like boats so they could feel better about their shoe size. I mean, really.

With two friends in tow (neighbor Kim, of course) and Claire who is also going to the Oscars we set out on a mission: find a gown!

We started at a small boutique with what looked like plenty of gowns to choose from. The shop owner was very helpful and friendly. Kim acted as personal shopper while Claire and I tried on what she brought us. Many of them in the size I normally wear would not even zip. Some of them were too beaded. Some too “O.L.” (Old Lady). Some too “M.O.B.” (Mother of the Bride). Some just not me. We struck out and went on to the next shop which was mostly bridal.

Here the gowns in our normal size were even smaller. I assume to fit the average bridesmaid or junior. Claire and I were feeling pretty low by now. The shop owner could have cared less about us and just left us on our own with no help or support. Forget about that place!

The next shop I went to with neighbor Kim was a gown shop. I told the owner what I was looking for and what sizes I had been trying on over the past few days. She looked and me and said “no way you wear that size!” So we pulled some lovely dresses in a lower size. Again, some would not even pull up over my hips, let alone zip. They kept pulling dresses with ruching, saying that it was slimming. However, on my body that ‘slimming’ ruching added about an inch of material to my waist and hips. ACK! Horrible! Some of those dresses weighed at least 7 or 10 pounds with enough material to swallow me whole. Also, as the dress sizes rose, the selection went way down. I was beginning to wonder if my body had exploded in size without my knowledge.

When I got home I immediately tried on a dress I had bought last year and was planning on wearing to a party that weekend, thinking my god, maybe it doesn’t fit either. But it did: perfectly. So, not me. Whew, what a relief.

I was starting to get worried that I would not find anything. Everything we had seen so far could be sporting a label stating: Prom, Mother-of-the-Bride-Boring, or Old-Lady-Going-on-a-Cruise. Don’t women these days buy gowns for any other reason? And who says Mother-of-the-Bride these days has to be the same boring thing my own mother wore? Besides, I am not anybody’s mother! (The dogs and cats don’t count.)

We had plans to go down to Freehold, New Jersey to Diane & Co. that week if we still hadn’t found anything in shops closer to us. Diane & Co. is a unique dress shop that is family-run. In fact, two years ago they had a reality TV show called Jersey Couture that revolved around their dress shop and family. I loved it but sadly they did not return last year. Now I understand that the Oxygen network picked them back up and an all new season starts in February. I was looking forward to going there, but it was not to be. *Watch the new season of Jersey Couture!*

Kim had asked around to her various friends where they have bought dresses for either black tie events or weddings. On a whim one afternoon last week we decided to go to one of them in Hawthorne. It was by appointment only. When we arrived the owner sized me up as she asked what I was looking for and what my budget was. She immediately pulled about four dresses off the rack (and one off the mannequin) for me to try.

The first dress from the mannequin happened to be a size 6. I told her there was no way it was going to fit. She said “ah, just step into it and shimmy it up over your hips.” So I did. It was up (how did she know I could even get it up over my hips?) but it wasn’t going to zip. No problem! She pulls it in in the back so I can see what it would look like, like they do on Say Yes to the Dress. Not bad. I liked it. On to the second dress: a ball gown.

The minute I walked out she told me “no no no!” so we didn’t even bother zipping it up.

The third dress looked promising. It zipped. It was my ‘normal’ size. It fit me almost perfectly except for hemming and maybe a few tucks in the back. It got a “wow” from Kim and she’s hard to impress. And here, finally, it is:

Rina di Montella R2859

Lovely shop; lovely service. It made up for all the bad experiences of the past week.

I hope that when I go back in on Friday for my fitting that I love it as much as I did when I first tried it on. I also hope that the jewelry I bought (at the same shop as the dress) looks good with it once I have it all on. The jury is still out on the necklace though because the top strand keeps turning on me, so I’ll just have to see. I might exchange it for something else. A few people have said I don’t need a necklace, but the dress is pretty plain with only earrings. Opinions? At this point I don’t think I can just say I don’t want the necklace, but hopefully she will let me exchange it for another if it’s just going to drive me crazy by turning over all the time!

IMG 6888

IMG 6887

And finally, the shoes and the bag.

IMG 6898

We are lucky enough to be staying at the same hotel as the event: The Beverly Hills Wilshire which is just off Rodeo Drive. I have made an appointment for an “up-do,” makeup and nails in their salon, so we shall see what magic they will make happen! That will occupy my afternoon on Saturday so I don’t have to worry about what other clothes to bring to fit into the posh atmosphere of the hotel.

I’m glad this part is over with!

P.S. After hearing about my successful gown purchase, Claire and I went back the very next day to the same shop and she bought a gown. In fact, the same style as the first dress I tried on. Success all-around! Now for Kim’s “Mother-of-the-Bride” dress for her son’s wedding in September. And knowing Kim, it’s not going to be “motherly.”


The dress is gorgeous and so is everything else.  I’d never be able to walk in those shoes though!  I agree that the dress needs some sort of necklace, but make sure it’s one you’re comfortable with.  Rick, you need to make sure you get a photo once Lynne’s all dressed up!

C, thanks! The shoes are a work in progress! One hour a day to break them in. The heels are high, but not like some I tried on where I teetered on the verge of a twisted ankle! I’m sure someone will take photos, even if they don’t appear on TV! smile

Gosh, the gown is fabulous you will look a million dollars.  I wouldn’t wear something I didn’t feel comfortable in so would not wear the chosen necklace, maybe go for a single strand one. The stole and the pin on the lower part of the dress look stunning and the shoes and bag are a great match.  How exciting.

As you know,I agree with everyone else about the “turning over” necklace. I know how aggravating that can be and you won’t want to have to keep fixing it! It’s really pretty, but maybe something a little more simple?? I can’t wait to see you all put together.

Joyce, thank you! Here’s hoping! smile I will try it all on together tomorrow at my fitting and see what happens next.

Bigsis, I don’t even know if she will let me exchange the necklace or not. I don’t see why not as long as I spend as much money!

The necklace got a big thumb’s up from friend Linda!~

OMG!  I’m just catching up with your news…this is so exciting.  The dress rocks! And the shoes…I could never wear them but, if it meant the Oscars and Beverly Hills, I’d take one for the team!  The last time I shopped for something ‘outstanding’ was for my son’s wedding 7 yrs. ago.  I lucked out at Lord & Taylor but that was 15 lbs. ago.  Today, no one seems to really get dressed up anymore; it’s extremely difficult to find anything and, you are right, who wears a size 00?!?!?  Love the photos and cannot wait to hear about the event.  More pics please!  I will live vicariously through you - LOL!

Helene, Yes, I love my dress! It is extremely hard to find a formal dress that doesn’t scream too old!

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