I have two younger cousins (in their 30s) who are my uncle’s daughters. My mother’s brother’s daughters. We have always called them “The Girls” for as long as they’ve been living. I don’t know why, but so it is. It’s not anti-feminist, it’s just their nickname, so take it as such.
Ten years ago, the older of The Girls got married. She and her mother decided that the wedding was to be a formal “black and white” wedding. I’d never had to shop for a formal dress before (except my wedding dress, which I ended up having custom-made by a seamstress which ended up being cheaper than buying from a shop and was roughly $500 without the material), so I started ordering lots of dresses to try on. At that point, finding a formal gown locally in my size was not possible, so I shopped the web. I tried on dress after dress, shipping to and from, ordering my size/a size up/a size down because sizing SUCKS. And remember, it had to be black, because this was a black and white wedding and for sure I wasn’t wearing white!
I finally found a dress I loved for the most part, that I got on sale at a great price. A formal plus-size gown, black with sparkly shoulder straps, on sale for less than $100. Nearly unheard of! The bad news was, the dress was sleeveless and there was more decolletage than I had wanted. So I turned to my mother, who crocheted a pair of flutter sleeves in delicate black yarn along with a matching “modesty panel” to cover the excess cleavage. She sewed everything in for me and after getting my ‘do did, off we went to the wedding. I got a ton of compliments on the dress and the hair, but honestly I have no idea if there were any pictures of me in it. I remember one picture of the “table” where we were sitting, but I was sitting so you can’t really see much of the dress. (I still have the dress in the back of my closet but I haven’t looked at it in YEARS.)
Now, as I’ve said, there’s an upcoming formal wedding for the younger of The Girls. I shopped again, though this time it was mostly looking and not so much ordering. I have a better idea of what I like to wear and what looks good on me, thanks to past experience (plus I’ve had to buy another gown for my brother’s wedding since then). And I also know to watch for sales if I find something I like, so I don’t pay through the nose for a dress I’ll likely never wear again. (So depressing…money wasted…). I looked and looked and kept going back to the same dress over and over again. I was worried, though, because my aunt had let slip that the wedding colors were supposed to be purple and white (though my aunt is wearing black and I think so is the matron of honor?!?!) and the dress I wanted was purple. I didn’t want to upset anyone (my aunt) by wearing the wedding colors when I knew what the colors were…like I wanted to be a part of the wedding or something. So I ended up asking the older of The Girls (and the matron of honor) if she thought it would be a problem if I wore this dark eggplant-y purple and she said no it was fine.
So I ordered the dress (at 40% off!) and when it arrived, I was pleased at the shape and fit of it, as well as the color. It’s sort of rosettes on lace with some very small amounts of sequins. It’s pretty gorgeous, if I do say so myself!
Of course, the length was too long because I’m short and long dresses are almost always LONG. I knew I’d have to have the dress hemmed, so I was prepared for that. I also had suspected that the short sleeves were going to look and feel slightly awkward just because of their odd length (they are even worse looking on big arms). What I wasn’t prepared for was that the rounded neckline was going to feel so high (you can’t see it but the back has a nice, low, vee-neck which is very flattering!). After searching for new black pumps that I could walk in (so we’d have the right length when hemming), it was off to the seamstress for alterations. I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or cry when the lovely woman told me the back of the dress was the right length but the front was too long (cuz I got me some booty)…I did neither and she went about her business measuring the length to the right spot. Then she asked what else I wanted done…
I asked to have the sleeves cut off and the front neckline lowered.