Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Tight Squeeze

The dress. Not on me though.

My sister is getting married in July. Exciting. I am the matron of honor. Also exciting. Bridesmaid's dress shopping. Not so exciting. I was in Philly a few weeks ago to help my sister find the perfect wedding dress, which she did. It does make me a little sick that she toggles between a size 0 and size 2, which I think may be the same dress size as my 7 year old. But enough about her (whatever, "her" day isn't till July). After her search was over, my fellow bridesmaid, Tracee and I, pulled about a half dozen dresses to try on. Each dress made me realize that almost every part of me was flawed in some way or another. Some dresses made me look pregnant (I am aware the post-baby belly is there, I don't need a dress to remind me... and everyone else), others flat chested (again, something I am well aware of), big butted (is that a word?), you name, there was a dress that screamed, "Look at my _____, everyone!" Now, if you know me, I am not one for attention. I hate the spotlight, and especially on this occasion, I would hate to steal my sister's thunder by having the attention be on me and my seemingly un-average body. Maybe that is the point of the bridesmaids' dresses: to make the bridesmaids look their worst, so that the bride look that much better. Well, my sister doesn't need that- she looks amazing in her wedding dress, so I would like to just look normal, which is proving to be harder than it sounds. I left Philly with a great pair of shoes for the wedding (4" stilettos... yes, I will be the giant tower in the wedding pictures) but no dress.

So back to the bridal store to try on more dresses here in St. Louis. I take Hanna along, somewhat unaware of the fact that she will be of little help when it comes to opinion and practical help, like zipping up the dress. I now know why this is typically a group event. I grab some dresses in a size 6 and size 4. Depending on the brand, my size is somewhere around there... unless it is in jeans, then is varies from a 2 to a 12 (I put jeans shopping up there with bra shopping on my list of things I hate to shop for). I try on the 6 and it fits for the most part (there is a ruffle across the front that I have a love-hate relationship with- its ruffly, which is almost never a good thing, but covers my baby bulge perfectly!) but the top is somewhat roomy to the point where there is a chance that after a couple of hugs, the wire boning may become inverted... I find the sales lady to zip me up and ask her opinion on the fit. She tells me that to go down to a 4, I would need an extra two inches of room along the body, and I don't have that. She suggests getting the top part altered or adding significant padding. She is probably right, but I have to find out for myself. I shift my way into the 4 and again ask the lady to zip me up. She does so hesitantly and then walks away, most likely rolling her eyes. The dress feels small... it is somewhat difficult to breath but the size 4 offers more assurance of the dress staying up than the 6 does... tough call, strained breathing during the wedding or more chance of "wardrobe malfunction" (Superbowl Janet Jackson)? I decide I can't make a decision. Maybe I can start working out and then be able to breath better in a 4? Or realistically, maybe by the time the holidays are over, the 6 may be a better option. Either way, I am done with dresses and ready to leave. I look for the lady to unzip me and she is no where to be found. All the other bridesmaids are busy oooing and ahhhing over the brides trying on their dresses, moms are in tears, friends are refrain from telling the bride that the dress of her dreams is a really bad choice, etc... so I ask Hanna to try her hardest to get the zipper down. Doesn't work. I decide that if I can get a good grip, maybe I can get it on my own. I wiggle till the dress is turned around 180 degrees and the zipper is in front of me.  I struggle to unzip it. No luck. I realize that I can't go out of the fitting room with the dress like that so after another 5 minutes of shifting and wiggling to get the dress back the right way, I go out and look for the lady. I tell her sheepishly that I think I will go with the 6 and she makes no comment. She tries several times to get the zip down, and then says," Follow me." I go to back of the store where the seamstress is working on a dress. The sales lady tells her that I need some help. Actually, she doesn't say that. Her exact words are,"I have a lady stuck in a dress..." I smile and again comment that I suppose the 6 is a better option. Neither of them laugh. The seamstress tugs and jerks the zipper, moves the dress about, etc. and finally shakes her head and says in her heavy Chinese accent,"Can't do anything. We have no choice." I am not sure what that means, but one big tug and a loud tearing sound later, it is clear. My chest fills with air again, and I feel the cold store air on my back. The dress will come off quite easily now. I look at the them and say,"What now?" The seamstress looks at the sales lady and says, "Mark it "damaged"" and she returns to her sewing. The dress is $139 so I am relieved that there is no policy of making stupid bridesmaids, who want to squeeze into dresses that are too small and damage them as a result, pay for the dress. I hang the dress back up and take note of the huge rip down the back of the dress. Fail. I hand her back the dress and leave the store as quickly as I can before she changes her mind about billing me for the dress. Hanna witnesses the whole thing in awe, unsure about what to say or what really just happened.

6. I think I will go for the 6 next time, and bring an insanely padded bra... so yes, when you see the wedding pictures, and there is a giant on stilts with the artificial looking front, know that the top part comes off... and hopefully, this time, the dress will too...

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