There comes a time in every woman’s life (usually at a young age) when she finds herself having to shop (or wanting to shop) for clothes. For many women, this is an enjoyable and fun experience, for others, not so much.
I was taught at an early age to look for bargains. Of course, I could not really appreciate the quest for bargain savings during my teenage years when I wanted nothing more than to wear only name-brand clothing. But at some point, that bargain mentality found it’s way into my purchasing choices.
When planning for our son’s upcoming wedding at the end of September, I was pleased to remember that I had a nice, taupe long dress that would work perfectly for my “Mother-of-the-groom” big event. I sent a picture of me in the dress to my future daughter-in-law for her thumbs up or down thoughts. She kindly told me it was a pretty dress and would be great.
Of course when I casually mentioned this to my daughter, I was met with a horrified response. ” Oh Mom, you HAVE to buy a new dress for your only son’s wedding!” Sufficiently guilted, I found myself starting the hunt for the perfect long dress. In between I found myself reading current-day wedding etiquette on what the mother-of-the-groom is “supposed” to wear. It said that I was supposed to match the Mother-of-the-bride. Okay, I can do that I thought.
Because I work full-time and have limited free time, I took my search online (how I do the majority of my shopping these days). I learned that my future daughter-in-law’s mother was wearing a lovely dusty pink long dress with sparkly silver dress accents. Now here’s where things really got interesting.
In my google search I found a site that offered almost exclusively wedding attire related clothing, shoes and accessories. The dresses were beautiful and the pricing even better. I was excited to have found this neat site. I poured over dresses and finally came across the perfect dress. The style was simple, yet elegant and the (20+) dress reviews were all positive. The reviews were glowing: ” The dress fit perfectly, I just sent measurements in and it came quickly…definitely will be re-ordering from this store!” I looked to see what colors were available and if they would match the bride’s mother’s dress? I settled on a beautiful lilac that I thought would compliment her dress. I decided that sending in my measurements was the smart way to order. I very carefully measured myself and sent in the order form. A week or so later the dress arrived. It appeared to be beautifully made. I was excited to try it on.
The Moment Of Truth..Or Should I Say Horror!
As soon as I got home from work, I ran up to my bedroom to try on the dress. I noted that the higher the zipper rose, the tighter the fit became. I felt like I had an antique waist-cincher device on. I had my husband finish zipping the dress. OMG..what have I done! As I looked in the mirror, my heart sank. The dress…on me..was hideous. The first word that came to mind was MATRONLY. The beautifully illustrated ankle-length dress in the picture, grazed my calves. I could breathe, but feared that if I raised my arms to have a Mother-Son dance or dance with my husband, that I could rip out the sides of the dress with the ease of the Incredible Hulk. The only thing that made this whole thing just a bit worse at the moment of the dress try-on..was that I had just lost 20 lbs. and was feeling pretty good about that achievement. The way this dress looked on me made me feel like I needed to add more exercise to my food plan.
Always the kind and loving partner, my husband tried to help. He suggested (I can laugh about it now) that perhaps I could just put in a couple of spandex panels on the sides of the waist. If you are anyone who knows even the tiniest bit about sewing, you are rolling on the floor laughing at that suggestion.
My next thought was to see if my trusted alterations lady, Jeannie could do anything to help this dress drama. Before I tried on the dress, she explained that sometimes when a lining is added to the dress, it makes the dress become too tight. With that, she took her “seam ripper” and sliced one side of the lining. Off I went to try the dress on. Hmm..it was still too snug for my liking. Jeannie tried to be polite and tell me it was such a pretty color & well-made. Fortunately, for me, I had also brought my original (already owned) dress choice with it’s jacket. Granted, it was so old that it still had shoulder pads in the jacket..but geez, I had only worn it twice and it is still a great dress.
When I came out in the second dress, Jeannie gasped and said, “Oh..that’s the Mother-of-the-groom dress, get rid of that lilac thing.” About that time, another of Jeannie’s customers came in to drop off some clothing items for alteration. She commented on my lovely taupe dress and I began to tell her the story of my bargain buy. Jeannie piped in while laughing and said, “Show her the lilac dress.” I brought it out. The woman, with a hint of recognition, said, “Aww, it reminds me of the Bridesmaids movie.” Or was it 27 Dresses? Enough said, right. That clenched my decision.
Allow Me To Share My Observations…
Here’s what I have learned about online retailers. Many of the new online clothing stores offer really cute fashion designs that I don’t always see in local stores. Some of these creative stores (I have learned), are in a different country. I will not generalize about all of these stores, but at least some of them have no clue about how to size their designs to fit American women..and seeing is not believing! The sizing charts cannot always be trusted. It is obvious that some out-of-country clothes designers have not learned the psychology of American sizing.
Clues That The Store Is Not In The U.S.
I can always tell that the store is in another country when I see the USD icon in the top toolbar on the website. American stores do not typically display a USD icon on their U.S. store websites. I also learned an expensive lesson because I sent in my exact measurements (rather than ordering from a typical American size) which made my dress a custom one, and as such, non-exchangeable. I learned that a bargain is not always a bargain! So if you decide to take a walk on the wild side to order cute, international clothing, just say NO to the dress!