Purchasing the Proper Party Dress


Fangette has been invited to about her forty-fifth Sweet 16 party. I’m not kidding. I wish she were a little less popular. If she were a boy, Fang, Jr., for example, I probably wouldn’t care. I would have bought him a suit, a few ties, a couple of shirts, a new pair of black dress shoes and sent him on his way. Boys are much easier to outfit. When you are dealing with daughters and parties the dress requirements are much more rigorous. Yesterday we bought the forty-fifth dress in two years. Another black dress. Different from the nine other black dresses in some, to me, undiscerbible way.

This required trips to about seventeen different stores. The same seventeen stores that we have shopped for the last forty-four dresses in. I have discovered that purchasing the proper party dress is a three-day mission.

Day One: Reconnaissance
This requires visiting all seventeen stores to eyeball what they have to offer. Several dresses are tried on. One or two may make the “maybe” list. Some are discarded because they will require a certain kind of undergarment or no undergarment at all (The Horror!); others get a “no” for fit. No final decisions are ever made on Day One. Ever. Sometimes Day One results in the discovery of a few cute shirts, so it’s not a total waste of time.

Day Two: Whittling Down
This is the day that we return to the stores where the “maybe” dresses are located. Other “maybes” are often added. Finally we whittle the choices down to two or three. This is where color and the possible need for new shoes or undergarments become part of the decision-making process. And the accessories. Can you wear silver with beige? No. The blue dress is cute, but the black $100 Steve Maddens won’t look right with it. Will a few gold accessories make the dress wearable with the gold $120 Steve Maddens? Perhaps. The pink and black one is cute. The black shoes and silver jewelry will complete the look. It needs a halter bra, though. Didn’t we buy a $65 convertible bra last year? Yes. But it’s black. And one of the straps cannot be located. Great.

Day Three: Final Purchase
After mulling over the “maybes” and taking into consideration all of the necessary ancillary purchases, a final decision is made. Usually we discover that one of the “maybes” is the same color being worn by The Birthday Girl. Seriously. The party invitations ask that no one wear purple or red or chartreuse. Not being that detail-oriented, we normally forget to check this. Likely the favorite “maybe” turns out to be the verboten color. Luckily we have at least two other choices.

What I should have invested in when The Sweet 16 party invitations began arriving, was a rolling suitcase for the proper undergarments, shoes, and accessories that must be brought to the mall for Day Three. I should also have printed out flyers, to hand to the salespeople, telling them that these items are ours and have been brought from home. Sometimes there is confusion here. I guess they are trained to be on the lookout for suspected shoplifters, possibly we fit the description.

Day Three also involves a certain amount of hoping and praying. By me. I hope that the store still has the dress and pray that the final “try on” meets with her approval.

Otherwise, it’s back to Day One.

8 thoughts on “Purchasing the Proper Party Dress

  1. javaj240 says:

    I recommend the mousse hair color. The grey coverage is great! It’s $12 well spent.

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  2. wedelmom says:

    OH MY WORD – so funny and so true! I have two teenage dress shoppers….and the grey hair to prove it!

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  3. javaj240 says:

    Cross your eyes and your legs while you’re at it. Even discounting lavish Sweet 16s, you’re still in for some shopping, Sister!

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  4. Wow!!! You are an amazing mom!!! I don’t think I could handle three days shopping let alone one. I’m pretty sure (I could be wrong) that Wisconsin kids aren’t throwing lavish Sweet Sixteens. I’m crossing my fingers!

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  5. javaj240 says:

    I’m sure you could have written this.

    I hate the mall. Hate it. And I live in the mall capital of the US. Seriously. People come from other countries to visit our malls. I do my level best to stay away.

    And the money spent on these dresses/parties/gifts is just ridiculous. I tell these kids that they could have all jetted off to Fiji for one big soiree. Ridiculous.

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  6. OMG, I could’ve written this blog post word for word LOL! The convertible bra that’s the wrong colour, that’s missing a strap. Finding other stuff to buy when you go looking for something else. The fact that most boys (and here I say MOST because I know a few who aren’t) are WAY easier to dress. I think my youngest son wore the same clothes to school all week last week, including underwear. And don’t you love the cost of the dress, and the Steve Madden’s, and then all those undergarments, which cost more than the dress to begin with. No wonder my husband and I barely go out anymore. We can’t afford it, just dressing our daughter. At least you are still around to tell the story. You didn’t get sucked into the deep, dark recesses of the mall, never to return. 🙂

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  7. peachyteachy says:

    How many miracles do you have to perform in order to qualify for canonization or beatification or some other saintly-ation? I am guessing it is fewer than forty-five. And this “Don’t wear chartreuse, aubergine or sage (whatever)” has me worked up. You are made of stronger stuff than I am. Well, there is school.

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    • javaj240 says:

      You are so lucky to have boys.

      No matter how many times we run this obstacle course we ALWAYS forget to check the forbidden color list. ALWAYS. LOL.

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