So. Tomorrow is Moon Man’s Fancypants Office Holiday Shindig. Having survived the holiday office party last year (and even kinda enjoyed it! Tell no one.), I’m actually going into this one feeling fairly confident and prepared–I know the rules, know the layout, know more-or-less what to expect and how I’m meant to behave–and whether I’d ever officially admit this or not, I’m pretty jazzed about the thing. I mean, c’mon, I get to dress up and go to a fancy place to do fancy things with completely normal people who just happen to also be doing fancy things in a fancy place. How chic and cosmopolitan are we?!?
Besides, Moon Man was on the planning committee this year, so I get to know in advance what we’re having during the Wee Foods on Sticks hour and the Plated Dinner With Treacherous Sauces, and it all sounds terribly tasty. But I digress.
Since I knew the party was a-comin’ (’cause, y’know, it’s an annual thing. I can say with a high degree of confidence that there’ll be another party next year too), and since, regardless of any shenanigans my friends may be trying to encourage, I cannot actually attend this thing wearing either my pajamas or nothing but Chanel No. 5 and a smile, I started the dress pre-shopping process months ago. I spent ages poring over various sites, bookmarking favorites and doing price comparisons and reading reviews. And then about a month ago, It Was Time and the shopping started in earnest…at which point I discovered that the clothing industry is a fickle place (no, really?) and about 70% of the dresses I’d bookmarked were no longer available. So I set a budget, picked new dresses, and settled in to watch for sales….
During which time most of the remaining dresses I’d bookmarked vanished into the ether, to be replaced with the Season’s Hottest New Looks. At increased prices, because holidays = price gouging. Or maybe fancier, more expensive material. Whatevs.
So I panicked, picked a Dress of Last Resort (lovely, if not what I was dreaming of, but available in a nice flattering forest green color), checked the calendar, and waited for payday.
And on payday, I went to order the dress, and discovered that the forest green had sold out in my size. The remaining color options were an unsettling gold, a startling silver, and (heaven help me) baby pink. There are many colors I can successfully wear, which I find both aesthetically pleasing and complimentary to my skin tone. Unsettling gold, startling silver, and baby pink are not among those colors.
Of course, there was also funereal black, which is my usual go-to color, but this is a Cheerful and Festive Cocktail Event we’re talkin’ about here, and the dress was a floor-length slip dress with a lace overlay. Totally acceptable in a cheerful and festive color; but in black, it would’ve been a bit…much.
So I panicked again, and spent the better part of two days looking (and re-looking, and re-re-looking) at every single dress, pantsuit, skirt/top combo, slacks/top combo, and festive pajama set available on the interwebs, because I am an extra-curvy gal and they almost never carry my size in stores. Even the plus-size stores–my size sells out first, so shopping online is my best bet.
And glory of glories, joy of joys, happy Saturnalia and merry Christmas to all, I found a dress. A good dress. A dress I like. And–further proof that this season works miracles–it was on sale. I ran it past Moon Man and past my BFF for a quick “Am I crazy from excessive shopping, or is this actually as adorable as I think it is?” check, and got thumbs-up from both parties…and I bought the hell outta that dress. I pounced on it like…well, me, on a cake. Lion on a gazelle. Desperate panicked dressless woman on a dress that’s on sale. I gave them my credit card faster than I used to give out my phone number when I was still single.
And because that’s how I roll, I posted about this on Facebook as the story unfolded, and people laughed and “liked” my posts and demanded pictures of the dress, and I promised them that yes, yes, all in due time, my dears, your pictures shall be forthcoming.
And then the dress arrived, and I tried it on, and it fit, so I knew for sure this was what I’d be wearing…and I didn’t post any pictures.
I’ve been telling myself that this is because I wanted it to be a surprise, that I’d post pictures once I was actually all gussied up and wearing the dress. But the truth, if we’re gonna be real darned honest here for a second, is that I’ve been wanting to post pictures of it this whole time. It’s my Triumph dress. My I Snatched Victory From the Evil Clutches of Looming Defeat dress. My Have a Little Faith and All Will Be Well dress.
It’s not actually as cute as all that, but it’s kind of a big deal to me.
But I hadn’t posted any pictures of it because–back to the honesty part–I do not look like the model who is wearing the dress in the picture. We are not the same size. We do not have the same stylists (hers is a team of pros. Mine is…well, me). Nobody will be following me around at the Fancypants Office Holiday Shindig, airbrushing and Photoshopping me in realtime.
But y’know what? Screw that. I have nieces who deserve to have a confident Auntie BW. They deserve to see that I know that I don’t look like a supermodel but that I believe that that’s ok. They deserve to have someone show them that two people can wear the same dress, look radically different in it, and both still be drop-dead head-turning neck-snapping somebody-call-the-law gorgeous in it in completely different ways.
I deserve to have that behavior modeled for me, and since neither the dogs nor the cats are volunteering and lord knows the media ain’t helping, I’ll just have to do it myself.
So without further ado, here, kids, is the dress:
…and I promise to post pictures of myself in said dress once the Fancypants Party happens and pictures actually exist. Right now it’s hanging in my closet, where nobody is allowed to touch it, breathe on it, or look at it very hard.
Because while I’m all for modeling self-confidence and self-acceptance, I’m also all for not strolling into the party with a giant wrinkle across my butt. Especially not when it’s my Victory dress. My Delicious Gazelle on the Savanna dress. My Shut Up and Take My Money dress.
My Fancypants Dress for Fancy People dress.