If the Dress Doesn't Fit, Play Hide & Sleek

With Easter, prom and benefit season in the air, dress shopping (and fitting) isn’t the way it used to be.

When I walk through the dress section of a reputable department or specialty store, I’m boggled with the questionable fashion sense on display.

Seems everything is made from thin fabric with horrific patterns. Large accessories, including belts and buttons of cubic zirconia, hang from the poorly manufactured designs. Even when the buttons are buttoned, they droop like a steer's manhood, off-season. If you’re above a size 4, good luck finding anything flattering to a normal body.  

That’s when Spanx comes in handy. It’s like your grandmothers girdle, with a 21st-century twist. It’s a last-resort option when a “must have” dress or outfit isn’t as flattering as expected. Some Spanx styles aren't very attractive with undergarments and panty hose, but over a fitted dress it makes nature's hiccups tolerable.  

As a grown woman, trying on formal clothing isn’t the same as it was to my 18-year-old psyche. I’ve had three children, all depositing and abandoning the reminders of their loud entrances onto my body. As women age, hips get a little wider, stomachs get weak, triceps look matronly and legs look “veiny.” With this being said, Spanx has become a wardrobe necessity for many women. It provides the extra lift, tuck and firmness that age and children have snatched.  

I breezed through Nordstrom, fearful of the Via C and St. John sections as these areas are known to the privileged individuals with padded incomes, tiny waistlines and children in Ivy League schools. I tried to remain focused, but the temptation crept in. A few flips of price tags provided enough courage to gracefully exit the area. The quality and appearance is top shelf, but my budget is more in the sale-rack category.  

Both Macy’s and Lord & Taylor dress departments were impacted and shadowed with black sequins and thigh-high tramp apparel. With each skimmed rack, I became more and more irritated. Why are all dresses sleeveless? Even the pathetic, low priced leftovers from the winter collection have no arm coverage. Any selection would require additional pieces, increasing the stress level a bit.   

Rummaging through the dress racks, I noticed make-up on collars and white powdered deodorant smudges under the armpits. The individual prior to me was obviously careless and rushed – or frustrated, like myself. I managed a few tolerable pieces and hastily walked to the dressing room. Each stall was filled with rejected selections, all hung inside out, teetering on broken plastic hangers. It resembled a war zone, not a very encouraging site.  

With each rejection, I became more and more irritated. Nothing fit right. The zippers were tiny and sewn on the back, making the zip process nearly impossible. How can any normal person zip from behind his or her own shoulder blades? At this point, a third party was necessary for completing the task. Tummies pooch while my legs mirrored my mother's. When did this happen? 

Like the previous occupants, I too left the rejections inside out, teetering on plastic hangers. It’s certainly not the proper way of leaving a dressing room, but it temporarily provided the revenge necessary to simmer a hot temper.   

After a few failed attempts, I hesitated as I thought of the back up option – selections in my own closet. The problem is they’ve previously been worn. They still look fabulous but aren’t as exciting as the virgin purchase. Although this practice is often confusing to husbands, it’s perfectly understandable (and enthusiastically accepted) with fellow girlfriends and female family members.  

If there’s a will, there’s a way. I did manage to find a classic and fitted black dress. Although I compromised and joined in the sleeveless epidemic, it looked flattering with a little help from the Spanx drawer.  

Women come in all shapes, sizes and depths. Some are blessed with perky bosoms, while others inherit a matron aunt's gams and caboose. This is what makes us individuals, uniquely beautiful and randomly proportioned. Although we like to tell ourselves this, we often disagree with Mother Nature. If the disagreement presents itself, confidently pull out the Spanx. 


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