Cocktail Dresses for a Wedding-Shopping Dilemma With My Daughter

We were invited months ago to a wedding in October. I love fall weddings so I was excited. I honestly could not wait for the day in order to see the lovely couple. Weddings are so beautiful and everyone is so happy and in love. It is such a lovely experience and a joy to share in their special day.

Then I realized it was cocktail attire. Oh no! What the hell am I going to wear? I did not want to squeeze my fat ass into some cocktail dress and look like a stuffed sausage! Not to mention, I just hate shopping, and I had absolutely nothing to wear.

My daughter did not own anything that would be considered cocktail attire either. Therefore, we both needed to go shopping. I knew that she wouldn’t have any issue find something cute to wear. She is basically a size zero and is as cute as a button! Of course neither of us are real shoppers so we invited Rylee’s friend to come along for some fashion advice.

Those of you who know me, or follow me, realize that I live about an hour from any decent shopping malls. We decided to go to the Tanger Outlets in Tilton, NH. I figured there had to be some dress shops there. I picked Rylee and her friend up after school and we headed to Tilton. It was about a 35-40 minute ride, but it was better than driving to Manchester to go to a mall. I HATE malls!

We get to the Outlets, Rylee and her friend go off on their own. I am left alone to fend for myself through endless racks of clothes and dresses that look like they are made for Barbie. I gravitated to my ‘go to’ store, Lane Bryant. I usually have pretty good luck in there and I don’t feel like a big tub of lard while I am perusing the store. Well, they totally let me down. There was not one cocktail dress or anything close to being a cocktail dress in that store. Oh no! Now I am starting to panic! What the hell am I going to do? What the hell am I going to wear? Maybe I can just say I am sick? Maybe I should just buy a one way ticket to the North Pole, where I can wear sweatpants and big baggy parkas for the rest of my life?

I decided against fleeing and set off to look for my daughter to see what cute little dress she decided. I was walking down the sidewalk and saw the sign for Dressbarn. NICE! Not only do they have dress in the title, but my good friend works in there. Maybe she could give me some advice and help me pick out something.

I walked in and *Jenna was at the register was helping other customers. I tried to get her attention but she was busy. I texted her and let her know I was there and then wandered around the store, trying to find something appropriate to wear for the wedding. I found a few dresses right away and felt confident about my selections. They were A-line and I know that the cut is supposed to hide belly fat. So, off to the dressing room I go to crush my self-esteem and suffer the terrible torture of the dressing room lighting.

My confidence in my dress choices soon diminished as I was standing in front of the mirror with my phone ready to send pictures to my sister to help in my decision making. Then I realized that she would not likely give me honest feedback. She wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings so she would tell me that I look fabulous even though I looked like a giant hot air balloon.

At this point, I am ready to give up and go follow Rylee around. I leave the dressing room and wave goodbye to my friend. She was not working with any other customers and came over to say hello. She asked how my hunt was going, I told her it was terrible and that I felt like a fat piece of crap! I went on to say that the dresses I tried on made me look as though I was wearing a tent.

So, *Jenna immediately went to work. She was determined to find me something beautiful and flattering. I was skeptical, of course, as she was pulling dresses off the rack. Her first two choices were gorgeous on the rack, but I knew they would not look so beautiful on me, but I humored her and tried them on anyway.

The dresses themselves were very pretty and looked great from the chest up, but my horrible stomach area was protruding out and I looked pregnant, as usual! Unfortunately both dresses were a no. As I was coming out of the dressing room Rylee was coming in with a stack of her own dresses. I was so excited, a welcoming distraction from my own frustration. Now I could watch my beautiful daughter try on a bunch of great dresses and help her decide on the best one. Of course *Jenna helped pick out a ton of dresses for Rylee. She picked out all age appropriate dresses that didn’t show off too many assets.

Then *Jenna came back with one more dress for me. It was not something that I would have ever picked off the rack for myself. It was black, which I adore, as everyone knows. It had a a scarf like top that I was a little leery about. Then she suggested I wear a tummy control undergarment. That was a great idea, so with the dress and my tummy control granny panties I went into the dressing room, expecting to hate the dress.

Well, I was utterly surprised and how good I felt in the dress. The scarf portion went across the top of the dress and covered my stomach. It had some silver details and the sleeves had open shoulders. I was so happy that I had found this dress and I was so grateful that *Jenna had taken time out of her busy day to help me.

Now it was Rylee’s turn to find something flattering. She came out of the dressing room dress after dress with a scowl on her face. She is not a girly girl and is not fond of dresses at all. Absolutely nothing she put on was making her happy. *Jenna kept coming back with more and more options. There were black ones, flowered ones, red ones, long ones, short ones and even sweater ones. Finally Rylee came out with a dress that was almost the same as mine. It was shocking the similarities in them. I thought for sure she was going to say no, I mean what 14 year old girl wants to dress like their mom?

For the second time in Dressbarn, I was completely surprised! Rylee decided to go with the black and silver dress. We were going to be twinsies! It wasn’t too tight, too short and didn’t show any cleavage, which is perfect for Rylee’s personality and style. She is very modest for a 14 year old girl, and that is fine by me.

I never realized how helpful staff is in retail stores. Most of the time when I am in a store and a clerk asks me if I need help or if I am looking for anything particular, I get really annoyed. Well, NEVER again. *Jenna knew exactly what would look nice, what would flatter my body type, what was appropriate for my daughter and was happy to help. I know that she is my friend, but while I was there she was extremely helpful to other customers as well. So, next time you are in a store and you hear “Can I help you find something?” do not get annoyed. Simply tell the clerk what you need and let them help you look fabulous.

Now, it was time for shoes, which is a whole other fiasco. I will spare you the details for now.

Where do you go to find dresses? What is your least favorite part of shopping? Let me know if you have any shopping tricks that you think are very helpful.

*Name has been changed


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