Sometimes you just don’t know the reason why…what is the moral of this story?
So many times I have started to write this story in my head and on the keyboard. Each time I find myself with the dreaded writers’ block. What am I trying to say? This is a story with many great lessons: the importance of planning, crisis management, friendship and finally resolve. So, I guess the best way to begin is just to begin.
I was asked to co-chair a very high profile event in Nashville. Nashville has lots of high- brow events. This is one of them. There were many reasons I agreed to accept this commitment. Just being asked is a big deal and compelling. They want ME? I loved the cause, I admired the other co-chair, and I finally thought, “JUST DO IT!”
It was an unbelievable time commitment that in the end proved hugely rewarding. No regrets.
This story, however, is about THE DRESS.
I have gone to countless Black Tie events in the past and not cared much about THE DRESS. Even when I went to the Swan Ball for my first time, I popped by a boutique store and bought my dress off the sale rack. No big deal. However, this time was different. This time I was the co-chair. This time there would be lots of photos…NFocus photos. This time the stakes were high.
Knowing my personality type, I can over think things when they feel BIG. Be it a wedding dress (way too over thought on my end) or a gala dress, we are all driven by some kind of internal director: a budget director, a style director, a practical director. (Next time you make a big decision or even a small one, think about which director is in your head.) This time mine said, “Be resourceful and use your style skills to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.” I call this my “Styleblueprint” director (SBPD). SBDP said , “Ask around. Get some opinions. JUST DO IT.”
So, I started with the most resourceful person I know: Maria-The-Hair-Stylist. She is a wealth of information. She has steered me right on everything from the best white shirts and lip pencils to lodging in the Smokies. Truly. So, I asked Maria. Right away, she had the answer. She knew an incredible tailor. And, this was not simply a tailor, not simply a dressmaker, but a TRUE designer. All of her clients loved this woman and I would too. She gave me her number.
Blood pumping hard through my veins, I was excited. So excited that I needed to calm down. This would be THE DRESS! Just getting my hands on this name gave me such joy and glee that I forgot there was the next step….I needed to actually call her.
So, a couple of weeks later, I came back down to earth and realized this call had not been made. SBDP was screaming loud inside my head “CALL! Your “THE DRESS” is just a call away!” Call I did. Designer Lady immediately pounced, “We have to get on this right away! There is a 50% off sale at Textile Fabric! You must meet me there tomorrow!“ I jumped in with both feet and proclaimed, ”I’ll see you tomorrow! THANK YOU!”
I hung up and collected all my Town and Country magazines. I began furiously paging through them. I made notes on 100’s of dresses: Love the neckline. Hate the color. Love this color. Do I like this belt? Hmmmm, a belt – hadn’t thought of that.. Absolutely no Ball Gown look. Do I want sleeves?….maybe…well no….perhaps one shoulder? I ended up with a stack of 10 pages that clearly outlined my tastes and style.
We met. She was GREAT and after a couple of minutes we had narrowed down the choices. A few minutes later we had the style and look of dress decided along with the potential fabrics. 20 minutes later I had purchased the fabrics, the beading, the gorgeous wrap and I was back in my car! WOW! My mind was swirling! I was getting THE DRESS!!!
OK- I know by this point some of you have figured out where this story is going. It’s sad but not tragic. I survived.
THE DRESS was gorgeous and after 4 fittings and one final fitting, it was done. Oh, I‘m sorry, did I say “one final fitting”? Well, I never actually tried on the dress after the final little nips and tucks. So, I guess we kinda forgot the “REALLY THIS IS THE FINAL FITTING” fitting! Friends, you never skip this step. NEVER. SBPD was screaming, but I was high with images of THE DRESS and a carpool line to get to. SOOOOOO…..
Getting Ready for the Event:
The night of my event my friend Leslie and I went to Maria-The-Hair-Stylist’s salon. We coiffed; we primped; we had a couple fake eyelashes attached! We looked gorgeous.
As I zoomed home filled with the anticipation of THE DRESS, it never occurred to me the sequence of events that were about to take place. I slipped the dress on my shoulder and immediately realized that it didn’t fit. My THE DRESS does not FIT??? A glass of wine later, the reality set in that no tucking, pinning or camouflaging would work. It simply DIDN’T FIT. The darts had been altered to fall completely below my breasts. I looked like a freak! A freak with bad breasts. I will NOT be pictured with bad breasts! This is when the story drastically shifts to one of friendship….
It was getting dangerously late and my friend Leslie, a former reporter and press aide, completely took over. Girl Scout that she is, she had arrived with two dresses: one a simple burgundy silk and the other a fabulous beaded, designer dress from an Aspen consignment shop that would have cost at least 4K retail. This was the dress she had intended to wear. With no hesitation, True Friend Leslie said, “You’re wearing this designer dress! Put it on!”
In a total state of SHOCK, I put the dress on and grabbed some earrings and a bracelet and raced for the car. My mind was swirling during our ride to THE EVENT. I was not in THE DRESS. This was not my vision! And then, with total clarity and command, Leslie said, “You tell NOONE that you are wearing my dress. You tell NOONE what just happened. This is your dress and you look BEAUTIFUL!” Brilliant advice.
That sage advice saved the evening as much as did the Aspen dress. My entire night would have been spent wallowing in the negative and talking about the debacle of THE DRESS. And, who really cares? The night was salvaged. My co-chair and I received a standing ovation. My Aspen dress was complimented heavily. And, the back of that dress was…. exquisite!
The dressmaker completely refunded the entire amount of my investment in the dress. She also fixed it and I will wear it this Spring. She was the epitome of professionalism.
Moral of This Tale:
Just as the girl scouts always told us:
- Your friends are invaluable
- Have a Plan B
- Think like a Pro
- In the end, it’s only a dress
- Have Fun
- And, oh yea, try on your custom dress before you leave the dressmaker!
Here is the dress all complete and waiting for my next event: