I bought this Nine West dress two years ago for $3.99 from Restyle Consignment store. It was on a clearance rack, and when I tried it on, I just couldn’t believe how cute it was.
It was definitely a statement dress. Big buttons. Solid block color. A hemline with flair. Bold, sassy, fun. And it was only four bucks! I couldn’t wait to wear it.
Well, I guess I could wait, because I did. For two years.
Is it just me, or do dressing rooms have some sort of confidence-building Jedi-mind meld component that convinces me I will have the guts to wear a bold statement dress out in public?
Because every time I tried to reach for it when it sat in my closet at home, I would chicken out and reach for something more familiar and less noticeable. I just never seemed to feel like “Today is a Statement Dress Day.”
And I was never really sure which season was appropriate to wear this dress. The material is a heavy, canvas-type cotton — kind of like khakis or chinos, but a bit heavier. Almost like a tent. So it seems to be a summer/spring material, but I would definitely need to wear leggings or capris with it which means it’s a fall/winter dress. It was too heavy for spring or summer, and too light for fall or winter. It was an ambiguous-season dress. It drove me nuts.
And so it sat.
Finally, the other day, I decided it was time to try it or toss it. Show it or throw it. Use or lose it.
So I boldly put on the dress, and went to work ready to make a statement. I just hoped statement wouldn’t be, “I am so out of touch with fashion that I thought this dress would be appropriate to wear to work.” I had two positive hits right out of the gate: Two co-workers immediately said “Cute dress!” and “Love it!”. Of course, these comments came after I solicited them. (What do you think of this dress? Is it OK to wear to work?). But they seemed genuine in their responses, so I felt a surge of confidence and went about the day feeling my four-dollar dress was a brilliant investment.
As the day went on, however, my confidence began to slip away. First, no one else complimented the dress. Or even commented on it. To my face, that is. In fact, that horrible beast known as “I think they’re saying bad things about my dress behind my back!” started to creep into my thoughts. Self-Doubt showed up and told Self-Confidence to hit the road.
To make matters worse, the bathroom mirror where I work was situated so that when I saw the dress in the mirror, I only saw it from the waist up. This gave me a completely unbalanced and distorted view. All I could see was this over-sized top half and then a huge flair just below the waist, then nothing. If I didn’t know what the bottom half looked like, then it looked like I was wearing a tent. A huge, heavy, canvas tent.
So now my mind was convinced that this dress actually was a tent in another life and I spent the last half of the day counting down the minutes until I could rip this stupid four dollar tent dress off and burn it as I sang campfire songs. By the time 4:45 rolled around, I swear I smelled chocolate and graham crackers. I think my co-workers thought I WAS a tent and started making s’mores.
At 5 p.m., as I was packing up my stuff to leave and thinking about the delicious latte I could have bought with the stinking four dollars this dress cost me, a senior leader popped her head into my office.
“I just had to tell you that is the cutest dress I have ever seen,” she said. “I just love it when you wear such cool things.”
Best four dollars I ever spent.