As soon as I went up the escalator to the women’s department, I was transformed back into the 1980’s and 1990’s. I’m a GenX’er. I grew up in the ‘80’s and spent my young adulthood in the 90’s. I’m adept at the guitar solos of Van Halen and the theme from Friends. I’ve had big hair and the Monica flip. I’ve gone from shoulder pads to peasant blouses. And when I stepped off the escalator, there it was….the quintessential 1980’s and 90’s clothing. I knew it was probably gonna to be a challenge to find the right dress for me.
When I think about my history with dressing rooms, I remember these times with fondness. When I was growing up, malls were the place everyone shopped. There wasn’t the plethora of boutiques and the internet was in its infancy. My earliest memories were trying on school clothes and my mom nodding her approval or going to pull another size. We used to shop at JC Penny’s in Memphis, Tennessee. I can remember looking at all the colorful Garanimals shorts and shirts. These are special memories to me.
As a young teen, my friends and I spent many a Saturday afternoon at Orange Julius, the arcade, and, yes, the dressing rooms at Gayfer’s. God bless her, the sweet lady would pull prom dress after prom dress for us to try although we clearly were 13 and no where near prom age. The lady wore glasses on a chain, had dark hair she wore in a bun, and was always dressed to the nines. Later on, the same precious lady would zip me in my wedding gown in the exact same Gayfer’s department store. I wish I knew her name. She helped silly girls make memories and she was there when I knew my wedding dress was “the one.”
Now I’m a middle-aged mom of two young adults and a precocious kindergartner. I’ve been in many dressing rooms with my own daughter giving advice, zipping up dresses for various formals, and going to pull different colors and sizes. Sometimes I even go shopping for myself. And that’s where I was this particular day in Dilliards. I needed a nice dress for an upcoming function. I mean, it can’t be THAT hard to find a dress. Headline news… it is actually quite hard, I’ll have you know!
I’ve always said (well, not always, but since becoming middle age) that clothes are not made for my demographic. It would seem that clothing is made either for girls in their teens or 20’s OR (don’t take this the wrong way) women much older than I. There isn’t much place for those of us “in the middle.” I try to be open-minded and sometimes I pull things off the racks that are even a remote possibility. Because the peasant look is in, some of the dresses were puffy and literally put pounds on me. Some dresses were cut at the wrong length (too short or a weird spot at my calf muscles). Some were too low cut. Others hit me wrong at the waist. I’ll bet this is familiar to you, too! Shopping is hard work!
I think women tend to talk negatively about their bodies when trying on clothes. I was tempted to do that, as well. But then I thought that MAYBE my body isn’t the problem. Maybe it’s the clothes! Maybe, just maybe, the clothes are at fault… not me. I continued to try on and put back different options. Several dresses, three pairs of pants, and MANY circles around the department store, I found something that fit and was appropriate (and flattering). Maybe it’s not as fun as trying on prom dresses or special as finding the perfect wedding gown, but there’s something to be said about being happy with oneself. I hope you can dress for success, too.