The Red Dress.January 11, 2012 at 11:25 am | Posted in My life | 6 Comments
(aka: Going Outside My Comfort Zone.)
For YEARS, every last piece of clothing I owned was black of grey.
Black, you see, is slimming. And matches with everything. And you don’t have to worry about black being inappropriate at certain times.
Except that eventually I was known as The Girl Who Wears Black. Ten years ago, when my company moved buildings, the facilities director told me that he’d give me a window cube if I wore pink.
I borrowed a friend’s pink sweater. It was so bright that it grated on my nerves, and by the end of the day I was ANGRY.
(Ah, there’s that anger again. One of my life themes, apparently.)
Over the years J has made fun of me for all the black dresses, sweaters, boots, and pants I own. And often when I’d go shopping for some event, he’s told me, You are not allowed to bring home any more black clothing.
Black was my security blanket.
But more than two years ago I signed myself up for weight watchers and started running regularly. And I lost 25lbs. And have largely kept it off, in part to running and portion control and keeping my emotional eating in check.
Except that, then, all my black and grey clothes didn’t fit. And so I’ve been slowly buying new clothes that DO fit. I still err on the side of black and grey slacks, but I’ve been adding jewel tone colors into my tops. I’ve gotten more camel and brown colors as well.
And there have actually been days where I’ve gone to work and NOT worn black or grey.
J’s new manager invited him to the company holiday party.
Which is being held in New Orleans. In two weeks. The company would pay for plane tickets for two people up to a certain amount and hotel reservations for two nights. And my SIL offered to keep O for the weekend so J and I could have a weekend on our own.
No joke, in two weeks J and I are heading to New Orleans for a mostly-paid for getaway.
(And yes, it makes the stress of the scheduling around his new job a teeny bit easier. Just a little.)
So I went into my closet this week and took inventory of suitable company holiday party dresses.
I DO have something I COULD wear: a serviceable black cocktail dress; a black sheath dress I wear to work every once in a while; a pink and black dress I wore to a wedding this summer; a blue and white dress I wore on the cruise.
Nothing really seemed RIGHT. It’s a new job, a new start, a weekend away for the two of us in New Orleans. I wanted something a little flashier, a little sexier – something that made me feel different than the mom Serenity.
So my BFF and I went shopping last night.
And she honed on a dress immediately. Red satin. Sleeveless, one shoulder. Gathered at the waist with a jeweled, crystal applique.
I tried it on, and it looked pretty good.
But WOW it was WAY more than I was thinking.
Red satin, people. I mean. RED. SATIN.
So we went back and I tried a bunch of other dresses on too. But none of them had that oomph that I was looking for. They were all perfectly serviceable dresses, nice, good, fit well, etc.
They just didn’t say weekend on New Orleans with my husband.
And so I tried the red dress on again. And I started to think, well, you know, this does look really good. It’s classy enough for a company holiday party.
It’s just WAY outside my comfort zone.
Did I mention red satin?
But then my BFF said, Serenity, you NEED to get this one. It’s perfect. You look awesome in it. For all the moms out there who used to be able to wear this sort of dress… GET IT.
And then she closed the deal. Look, keep the tags on it. Go home and try it on with shoes and nylons. If it scares you too much? Return it. You can borrow my white and black dress – I’m certain it will fit you.
So I took the plunge and got it.
Because, really, she was right.
So I told J on the way home that I got something and I wanted his opinion on it.
And surprised the heck out of him when I came downstairs wearing it. He took one look at me in it and said, You look spectacular.
Then he stopped. But. Wait. Are YOU comfortable in it?
Ha. My husband knows me really well, fashion-wise.
But I can’t remember the last time I really stepped outside my comfort zone, the walls I’ve built up around myself to make me feel safe and in control.
It’s just a dress, at the end of the day.
But it’s a step.