Playing Dress Up

“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”    —  Kate Spade

I’ve never been much of a “girlie girl”.  I don’t remember playing dress up at all as a child.  I’ve never had much interest in make-up or clothes or fashion magazines.  Honestly, if I didn’t have to go to work I’d live in yoga pants and never wear shoes or a bra with an underwire in it.

When I was in my 20s I went through a period of time where I was dressed up quite often as my friends got married one after the other.  Note to all my friends back then: I never did wear that bridesmaid dress again as you promised we would.  Anyway, then all my friends settled down and I moved to the Pacific Northwest where things are uber casual all the time, and fast forward many years and I can scarcely remember the last time I got dressed up.

Until recently…..

As part of my new job last weekend I had to attend a fundraising gala and wear “cocktail attire”.  At first I was a little stressed about it.  I looked into my newly Marie Kondoed closet and saw a whole lot of nothing that qualifies as cocktail attire.   I did some online searching but realized that with so much sizing variation in plus size clothing,  that was just a recipe for disaster.  I really needed to try things on.

Damn, I’d have to go shopping. Here’s another thing about me: I hate shopping.  Yes that’s right,  shopping, especially for clothes, makes me want to stab myself — or someone else.  It’s a horrible chore, made worse by the paucity of decent plus size clothing on the market.   To quote the incredibly spot-on tv show Shrill, “Everything is either a big Indiana Walmart sack or it is some cutesy shit covered in Eiffel Tower postage stamps.”

Fortunately for me, before I went to the 7th circle of hell known as the mall I found a dress I love, love, love at the local plus size consignment store.  It was stylish, comfortable, fit me well, super cute and, best of all, only $29 (with the original tags still on).

With my dress figured out, I decided to go full-out into girl mode.  I got a manicure. I got a facial. I got my brows waxed. I shaved my legs. I styled my hair more than my typical blow dry and finger comb.  I put on make-up.  And in the end, I felt fabulous.  Confident. Beautiful. I looked good to me, and that’s all that matters at this point in my life, although I also received many glowing compliments from others.

“This is so fun, it’s like prom with everyone dressed up,” one of my coworkers said as we stood in a circle admiring each other’s outfits.  And it was fun. It was fun to look my best, and it was fun to see those around me looking their best.

It really made me realize how casual we’ve all become.  I remember as a kid people would dress up to take a trip on a plane.  Last week I was flying somewhere and I saw someone wearing pajama bottoms and flip flops.  My grandpa loved to tell me how when he was a kid people went to church or events dressed in full suits (for men) or dresses with hose (for women).  You see all those old movies where people look so glamorous in their hats and gloves and what is, by today’s standards, dressy outfits.

I’m not sure I want to go back there, after all I do love my yoga pants and crocs, but for one night, it was super fun to dress up and look pretty.

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