29 December 2017

Windows: Sister! Your wanted on the ward.

n the early 70s when I was working in a hospital lab in London I had a girlfriend who was a sister in Barts. After work I wanted to pick her up from the hospital to go to a prom.

Now in those days patient visiting hours was very strict and restricted to a few hours a day. Any public found wandering about 'after or before hours' was confronted and escorted to the nearest exit. To get round this I took my white lab coat in a plastic bag entered the hospital slipped into the toilets put it on and could then go anywhere I pleased within reason, without the beady eyes of security seeing something amiss.
This worked quite well, I made my way to the nurse's quarters without hindrance, knocked on her door and entered. She was still in uniform which surprised me. It turned out she had to do a further two hours as a colleague was sick. I decided to stay and wait for her. We would still make the second half of the concert in time. A quick peck on the cheek and she was off.
So I waited, there was plenty to read lying about, mostly girl magazines which where nothing new to me, so I browsed. Finally I got bored and so started to look around. I noticed she had a spare uniform hanging in the wardrobe. I got very interested as I brought it out and held it against me and looked in the mirror.
The only dressing I had done was at home and that was some time ago as none of my mothers clothes fitted me anymore. (see If the dress fits..).

This was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up! Fortunately she had the room to herself so I knew I would not be interrupted for a good hour. I locked the door and went looking for a pair of the standard black tights. Going through the draws I found plenty of other things that caught my attention but I had a mission! Eventually I found a pair. And why did I even contemplate trying the uniform on? Well there was a good chance it would fit as we were both roughly the same size, apart from her bust which I could not in anyway compete with.

I took a glance at the clock and took the plunge. I removed my outer garments got carefully into the tights and donned the uniform. The uniform even had its own upside down watch pinned to it.

I had 70s hair which was down to my shoulders to the distain of my father (not that it bothered me), and so to get the right effect I pinned it up the best I could and then added the cap. I admired myself in the mirror and imagined going on duty to the wards, taking pulses using the pinned watch and sticking thermometers in openings of my choice. After a few walk-a-rounds looking at myself from different angles, I took another look at the clock and quickly turned back into civil, carefully storing everything away again.

I must say girls don’t have it easy getting ready in uniform especially with long hair. I was tempted to use some of her lipstick but I may have made a mess and couldn’t risk it. Not long afterwards she returned got changed and we were off. 

I didn’t get any indication that she had cottoned on. 
Unfortunately the opportunity didn’t arise again. 
That was a really wow experience and I still think of it 40 plus years on!

To the pictures:
The one on the left is a ward sister (in blue) and a student nurse in the 1970s. The other picture on the right is of nurses from Barts in the 1980s with the appropriate tights.
Please note: None of the girls in the pictures are either my girlfriend or myself..

03 May 2017

Windows: Pink Prom Dress – III – Twinkle, twinkle, little star...

hile writing up the other two parts of this pink post, a nursery rhyme came to mind.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

The first two lines made think of a chain of incidents connected to the prom dress concerning sequins, glitter and other ‘twinkles’. As I started to put it down I realised that it was becoming rather long to integrate it into the main story, so I thought I better make a separate post out of it.
But first a little about detection. If, as in my case, the other half is not aware that their partner goes fem when the chance arises, then leaving telltales around the house or on ones person can be at least awkward, if not disastrous. One has to make sure there are no perfume smells lingering around you and the house. No misplaced panties or tights that turn up uninvited on wash day and no traces of eyeliner in the corner of the eye or varnish in the corner of a nail.

[Ed: see Twilight Zone: Nails II for a close call.]
Following an ‘Abi session’ I check myself in the mirror to see if there are any traces of Abi visible. Usually if anything then it would be lipstick and a little powder. In my days working in medical labs I had to make sure nothing was allowed to contaminate my cultures. Here I have to make sure that nothing leaves the cellar other than me, well and truly de-con-tam-Abi-nated.
Well one day, as hinted on in part II, something did leave the cellar and 'the one with the eagle eyes' found it. A speck of 'twinkle', a rogue sequin that must have hitched a ride on my person out of the cellar and into the washroom where it unhitched itself fell to the floor and scurried off ..

Ok rolled..
Ok ok, too light to roll, then just lay there twinkling..
[Ed: ✔ ]
Now what made me jump, apart from her coming stealth-like up behind me in the cellar and saying quite loudly "Look what I found!!" was that, on turning round being presented directly under my nose on the end of an upturned index finger a red sequin of pink prom dress fame!
As I starred at it, a part of me mind said ‘Oh bugger!’ and the rest started to go into panic overdrive working out possible responses to a range of possible questions that very soon would be uttered from her nibs. Just as I started mentally jotting down a few responses, there came almost verbatim, the question first on my list.
”Now I wonder where that came from?”
To gain a few extra seconds to calm down, I went into loop mode.
“Where did you find it?”
“In the washroom”,
“In the washroom??”,
“Yes, in the washroom!”,
“Now, how did it get there!(?)”,
”That's what I asked!!!”,
“Oh! So it was ...ah .. really I have no idea..”

And before she could start to self speculate I blurted out..
“Maybe it's from one of the Christmas boxes where the old Christmas cards are stored. I was clearing out making room for the new ones we got this year. You know with some of those cheap cards you only have to look at them and they lose their glitter and stuff, it gets everywhere! Maybe it got rubbed off while I was sorting out. I had emptied the boxes completely and repacked them again and probably it fell out and got stuck to me foot or something..”

Now this scenario was rather a good one as Christmas and the New Year were just over and I had decided to have a proper clear out before packing everything away again and storing it in the attic. Apart from the fact that over the years sequins were the last thing I had seen stuck on Christmas cards the story was quite plausible.
I took the sequin from her and pretended to scrutinise it under the light. I was trying not to show it but I was still in panic mode following the third degree from 'eagle eyes'. This was quite reasonable because I thought I had found all of the twinkles that had detached themselves while handling and wearing the prom dresses! Not only that since the middle of November I hadn't unpacked, let alone worn it. This was nearly two months before this blighter turned up!

[Ed: If you haven't read part II, then dresses in the plural and not dress in the singular may confuse somewhat.]

Exhibit a
I'll recap to the prom dress sessions in November but skip over the ordering, trying on, frustration, sending back, reordering, trying on again and finally packing it away for a rainy day. What happened between ‘frustration’ and ‘sending back’ was I found a large 'twinkle' under a chair (see Exhibit a).

Ok I wasn't that concerned until I saw it had two fastening holes for sowing it on. I suspected I had caught myself in it and ripped it off while getting in or out of the dress. I blamed myself that I should have been more careful with a dress of this type and not as usual been in hectic mode as with all Abi sessions.

Exhibit b
I went in search of the gaping hole it must have left in the bodice, but for the life of me I couldn't find it! Much to my relief as I had by this time decided to return it and go for a smaller size. What I did find when looking for the hole was that a few of the little stuck-on twinkle stones decided to become unstuck by just looking at them (see Exhibit b).

As I was going to pack it for returning anyway, this was a good opportunity to not produce any more contamination of the cellar through what I thought was spontaneous shedding. After packing and stashing out of sight, which took quite some ingenuity using the original bag and a complete roll of brown duct tape, I went in search for any other twinkling debris.

Exhibit c
I started with long range scans: walking around head down looking for telltale twinkling under the halogen lights followed by short range scans: down on me knees nose to the carpet with my trusty magnifying glass sleuth like. To my astonishment I found quite a few sequins (see Exhibit c) and a few more now unstuck stuck-on twinkles of Exhibit b type. 

I put away my little collection and vacuum cleaned the cellar to the astonishment of MrsA. Who because of the noise had come down and asked what I was doing. I just gave her a blank look and indicated the cleaner. As it was now obvious that a wonder had happened, she promptly turned and disappeared upstairs. I hoped this out of character manoeuvre would remove any twinkles I had overlooked.
That was that, so I thought.
Well it was until that red rogue sequin was rubbed under me nose month’s later.

One evening while I was rummaging around in the cellar not long after the nose rubbing incident which ended with us parting in silence, I though I saw just inside my peripheral vision a flicker of light coming from the floor. I moved slowly around in long scan mode hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was until it twinkled again.
I was immediately down on me knees in short range mode and grabbed it before it could disappear into the carpet. It was an Exhibit c type twinkle - the dreaded sequin! Having my mobile in my pocket I documented the procedure. I’ve marked the culprit in the first picture followed by a close up. I added it to the collection hoping it was now complete, although I had the feeling it wasn’t.

Some time in February as I was again rummaging around in the cellar ‘eagle eyes’ entered swooped down and again presented me with a repeat of
“Look what I just found!”
“Have we gremlins around here that deposit these things to annoy us!!?”
All I could think of was ‘Oh no, not again!’ and the famous bowl of petunias. She left with a bewildered look and nothing more, no speculation nothing. I didn’t want to press it, so I left it at that.
I didn’t even get it for the collection..
Well a couple of weeks ago a repeat performance with the famous finger and my nose. I’m not sure what play she is rehearsing at the moment but her appearance was quite dramatic!
I really don’t understand this. I’m almost every day in the cellar and even with my eyes to the floor so as not to keep bumping into things lying around, I see nothing in the twinkle dept! And on the rare occasions when she comes in to see what I’m up to, promptly she finds one!
This time she added a critical full frontal scan of my features.
“Is there a conspiracy going on here?”
The question was straight between the eyes and had nothing rhetorical about it.

I just stood there gob smacked, mind a blank having no idea how to react. My shoulders when up in auto mode and I made a lot effort to at lease shake my head in disbelief. Before I could even start to rack my brains for an answer it was about turn and she was off. Again nothing was said. But as she went up the stairs I though I heard a low, almost inaudible mumbled chant. All I could make out was I think the word ‘double’ and maybe ‘trouble’and I could swear with a Scottish accent..

Around the time of this sighting of the third kind as I was putting the other two parts of the post together, I was selecting and resizing the pictures I wanted to include. As I didn’t have the dress to hand I looked at the pictures and realised that I couldn’t see any sequins on the bodice! Examples of Exhibits a and b, but not c. Had I been panicking up the wrong tree? Maybe the sequins had another source! I decided to get to the bottom of it.

[Ed: If instead of panicking you had looked at the other pictures of the dress you would have seen the sequins in the skirt.]
True, But I hadn’t, and hence the following..
I had to wait until I was alone for a few hours, and made a bee line straight to my stash and systematically went though the boxes looking for the prom dress and of course Murphy was throwing his law about again and it was in the last one. Along the way I had the chance to check all my glitter/sequin sources.

My Dorothy Perkins heels were a classical source for spreading glitter about. Every time I handled them my hands were contaminated. I washed them of course but it was bound to happen sometime that MrsA saw a twinkle on the back of a hand and went for it. It looked like glitter makeup which it wasn’t as I don’t have any. The Christmas card trick wouldn’t work due to the time of year, but my backup was birthday cards and I got away with it.

Ok no sequins. Next I found my pink heels, the ones I used to go with the prom dress. Here were sequins in pink, not red, and they felt and looked like they were sown on pretty tight, so no loss here.
I moved on.

A pair of orange platform sandals bought in a fit of ‘anything orange’. A time when I was orange mad which has moved on to the current madness – Mint (see my pin boards). The heels have a bit of glitter and are totally unwalkable. Not the height or the platforms alone but just no control. One slides around in them all over the place and rarely in the direction one wants to go! A professional walker could probably do them justice, I can’t.

And then the last box right at the back and in the corner. I opened and there at the top my mint dress with sequins and mini twinkles, I had wondered where it had got to. Again no red in sight.

I dug deep and there it was, my precious. I removed it from its outer bag and very carefully opened the inner transparent bag just enough to get a proper look at the skirt without it exploding into full size. And there they were, red sequins strung out like a peal necklace. 
I took a closer look and could see no fastening as such; it looked like they were just kept there sandwiched between two layers of the material. I could not see how they could get lose without a hole in one of the layers. It look like the examples that had escaped were from the making of the dress and had hitched a ride in the packing and not unhitched themselves from the dress through wearing it. 

As I was closing the inner bag I spotted just inside the bag seal a twinkle getting ready to jump to freedom! I went for it but on opening my fingers it was gone! I sighed, packed everything away and went into search mode again. Thankfully I found it almost at once, directly under where I had opened the bag. I grabbed my mobile and took a few pictures zooming in on it. 
The first picture doesn’t show much but it is there. Next at a slightly different angle and a bit closer, now one can see the twinkle. 
The third picture a close up before digging it out and adding it to my collection.
So that’s it! No more ‘sightings’. No more nose rubbings. And to date no more prom dress sessions to get fully dressed and see how it really fits. When I get the chance to go pink again, then I’ll let you know about it. Also I can then check my theory if my collection of twinkles was from the packaging or directly from wearing the dress.

Following the experience with twinkles & Co.
the following came to mind.

Twinkle, twinkle, little stone,
Fallen from a pink dress I own,
In the cellar out of sight,
Until eagle eyes turns on the light.

29 April 2017

Windows: Pink Prom Dress – II – Arrival & Fitting

ne morning as I entered my office there it was, an olive green plastic bundle looking like it would explode at any moment. I knew it was ‘The Dress’ as I was still in a daze and hadn’t ordered anything else since that day. Normally I would wait for an opportunity later to open my orders and take a look and if they were heels even try them on after everyone had gone home.
Here I was hesitant to even make a little hole and peek in. With the way it way puffed up and under tension I knew that if I unpacked it in no way would I get it back into the bag and closed up again. I would just have to make do with waiting until I got home.
At least I knew it was the right colour; it had the word PINK in big capital letters on the address label mixed in with cryptic article coding. If anyone had seen this from reception to my office they didn’t comment, actually thinking about it nobody said anything, not even about it arriving...
I must say that was a very long rest-of-a-day.

That evening I had the chance to disappear into the cellar and with one ear monitoring upstairs I carefully opened the package. Why is it that some plastic bags make so much crackling noise when handled! You try to be quiet and they wake the dead with every crackle! I opened just one end (minimal noise) and removed the transparent inner bag.
Wow what a pink! Pink is not my favourite colour but looking at this I could be persuaded otherwise.

I opened the inner bag and pulled out the dress.
I realised almost instantly that I was not in control. It started to unravel of its own accord as if programmed to do so! It reminded me of a runaway inflating inflatable dingy! Every time I tried to grab at one part of the skirt, it would expand in another direction! This was the first time I was in close proximity to such material and in this volume. It had a life of its own. Finally the ‘program’ hit exit and everything stopped moving. It just laid there – a sea of pink!
I sat down and starred. Before me was the real thing not just a picture of a prom dress. I let out a long wow, quiet like as if in awe of what lay before me.. 

I was tempted to try it on, but realised this was going to be no mean feat considering all the material. It was a no go anyway, as MrsA could come down anytime to check the washing machine which was rumbling next door, also they had forgot to include the instruction manual with the dress. A long Abi session would be needed to explore this unknown terrain.
I pulled my eyes away from the glitter and twinkling of sequins and stones and made a temporary storage space for quick access at the next session, by the look of it I would need all the time I could get. I also had to figure out in which stash box it would be stored or start a new one for ‘my pink precious’.
With the quick stash area in easy reach and no movement from upstairs I decided to at least lace the ribbon into the loops at the back of the dress before calling it a day. I didn’t leave any slack because I was afraid I wasn’t going to need any, just the opposite by the look of it..
I packed it away as best I could; normal folding as with most materials wasn’t possible, it just sprung apart again! It would have been better to hang it up but that was out of the question as with all my dresses. I must admit I’m not really some one that looks after clothes in general, but funny enough with my dresses its different, another relationship. I find it really frustrating to have to fold them together and depending on the material knowingly crease them before literally stuffing them in boxes. It hurts.

To save even more time on the evening before the next Abi session, I went in search of my pink heels. I was also thinking of looking for a corset, but I still had a feeling that the dress was too big and it wouldn’t help. Also putting it on would take time and I wanted to know as quick as possible where I was size wise. The next day as soon as I returned from taxing MrsA to rehearsals, I was off down into the cellar. I unpacked the dress and spread it out over a chair.
I was now confronted with the logistics of getting into it.

I had no real idea on how to proceed; there was so much material to get into! I had no first hand, let alone second hand knowledge about contraptions of this kind. I never saw anyone putting on a dress of this type and never found any YouTube videos titled ‘How princesses put on dresses’ or ‘How not to ruin your prom by tripping up while putting your dress on’.
No. No tips anywhere.

This could of course mean either there wasn’t any out there, or that it would be so simple and straight forward that it was not deemed necessary to even include an IKEA like schematic diagram in the packaging. As I held up the dress and turned it around, I started my own set of instructions. At the top was: Try and not step on to the material as you get into it.

With this in mind, I decided to sit down and step with both feet into the top and work it up until I had to stand and bring up the rest. It worked; I then drew up the dress very slowly making sure I didn’t feel any resistance which would have meant I was down there standing ‘on it’ and not ‘in it’.
At last I was standing, the skirt kind of rested on my hips - what there is of them - but I had the feeling the dress would slip any time and the bodice even with the lacing done up to maximum felt lose. Ok as in the picture I didn’t have to constantly hold it up and although I wasn’t ‘fully’ dressed under the bodice, I knew that the dress was too large. 

Darn it!

There had been always the chance that the theoretical work upfront would be off and now I had the proof that it was. Ok it was not ideal, but as I had come this far I decided to see if the skirt length was at lease correct, in bare feet it was catching in the carpet.
I sat down. Well it was more of a panic initiated fall down. I just couldn’t see my legs! I of course knew they were in there somewhere, but without visual feedback I was afraid I would tangle my feet in or stand on the dress, and so instead I just flopped down onto the chair. Rather hard as it turned out as I was a little bit further away from it than I thought.

In all that pink I went in search of my feet. I eventually found them and it was on with the heels. I was now ‘armed’ down there with two pointed weapons. The last thing I wanted to do at this time was heel the hem, so I very, very slowly started to go about getting up again. As I checked my balance I made sure I gathered and held as much of the skirt in my hands up and away from the floor as I could until I was fully standing.

I let lose the skirt and enjoyed the sensation of the material cascading down my bare freshly shaven legs. Wow, now that was something! I slowly started towards the mirror and while doing so saw my reflection for the first time.
It just hit me and I abruptly stopped.
Up until that moment I was occupied with being somewhat down with the realisation of choosing the wrong size and concentrating on the mechanics of getting into and standing in the dress without mishap.
As I starred at myself in the mirror I had the feeling of detachment, as if that was someone else in the mirror. It didn't last long, the sensation of the heels and the caressing of the skirt brought me back into sync.

I have never in all my years had this type of tactile sensation in the clothes dept. I felt my eyes starting to water up as I thought about what I had missed over the years. I quickly got hold of myself again, quite literary in fact; being half blinded at that moment I instinctively grabbed two handfuls of skirt and raised them so as to complete the manoeuvre to the mirror without stumbling.

You’re not normally conscious of wearing every day clothes, apart from selecting what to wear for the day or when one gets compliments to them. With this dress it was really something else, in its own category, a completely new feeling for me.
I was fascinated with the space it took up around me, a space that you had to be constantly conscious with every move of trying to anticipate and avoid collisions, like having to think ahead when contemplating a simple thing like sitting down.
It may be a silly comparison but it's like when you get a new car and drive it for the first time. You have to take on the space it takes up and make its handling an extension of the ‘you’, especially in my case when reversing or parking as with the dress when I tried to reverse and park myself on the chair. It’s good that cars have bumpers and I some built-in padding at my rear end. Ok it becomes routine over time, if one has the opportunity that is.

After spending what seemed like ages looking at myself in the mirror - I won’t go so far to say admiring myself - I checked the length and found I had an inch or so to spare to the floor. It looked good. At least that had worked out ok. I raised the hem to check I wasn’t standing on its inner layers and then let it fall again.
The length was just about right for careful walking and dancing.. Did I just say dancing? [Ed: Yes, dancing!]
Ok, ok nobody is going to whisk me around the dance floor in this or any other dress. Usually it’s me taking the lead and doing the whisking around.
But still the idea..
[Ed: ? ]

I started to look slowly up away from my feet. The skirt was sitting well enough, the bodice was not. As I said it was lose and was not fitting snugly at all. It had creases, not how I had imagined it. Then I saw my shoulders & upper arms and winced. What one doesn’t have in the chest and hips dept. one can build up and with the appropriate ‘tools’ pull in the waist. But one cannot ‘build down’ ones shoulders, only hide them in some way.

I had an idea, I went mentally through my wardrobe until I found what I thought would do nicely to cover them, a light cream coloured bolero like thing.
I had originally bought it for covering my shoulders with my sleeveless festive dresses. It’s not ideal colour wise but was dirt cheap and surprisingly in my size (I’m always surprised when I find something in my size). I decided to dig it out and see how it looked.
Now that was a problem, I couldn’t remember in which of my 10 stash boxes I had parked it!
[Ed: And where was that detailed inventory list with type, colour, size and location that I painstakingly created and edited for you?]
Yes, yes I know the one your thinking about, it’s just I couldn’t remember where that was located either! Maybe I was getting into panic mode as time was moving on. There was nothing for it but go through them all. 

As eight of my boxes are stored above shoulder level it was not easy to climb up onto a chair and bring them down one by one until I had found the bolero. It was in the fifth box I opened. And all this in the prom dress! That cost time and a balancing act I can tell you!
[Ed: At least you removed your heels.]
Yes but only after the third box! I was so annoyed with not remembering where I had stashed the list and therefore in which box the bolero was that I just forgot about them! At least it shows that the heels are comfortable but not, in the long run, ideal for climbing expeditions.

I was pleased with the look; it covered my shoulders and arms quite well. It’s cuddly too, even if it is pure synthetic crackling like a distant electrical storm when one takes it off. What I like is that it twinkles a little in the light as with the dress. The pictures don’t show this well, as with all my snaps, but you can get some impression with the pictures here.

Time was getting on and I had to get changed, pack everything away and store the boxes back in their places. Instead of actively getting out of the dress I thought I would see how lose it was. So I just wriggled about a bit and it fell without help to the floor. Yes it was really lose. I stepped out and gathered it up and held it to me. This phase is always a little sad when a session comes to an end, especially when a growing panic comes on that I’ll not clear up in time.
Of course I made it with time to spare, but funny enough you only know that afterwards. I checked and re-checked for any telltale Abi activity around the cellar before returning upstairs to daylight. It’s routine now, which, if one is not careful can lead to mistakes. 

Well it did. 
I had missed something, but I’ll dedicate a complete post to this in part III.

So what next?
I spent the next days, looking at the pictures I had taken. I could see that the bodice was not sitting right and this just underlined the fact I wasn’t at all happy with the situation.
[Ed: More disappointed than usual?]
Yes, the prom dress session was lovely, but the dress way too lose which put the dampers on it all. Usually I’m always positive about such sessions. There is always the fun and play part to it all. The colours, the lacy and twinkle glitter bits, the different materials and the different perspective when ‘high’ on heels. In all it makes me for a while content if that’s the right word. It brings me home to a part of me that had no tangible chance over the years to express its self, now I can to a certain extent. I would be even more content if I could be ‘me’ more often in my own time and having the chance to get completely dressed from wig to painting my toe nails. Will see what comes being home all the time.

So I had to make a decision with the dress:
  1. keep it and on rare occasions get it out and wear it but with the frustration that it didn’t fit as it should, or
  2. send it back and that was that, no pink prom dress, or
  3. send it back and order the next size down, giving me the chance of 1. with I hoped less frustration as the next size should fit better.
I was mildly surprised that I decided on 3. as with this whole pink prom dress business.
Another first for me was sending articles back to the UK. Here in Germany with the large on-line retailers like Zalando, they don’t charge any P&P within the country, making one less hesitant when ordering and returning. With the UK, it would mean giving out P&P three times (2x UK to here and 1x back to UK). I would then be paying about 120% on top compared to the price of the dress. This sounds a lot, but the dress wasn’t that expensive only standard international parcel post is.
I packed it as best I could in the original bag, a tight squeeze but with enough brown tape it looked like it would survive the trip and then it was off to the post office. I was a little afraid it would disappear into the UK postal black hole which I had had experience in the past (see Twilight Zome: Stockings VI), but it would be tracked so I had some info when and where it was. On the same day I ordered the dress in the size UK26 and went into waiting mode again.

Three days later there it was again on my desk. I checked the label and noticed in addition to the expected word PINK; I saw a little ‘26’ mixed in with the coding. My heart beat a little faster as I packed it away for smuggling home.

I left it packed until my next Abi session came along. I had been waiting long enough that a few more days wouldn’t make any difference. Of course it did make a difference as I was developing mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I was eager to open and try it on. On the other I was somewhat hesitant because it could mean it was still too large and then what would I do?
So the day came where I would have again about three hours alone. So it was down to the cellar and carefully unpacked it. I held it up and critically looked at the bodice. Ok it was 2 inches smaller going by the size chart but one couldn’t see this. The only chance was to try it on. I dug out my white corset knowing where it was after remembering its location by the last box hunt. I pulled myself in as far as I could without going over the top. I need a clear head, not circulation problems with potential blackouts.

Well, it fitted much better than the other one. Again I wasn’t fully dressed in the chest dept. To do this properly I need more preparation time and I didn’t think I had it. I did have my strapless bra on (recently bought for this purpose), but no time to create a cleavage. I just wanted to see in principle if I needed to contemplate another size down. Which I was happy to say was not the case. The lacing at the back was almost closed and when I create the right bust I expect I would have more flexibility in tightening up the back.
This time I pinned on the bow to demonstrate that the dress was going to stay.

So I spent some time enjoying the feeling of the dress. Moving around in it, learning to sit down and in the heels standing up without having to use the chair as support. 
After looking at the clock I tried the wiggling test, and to my satisfaction the dress didn’t fall down. This time only a little sad having to call it a day and packing everything away. It had been a long haul but I was happy to have now a princess dress (in pink) in my collection.

Since that session in November last year and writing this up I haven’t had it on again. 
One of the reasons for this is that I’m a little hesitant in unpacking it. 
See the third, and yes finial part of this post to find out why..

26 April 2017

Windows: Pink Prom Dress - I - Selecting & Ordering

ix months down the road I’m still somewhat in shock and astound that I even contemplated buying let alone ordering the title of this post.
[Ed: I’m even more astounded that you are writing a post on it!]
True, in a previous post I went on about my online buying experience and that it all came to an end with leaving work (see ObserVation: A day 'in' shopping). Last summer I thought that I would carry on working not as intensive as before but at least a few days in the week and for quite some time.
With this in mind I thought it would be business as usual. I hadn’t really thought about having to stop shopping as I would be in the office at least once a week, and if for nothing else to pick up my parcels and smuggle them home.
As October was coming to a close I realised that at the end of the year I would be going into full retirement. This meant that after three years of on-line shopping, feeding my wardrobe and makeup case, it would all soon come to an end.

I started to panic, realising what that meant. In the New Year I could still browse but not hit the buy button! Good for the wallet but not for that tingling feeling when ordering a dress, patterned stockings, a new lipstick and my main vice heels. If they ever discover the HHG, [Ed: High Heel Gene] then I know if screened, I would turn up ++++ positive.
Well when the first panic wave subsided I checked the clock to see how much time I had left taking into consideration the rest of my annual leave and when my last order would arrive before my last official day. Working on passed delivery metrics it was going to be about the beginning of December.
So with this in mind I went into second gear and used this as an ‘excuse’ to really go on a last shopping spree.

[Ed: As if you needed an excuse!].
Hey! Don’t put a girl down for going mad when she’s in a metaphoric candy store just before closing and with no foreseeable chance to ever come back again. One stuffs every available pocket with everything in grabbing distance!
[Ed: You mean like in Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts goes shopping with the credit card from Robert Gere].
Not quite, it’s my credit card and I virtually walk the high street and not toddling on heels in that lovely outfit on real pavements.
Maybe the prom dress was just a part of this panic stricken ‘sweet’ madness.

In the past when browsing on-line it was ‘Oh! That is nice, it should fit but I don’t know .. the price..’ and I would usually move on. If I went to the next level with ‘Oh! Now that’s really is nice!’ it would go into the shopping cart. At the end of such a session I would look at the contents of the cart and usually gasp at the totted up price. In the back of my mind came ‘and were in hell are you going to store it all!’

[Ed: Come on! Stashing logistics had never stopped you in the past, it was the price!].
Yes, I suppose it was. What's a few more cubic meters of stash anyway..

After recovering I would then prune the shopping cart contents back to the ‘really really nice’ items and check the total again. Sometimes I even left everything in the cart ‘to mature’ for a while and try to get my head around the idea of having it..
[Ed: ya, all of 10 seconds] Stop that!!
When I do came back, however quick, and it is still in the ‘really really nice’ category and [Ed:] was not around then I would order [Ed: Gawd, now I’m the excuse!]

With this last so called shopping spree I didn't start out with going mad buying everything in sight. I just became a little less critical when pruning back. I threw away my ‘no way!’ flag and let my ‘now or never’ flag pop up instead.

I also looked more at dresses than heels thinking I had enough of them (heels that is) which is of course not possible but I wanted to stock up on dresses especially to match the heels I had.
[Ed: what you find as excuses to buy things!]
But it’s true; I have a lovely pair of yellow heels (just look at that heel!), only I never found a dress to go with them! Now the chance is gone, even if I do find one on-line..

And then one day, while surfing Amazon UK..

[Ed: hey! that rhymes!].
If you haven’t anything better to do than butting in all the time, go and put the kettle on..
Where was I? Oh yes surfing. Well I came across a prom dress in blue with a very reasonable price, actually it was advertised as an evening gown, but to me it was what I would expect to wear at a prom..

[Ed: How would you know, you’re never been anywhere near one!].
.. ‘ang on a tick dear reader, I’ll close the kitchen door...
[Ed: Hey! …]

When seeing something like this I would normally sigh and carry on browsing. This was because if I did look more closely it would usually mean leaving in frustration either because the sizes available were much too small (sometimes the Amazon filters are totally useless!), or because of review complaints concerning sizes of Far Eastern sellers (see ObserVation: A day 'in' shopping).
Well as I was in a what-the-heck-lets-take-a-peek-anyway mood and this dress fell in the ‘really really nice’ category, I took one look at my ‘now or never’ flag and clicked on the article for a closer look. There were various colours to choose from with slightly different designs.

I was adventurous and selected the pink version and went ‘wow’.
I saw that the size range covered mine which was unusual and therefore there came a second ‘wow’.
Also the source was the UK, which meant the given sizes could well be correct and so a third ‘wow’ leaked out.
I read the reviews and all the girls (and some of their mothers) were happy with the buy so I added a further ‘wow’ to the collection.

Now all this ‘wowing’ was getting me interested.

I'm not sure what went through me head, but as I looked at the girl in the picture I said to myself ‘I want to wear what's she’s wearing’ followed by ‘and if so, why not in that pink..’
I was slightly taken back after hearing myself say that. I followed it with a ‘hey what’s going on here!’ Usually [Ed:] would comeback with a retort but he was busy in the kitchen. So I had to fend for myself at that moment.
Wow, did I needed that cup of tea..

Often enough in the past either on-line, the telly, or in the numerous piles of magazines of the misses, I’ve looked at a dress or outfit and said to myself ‘now I wouldn’t mind wearing that’ knowing full well I couldn’t and wouldn’t. A few seconds of day dreaming followed by [Ed:] mentally poking me in the ribs and reluctantly shifting me back to reality mode is fully ok.
But here I was still starring at the picture for what seemed like ages, well at least the five minutes waiting for the tea to brew. At the same time what started off in the back of my mind as the usual ‘now I wouldn’t mind..’ worked its way forward and warped into a ‘and why shouldn’t I not wear this..’.
I was even more taken back when it dawned on me that I was seriously contemplating buying a classical A-line princess dress with a corset bodice covered in twinkly bits in addition to sequins, chiffon, even a bow, and to top it

I then heard from somewhere in me head, ’Why do you want this? It's not as if you will ever be going to a prom’.
[Ed: Not only that girl, you won't be going anywhere in any of your wardrobe!].
True, I won’t be and certainly not a prom! But that ‘not going anywhere’ hasn’t stopped me buying in the past and it certainly wasn’t going to stop me with this creation, I was well and truly bitten by a pink prom dress bug!
[Ed: You should see someone about that and I’m not talking about a dermatologist either.
Here’s your cuppa.]

Thanks. And anyway I don’t need to see anyone while you’re around, or was it because of you I needed to see someone...
[Ed: No answer to that. Even if there was it would get very complicated.]

Ok, so I was committed.
[Ed: In more ways than one by the look of it.]
Now there was the problem of picking the ‘right’ size. This wasn't going to be easy. With, let’s say 'normal' dresses and outfits I only had to make sure the label size was correct and cross my fingers by any new brand I hadn’t tried before. The skirt length is not so critical unless you are going for a particular look. One can get an idea from the ad pictures if it’s over or under knee, mini etc. If the hem is at heel level, then one looks for the skirt length in the various sizes.
I was somewhat hesitant when choosing the size for this one, especially the skirt length, as this could make it a go or no go purchase. It's not as if I haven't any long dresses, well up to that point three to be exact, in black, burgundy and my favourite colour mint.

Some months before in one of those match the dress to the heel buys, I had ordered a mint green evening dress without taking the length into account. Just never thought about it, hence didn't look (see ad picture, note the helm at floor level). It was ok in the bust and waist department but about 4 inches/10 cm too long even when wearing my 5 inch mint heels (see picture below of my heels without the dress).
I have contemplated shortening it myself. The hem looks straight forward enough nothing fancy and just one layer of material. As I have no real practical experience in dress making or alterations for that matter, I would first have to practice on some similar material.

Me Mum made all her dresses and outfits, she was quite good at it, saved me Dad a packet over the years. She had a professional dummy that she could adjust to her measurements. She could read dress patterns like I circuit diagrams. In hindsight I should have taken a little more interest in what she was doing, but at the time I would never have imagined that so many years later I would be contemplating doing alterations to one of my own dresses!
Thinking about it, I wonder what would have happened if she had asked me to model for her (we were about the same build and height) or I had offered to help her with fittings. Maybe things would have turned out differently while growing up.
We inherited her sowing machine, a Singer. MrsA wanted it to raise hems and shorten sleeves. Until now she, and eventually me, can’t use it as it needs a general overhaul. I need to find time for this and then to practice doing hems in an Abi session.
I could of course go to the local seamstress to have it done. I can just imagine walking in with my heels tucked under me arm and a transparent dress bag with the mint dress shining through and asking where I can get changed!
Rather ruin it all by myself..

[Ed: If you please, can we focus again on the colour Pink and not Mint.]
Yes yes of course! Mind wanders..

So here was the first hurdle, the size table from the web site was not complete. It only went up to UK18 with all the measurements in inches for waist, bust, hip and height. The skirt length listed was the same for all sizes, I had no choice but to assume that it would be the same for the sizes not listed. It did occur to me that the size table could have been the wrong chart because it didn’t cover all sizes on offer, but I pushed this aside, just too many ‘ifs’ and I realised it wasn’t going to put me off ordering anyway. I took the length of the skirt and calculated that the hem should just touch the floor when wearing my open toe pink heels.

[Ed: Ah! Now I know why the pink dress, it’s to match the shoes!]
You catch on quick don’t you..
So that was the skirt, next the overall size. I could see that the top was corset like and that there would be lacing up the back. The lacing is to contour the dress to the female form and not to squeeze ones body into one. Therefore the dress material, loops and ribbon would probably not stand up to corset like terra forming. This would mean having to go and dig out one of my corsets to have any chance of getting something even approaching an hourglass figure before lacing up the dress.
I had now to workout the metrics for my usual UK26/28 size, based on the information in the chart. As the progression was linear for each parameter it wasn’t that difficult. Still I went through it a number of times before getting out the tape measure. Which promptly sent me back to the drawing board to convert as the tape was in cm not inches! I should have taken my measurements while wearing the corset, but I didn’t have the chance..

[Ed: You just didn’t want to wait till your next session to put it on that’s all!]
How do you know all this!?
And where’s the bickies?
You can’t ’ave a proper cuppa tea without bickies!

Well I went for the UK28, the larger of the two sizes in the chart. There was a sort of rational behind selecting this size. Most of the dresses I have labelled 26/28 fit reasonably well. The corset from previous wear took me in somewhat, not that much as I didn’t have anyone with their knee in my back shouting at me to breathe in one last time.

[Ed: You still haven’t secured those hooks to the cellar wall.]
No I haven’t because I need to find a place which I can get to and pull away from, also it must be hide-able so that I don’t get asked silly questions from you know who!
Also without that knee in my back, I wasn’t quite sure if the corset wouldn’t take up more space than save, it was no way thin. As the waist difference was only 2 inches between a 26 and 28 I hoped that I could, if necessary, reduce any slack of the dress by adjusting the lacing at the back. And finally as I have a panic of buying dresses too small and having in the past a few buys to support this, I thought a bit bigger as the best bet.
So I selected UK28 from the menu and calmly as I could clicked the order button. As the Amazon bot took my order and processed it realised the address was not in the UK and promptly raised the P&P to half the cost of the dress. I was not that surprised, and at that moment I really couldn’t have cared less. I was more occupied with repeating a mantra ‘..you have just ordered a prom dress..’ throwing in the word ‘pink’ every now and then.

I couldn't really believe what I had done. I sat there with different emotions flooding me: foolishness, embarrassment, amazement, anticipation. All this with a continuous bubbling going on in the background, I think it was giggling.

As we are going to have to wait for the dress to arrive
I think this would be a convenient time to take a break. Bear with me please..
Part two and three will follow shortly. I hope it will be only three parts.

[Ed: I will see to it that there are only three parts!]
Now there was something else...
Oh yes!
Where’s my bickies???