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???


  1. A very interesting blog, and I will tell you that I also go through that same argument about selecting and buying and wondering about how it will fit. Then the waiting for the delivery and how to get it into the house. So many little, but important things that have to be planned and contingencies built around. But it is still fin and exciting....and you want to do it all over again! :-)

    1. Thanks Amy for dropping by! Yes its fun, not the smuggling tho. I've just posted the second part covering fitting.
      Love Abigale.