Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mean Malls

We're going to a black tie event on Saturday night. It's an Academy Award event honoring, among others, Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall. Government issued id required at the door. And don't wear orange.

I really didn't have anything to wear, so I set off looking for a formal gown. I've experienced a lot more of mall life in the last three days than I'd ever want to otherwise.

Things I learned along the way:
  • In spite of Michelle Obama, department stores are still pushing the Betty Ford look in formal wear: big bows and bigger collars.
  • If the dresses don't look like Betty Ford wore them, they look like 1940's swimsuits with big skirts and glitter. The lampshade look is everywhere.
  • Another option is a dress with one strap only, ala Tarzan.
  • Every single dress I saw was made in China, every one.
  • Don't imagine the dresses you see online will be in the stores. Too much of a risk that they won't sell.
  • There are no velvet dresses to be had. Maybe they forgot how to make velvet in China.
  • Nearly everyone working or shopping at malls in the middle of the day has a middle eastern accent.
  • Formal wear is freaking UGLY!
The stores I went to: Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus, and a small dress shop with barracuda style sales women. This was NO FUN!

Getting desperate, I ordered a dress from the Neiman Marcus catalog, sent overnight, and when I tried it on all that was missing was the pink bunny slippers. A combo design of nightgown and mummy outfit, with wrapping bands all around the top that added to its ugliness.

Ah but I was inspired. I remembered I had a velvet dress from the 1920's. I haven't worn it in 20 years myself. Pulled it out of the costume trunk, tried it on, miracle it still fit. Now I am mall free! You don't tell people you pulled it out of the costume trunk, you just say it's vintage, right?


Linda said...

I love your illustration--it perfectly conveys this desperate type of shopping experience.

But you do so much better than I do. I don't start shopping for a big event until the day before. For instance, I bought my wedding dress the day before my wedding.

Amazing about the velvet dress from the costume trunk! So great that it still fit! I hope we'll be able to see a photo.

p.s. I'm glad house sitter didn't find it first & wear it instead of cat costume.

RHSteeleOH said...

What Linda said.. Photo!

Sally said...

Hey I'm paying money to get my face all made up on Saturday- I already told them please don't make me look like I'll stick to the side of a fender. (thinking Tammy Faye.) Then I'll be ready for the photo opportunity.

Hey, no way the cat lady could fit in this dress even if she has 30 years on me.

Crazy about the wedding dress, Linda.

Namowal said...

I totally understand how frustrating clothes shopping can be, especially when you're looking for something special.
Some things I've noticed:
98% of what's available can be either classified as "Hooker" or "Frump".
Everything's overpriced.
The service is terrible.
The fitting rooms are a mess.
And shopping used to be kinda fun...
p.s. Yes, I want to see pictures too!

Jane said...

Yes, I hate to shop, too. Except in consignment stores or good thrift shops, and we have some good ones around where I live. Glad you resurrected your old frock. Bet it will look great. Want to see the make up, though. You are brave to do it. Have you been professionally made up before? Go, Sally!

stray said...

Great post! Have fun.

booda baby said...

Oooh, how great, to dig into your own treasure chest! (And actually pull out something perfect!)

Next time, consider making a day trip up to Santa Barbara. We have unbelievable consignment shops (and thrift stores, too) that are really ... unbelievable. I'm sure they're good in other places, but if you know SB/Montecito at all, then you can imagine what gets given to these stores.

Sally said...

Namowal, you've been where I've been, no question.

Jane, never had makeup done before, but I thought it would probably be cheaper than buying a whole load of makeup. It's risky I know. Sure they'll think "got to get rid of those dark shadows" which I've had since I was born.

Booda baby, read your post and was tempted to head right up there to Santa Barbara.

I'll take pictures if I'm not in tears.

stray said...

I never had time to get to the thrift store that Mimi told me about in Pasadena!

blog administrator said...

It is now late Sunday morning and your readers are waiting for photos.

Anonymous said...

Now it's Sunday afternoon.