Our first foray into the mysterious and (to me) unknown Dress Department happened in John Lewis in Oxford Street, London. The absolute horror of seeing my rotund form in a matronly dress in the mirror of that fitting room defies description. It was traumatic to say the least. It was also at about this point that I discovered that I would be needing some supportive underwear. Hence the sobbing. Took me at least 10 minutes to recover sufficiently to stagger out of there and head elsewhere. Fast. I think the fitting room attendant was glad to see me go. I think she thought I was a little weird.
Next stop was House of Fraser. This experience was slightly less alarming. In fact I found a dress there that I quite liked. What followed was a human version of the chicken run: I tried the dress on - put it back on the shelf - went to another part of the store - came back and tried the dress on again - put it back on the shelf - left and went to another shop - came back and tried the dress on again - put it back on the shelf - left and went to have lunch - brought Grant back and tried the dress on again. Grant didn't like the dress. Left. The fitting room attendant at this store also seemed to find me a little unnerving.
Next up was a shop in Ireland, where, unbelievably, I purchased a dress. Nice, plain and simple and big enough to fit all of me in it (with room for improvement which would come with the, as yet unpurchased, supportive underwear). Came home and discovered that the dress was completely unsuitable. It was linen. I looked like a crinkle cut crisp once I had sat down in it for even one minute. Epic Fail.
At this point I completely and utterly lost my nerve. I decided that for the sake of my mental health (and that of fitting room attendants in general) I would pretend that there was not a wedding in our future, that I would not be requiring a dress and that there would definitely not be any supportive underwear in amongst my knickers ever. It was bliss. For about a week. And then Roxy and Grant began harping on and on at me and my peace was shattered. Then I began dreaming about dresses and fitting room attendants and, heaven help me, supportive underwear.
Soooo, it was time to make another foray into the shops. Rox and I tootled off to Durban, me with my new resolve - I mean, seriously, how hard can it be to find a plain, simple, dress? - Rox with a heavy dose of patience (or so I hoped!) Oh my holy aunt, what a day, what a disaster! The air-conditioner in the shopping centre was broken and stinking hot took on a whole new meaning! It was right on the hump between Winter clothes and Summer clothes. It was awful! Epic, epic fail.
I retreated back into my happy state of denial and that was that. Until today. It is now 6 weeks to the wedding. Rox had her first dress fitting in Durban today and I promised her that today was the day I would find The Freaking Dress.
In my desperation I had emailed a couple of friends for ideas, so armed with their thoughts on the matter and a few ideas of our own, off we set. D-Day!
Good grief. Some of the stuff we saw was ridiculous.
I swear there are numerous colonial style hotels in the country that are missing their curtains:
For those whose theme tune is "you don't bring me flowers anymore".......
So, ja, we had some laughs..... I sobbed a little bit..... and I did some Shakira moves in the fitting room (got to keep those attendants entertained!)....and then Rox found The Freaking Dress!
It's okay hey. It's black and white. (Yes it is. Black and white. I'm the mom who is wearing black to her daughter's wedding. Bite me.) It's certainly not something I would fall into mystic raptures over, but it's a dress, it fits me (as well as can be expected when you have more rolls than the local bakery) Rox likes it and it certainly won't kill me to wear it. I may or may not have also acquired some supportive underwear.
Oh and for those who might be wondering why on earth I didn't just get a dress made......... NO-ONE sees me in my knickers except Grant, Rox and Paula..... and now that I may or may not have purchased supportive underwear.... even they don't get to come in.