So, I'm going to preface this blog of grainy photos by saying a couple of things.
First off, my authorial mom friend Jules Bennett made me do this after I spent yesterday morning complaining I didn't have a fancy dress to wear to RT's Reader Convention at the beginning of May and then, that night, my husband reminded me I had already bought a dress. Yes, I had completely forgotten I owned a dress. In fact, after digging back into my closet, I had apparently forgotten that I owned SEVERAL dresses. Andrea Laurence is also key in making me play dress up on a Saturday morning. This one's for you, ladies!
Which leads me to my second point. For a woman who spends 80% of her time in blue jeans and the remaining 20% in pajamas, I owe a LOT of dresses. This is a sickness. I haven't worn a fancy dress since, um, a hot date--and that was in 2012! It's been a year!
Third, I had my husband (Bless the man) take these photos with my cell phone, which turned out not to be my best idea ever. So you'll just have to take it with a grain of salt when I tell you that one dress is emerald green and one is aqua, okay?
Fourth--I had on the bare minimum of under-eye concealer, no spanx, and we won't discuss when I'd last shaved my legs. All dresses would be worn with full body-armor supportive undergarments.
So, this is for Jules, who will tell me what to wear after she gets done snickering at me.
First up, a black cocktail dress that's fairly conservative. If I was going to a funeral, I could pull this one off. It's got a high-back collar and some nice seaming at the waist, plus a little flip in the back, but it's pretty darn conservative. I've only worn it once, to the Chicago-North Spring Fling Banquet in 2012. I wore it with cowboy boots. Really.
Next, the only floor length dress I own (that's not a wedding dress): This is a black velvet, sleeveless number with a small fan tail. I have only worn it twice--once to a black tie wedding 3 weeks after I met my husband and then on our first New Year's Eve together, which we celebrated at the John Hancock Building, 96th floor. Which was...12 years ago. The caveat with this dress is that it does not zip. I might be able to have it altered to make that last half inch of zipper, but I also need to lose 10 pounds to make it really work.
Our next contender is the one my husband is STILL laughing at me for not remembering buying 2 months ago. I think of this as my Bond Girl dress because it's slinky but covered. The picture shows it as blue, but it's really more of a teal/aqua color. The seaming at the bust is, um, dramatic and it's got a little faux peplum on it to help camouflage certain parts! Bonus! Plus--sleeves. I love sleeves. Sleeves make me so very, very happy. I have never worn this dress in public before.
Our next contender is another oldie but goodie. I wore this dress in 2003 to dinner on Coronado island in San Diego. The bust and sleeves are black mesh, with a barely-there black lace liner at the bust. The rest is black and slinky. It's incredibly covered and incredibly revealing at the same time--and I barely got it zipped (I was a different weight, shall we say, when I wore it 10 yrs ago). It's also got a seam that's busting on me, so I'd have to have it fixed. And I may not be able to lean over in mixed company. It's a VERY deep-cut bust line.
Then we come to a classic, Mad-Men-esque cocktail dress that I have recently actually worn in public! Yes! I wore this on a thank-God-the-Kid's-at-my-folks'-house-for-the-night fancy date just last fall! It's a black satin dress with faux jewels sewn on the neckline. It's a tad loose on the top and a tad tight on the bottom, but it's otherwise a pretty forgiving dress. Darts at the waist are helpful in accommodating my bod.
Now we come to the dress that I wore to RWA in 2009. I'm so proud of this dress for a couple of reasons--my sister helped me pick it out and then, a year later, we saw a What Not To Wear episode where a similarly proportioned woman wore this dress as part of her big reveal. Lo! This dress is Stacy and Clinton Approved! YES! Also, I took second place at the Chicago-North Fire and Ice contest while wearing this dress, so ya! I haven't worn it since 2010, though. I thought I would have to lose that elusive 10 pounds to get into it, but it had more give than I remembered, so it's still wearable. Plus, it's not black! Boom! Pop of color!
Now we're to another one of my successes--my bridesmaid's dress from my sister's wedding 2 years ago. I fought hard for a dress style and color I felt looked good on me and could be re-worn without being obviously a bridesmaid dress (NO PINK). The shirring of the fabric is very concealing and the one shoulder is dramatic. I did have it shortened, so this is a extra-fancy cocktail dress, I think.
Finally, one of my lucky finds--the green dress with sleeves. SLEEVES! YAH! And it's emerald green! It was on sale. I've worn it a couple of times, including to Spring Fling 2010. I was going to wear it when I was supposed to meet Val Kilmer last year, but darn him for canceling on me. So we've got wonderful sleeves that are full coverage without being tight, a drape neck and--yes--even pockets! I've never used them because they would make me lumpy--it is a sheath skirt--but they're there.
So there you have it! I have other, more casual dresses that go better with my cowboy boots and hat, but this is my fancy selection. WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO RT!? Please, tell me. Seriously.