Friday, November 30, 2012

These Weren’t Supposed to Be My 27 Dresses

How about we start off with a sensible slow-clap, for the members of society who GOT the memo.

            …‘Cause I certainly didn’t.

            Do I even know the exact contents of said “memo”? I do not: it is known only by those elite few who are fortunate enough to receive it. Even its delivery is shrouded in mystery: does it come by way of unicorn, in a glittery Lisa Frank envelope, covered in obscure Tamagotchi stickers? (Oh wait. That’s the envelope in which I hope to receive a marriage proposal – MY BAD.) It’s probably unique – seriously, one of a kind, shabby chic, embossed-in-a-vintage-foreign-language, delivered by a hip and trendy... barista.

Oh yes, I’m talking about that memo.

(If you don’t have a vague idea of the kind of memo I’m talking about by now, the rest of this might be troublesome for you. And if it’s because you’re stuck on the “vintage-foreign-language” line, don’t worry– I don’t know what that means, either.)

           If you do have a vague idea as to that of which I am speaking, then yes, it is that memo: the one that tells those chosen few how to literally assemble ANY combination of clothing and still be able to look fashionable. And not just “fashionable,” more like: just-stepped-off-the-runway-(or-perhaps -a-private-jet-from-somewhere-in-Eastern-Europe-cause-I-do-things-like-that.)

           Does anyone know what I’m talking about? The idea of the memo was actually conceived by my roommate when we were driving home one night and seeing the girl in the car next to us, Carolyn mumbled, “She got the memo…”

           I didn’t even see what the girl was wearing, but as soon as I heard the words “shabby chic,” I made a sound of acknowledgement. Which was probably more of a groan, because with my understanding of the Memo reference also came the reminder that I was not one of the chosen Memo Recipients.

           I’ll never forget the first time I realized that I hadn’t gotten the memo. I was in third grade and our cousins were visiting for the weekend. My cousin Dee needed a pair of dry clothes; we’d probably been to the pool or something, and she ended up with a pair of spandex and a t-shirt of mine. (She’s two years older than I am, but I was so pudgy that she could easily fit into a pair of my clothes, awesome.) So she puts on these green shorts and a St. Thomas VI t-shirt (it had a fish wearing sunglasses on it, for crying outloud) and somehow…  It was the coolest outfit I’d ever seen. I don’t have pictures here in California with me, but I know there is documented evidence of Grace trying to duplicate this outfit, ‘cause it was basically all I wore for the next two years… And somehow I wore it with confidence, having convinced myself that I looked just like Dee had, but deep down, I knew… I probably looked like an orphan.  I’d also like to take a moment to say: this self-deprecation is only for the sake of entertainment. Because, hello: if I’d never had to face the failure of my atrocious fashion concoctions, I’d never learn to laugh at myself. (Special thanks to Jim and Lou, for letting me do things like wear an entirely lavender dress to a cotillion ball, or frequently paint my nails White-Out white, among other things…)

I bring the Memo up, because I encountered the good ole Douglas Dress-Up box this past weekend and was thoroughly entertained, looking through the dresses that I used to prance around in, twenty years ago… Then, before I knew it, I was trying them on and then… yes, I took some self-pictures. I refuse to use the word “selfie,” because, well, a) it’s not super myspace; there’s no shower curtain in the background and b) I used the self-timer so I could see the whole outfit – DUH.
Now you know that our dear friends who have gotten the memo can delve into the dress-up box, throw on anything they lay their hands on, and it will actually look socially acceptable. If I dared to venture out of the house in any of these outfits, I’d be publicly mocked and/or flogged.
I was sort of hinting at this earlier, but in case anyone missed it: this is all for entertainment. These pictures and dresses were too good for me to resist gloriously mocking myself with the rest of the world…
We should obviously start with the failed attempt at a self-timer picture. You're welcome:

Ok now we’re in business. Where did this dress come from? I don’t even understand what’s going on with it, hence I used my hair as a distraction from the obscure pattern…

Ah, here’s an old bridesmaid dress of Lou’s… I tried so hard to make cleavage; I really did. But all that resulted was some really poor posture.

This dress isn’t so bad… Well, I mean, it is bad, because I could never wear it out in public, maybe it just relatively fits, which is unusual for the dress-up box… (*UPDATE: Oh this is rich: Big Daddy just called and informed me that this is the dress Lou wore "when she crashed Amy Grant's first wedding..." I heard some hollering in the background, followed by his addendum, "Ok she says to tell you she didn't crash it and that she went as someone's date..."*)

Another bridesmaid dress of Lou’s. Shhhhh, just let the lavender happen. (No, NOT my cotillion gown, thank goodness...) 

 a)      If you haven’t seen Drunk Uncle on SNL’s Weekend Update, you should.
       b)      He likes to sing advertising jingles. This is what happened when he serenaded Seth Meyers with “Nation Wide is on your siiiiiide.”

       c)       That’s what I was going for, obvi:

Ok this one is actually awesome and it should surprise no one that I’m obsessed with it, but it was Lou’s when she was about 18, so it obviously barely fits my leg. My grandmother went to a wholesale and got a bunch of Lilly patches and my Mom put ‘em into a dress. But Lou weighed about 30 pounds at the time, so I actually couldn’t wear this in public, even if I got the guts to…

I mean, this one isn’t so bad, actually… But like I said: I didn’t get the memo, I’ll play it safe and leave this one in the Dress Up Box…

And for the grand finale… SLOW CLAP FOR THE 1980’s, where I don’t think ANYONE got the memo… (And yes, this ensemble was at the bottom of the box...)

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