Dress Fail

As working moms of two small children, Lord knows time is sparse and valuable. As recovering [I use that word loosely] shopaholics, this lifestyle choice puts a severe dent in our favorite vice. Gone are the days we could drift lazily over to the nearest boutique to pick out a new shirt for a Saturday’s festivities or embark on a marathon shopping spree at some sprawling suburban mall.

As a result, our saving grace has become online shopping. There was once a time I shunned such practices, favoring the light cardio and inevitable lunch at Nordstrom Cafe that accompanies an afternoon of leisure-shopping. Now the only wandering I get to do is in my mind post-bedtime-routine as I scroll through various Instagram clothing companies, absentmindedly filling my virtual cart full of items I will probably never go back and purchase.

Though this digital window-shopping has become a suitable alternative to the real deal, there are some times you probably should just do the shopping in a real, live brick and mortar establishment.  Like when you need to buy a cocktail dress to run and chaperone a high school prom.  As Erinn and I learned the hard way on this one, what you see may be what you get, but it definitely may not work.

MB’s Prom Dress Fail:

Knowing that the prom was looming, I sought to find a dress that offered two major promises:

  1. Was comfortable enough that I could run around like a pretend event planner all night.
  2. Walked a careful balance between being appropriate for my job, but not matronly.

Emboldened by a few glasses of a fantastic cabernet, I set upon the task of finding such a unicorn on the interweb.  I woke up the next morning to find [to my surprise] that I had ordered NINE dresses.  Nine.




Each of these dresses failed one or both of my requirements.  The youthful ones were way too youthful.  The breezy ones made me feel like I was old enough to have birthed one of these prom-goers.  Which is when I realized a difficult choice for formal attire for women in our 30s: where is the happy medium between 20 year old collegiate and 40 year old mom?  We’re past the days where above-the-knee cuts are the standard.  At this point, my knees are getting weird and wrinkly, so I’m more than happy to cover those bad boys up.  But at the same time, I don’t need to drape myself with fabric to hide my body just yet.  So how is it that NOTHING I bought worked?

As it turns out, my shopping binge uncovered one gem that fit the bill: this number from Macy’s.  No cellulite-thigh in view and no cleavage? Check.  Bare clavicle so I can still feel like my neck isn’t too wrinkly for public consumption?  Check.  Now off to stand in a real long line in a real brick and mortar Macy’s to return the eight others…

Erinn’s Prom Dress Fail:

First of all, let me say this, I by no means NEEDED a new dress. I have a closet full of once-worn numbers collecting dust, but every girl wants to feel special at prom, even if it’s not technically MY prom. I thought to myself I could maybe sneak in a few new ones though and not have any guilt by going the cheapo route. I admit it…I fell prey to the ads in my instagram and thought I would give it a whirl. So, I ordered three. Once of them surely had to fit and hold up for a least one night!

Let’s just say I learned my lesson.  The first one I tried on was waaaaaaaay to short and basically will be worn as shirt. The second one, I loved. I mean loved! It was a pretty yellow number with cute ruffles and it hit below the knee perfectly. I thought for just one moment that my gamble had paid off. Then I tried to take it off. AND THE ZIPPER BROKE. I literally wanted to cry. But, I had one last shot and I had my fingers crossed…but alas, it was not meant to be. You could literally see right through it! Not even a slip could save this one. If I had tried to show up in this one, I would have had the cops called on me. So, I get it now. You get what you pay for. 

In the end, I went with this red dress from WhoWhatWear for Target, that I had previously worn and all in all it was for the best. The cute feminine details at the neck and the length made it the perfect choice to get through the night. 


In the end, we had a great day setting up prom and seeing the kids in all their finery.  But man, we were exhausted at the end!  Guess we won’t be moonlighting as event planners as our summer gigs.


Pre-setup lunch.  And drinks.  And then setup drinks [Thanks, Mid America Club!] And then post-setup drinks.

Gorgeous view, fabulous crew, darling centerpieces, and general shenanigans at the Mid America Club

We ended our night at the very cute ACME Hotel about ten minutes after the last dance.  We attempted a night cap that was abruptly discarded in favor of bed and HGTV.


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