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Serendipity in the Perfect Red Dress

There are people in this world that are born to shop for clothes.  I am not one of them.  When I am faced with what I deem the daunting task of making clothing purchases, I usually have to psych myself up in advance.  I usually spend time thinking about what I need to buy rather than approach it impulsively.   I actually enjoy it best when I go it alone so I can take my time and not be distracted by what other people bring to me.  The only person whom I trust to take with me is my mother; she has a vested interest in my appearance.

There are occasions that come up such as an event where I have had to buy something to wear ( e.g. a fundraiser or things needed while traveling) and I cringe at knowing what needs to be accomplished.  I was recently faced with the task of coming up with something to wear to a birthday party I was invited to, for a dear friend.  The catch, however, was that the theme for the party was ‘Red’ (for love, passion…) and she requested that everyone wear either the colors red or white (or a combination of both).

A party: A THEME party!   Did I mention I also am not too keen on parties?  I am great at intimate gatherings where I know people but not parties where I do not.

I looked in my closet…and sighed.   I own a few articles of red clothing: a red silk cardigan that I wear all the time; a deep red, yet slightly faded, short sleeved, pullover that is not at all festive and a single red dress that I had actually worn (and worn) to nearly every event or party (including this same friend’s holiday party) for the past year. I also own a long, red, chemise sweater that was in need of dry cleaning but no time to take it.

I wasn’t interested in wearing any of these items, in honor of my friend, on her special night.  I prolonged the inevitable (yes, shopping) and actually waited until the night before the party to attempt to brave a few stores; this after working late and not having a day off in two weeks.  Being tired is not conducive to shopping success in my mind but, alas, it had to be done…

I believe one of the reasons I have a little difficulty shopping is because I am really particular about what I wear.  I am not into trends.  I like clothes that fit into the following categories:  beautiful, functional or comfortable. If a piece fits all three, I’m a happy girl!  Usually comfort wins out over the other two.  I also prefer quality and I don’t find it necessary to pay full price, as clothes are normally made cheaply and overpriced.

I landed at the mall because it was on my way home and knew which store I wanted to try first: H & M, for I had yet to venture into the store since it had opened.  I don’t think red was in their “line-up” for this season but I did leave with, yet another, black top.  It fit all of what I stated above and it was to come to the rescue of a top I already own, that is similar and slowly fading from over use.  I justified the purchase with the $10 price tag, marked down from $40.  I left without a red thing in hand.

I stopped in another store, leaving empty handed and finally made my way to Macy’s.  I saw RED everywhere!  Red shirts were draped from my arm as I made my way around the first floor.  Out of about 8 styles, there was only one that I “loved” (I have to love something to buy it, period, unless it’s a functional piece).  I didn’t see what I was truly looking for on that level so I ventured up the escalator to the second level:  The more serious shopping experience was up here and I knew I had to keep my time to a serious minimum: a) because I could over spend and b) because I had approximately 30 minutes before they closed.

I came off the escalator and approached the Ellen Tracy section.  This is a label I normally peruse and like what I see, as the line tends to lean on the side of boldly aesthetic.  There was a rack, spot in the middle, with quite a bit of Claret red going on.  That is my shade of red!  The deeper the hue of red, the more flattering it is with my skin tone.

Pushing things along the rack, I spotted it!  Could it be that I was experiencing serendipity?

The glittery, Claret red fabric…the cut, the length, the layers of fabric cascading into cowls down the front.  Had I dreamed this dress up in my mind and stumbled upon it randomly?  There were three on the rack…two mediums and an extra-small.  Ugh, I needed a small!  I took the extra-small and a blouse of the same design, along with the other tops, into the fitting room.

I first tried on the blouse, fashioned like the dress, and realized it was too big…next I tried on a red sweater that had adorable, half-length, bunched sleeves and nice, almost heart shaped neckline.  I loved the way it fit and decided it was coming home with me.  I didn’t bother with the rest of the tops I’d brought in.  The sweater was my ‘plan B’ in case I didn’t find dress success.

Next, I tried on the dress.  It ‘fit’ just not properly so I decided to go grab a medium.  Upon getting the dress on and adjusted, I determined the medium fit better, although somewhat too loose around the waist and top.  Realizing I could have it altered in the future, I decided this was the dress I was meant to wear to my friend’s RED party.

I hadn’t looked closely at the price tag for either item but upon paying, discovered both were not only on sale but steeply discounted! The sweater, the Macy’s label Inc., originally $50 was $17 and the dress, originally $130 ended up being $45.

Oh yes, it was meant to be…shopping success, indeed!

Serendipity comes in many forms and that night, it found me, in the perfect red dress.




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