Monday, June 18, 2012

Attack of the Killer Dress

So there I was, standing in the dressing room in Macy's with the dress over my head and no way to get it on or off. It was a jersey fabric creation with no zipper and I had tried to put it on, found it was too tight for me, and then tried to take it off again. And got as far as my head when it wouldn't go any further.

So what do I do now? Stagger out into the hallway, revealing my bare flesh and underpants, mumbling for help through the folds of the fabric, scaring away children who think a headless monster is coming for them? Or stay where I am until I suffocate and they find my lifeless body on the floor? It's also cutting into my arms and my boobs at this stage so lack of circulation will be a problem. I wriggle, I squirm, I strain and move it about an inch. Oh for the days of the shop assistant who actually helped and found dresses and said in silky tones, "Oh modom does look nice in that" to everything one tried.

And I find myself thinking about the book I am writing. It's the seventh Lady Georgie book and my characters all have personal maids to dress them. This would never have happened to Georgie. She has the world's worst maid but even she could have yanked the dress from Georgie's head. And I realize now that maids in historical times were not a luxury, they were a necessity. Those Victorian dresses with twenty four little pearl buttons all the way up the back could not be put on without the help of a maid. Let's face it, no husband would be patient enough to do up or even undo 24 pearl buttons! And the corsets! Someone had to tug on those corset strings while the suffering female held onto the bedposts. At least my heroine Molly Murphy is sensible enough never to have worn a corset in her life.

So now that none of us has a maid, why do manufacturers have to make so many complicated clothes? I was looking for a fancy type of dress to wear on a cruise. They all seemed to do up with impossible back zippers or side zippers and hooks and eyes one couldn't reach. Or, in the case of the dress currently stuck over my head, no zipper at all, just a long thin tube with long tight sleeves and I don't know what possessed me to try it in the first place. Oh, yes I do know. It was on sale!

I finally extracted myself, dear reader and lived to tell the tale. And I bought a long black skirt instead to wear with various jackets. Those I can take off by myself.


  1. Zippers down the back seem to be trendy this season. Several female characters on the TV show "Fairly Legal" seem to favor this style. My husband has wondered aloud as to the necessity of such a thing. To him, they aren't practical or sexy, so what's the use?

    As for cruise wear, I am thankful that the long flowy maxi dress is back in style. It is my dress of choice for cruise evening wear, so I am glad that there are many new options in the shops.

  2. A genuine dressing room disaster. I bought matching dresses for my two daughters, many years ago, from a dime store called Neisners. There was no dressing room. I didn't notice until I tried dressing them that there were no buttons and no zipper. No way to get the dress over their head. I cut a slit down the back, rolled a bit of hem and sewed a button and loop on. Good to go! As you can imagine the dime store dresses were inexpensive, but from that experience I can imagine your frustration.

  3. I've been looking for a bra that doesn't irritate the incision from an operation. Sports bras come close, but the word seems to be "make them tight." I have visions of dying part way into a sports bra - or part way out.

  4. Really enjoyed your blog. The part where you got stuck in a dress reminds me why I always take my husband when I go dress shopping. He doesn’t mind too much and he’s rescued me many times. Sometimes its just help with a back zip but on several occasions I’ve got totally stuck like you with a dress over my head and my arms pinned in the air. When I’m stuck like that I can’t see and I can’t move. All I can do is stand there in my bra and pants and call out to my husband hoping he hasn’t moved away. In that situation I would have been really embarrassed if anyone other than my husband had to see me like that and rescue me.

    1. Has your husband ever wandered off? If so what did you do?