On Monday, it wasn't until I got to work and saw myself in a full-length mirror that I realized that my dress had shrunk.
I thought I had just gained weight. I knew I was three pounds heavier than last year when I rocked the dress, which is a very form-fitting pink wool dress with long sleeves. Do you know how hard it is to find a dress with long sleeves? Even in the winter? In Wisconsin? It's very hard. Part of it is designers and part of it is the cheap you know whats who don't want to put an extra two yards of fabric in the dress.
People. I will pay for sleeves. I need them. 1. I don't want to flash my armpits to everyone at work and 2. I am cold. I live in the frozen north. I need sleeves.
So I knew the dress was a little more snug than I remembered but then I tried it on for SH and he said, Well you have some tummy and I said That's not going to change so I don't care. I asked how it was across the butt and he said it was Just fine and I forgot that he is far more appreciative of an abundant behind than I am and that his standards might not be office standards.
We do not have a full-length mirror in our house. If I want to see how something looks below the waist, I have to climb on a chair in the guest room and stand in front of the desk mirror, which lets me see from the waist to the knees. I didn't bother with this dress because I didn't suspect it had gotten shorter.
When I got to work, I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom and realized that the dress was a lot shorter than last year. 1. It felt shorter - definitely shorter than I usually wear and 2. The lining was visible beneath the hem.
RULE OF LIFE #1:
Wool dresses must be dry cleaned. They cannot be washed in the machine, even on cold, even on delicate. NO MACHINES FOR WOOL DRESSES
(or silk dresses)
This is what false economy gets you. You think, "I don't need to pay for dry cleaning. I can wash that by hand."
But you can't. Or maybe by hand in the sink, but not in the machine. A friend pointed out that wool does not like to be agitated.
Does anything or anyone like to be agitated? I don't. I like calm and I need to remember that wool and silk like calm. They don't want to be twisted and torn.
Off to Goodwill with the too-short dress, even though two women at the Y assured me that it wasn't too short. "But don't the rules change when you turn 50?" I asked.
No, they assured me, it's not too short.
Then incident #2. The retro dress that is so fitted I cannot zip it myself and must rely on the kindness of strangers at the gym to help.
It was a very cold day. (Do I even need to say that? It's been the coldest winter in three decades here - we have gone days without getting above zero.) I have discovered fleece-lined tights. I put those on, put on the dress, zipped it almost all the way (SH was still asleep - I would have someone at work zip it all the way), then pulled on my sweatpants because even though fleece-lined tights are better than regular tights, they are still not warm enough for walking to and waiting for the bus in below-zero weather. With wind.
I walked to the bus. Waited. It arrived. I stepped over the snowbank and up onto the bus - a long stride, that, and heard something. Felt something. Thought, "That was probably nothing."
Then I got to work. Took off my coat. Took off my snow boots. Took off the sweatpants. Felt something.
The slit at the back of the dress was ripped up to Dallas.
I asked a co-worker for confirmation. Oh yes, she said. It's ripped. "It's a good thing you don't have a big butt or else that rip would be a real problem. Imagine how that would look on me!" She ran her hand over her posterior.
"Today I rip my dress. Yesterday, I wore a dress that was too short."
"That red one?" my co-worker asked.
"Yes," I said.
She nodded. "Yes, that was short."
The ladies at the Y lied to me. The dress was too short.