Yesterday I went shopping.
No, not wedding gown shopping like seemingly every 20-something female in this city.
I went ball gown shopping.
wait for it
wait for it
wait for it
I’M GOING TO A BALL!
Single people sort of have to band together, because the older you get, “couple-y” events start to pop up on a semi-regular basis. I truly don’t mind going out alone and am pretty proud of being able to hold my own as the only single person at a party, dinner, whatever. But for some things, I really just don’t want to go alone.
Enter my guy friends.
I am one of those girls who is really good at being friends (and just friends) with guys, so thankfully if I need a date for something, I can usually find one without too much trouble. So naturally when one of my boys needs a date, I more than happily oblige to join him.
And one of the best parts of being single is that sometimes your single guy friend needs a date to a super cool event.
Like a ball.
At one of the most fancy and exclusive venues in Philadelphia.
My friend Scott is a Naval Officer and asked me to escort him to their yearly ball. You know, like what you see in movies. A bunch of military wearing their Service Dress Blues and cutting cakes with swords and…well, honestly I don’t know what else they do, but the sword thing is true, so nothing else really matters. When it comes down to it, I’m not even sure how much fun this ball is actually going to be, because I’m pretty sure there are a lot of formalities and such involved, but a bunch of our friends are going, Scott is wearing his coolest uniform, and I GET TO BUY A GOWN!
Seriously, with the exception of highschool proms and weddings, when does a girl ever get to go gown shopping??
Ummmmm. Pretty much never. That’s when.
Since black tie is not part of my normal go-to wardrobe, I rounded up Maria and Sarah, my “personal shoppers,” and we hit the Cherry Hill Mall after work yesterday. I provided them with my short list of criteria and we got busy.
MY CRITERIA FOR A GOWN:
- Look classy.
- Look hot.
- Don’t spend too much money.
- Don’t embarrass Scott.
- Be able to Wobble.
These guidelines seemed pretty simple but we proved to have our work cut out for us. After a couple hours and a visit to 4 stores, I think we landed the perfect dress! But do you know what’s as fun as the perfect gown? Some of those not-so-perfect gowns… so let’s take a sec to talk about those!
Look Classy-There are going to be a whole lot of respectable people at this ball, so it’s important to look respectable myself. My point of reference for this rule was will I feel comfortable wearing this dress while speaking with a distinguished Navy Captain or Admiral? If the answer was no, the dress got sent back to the rack. My biggest stopping point was the thigh slit. Exposed thigh and classy do not belong in the same sentence, unless you are Angelina Jolie… and even that is questionable.
Look Hot-You’d be surprised but there really aren’t that many full length gowns available these days, and it seems that all of the department stores carry the same few styles, many of which just aren’t flattering. I may be trying to look classy, but I am still 25, so I want to look young and fun as well. If the dress said “mother of the bride” in any way, it went straight to the discard pile. My biggest stopping point in this category was weirdly high necklines.
Don’t Spend Too Much Money-I totally rocked this category!! Seriously, my friend Maria is the best shopper I’ve ever met and she found me an absolute steal on my gown! Full length dresses can be ex-pen-sive (usually in and around the $200 mark, but even up to $3, $4, $5 hundred at Nordstrom! What!?! This isn’t the inaugural ball! I’m not Michelle Obama! Send me to the sales rack, baby! $150 was the tip top of my price range, but I purchased my gown for a fraction of that! #winning
Don’t Embarrass Scott-This was definitely the hardest rule to follow because he questions probably close to 50% of my fashion choices. Things he doesn’t like: animal print, asymmetrical dresses, bright colors. Things I love: animal print, asymmetrical dresses, bright colors. The animal print and bright colors could have easily fallen into the “not classy” category so they were out, but I came very close to purchasing a 1 shoulder dress. Luckily for him, it violated my “don’t spend too much money rule,” so I ended up choosing a piece with 2 very nice, even and symmetrical straps.
Be Able To Wobble-There is nothing classy about Wobbling (Don’t know what wobbling is? Click here to learn!) but it is my all-time favorite “group dance.” Think Electric Slide with a little more… err… personality. I hear one of the other Lieutenant’s is quite the Wobbler and really stole the show at last year’s ball, but I plan to give him a run for his money this year ; ) Some of the gowns I liked were a little too fitted through the legs, making it all but impossible to get my Wobble on. And the way I look at it, if I am able to Wobble in my dress, then that guarantees I’ll also be able to do other important thing comfortably like walk… sit… and stand. Sounds simple, I know… but those things can be shockingly challenging in the wrong formal attire.
Now that you’ve read (or skimmed) all thousand words I’ve written here about dress shopping, you’re probably wondering why the heck there aren’t any pictures! My apologies, but I wasn’t really thinking ahead, and I also wasn’t looking my finest either, so I guess those will have to wait til the actual ball next month.
Oh and PS… I have NO IDEA what to do with my hair, so if you have any suggestions give me a holler!