I just bought a frock. Well, a dress. No, not just any dress. The one I will wear for my impending Noosa TEDX talk next week.
It has been a while since I bought a dress. I have been sitting at my desk for nearly five years now building our new company, so I spend a lot of time on the computer. And on my soft bum.
I used to revel in frock shopping. But the need for clothes, the desire for finding The One has left my loins over the last few years. This time, I needed help.
So my husband came with me. We did the ‘Saturday afternoon at the mall’ exercise and came home empty handed. Because I’m not young any more. I’m not old either. Apparently I’m in between, languishing in a demographic so not seen by clothing makers.
I also hadn’t brought myself up to speed with my more pronounced curves, so jumping a dress size came with reluctant acceptance. Post- menopausal women have truncated legs. We don’t like short hemlines. We don’t like round necks, bows, shiny belts, bright floral, lace or mother of the bride. Or looking like mutton dressed up as lamb, as my mother would say.
I could hear the voice of the really kind shop assistant say to my husband. “She really knows what she doesn’t want, doesn’t she?” My husband just nodded, and sympathised.
The next day, it was time to get serious. I called upon my 20-year-old daughter. And she delightfully said, “Sure Mum, I’d love to help!” (This being the first time I have really ever genuinely asked for her shopping assistance).
She spruced herself up, drove us to another mall, and organised the shop assistant. They led me to a fitting room and entered, arms laden with frocks. This was payback time. For all the years I obviously cajoled her into dresses she didn’t want, I paid the price.
We went from bad to worse. Too tight. Too short. Too office. Too expensive. Too sheer. Too heavy. And the last one resembled the type of party dress I must have foisted upon her when she was four. My daughter was having a ball. When she headed in for round two, I slipped away whilst she tracked down another shop assistant, and lost her amongst the racks.
Then I rounded the corner and saw a blue dress that just seemed to beckon. Very gently. I grabbed it in three sizes, and found a remote dressing room, away from the crowds, and just quietly disrobed. And silently, holding my breath, took the dress of its hanger, and pulled it up over my curves. A quiet hum filled my body. My hands immediately wanted to smooth over my hips, my belly, to feel the cloth hug the softness underneath. I let out a sigh.
I had found it at last.
I like clothes that satiate me. That make me feel sensual. That are simple, uncluttered. That I can dress and forget; that move with me. I don’t like wearing restrictive underwear. Like things that suck in the flesh. Or belt me in half. But I also don’t like tents. I’m still a woman.
I remember being four and hiding in the cupboard when my mother wanted to dress me in stuff I didn’t fancy. I now know why. If my body isn’t happy, I ain’t wearing it. It’s almost as if it swells up like a puffer fish, creates gaping armholes, stops zips from closing and grows an extra arm.
But when it finds the one, it settles. It purrs. It glows. It sways. It quietly struts.
I know women who, when they find something their body loves, they buy it in every colour. Just in case. I don’t. Because I have learnt that the Universe is a wonderful place. It will always supply your every need, when you trust. So the next time you go shopping, take your body along too.
Give yourself time. To savour, to play, to sample the wares. Sometimes sampling what you don’t like makes the finding that much sweeter. And it’s like everything. Be willing to walk. There is no compromise. I’d rather have nothing than buy something ‘not quite’ right.
Life is too short to not nourish those curves and give them what they want.