That’s an awful lot of dresses for one woman to own.
I’m not even sure a woman actually ever ‘needs’ one dress – surely any article of clothing would suffice if the need were simply to cover one’s body? Even if the purpose extends to warming the body or celebrating a special occasion, we don’t actually need a dress in order to do that. Society has dictated (in my culture at least) - and we have willingly followed along for centuries - that women should be covered head to foot in a white dress as a requisite to entering into marriage.
But surely a pair of pants and a shirt would suffice? Or a bikini? Or a tastefully placed scarf? A rather large tastefully placed scarf perhaps.
Despite the fact we can (and some women do) get married wearing anything we please, most women wouldn’t dream of getting married in anything other than a dress. I certainly didn’t. It honestly didn’t even cross my mind not to wear a dress. And if that can happen to me, a woman of the Low Bride DNA variety, surely it can happen to anyone.
Sally, was telling me that she fell in love with a dress that cost $2,700 (which is almost the price I paid for my first car) and that at 47 years of age, she couldn’t see the value in spending That Much Money On a Dress, which let’s face it, you wear for about 10-12 hours if you’re lucky (unless you party in it until 4am like I did! But more about my wedding dress in a moment.) Anyway, she didn’t buy the dress when she first tried it on but after her niece had a rather disastrous experience with the dressmaker Sally was planning to use, she ended up back at the same bridal boutique. She told herself it was to look at cheaper dresses. Which is of course, like going to the bar your ex frequents after you’ve broken up. It’s never going to be a wise decision.
As retail fate would have it, Sally's dress was on sale.
And any woman reading this, who has ever fallen in love with an item of clothing but didn’t initially buy it because she couldn’t justify the price, and has then seen that item on sale, will understand what happens next.
And this is exactly what Sally’s brain did. Her budget was $900 but she still bought the dress for $1,500.
Any woman in this situation leaves the store happily uttering these words…
After I got over the brief excitement of telling Mum I’d found My Dress, I then stood there in shock and said ‘I’ve just spent $500 on a dress I’m Only Going To Wear Once!’ It seemed absolutely absurd to me that even I was capable of being swept up into the Wedding Vortex. I made up for this perceived wedding madness by not having a bridal party and not seeing my flowers or cake until The Big Day. Which was actually quite easy as we were getting married on an island so I simply ordered everything by fax and blindly trusted that the people at the other end knew what they were doing.
I’d like to pause here to acknowledge that those of you with really high levels of Bride DNA may be finding this quite difficult to read right now. My apologies. It might help if you think about baby's breath and a string of matching satin gowns for a minute before you keep reading.
Here’s a link if you need a bit of extra support… http://www.vogue.com.au/brides/
Those with an excessively high amount of Bride DNA, may need to venture here… http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/a-bride-actually-tied-her-newborn-baby-to-her-wedding-dress?bffbnews&s=mobile
This is a link to a story about a woman who tied her four-week old baby to her wedding train.
I kid you not. Seriously, I couldn’t possibly make up something like that!
I bought my wedding dress (Long, White and An Airfare to Perth) on Christmas Eve after my work Christmas lunch (first sign of a Bride DNA anomaly). So I was a little inebriated during said purchase (second sign…). I was also sans Mother of the Bride and any girlfriends (third sign…) as I was on my way to the train to go home. I bought the first dress I tried on (fourth sign…). I know many women buy the first dress they try on but they usually then try on others after that to make sure they’re making the right decision.
Are you sure you don’t want to try on 15 more dresses?
Are you absolutely positive you don’t want to wear a veil??
Are you sure you don’t want to bring your Mum and bridesmaids back in with you???
Don’t you want me to take a Polaroid of you in the dress so you can at least show them???? (I finally let her take a photo which had her giddy with tulle-flavoured excitement).
Are you sure you don’t want a dress with a train she asked eagerly after I’d succumbed to the photo-shoot????? (She didn’t laugh when I said I would be on one in a few minutes time).
Did I love wearing the dress? Yes.
Did I regret paying $500 for it? Absolutely not.
Do I know where the dress is right this very minute? Not a clue.
Would I pay the equivalent of that amount if I were to get married again? Not in a million years.
Surely, with inflation, that amount would at least get me a week in Hawaii??
So, like my wedding dress, these 46 delightfully colourful and textured items currently hanging in my wardrobe were all most definitely ‘wants’ rather than needs. At some point, I bought them, one lovely dress at a time, because I really liked them, and perhaps with a few, I genuinely thought it was love.
But I only actually remember buying a few of them: A black and green dress I had made in Thailand for a friend’s wedding, the beautiful flowered dress I bought to wear to Mum’s funeral and the Little Black Dress I bought in New York, which sadly is now better known as the Too Little To Be Worn Black Dress.
I’ve celebrated and laughed in them at friend’s parties, I’ve cried and hugged in them at funerals, I’ve danced in them at weddings, I’ve excitedly sat down in them at the theatre, I’ve felt nervous and self-conscious in them on dates, I’ve tenderly folded them to take travelling, I’ve volunteered in them at events, I’ve worn them to the beach, to lunch, to the movies, to work.
What I’ve discovered is it’s not the dress that’s important. It’s what you do wearing the dress that brings you joy. I could have been wearing the same dress on all of these occasions – or I could have been wearing jeans and a t-shirt - and the delight, love and pleasure I experienced each and every time, would not have been lessened by what I was wearing or not wearing.
And I know that not buying Dress No. 47 for another year will not in any way diminish my happiness, joy or contentment.
And I know with Dress No. 47, it will most definitely be love.
‘Joy is not in things, it is in us’. Richard Wagner