The Dress Love Affair

I have a confession.

You see I have been having affairs for many years, most of my life really, my husband knows about them… and it all began at the age of 8 with a blue and yellow dress and a shop called “Dolly Girl”.

My rampant affairs are with beautiful dresses. I fall in love with them and then I’ll do anything to get hold of them. My first level of excitement when I get a beautiful social invitation in the post is the opportunity to wear a new dress. I’ll blame my Mum for the affairs. You see it all began as a small child, to this day one of my greatest memories of my childhood was shopping with Mum for a new dress for an occasion. We would head to our local Westfield where there was a shop called “Dolly Girl” and I loved it. The occasion could vary, it could be a wedding, special birthday, school dance. I can recall all the moments of going through the racks, the trying on and of course the wearing. Those dresses are seared into my memory forever. To this day, a beautiful dress is still my greatest indulgence & one of my greatest pleasures.

On a recent work trip to LA I did some outlet shopping and I came across this amazing dress from BMCGMAXAZARIA. As I gazed across the room, there it was, long, flowy, pleated, touch of lace, shoulder bearing, a beautiful blue. It seduced me like a handsome and charming man but I resisted the temptation and left the shop. Of course, I ventured back, telling myself I really don’t need a new dress but what’s the harm in trying it on. Of course when I tried it on  it was nothing but pure love and even better it was on sale (how could I resist?)… felt like magic when I wore it to a wedding a few months later.

Pleated dress
Of course, like all affairs they have their consequences…

For all the money I have spent on my affairs over the years I could have invested in a lovely little beach house on the NSW coast, but instead my kids need to be content with the local creek and park for fun during the school holidays. I have also needed to physically expand my wardrobe to accommodate the dresses because even when the affair is over I find it impossible to completely discard them, how can I when they have given me so much happiness. The worse impact of all has been what I call “red carpet syndrome” (I think it’s a condition most women have but many have failed to diagnose). You see this condition is the fear of wearing the same dress more than once and someone noticing. Social media has compounded the condition. Many a conversation has been had with my husband discussing the reason I need a new dress, my response mostly being  “because I have already worn the other 20 in my wardrobe…. once”.

Over the years I have tried to end the addiction to the affairs but decided there was nothing to be achieved by denying myself something which makes me so happy. So instead I have developed some strategies to help manage the affairs. They are below:

1. Hire
If you love to wear a new dress for every occasion, and you are especially drawn to designer pieces then hire. It might feel like a false economy spending money on a hired dress for the races but it’s not really if you spend $800 on a dress that is never worn again. Great sites include:

2. Lend
If you can’t overcome the wasted money feeling of hiring dresses, then find a way to make your dresses available for family and friends (maybe don’t charge them if you want to stay friends) but at least know you are getting some quality use from the dresses and your family & friends will love you for it.

3. Rotate
If you buy well, beautiful dresses can be worn for many years. Store them and then pull them out, it’s like being gifted with a whole new wardrobe of dresses.

4. Style Differently
Wear them differently; different shoes, bags, earrings, hairstyle will all give life to you dress. It’s like reigniting the affair.

5. Sell
This may be a challenge if like me you love your dresses too much. But it will free up cash for other dresses (or savings for that holiday house!)

5. Swap
Swap with friends / family / associates who have similar obsessions and affairs.

6. Donate
Share the love. There are plenty of women in the world who could never wear a beautiful dress let alone own one. Make a point each year of donating a dress to a worthwhile charity. This could be a great work dress or a beautiful ball gown. Whatever the dress, donating will allow another woman less fortunate than yourself to share the experience.

Final bit of advice
Embrace your obsession. If wearing a beautiful dress elevates you to feel you can take on the world then go for it (you will just have to forget about that holiday house)

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