I am keeping my head about BlogHer, because honestly, I’ve neither the budget nor the time to really get too worked up about it. That said, I did do a quick online shop. I met with dead ends at Bluefly (everything I liked was one size too big), Nordstrom (got too caught up in affordable winter coats for the girls in their sale section), and a few others like Ann Taylor Loft (fell hard for things that were not the dress I had hoped for) until I finally hit pay dirt at Lord & Taylor.
I wanted a dress that I could wear and honestly say, “This? This dress feels like a t-shirt, reads like an ensemble and lets me be me.” Ok, maybe I was really thinking, “How about something that won’t make me look like someone from Upstate trying to dress like their idea of a big city girl.”
Seriously, I’ve read the nasty posts about the shallowness of the attendees worrying about what to wear and the posts about sartorial obsession that impedes one’s ability to enjoy rational thought. I think all positions on the spectrum are valid. For me, it comes down to wanting to feel comfortable, that may mean one night I am going to wear my favorite, worn-in Lucky jeans that are too short so I roll them up or it may mean that for a rooftop party where I’ll know no one, I am damn well going to wear something that makes me feel like I am doing right by my crossing-something-off-the-bucket-list-self.
Anyway, I found perfection on the site in the way of a dress that blended simple and elegant with a cut that promised I wouldn’t be tugging or twitching. Here it is in microscopic reproduction for you.
I clicked through to the end of the purchasing process and selected Next Day Air to get it here in time to take to BlogHer. My palms were sweaty with spending so much to get it here quickly, but I imagined it would serve me well for events that followed. I was happy and my desire to prepare had been sated. The morning after I ordered it I obsessively checked the order. It stayed as an order for most of the day until finally I clicked and saw “Your order has shipped.” I was elated. I had a tracking number and, yes, I tracked it.
The box came today. I was astonished that the shipping actually worked. I waited to open the box until the girls were ensconced in a rousing episode of usher-the-youngest-wildly-and-dangerously-down-the-stairs over and over again. I carefully sliced through the packing tape along the top and prepared myself for the magic I’d envisioned since clicking “purchase.”
I waded through the inflated plastic, past the sweet summer dress and Frye shoes, to lift the dress. I was going to try it on and sneak down to the girls to surprise them. It looked a bit off as I caught the first glimpse of the Tracey Reese Frock! tag. As more and more dress emerged I felt the breath rush out of my lungs. It was the wrong dress. Very, very wrong.
My mind reeled. There was no making it work. This dressed looked like something I’d have to wear on a bet. Too frilly and fussy. The cut was sure to wreak havoc on my long torso, because honestly, even in the days of high waisted pants, my belly button never saw a waist band. Long. Oh and it was garish in its blahness, is that even possible?
There was likely no chance to send it back and have the right one shipped back in time. I cursed. Then I cursed again. Then I asked the world why this always happens to me. I snatched the packing slip and dialed the number for customer service or, as seems more appropriate, customer disservice. I tried to explain to the woman what I had ordered and what I received. She asked if the dress I received was a medium and I said that it was. She asked if it was Tracy Reese and again I said that it was. Then she said something along the lines of, “And what is the difference in the dresses?” I tried to explain while she searched the website. “The dress I ordered and the dress that is in the photo on my order confirmation which came from your store has tangerine embroidery.” There was clicking and she said, “So, you did receive a Tracy Reese Frock dress in a size medium?”
I began to crack. “Yes, a size medium but this dress is (my voice took on a very Debra Winger, girlfriend is crazy timbre) nothing, NOTHING, like what I ordered. It has a WOVEN belt and an ELASTIC waist. It is not a sheath.” It was at the precise moment that I lost it when the girls decided it was time to come up and conduct Operation: Break the Mom’s on the phone we must be quiet rule. I turned to give them the hiss, shush and evil eye and they responded with greater insubordinate enthusiasm. I shrieked, “Stop.” I felt and heard the operator recoil. I almost defended myself with, “I am not a bad mom and I am not incorrect about this order being wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.” I refrained and she scoffed, “I cannot even find the dress on the website.”
I took a deep breath, feeling about as calm as Jack Nicholson, and said, “Do you have an email address to which I can send you the images of the dresses to make this easier for you?” Sigh. “Unfortunately, no, I do not have a personal email address to use at this time to do that.” I took a deep, but ragged breath and said, “Is there any email address for anyone who might be able to help me?”
She directed me to the website, walking me gum-chewing step by gum chewing step through how to scroll to the bottom of the page, go to the right hand side….(I tuned out) and finally to the contact form. I almost self-destructed from the futility. The girls became quiet. My body slumped. “Thank you for calling, is there anything else I can help you with today?” I willed myself to hang up before I told her how she could help me. I cooed at the girls and began what I knew would be an unproductive interaction with the Lord & Taylor website. It’s been 9 hours since I wrote to them. I know that isn’t a long time, but it is when the window of time I have is less than 72.
Tomorrow I will be sending the whole lot back. The dress was, for whatever reason, not meant to be. And, as the cool air of tomorrow drifts in the kitchen I realize that all that matters is that I am here, I get to go to BlogHer and I will never, ever order another dress online again. But damn if I didn’t want that dress.