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This evening, my school has organised a “formal” for the year 10s and 11s. I foolishly agreed to attend this “formal” when the organisers were desperately trying to get the numbers. I promised umpteen times that I would go, I paid the deposit, I even collected the ticket (yes, without paying for it in full. I wasn’t going to complain about saving $20 now, was I?). Unfortunately, I neglected to do one thing. I neglected to buy a dress.

I have mentioned before the extent to which I really hate clothes shopping. That’s because I do. I loathe it. It’s horrible. It’s almost as bad as shoe shopping. For that reason, I procrastinated on buying a dress. It was in the back of my mind — “Hey, I really should get one of those dress things soon…” — but I couldn’t bring myself to actually go and get one.

It was yesterday I realised that the situation had turned into an emergency. One day out from the “formal”, I still didn’t have something to wear. Oops. That was a problem. I considered buying one, but then I realised it was a bit hot that day, so I didn’t. It was at that point that I began to curse the invitation. “No jeans”? What kind of stupid rule is “no jeans”? Why can’t I wear jeans? It’s not even a real formal!

Nonetheless, I’m not one to quibble with the rules. So I couldn’t wear jeans. It definitely didn’t say anything about any other kinds of trousers.

My plan was to find a nice dress top, somewhere deep in the recesses of my wardrobe, and couple that with a pair of grey pants. If they wouldn’t let me into the venue, I was going to kick up a fuss about their stupid unclear rules. “What do you mean, not formal enough? All this piece of paper says is, ‘no jeans’! It doesn’t forbid me to wear anything else! It doesn’t even forbid me to wear pyjamas! I mean, you should be grateful I didn’t turn up in my pyjamas! Now let me in!”

My dad didn’t think this was a very good plan, and took me to our local shopping centre today so I could buy a real dress. However, I was very picky about the kind of dress I wanted. Firstly, it had to have some kind of sleeve — my right shoulder looks skeletal, and I wasn’t going to expose it to the unwitting public. This eliminated about 90% of my options. Secondly, it couldn’t have a horrible pattern on it. This eliminated 90% of what was left. Thirdly, it had to be in a colour I actually like. This eliminated 90% of what was left after the first two rounds of eliminations.

So, I eliminated 99.9% of my options through stringent criteria. We went through two entire department stores and found exactly one dress that met all my criteria. Unfortunately, it was priced at something ridiculous like $220. I refused to buy it on principle — I do not buy $220 dresses, TYVM — but exasperated, my father forced me to buy it. “By some miracle, you have found a dress you do not hate, AND YOU ARE GOING TO BUY IT!”

So yeah. I did. Or rather, he did.

I’m not repeating this effort next year, though. No way! Next year I’m going to do something much, much easier, and just learn to sew. Then I’ll never have to go clothes shopping again! (I may still have to go shoe shopping, though. Grr.)



  1. I really hate clothes shopping, as well. I thought I was the only girl in the world. I’m glad you were able to find something nice, though, for your formal. 🙂

  2. Its good your wearing a dress to it – wearing pants to a formal event just feels strange or improper – too masculine to quote the Simpsons

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