I am fancy

By Mir
November 14, 2008

So, Otto and I are going to a gala next week.

A GALA. I have never been to a gala. I’m pretty sure my hair isn’t shiny enough for such a thing, but now that I have this awesome haircut, we’re going to attempt it.

Actually, it’s a fundraiser. And while we, personally, are not obligated to raise any money (I mean, beyond the essential organs Otto had to sell to buy the tickets), Otto is sort of obligated to be there because of his job. I think. I don’t really know; he informed me that we’re going and I should wear something pretty.

Now, this may come as a COMPLETE SHOCK, but I don’t get out much. (You can take me anywhere twice—the second time to apologize.) And generally, that’s perfectly fine with me. But I was unexpectedly excited about the news we’d be getting dolled up for the evening.

A number of years ago, while shopping at what my friends and I used to refer to as “the rich Goodwill,” I bought a fancy Jones New York gown.

For $6. (SIX!!!! DOLLARS!)

Oddly enough, my everyday life as a freelancer working in my pajamas and/or a mother providing taxi service does not often call for a floor-length evening gown.

So Otto said “gala” and I thought “GOWN!” Finally I was going to have the chance to wear my beautiful gown! My fabulous bargain! WOOOOOO!

We arranged for a sitter and maybe talked about it once or twice, but for the most part it wasn’t on my mind. Until last week, when it occurred to me that maybe I should try that gown on, you know, just to see which shoes I should wear. (Translation: To see if I could justify buying a new pair of shoes.)

So I walked into my closet and found the gown and pulled it off the hanger and put it on.

And realized that when I bought it, there was a little bit less of me to love. Okay, fine; five to ten pounds less of me to love. I mean, I was able to put the dress on, but I was unwilling to leave the house in it.

“I need to buy a new dress,” I grumped to Otto. “Because I AM FAT.”

“You are NOT FAT,” he replied. And then he probably ran for cover, because he is smart and there is no reasoning with a woman who has just seen her beautiful evening gown strain across her hips.

So I went shopping. And then I went shopping again. And again. And my friends started offering to lend me clothes. And I started threatening to send Otto off to the gala stag, while I stayed home with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

I made a friend go shopping with me ONE LAST TIME, because I am running out of time before the gala, and also, LOSING THE WILL TO SHOP. We went to a few different stores before hitting Ann Taylor Loft, where I also did not find a dress.

But I found some pants! And I like pants. Not for a gala, you understand, but for other things. And by that time I was depressed about my failure to find a fancy dress, and the pants were on clearance, so I bought them.

HOWEVER, when the chirpy sales lady came to ask me how I was doing (while I was showing the pants to my friend, in the dressing room), I said, “Well, I think these fit. Though I do seem to be having an underwear malfunction.”

(See? The oversharing sometimes happens in real life, too.)

Any men reading this are probably confused, but any women understand completely: Different underwear goes with different pieces of clothing. I was wearing the right underwear for the pants I’d worn out for the day, but the wrong underwear for the new pants. No matter; I could battle the panty lines without much of a problem. In fact, I stopped at one more store and on a whim grabbed a, erm, shaping garment. I figured it’d be great to wear under the pants.

This evening my friend stopped by with a few dresses for me to try on, and amongst them was an adorable Little Black Dress with spaghetti straps. It fit! But I don’t own a strapless bra, because I’m a weirdo. And because I don’t own anything strapless. We discussed this and concluded that the odds of my finding a suitable bra before next week were still higher than the odds of me finding a damn dress, so I thanked her profusely for the loan and put her dress in my closet.

And then I decided to try on my new pants again, before putting them in the closet. And as long as I was trying them on, I figured I’d try them on with the new shaper I’d bought. So I did that, and greatly admired the effect—they really shouldn’t call it a shaper. They should call it a a sucker-in-er. Or maybe a DISAPPEARER. I mean, the pants fit totally differently, now.

All of which is to say, that was when the lightbulb went off over my head.

I took off the pants, but left the shaper on.

And then I put on my $6 Jones New York Evening gown.

And it fit just fine.

And I probably won’t even tell this story to anyone AT the actual gala!

(As long as I don’t have more than one glass of wine, anyway.)


  1. ChristieNY

    How wonderful! Enjoy your dress and your gala! :)

  2. LizD

    Please, please, a photo! We want to see you in the $6 dress!

  3. Neil

    This is your first blog post that utterly confused me. Different underwears? Shapers? What was this post about?

  4. Lori N

    Yay for supportive undergarments! I sometimes weep that corsets are out of style, but then I take a deep breath and am thankful I never had to wear them…but a little support goes a long way! As long as my husband never sees me wriggle in or out of said support.

    too much info, right? blame the wine

  5. Newt

    I was hoping Spanx would make an appearance in this story! Have a great time in your fancy dress. So does it need shoes?

  6. Dawn

    Mwa ha ha! Woman 1, Dress 0!

  7. Jamie AZ

    Show us the dress! Show us the dress! (With you in it, of course!) A $6 evening gown – that’s quite a coup. Have a fantastic time at the gala.

  8. Karen

    oooo,. that was a sweet save. You know, my mother used to MAKE me wear a girdle, back in the um, late 60’s. I was a kid then, but she was NOT going to have my hiney shake, at all, when I walked down the hall at my high school. It was a stifling mass of elastic torture device. I hope that “shaper” you bought is not like that.

    Oh, and Neil, you are not supposed to understand this, you are just supposed to love us just as we are, and tell us we are all beautiful.

  9. The FringeGirl

    Now that’s what a I need! A shaper…maybe a super-shaper. I’m so glad you get to wear your gown. I want to go to a Gala event too.

  10. M

    Hurray! I love a happy ending. :)

  11. Patricia

    You live in the South, you must remember you Steel Magnolias — These thighs haven’t seen the light of day without lycra!!

    Enjoy the Gala —

  12. Headless Mom

    Yea for the sucky-inny things!

    Now you can go shopping for shoes! Double yea!

  13. Half Assed Kitchen

    Those shapers don’t do jack for my baby flab. Perhaps I just don’t have the right one.

  14. Suzanne

    Yea for a bargain $6 dress! I just love a happy ending!

  15. Angela

    Hahahaha! Seriously that rocks.

  16. Astrogirl

    Losing the will to shop…

    I know you must be speaking English, cause your posts are always in English, but I swear I just have no idea what that sentence means. WHATsoever ;)

    Yay on the success! Have fun at the gala!

  17. just beth


  18. Dyan

    You make me smile! Have a fab time!

  19. Lori

    Were they Spanx? Because Spanx are totally the best invention EVER. Granted you spend $50 on shaping garments so that a $6 dress will fit but still…totally best invention EVER.

    Sorry, I forgot you’re fancy. Spanx areth thine finest invention ever madame.

  20. Barbara

    “Posted by Mir @ 10:04 pm” Figures. I went to bed at 10:03. Karma causes our lives to coincide again, Mir. Hubby and I are going to a ‘fandango’ fundraiser tonight, on our 22-anniversary, as in years. Fortunately, it’s at a ranch. There will be some fancy there, probably, but I will be wearing my ropers, and we will dance!

  21. ingrid

    I love this post. :) Have a wonderful time at the gala. Take pictures!

  22. Karen

    I was going to suggest some Spanx under the first dress. Um, body shapers are a girl’s best friend.

  23. nae

    big fan of the sucker-in-er-ers!!

  24. Em

    As long as there are Spanx in this world the answer to “Would you like a cookie?” is always “Yes, please.” Love them. Sadly, I am starting to overspill my sucker-inners so my grace period is over. 5-10 lbs, good. 25-30 lbs – not so good.

    Enjoy your gala! And enjoy another cookie – you’ve got plenty of grace period left.

  25. Brigitte

    I need the old-fashioned kind of shaper that Karen recalls with horror, no modern one can do any sucking in on ME!

    Have an awesome time at the GALA! (I’m unsure, is it Gah-la or Gay-la?)

  26. Otto

    Note to self: Bring no cash for the bar …

    who will now go hide in the shed for a few hours

  27. Lily

    I second Brigitte’s comment, as far as gala gowns are concerned. But I’ll need a kind of chamber-maid to go with those corsets. To firmly place her foot in the small of my back and pull those strings.


  28. Amanda from Maine

    Ha Ha Ha…..I about fell outta my chair when I saw sucker-in-ers……I however do not think that there is enough spandex in the world to work for me….

    That made me sound huge….LOL


  29. Melissa D

    But do you still need a wrap? Because you know I can provide. For some reason I have like bins full of these things, and I keep forgetting to pack them for the weddings I go to, and then I have to buy similar ones there, and so …I can basically outfit a large wedding party and many others with the number of pashminas and pashmina-like items I own. To say nothing of beaded purses…..

  30. Angela

    YIPPEE! Got to love the sucker-in-ers. Huge fan of them. No pun intended!

  31. Ani

    And to top it off you can still have the pint of Ben & Jerry’s…when you come home from the gala of course

  32. SoMo

    Shapers are sent from GOD. Although, I don’t advise wearing them while you are pregnant. Babies, even in utero, like lots of room and tend to become very angry if they don’t get it. A hard lesson to learn.

  33. Sue @ My Party of 6

    I was totally going to say Spanx! I’m glad you get to wear the dress! Have a great time!

  34. Erin

    I refuse to put on anything that needs pantyhose without a “shaper”, or as my dearly beloved calls it, the gut girdle (he is so lucky he has redeeming qualities, like cooking meals that make it necessary for me to need a gut girdle). Until the day that I get off my duff and exercise, the spanx is most certainly my savior.

    Now… do we get to see a picture of you in your dress?!

  35. Giyen

    When I wear one of those my tummy looks all flat and smooth but my butt looks bigger … if that is even possible! :)

    PS. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m gonna go get it!

  36. Grace

    Yeah! Can’t wait to see a photo of you in the $6 dress. Anytime I have a dressing this I have to go to, I bring my shapers with me when I shop. They are the best thing ever.

  37. sheila

    Awesome! There’s nothing better than a fancy $6 dress! I’d squish myself into that too!
    btw, you’re not alone, I don’t own a strapless either. and I also don’t have fancy anything in my closet. we don’t go anywhere fancy. in fact, when my niece was christened, I threw on my nicest dress…and it turns out it was the one I wore for my now 16 yr old daughters christening! OMG! lol

  38. Sheryl

    OK, still waiting for a picture of the new haircut. now you owe us two!

  39. RuthWells

    A few years back I was shopping for a cocktail dress for the annual office holiday dinner and grabbed a few things off the sales rack at Ann Taylor. One of them kind of fit, but was without a pricetag. I asked the very very helpful teenager if she could hunt down the prices while I continued browsing. When I checked back with her, she and her cohort were barely able to contain themselves. “You HAVE to buy this dress!” Oooooookay…….. Turns out the computer had it priced at $1.99.

    I bought it.

  40. Sharon

    I wish I’d read this earlier – today I bought a treadmill. Buying “shaper” underwear would have been so much easier and a lot less expensive.

  41. Stephanie

    LOL You’re hilarious.

  42. Daisy

    sucker-inner or strapless bra? It’s the undergarments that make the, er, outer garments work.

  43. Lady M

    Are you going to post pictures of you in your fabulous dress?

  44. alice

    Pictures! And yay on the magic of shaping garments – being able to reclaim ‘5-10 lbs ago’ dresses is a beautiful thing.

  45. pam

    Please post pics of you two all duded up.

  46. Caroline in MA

    Gotta love the sucker-in-er thingys! I agree! We’re going to need to see pics of you all dolled up!! Hope you have a great time!

  47. Jessica Bern

    Yeah, you probably want to go with “I had a hard time finding a dress” and focus on the fact of how inexpensive your gorgeous dress was to buy. :) I know when I talk about my underwear, I tend to lose my audience pretty quickly ;)

  48. dad

    “Shapers” are a great concept. I am going to put on shoulder-ma-pads under my sweats and look like moose (the muscle beach type, not the one with antlers) and pretend I just came from the gym.

    Have fun at the gala. You will do Otto proud.
    But don’t apologize…yet.

  49. Kailani

    Call me an idiot, but what the hell are Spanx?!

  50. Sheila

    Yay for lightbulb moments! I am a firm believer in the “everything happens for a reason” philosophy, and obviously this includes shopping.

  51. margie

    excuse me, there is a whole world of shapers out there!! even pretty ones. my 90 year old mother laughingly calls them designer girdles. they do the trick though!!

  52. Tammy

    That reminds me, I need to go shopping for a holiday outfit for the annual office party. I don’t need a gown for my soiree, but I’m pretty sure that some “shaping garments” will be in order anyway!

    Oh, can I also join the chorus of “pictures please!”? We’re dying to see the new hair and now that you’ve told us about the incredible $6 JNY dress, well we just won’t be able to sleep until we’ve seen it!

  53. Becky

    I have learned something new today in my effort to be a wise reader and look up what in the world a gala was besides some sort of fancy party (before I had just heard of the apples). Now, I can keep in mind that it is also Greek for milk, is a village in Tibet, may be short for Graduated Audio Level Adjustment, and a dozen other things.

  54. Katie in MA

    Mir – he’s in the shed if you need to whack him about the head. :)

    (P.S. – he needs sneaky lessons!)

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