The Dress

Picture from Lee Mathews Instagram page.

Have you ever looked at a photo of a dress or outfit or anything and liked it, wanted it, but the timing wasn’t right. You didn’t have the money to spend on such a dress or thing and wondered if it really warranted spending the money because you knew it would be expensive and was the investment worth it. Time passes and the more you look at it the more you like it. Still the timing isn’t right, but it stays locked away somewhere deep in your consciousness. The season passes into seasons gone and you know your chance to buy it passed. There’s a part of you that wishes you’d just said, what the heck and got it. You keep an eye out but you never see it come up anywhere, not on a buy swap sell site, not at a stockist of the brand at a reduced price that may be affordable to you. It becomes the dress, the thing you never got. Time passes, and summer comes around again a new year a new season.

This was me and this is my story about one of the many times in life we desire and hope. Hope is a good and powerful tool that shouldn’t be underestimated. Hope can make us strive, give us purpose, drive us to achieve small goals but also significant life changing goals. This story wasn’t life changing by any means, but a story of hope non the less that can be applied to many other challenges in life big or small.

The definition of Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. Having goals is not enough. One has to keep getting closer to those goals, amidst all the inevitable twists and turns. Hope allows people to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals.

I liked this sheer feminine silk georgette dress so I posted the photo on my @surreyhouse Instagram page. It’s an Instagram page where I post beautiful images that I want to share. The alluring colours, artistic photography, Mother Nature, and fabulous styling.

My goal was to own that dress. My affection for this dress drove a never ending hope. One day 12 months after seeing the original picture, just because, I emailed to the company to ask if there were any of these dresses available anywhere despite the passage of some months since it’s first release. I was expecting a no answer & that’s exactly what I got returned in an email, ‘sorry this dress is out of stock’. I guess I just wanted to know my options. If they’d said yes I’m not sure what I would of done funnily enough. Perhaps it still would of been to pricey.

Fast forward a few weeks and late last night just prior to going to sleep, I was flicking through my Instagram and I notice the designer company is advertising a JUMBLE SALE, prices from $20 from 10am at a store 5 mins from my work. The advert said, ‘shop one off samples, runway looks and past season styles upto 80%off’!

Oh my gosh, I think to myself. If there is ONE of these dresses left in Australia it’s going to be in that store and on sale! I figure I could probably whip down to the store on my work break and quickly go in and grab it.

The next morning in my break, I jumped in the car found a one hour parking spot around the corner from the store conducting the sale. Great, things are running smoothly as I’m time poor. As I get out of my car, shut the door and hear the door flick locked with a press of my smart key, I think 1 hour will be plenty, more than enough for a quick look, I should be back in half an hour, tops.

I had some hope this dress would be at the Jumble Sale, albeit it a small chance, it was still worth a try. It’s just a dress and no tragedy if I didn’t find one but you never know your luck in a big city.

I get there and there’s a queue out the door and down the street as if lining up for a night club in my hey day but at 1025am. I couldn’t believe it. It only opened at 10am. There would of been 50-70 people in the store and 50 in the queue outside. There was a mass frenzy happening in there.

I often look at this label that signatures soft flowy unfitted dresses, almost oversized looking. Not all of them are loose fitted and the dress I like is fitted in at the waist. I love many of their designs but wonder who is there market, who purchases their designs. I feel stupid now looking at this queue and think cleary I’m one of many who like this brand. When you shop online it gives you a sense of being the only person interested in the designs. There’s not another customer in sight, so I head to the store thinking maybe a handful of people but no more. How wrong this sense of solidarity had given me regarding other customers. Clearly it’s a sought after designer

I decided to stand in the queue to see how fast it was moving. I was here now, I just want that one dress so once I’m in it will be quick.

I’m surprised by the crowd that has gathered to take advantage of the sale. Well dressed, on trend women stand in the queue, that’s no surprise. What really interested me was the amount of quite young girls in their 20’s. I wouldn’t have thought this designer would be their thing but wow am I mistaken! I’m intrigued wondering what they are buying. There were plenty of people leaving with white paper shopping bags with the designers name stamped on the side. I was thinking there will be nothing left by the time I get in there! The sale runs for 5 days, gosh what will be left by Friday with clothing selling off the racks at this rate.

A couple of people came out with their purchases and were recognised by friends standing in the queue. They said a surprised hello and then showed what they had bought. I listened in and looked to see no one had ‘the dress’. One young girl in her mid twenty’s with dark hair showed a beautiful soft silk black dress to her friend standing in front of me in the queue. The blonde well dressed attractive girl asked her friend how much was her dress. She replied 190 dollars. Wow I thought that’s not like the 20 dollars they advertised but who knows it could have still been upto 80% off as these dresses can range from $600 to $1500 or probably even more for that matter.

As you do standing in a slow moving queue you make small talk with the people near you. So I said to the young attractive size 0 to 1 blonde, ‘obviously everything isn’t only 30 or 50 dollars’, in which she agreed and said there was probably only half a dozen things for sale at $20 and we both gave a laugh of acknowledgement .

But still I was hopeful of at least finding my dress. You never know, but, perhaps it may be upto $200. To be honest I had no idea of the original price when I noticed it last summer. I just knew at that time it would be too expensive, more than I had to spend, but if it was $200 I would now buy it.

I think it was good getting the heads up before going in store that I may have to be prepared to spend more than 50-80 dollars which I had in my mind. It gave me time to think about would I want to spend that much and was it worth staying in line. Yes was my answer to myself.

It was crazy in the store. So I thought I’d get my picture of the dress ready on my mobile phone screen to show the sales assistant monitoring the door. She was there to allow a reasonable flow of traffic in and out ( I later heard her refer to her position as ‘door bitch’ to her colleague) .

Thirty minutes after arriving, it became my turn to enter the frenzy within the store along with a stockier middle aged women like myself and the attractive young blonde girl in her 20’s, in fact 2 attractive young 20 something year olds. The second young attractive blonde had to leave the queue to top up her parking metre, but we saved her spot and she slotted back in just in time to enter.

I showed the self named ‘door bitch’ my photo and asked, ‘do you know if this dress is in the store today and if so can you direct me to where I need to go’.

She replied, I think there was one but it may have been sold but if it’s still here it will be on that rack over there.

I still had hope. She said there had been one in the store! Can you believe it! I just might be in luck but I was aware that my luck may be out given the amount of people I watched leave the store with shopping bags.

I went straight over to the rack that I was directed to and gave it a thorough look. I even looked on the floor as in this madness of frenzied women searching for their bargains, clothes were being knocked off their hangers.

I can only describe this to be like when years gone by the massive Myer Boxing Day sales where year after year the nightly news would show excited shoppers burst through the doors at trading hour opening times and run to the area where they would find their heavily reduced items, sometimes being known to grab bargains out of someone else’s hands and potentially a scuffle break out.

My hope faded as I came up empty handed. I thought I would just have a quick look around to see what else was up for sale. Not ready to give up all hope, once getting down a few racks I showed another sales assistant if she had seen the dress in my photo here today. She also replied there been one in store and if it wasn’t on the rack in which the previous door bitch had already said, it still could be in circulation within the store.

Even if there was this ‘one dress’ in store I had no idea what size may he available. Hope was dimmed.

I continued to peruse the stores other items, and I saw the middle aged women who entered with me trying the top version of the dress on over her clothes. I thought, if I got the top that might still be nice, so asked her if it didn’t fit, which it didn’t look like it would could I take it to try. She replied if it doesn’t fit I will give it to my sister so I am going to take it. ‘Oh ok’, I said and continued to peruse. I was feeling overwhelmed by the hype in the store, and wasn’t enjoying this experience now at all. I had decided I would leave with nothing and call it a day here when….. I spotted the young blonde girl I had chatted with outside the store in the queue, holding, you guessed it, THE DRESS! What were the chances 1. The dress was still in store and 2. The girl next to me in the queue had it draped over her arm!

She was holding 3-4 items. She had methodically been going through the racks and had a nice selection of garments. I could see the sleeve of the dress poking out between a couple of items. I said to her, ‘oh you have the dress, I came here specially hoping to get that dress’. She smiled and said yes, it was nice and that she had seen it on the website.

I stepped away then turned back and said if you decide you don’t want it can I have it. She said, ‘yes, I’m just going to look at some tops up there and then go and try it on. I will be about 10 minutes’

So I waited, and waited, the time feeling like it was taking forever. My car parking time running out, so I thought I would once again politely ask would she be trying the dress on soon after what felt like more than ten minutes. She smiled and replied yes soon and that she would try that dress on first.

She was soon ready to head to the change rooms. Due to the sheer number of shoppers trying on garments, it was free for all. The sales assistant trying to keep order in the change rooms but had clearly lost it, announced there was now just communal change rooms. Just come in and try things on.

The change rooms consisted of 2 change areas with a small walkway into each one. As the young blonde entered the change rooms I could see 4 women in each change room and at least 4 in the walkway all wriggling into their outfits. One lady outside the change room had her baby on the floor in front of a full length mirror as she tried on numerous garments requesting assistance from the sales crew as she required different sizes so as to not lose her spot or need to carry her baby then find another relatively safe area to place her baby as she tried on more clothes. There were women just trying clothes on over their clothes!

I stood guard at the dressing room door as the young blonde disappeared into the second change room out of sight. I didn’t want to risk her leaving and not knowing what happened to the dress.

I stood there waiting, watching this craziness for sometime before my mind refocused on my car, the clock was ticking and I needed to get back to work. These young girls all undressing bra’s on , some with bra’s off trying on their selection of dresses, tops, coats and pants. One middle age lady with a body that was equivalent to her years stripped down to her underwear and I thought that was brave of her. To be honest there was so much going on I don’t think the young girls had time to judge.

I decided to pop my head around the entrance to the change room in which the young blonde was. She surely must have tried that dress on by now I thought to myself. She hadn’t but obligingly did as I now stood there waiting, trying not to make her feel pressured.

She would of been a size 0 or 1 but this size 2 bridal coloured white silk organza dress still looked fabulous on her. I thought, she’s going to want to keep this. She looked front ways in the mirror, side ways left, sideways right and to the back, a couple of times. Oh no I thought, I’ve missed out. She turned and looked at me. ‘Hmmmm she said, I’m not sure, I think I look like Cinderella, I don’t think I will take it’. I wasn’t going to enlighten her and tell her she didn’t look like cinder-fucking-rella, she looked even better. No! I was not encouraging her to buy that dress!

She proceeded to take the dress off and passed it to me. I now had THAT DRESS, in my hands. I smiled and very enthusiastically and politely thanked her and turned and disappeared from her sight making a bee line to the register before she could change her mind.

There was one girl at the one register. A queue had formed I waited anxiously for the people before me to be served. I paid and was out of there. I rushed to my car, yes! No parking ticket! I’d been there just over an hour but I had THAT DRESS in my car, it was mine. I hadn’t tried it on, it looked great on Miss attractive young blonde and it was a size bigger than I usually get but being a bit big on her it still looked great. I’d make it work for a 70% discount.

I drove home from work looking at the white paper shopping bag feeling like Carrie in a scene from Sex In The City. I came home tried the dress on. I was smitten. It was like a princess’s dress. It was mine. The universe had worked in my favour. It’s one of those small wins in life. It felt good.

By luck I saw the advert for the sale, by luck the store was 5 minutes from my work, I had a spare moment to pop down to the store, although a queue it allowed me interaction with the attractive young blonde, a connection was made, and that connection led to me feeling I could approach her when I saw her with the garment and then she tried it on and passed it onto me. The transaction was made.

What an experience. I have never done anything like that ever before.

It’s not for any occasion, nor necessarily the nicest dress I own. It’s just a dress I like and it now hangs in my wardrobe. Who knows where or when I might wear it, how often I may or may not. Today was fun and that’s just part of the joy. Today I had what felt like a little win and we all love that feeling. 😊🥰😉.

Love Lucy x

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