• Clare

In which I try to squeeze into a dress that's far too small

Updated: May 3, 2020

I have found myself a stunning second hand Ball Gown on eBay. It's exactly what I was looking for. The only problem is, the zip won't do up...

In fact, it's not even close to doing up. I could stand on one side of the zip and have to use a megaphone for them to hear me on the other side! You can see from the photo that it's not a question of sucking in my ribcage and talking on an in-breath all night; ensuring I don't sit, eat or laugh. There is a huge gully between each part of the zip, clearly displaying my "suck it all in, ridiculously uncomfortable and highly unattractive Bridget Jones style" pants and strapless bra, which only ever sees the light of day for very special occassions, as it also requires a lot of maintenance. You know the kind: needs subtle hoicking every five minutes when you think no one's looking, either fits around the ribcage, or perfectly cups each breast, but never achieves both together, makes your Partner roll their eyes and mutter a sarcastic comment under their breath kind of bra.

I was meant to be attending a Charity Ball next month in aid of a local charity called Elliot's Touch. They held their first annual Ball last year and we had a brilliant night. The charity raised a huge amount of money. We all drank far too much alcohol, ate far too much rich food and generally had an amazing time. My Husband and his friends got a bit carried away during the Silent Auction after Dinner and bid on a Golf Day for four (no pun intended) at The Bellfry and somehow managed to win. Not great news for our bank balance, but how could we complain when the cause was so honourable. We were all very much looking forward to a repeat this year. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it has been postponed until September.

Not entirely bad I suppose, as it gives me a while to come up with a plan. Unfortunately, it's not a case of going on a diet, as it's the size of my ribcage that's the problem. It's not a case of asking someone to help, because the Husband has already tried (and tried and tried), but the zip just will not go any higher. I don't want to sell the dress because I love it. It's from Coast and I'd never normally be able to afford a dress from there, but the quality is lovely. Everything about it is unusual. The colour is unusual, the cut is unusual, the ruffle detail is unusual. I love the length of it. It's so rare to find an evening dress that's a petite fit. I had to snap this one up as soon as I saw it. Actually, that's not strictly true. I'd been watching it on eBay for some weeks. I'd sent a picture of it to my girlfriends asking their opinions. I'd umm-ed and ahh-ed over it and then umm-ed and ahh-ed some more. What finally persuaded me was one too many glasses of Pinot! (We've all been there. Those drunken eBay purchases that arrive a few days after the hangover disappears and you make a genuine comment to the Postman saying "but I wasn't expecting anything?" Anyway, when I did unwrap it, I sighed with relief and immediately sent a picture of me wearing it to my friend Toni, who was responsible for one too many glasses of Pinot (well, she was there at the time anyway). We both agreed I'd had a lucky escape and as drunken purchases go, this was a winner!

I have a few more tricks up my sleeve before I throw the towel in. We haven't yet roped in a third person to help do the zip up (most likely the Mother-In-Law). One to breath in (me), one to wrench the two sides together (the Husband) and one to do the zip up (the Mother-In-Law). I haven't taken it to my extremely patient and very experienced local Seamstress yet, as I have done previously with many an item that doesn't fit and had a little cry over said garment, while she consoles me with a reassuring smile and a "There, there. Why don't you go and try it on and we'll have a look at it". (Stop crying over this vintage blazer that I'm trying to reline!) Or I wear a faux fur jacket the entire night to cover my back, whilst looking like a wannabe Gangster's Moll. Much to the embarrassment of anyone who is unfortunate enough to arrive in the same taxi as me. Whatever happens, I will wear this bloody dress to the Ball if it's the last thing I do!

Come to think of it - wasn't there a Plastic Surgeon in America who removes ribs from men for the purpose of self gratification? Maybe I'll look him up...

Have you had any similar wardrobe disasters, or even worse, malfunctions? Let me know in the comments below.

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