I am not a formal kinda girl. I didn’t even wear a formal to my own wedding, I got a smoking hot deal on a dress in a thrift store and after a little loving care, it was gorgeous in dim lighting.
A few times during our military service times, we would be required to attend formal events such as the celebrated Navy Ball… and in those instances, I would reach out to my steadfast cousins with a history of pageants and they would graciously share a dress with me for the event. Who has family like mine? I’d literally get a box of dresses to choose from then after the event, I’d send them back. I’m a blessed girl even if I once attended a ball wearing the exact same dress as the commander’s wife.
I would have both of my daughters go on to shop for and choose a formal dress for a school dance or event recently. However it would be a full twenty years into my marriage that I would have to go on the hunt for my very own formal dress. My first family wedding as an aunt. My nephew who is on his way to law school married him EMT girlfriend in a small, formal family wedding in their hometown.
I fretted over this event for months. I’m one of those women who does not look good in a dress. I’m short and curvy meaning I’m essentially a potato with legs. Try dressing that in regular stores… so I started my internet searching for help and eventually found my way into a website about body shapes. Then the stress of it drove me to find the recipe for a friends’ butter pecan cake and I went down the sugar hole.
I would eventually discover that I was a petite person which means that being curvy was only a part of it… turns out being short was the main feature. Forty something years into this body and I’m just now finding out that there is an entire section of clothing that is available for people with my body shapes. What a time to be alive… Fun.
I live close to a metro area so I was pretty certain that I would find a store close to me that would have a petite clothing section. And how very wrong I was… several stores have a tiny little petite section but they all had racks of sweaters, pants, and shirts but very little dresses.
Store to store to store, I went searching for a formal dress suitable to wear to my nephews wedding. He is a beautiful kid who has an amazing future and he picked an amazing girl to be his bride and partner in life. So I finally turned to online and found a dress that I thought would fit. A week later, the dress would come in… and be waaaaaaay too long. So I went to a little seamstress in my town then would cut five inches off that dress to get it ready for me and the wedding.
Eventually I had the dress and my sweet pair of fancy orthotic dress shoes (don’t judge, I have bad feet) and the only thing lacking was a face. I needed a makeup session before this wedding to cover my face. I’m struggling to cover my melasma/hyperpigmentation/dark nasty spots on my face. Now I live with an amazing husband who I swear that he only sees me as the nineteen-year-old I used to be when we dated… so he was absolutely no help when it came to preparing for this wedding. He’s all “you look great” and “that looks great”.
So I did what ever smart woman does… I scheduled a salon to “do” my face for this wedding. That would work great until we made it till the day before the wedding, I realized that my timeframe for check-in at the hotel and the actual start of the wedding wouldn’t allow…so I cancelled. Then I put the burden of making me “cute” on my youngest… the teenager.
At first… she was petrified, but then she grew strong (mainly cause I took her to the store and bought tons of makeup stuff) and then we survived.
Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and Colorado, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.