Christmas Party Dress

For the first time in five years (since before the recession!) I was invited to a corporate Christmas party with an evening wear dress code. Dan’s company reserved a fancy party tent by Mission Bay for dinner and dancing. I was looking forward to meeting his coworkers, and the fun of choosing a fancy dress.

Right away I fell for Shabby Apple’s Hollywood Hills dress:

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It was festive and elegant and fitted without being revealing. Perfect! But since it was backordered, it wouldn’t arrive until the week before the party. I carefully checked measurement charts and figured it would be okay.

The Saturday before the party, the package arrived and I rushed to try it on:

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It was the wrong dress! No hint of those lovely lace scallops. Bold black lace over bright white lining, instead of delicate black against silver. And the neckline was so poorly stitched that the lining rolled outward and showed a white strip at my collarbone. Sadness!

I hopped online and found they had mistakenly sent the Falling Star dress (in fact, if you search now, the one I originally ordered is no longer found on their website):

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But it really looked nothing like that either, don’t you think? Too contrasty and, unfortunately, a pretty frumpy fit on me.

So I took a deep breath and headed to the mall. I NEVER go to the mall during Christmas season, especially on a Saturday. But incredibly, I had good luck in the first store I went to: JCPenney, of all places. I don’t think I’ve bought clothes there since middle school. They surprised me with a great selection of party dresses with lace or sequins or satin. The moment I tried it on I fell for the American Living Asymmetric Knot Lace Dress:

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I’m glad to say this story has a happy ending. Thanks to photo messaging in the dressing room and sage advice from Emily two thousand miles away, I put together an outfit that I really loved. And my date looked amazing too!

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When we arrived, the first person we ran into was the chief executive in a tuxedo with a Burberry plaid tie and cummerbund. Whew! He was very nice and stopped to chat for a minute. The tent looked lovely:

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During cocktail hour and the sit-down dinner, the DJ played a very strange mix of electronic and club-appropriate music, which didn’t sit so well with the older executives — there was even Fergalicious and Gangnam Style. But eventually he started playing more 80s music and a surprising number of people took to the dance floor.

Overall, the party was nowhere near as fancy as my epic 2007 company holiday party — where waiters chanting the company’s name carried a flaming dessert down a gilded stairway, no joke — but it was fun to get dressed up and celebrate Christmas in style. Oh and I got a few unsolicited compliments on my dress :)

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