Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Deep Breath... and Vent: Why is it so hard to dress for my In-Laws?

This is one of those posts that's going to get me in trouble but I was feeling a fair amount of stress over the weekend over something so small as dressing for a family get together and I felt like I wanted to discuss it.

I always feel like I'm dressing like a skank when I'm dressing to meet my in-laws. It doesn't matter how much time or thought I put into what I'm wearing. It doesn't matter how conservative I dress.  I always feel like I'm entirely boobs, butt, and legs and that at least some part of me is not dressed appropriately. Or I feel incredibly sloppy. Does this ever happen to you?

I can trace feeling this way back to when I was getting married to my husband.  There were really two incidents that brought this on. One was when I was at a family lunch at my future parents-in-law's house (I didn't know it then, of course) and my future brother-in-law thought it would be fun to throw peanuts down the front of my shirt. There was no excuse for that. Actually, I was more miffed about my (then) boyfriend not helping me out with his brother. I had only just met said brother after all, and said brother is much older (although much less "mature").

The second time was at the bridal party my future aunt-in-law threw for me.  Back when I was getting married to my husband I dropped a lot of weight (as many brides-to-be do). I was proud of my body. So I showed up to my shower in a strapless top and a jean skirt with nice high espadrilles. Future husband approved, mother-in-law not so much. . It was cute when I left the house, really! My future mother-in-law opened the door, looked me up and down very obviously in that way that says "What the....???" In her defense, that way she was right. Yes, I had dressed like a skank. But it stuck with me and I always think she's looking at me that way at every event even when she's not (which is totally unfair to her). My husband assures me that his mother can insult someone without saying a word - apparently she is a master.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that whenever I hear "That dress is so pretty!" from one of my in-laws I can't help but think of Rachel McAdams as Regina George in Mean Girls saying "Oh my god, that skirt is sooooo cute! Where did you get it?" knowing she means the exact opposite. My insecurity is completely unfair to my in-laws. I should be able to take a compliment at face value from these people right? But I just have such a hard time with it. They make me so nervous because, for the most part, they are all so well put together. I don't fit in to that picture. I am always a sloppy mess next to them.

Needless to say, I was having a hard time deciding what to wear to the bridal shower of my very lovely and gorgeous cousin-in-law over the weekend. I finally settled on the dress I wore to the Dita Von Teese show back in April. This time I ditched the "hid my ugly bits" cardigan. And....(drum roll please) the dress was LOOSE!  I was lucky the dress was double layered because I had to pin it to my bra to keep it from falling down. I have definitely dropped an inch (at least) from around the shoulders and bust area since April. Here I am now:

Do I look like a skank? I didn't think so... No more bulging at the waist. No more having to wear armor-like undergarments in order to suck everything in just to zip it up. No more boobs trying to liberate themselves from clingy top of the dress. I put this dress on and realized definitively: I am no longer an Ann Taylor Loft Size 18!

Sad part was, I over dressed. Other than people who were in the wedding party, I was the only person wearing a full on-dress. The dress code was clearly "pants and nice top", or "skirt and nice top" - no dresses unless you're the bride or the bride's mom! Clearly, I was meant to dress down more than dress up for this event.  I hadn't dressed "Skank" but not appropriate either. Arg. Why can't I ever get it right with these people??? If only they knew how hard I try.

I did get many "Oh what a lovely dress!", which comes out sounding like a Regina "Oh my god, I love that bracelet! Where did you get it?"

Incidentally, whenever I compliment someone's clothing (which I often do) I mean it. Whenever I ask where someone got something, I want to know because I REALLY DO want to know. So why can't I take it at face value from my in-laws? I shouldn't try to psychoanalyze myself. I just hope I'll feel more secure as I lose weight and start having an appropriate wardrobe from which to pick.

Regardless, this day wasn't about me. It was about Suzi and her upcoming nuptials. And look how gorgeous she is here with her mother:

I wish I had the style and grace of these two women. They are always so incredibly classy you have no idea.I wish Suzi the best because she deserves it. I just hope I don't end up standing next to her in photos. Ever. She's just too dang gorgeous!

In the mean time, I'll keep bumbling around and maybe get it right for the wedding. At this point I hope to fit into a "goal dress" that has been sitting in my closet for a long while never worn.  I know of only one rule for weddings, by the way: don't wear white if you're not the bride! And, of course, don't dress like a skank.

"Skank" is open to interpretation.