85. The Perfect Dress

85. The Perfect Dress

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

The Perfect Dress

Just around the corner in every woman’s mind — is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her.

~Wilhela Cushman

I was on a mission to find the perfect dress for my husband’s graduation from pharmacy school. I had already tried on a few dresses and hadn’t found “the one” yet, but this rack showed promise.

I enlisted my husband to help me search for my size. I pointed out the dresses I was interested in and gave him his instructions.

What I didn’t disclose was my internal checklist: Would the fabric stretch to cover my broad shoulders? Did it look too fancy? Could I wear leggings under it so I didn’t have to show my pale legs? Could I throw a cardigan or jean jacket over it to hide my flabby arms? Finally, the most important question: Would it hide enough of my flaws so that I would feel beautiful?

“What about this one?” my husband asked.

“That’s pretty.”

He was holding a sleeveless navy dress with a chevron-patterned skirt. It had a keyhole cutout at the neckline embellished with a silver piece just above it. The skirt looked about knee length. It was the type of dress meant to stand alone and make a statement.

But no cardigan or jacket would ever work with it. Leggings would be impossible. The dress didn’t meet any of my secret criteria. I nearly told him it wouldn’t work, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was his graduation I’d be wearing it to after all, and he had proven to have good taste in the past.

I took the dress into the changing room with my other, more sensible choices just to appease him. I knew it wouldn’t work, not with the amount of leg I’d be showing and that sleeveless top. But to my complete surprise, I liked it.

The dress didn’t meet any of my secret criteria.

The silver embellishment at the neckline wasn’t too fancy for me after all. And though the skirt was shorter than what I usually wore, I realized I looked good in it. The dress was stunning and I couldn’t help but feel beautiful in it, in spite of my pale legs and un-toned arms.

I stepped out of the dressing room to show my husband. The look on his face told me I’d found the perfect dress. Well, technically, he had found the perfect dress, despite breaking every fashion rule he didn’t know I had. I walked out of the store that day with more than just a dress to wear to his graduation. I walked out with confidence I hadn’t carried in with me, and without my secret checklist.

~Beth Pugh

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