I love dresses. But dresses in the New England winter are not as convenient as they are in the warmer spring and summer days fast approaching. I have found myself in a bit of a fashion conundrum- totally hip and happy in the non winter months and, eeehhh gads, yoga pants and turtle necks in the blustery cold. I make no excuses. I like comfort and once I crossed the fifty mark and oh yeah, those pesky cancer diagnosis, comfort always prevails. I like comfort and ease, but I also like to look nice and let’s face it, yoga pants are not a fashion icon.

The month of May brought me to the five month mark of no shopping and I am pretty proud of my accomplishment, but as I looked around at my closet, I realized that with all of my cleaning out, what was left behind was a dismal collection of darkness. The lovely summer go to dresses of my past glorious travels to Spain and Israel were starting to have some wear and tear. With my son still having two more years in college to pay for, another trip other than a visit to Florida to see my grandfather is not part of the plan. Besides, I know how pretentious it sounds that I can only buy replacement dresses when I travel to Europe and Israel, but goodness their dresses are the best. So with no prospects that lay ahead, there just had to be a dress shop I can make my own.

Oh wait, but I am not shopping. A predicament. So I dropped the idea and blasted off to the new butcher shop that took the place of Persimmon Provisions in Barrington, RI. Barrington Butcher Shop. As it turns out, the proximity of the dress shop I have aimed to go into for a few years, happened to be right next door. So in my dingy yoga pants and Life is Good tshirt that I had been wearing for my gardening clothes all day, I walked in bright eyed and bushy tailed forgetting that I likely looked like a homeless person or one of those salty old money women from Bellevue Ave in Newport who used to come in to Cherry and Webb’s makeup counter for free samples. I worked behind the Estee Lauder counter in the early eighties fresh out of esthetic school and it was a trip down old Newport lane that I didn’t realize as a twenty two year old.

The woman at the dress shop behind the counter was clearly unimpressed with my potential as a shopper but I prevailed. “I always wanted to come in here, but never have!” I exclaimed happily to her giving her some bait so she could sell me some of her wears. No bite. She hesitated sizing me up as probably “not a chance.” I kept at it though because there have been so many milestones since last year. The breast cancer, the adjustment to the new boobs, the permanence of realizing that I am past the point of easily dropping even five pounds now that I have gone through menopause. All of the emotional and physical ins and outs that have been part of my last three years plus just a different person when I look at my reflection in the mirror. All of it was carried in with me when I walked into Zuzu’s all unbeknownst to the innocent salesgirl who had no idea who she was about to engage with. This is what I love about sales, you never know the stories of the people who walk in and it becomes your job to figure it all out without a preconceived notion that can make or break the whole experience. I decided not to go rogue in my usual fashion trying to teach her a sales lesson and just kept at it. When she finally came out from the counter realizing that I could actually be serious, she started to tell me a little about the mass of highly patterned dresses surrounding us. Judy something or other, and a variety of women’s names who apparently make the dresses that meant nothing to me frankly. I am standing there in hiking shoes and yoga pants- highly unlikely I was going to be the type of shopper who shops based on name recognition unless I am standing in the middle of a Lululemon store. I went along with her though because she looked so excited to let me know her knowledge of the clothes and the designers who made them. I kept thinking, Could I really wear these dresses? They are not me.

I love boutique shopping because it is so easy when you have a salesperson who understands client care. It took the saleswoman a few moments to warm up, but once she realized that I was truly interested in trying on clothes, she began the ascent into the glory land of my personal stylist. I tore off my clothes and began trying on dress after dress. I have a weird rule in the dressing room ( I am pretty sure those of you who know me are not surprised), that if the first item I try on looks great, it is going to be a successful shopping experience. First dress? Check! It looked stunning if I do say so myself. I felt amazing as I traipsed out of the dressing room into the bright light of the store and gazed at my reflection staring back in the big mirror. Then ‘the voice’ kicked in. It’s not me, it said. This dress is not me.

But I looked, and more importantly felt, so beautiful in almost every one of them. I had a sudden conflict that needed immediate correction. It’s not me. Why not? Where was this voice even coming from? The no shopping rule went out the door. And so did the commentary running like a wild animal in my brain. All of a sudden, a magic shift came to me like a bright light turned on in a pitch black room.


But It Can Be darted in as a replacement part for my brain. As I tried on the endless dresses and falling in love with each and every one of them, Leah, my new best friend saleswoman showed me a pair of the craziest wild patterned pants. They’re not me, I immediately thought. “BUT THEY CAN BE!” My new improved mind opened up like a peony in the morning. Before I knew it, I was buying three dresses, two pairs of the wildest pants and three tops to the tune of a trip to Europe. So much for not shopping, but this new mind shift was worth every penny. I work my ass off and I have worked my ass off even more these past three years. I have a brand new body, but even better a brand new way of thinking. This in itself was worth all of the tea in China as I can hear my grandmother’s voice saying if she were still alive.

As it turns out today in my inbox from one of my favorite alanon chicks was this daily and perfect quote.

“If you never change your mind, why have one?”

Yep. Now on to the shoe store because we all know that with new dresses one must need new shoes too…. I’m on a roll, might as well go till end of May, I can start my no shopping again June 1, I’m having way too much fun right now creating a new me. Because It Can Be.

Photo does not do this dress justice.

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self proclaimed lover of all things beauty, business + lifestyle, I write because it feels good.