There is a problem that has developed and it’s that if I see a true, Crayola-green dress in my size, then I buy it. I wore a vintage emerald green cocktail dress at my college graduation and maybe that started it (wish I still had it and never recall getting rid of it). Luckily, I don’t frequently find green dresses in my size so it’s not a huge problem. In the past two years or so I have picked up a shiny, sleeveless, not-that-flattering Greek-esque number from Banana Republic, a cute, springy Calvin Klein one that’s hard to wear with a bra because the straps are off the shoulder and it’s lower-cut than you’d think from holding it up and looking at it and another cotton one from Anthropologie that I bought for my last birthday and fits well, has cap sleeves (I’m not crazy about sleeveless, not because I’m self-conscious about my upper arms like so many women but because of my fading-into-old-sailor territory tattoos) and even though one of the button loops already ripped.
When this green Kate Spade dress at Niemen Marcus for $138 instead of the original $395, which was marked down to $177 on the Kate Spade site (I’ve been playing with Pinterest, as if I need another online time-waster) showed up in my daily Shop It To Me email (if you’re not familiar, it only sends sales in sizes you’ve specified) I was dazzled—and also suspect. Most mainstream retailers couple up sizes together so that 12 and 14 are both L (it’s ego-boosting that way, but I think 10-12 as a large makes more sense). The problem is that one is a straight size and the other is often plus (and over the past year I have plumped up ten pounds and crossed back over the invisible line into impossible-to-dress) so when you browse on a site like Nordstrom by size you may get 1,000 results but only a fraction will actually be a 14. What I really enjoy is going to more boutiquey aggregators like Bluefly and trying both sizes just for shits and giggles. A 12 dress currently gives 595 options and 14? Twenty-three. At least shopbop gives no illusions; 12 is the largest size on offer at it’s called an XL.
So, after I got past the mental stumbling block that Kate Spade calls a 14 an XXL (I’m surprised they even make a 14. I’m still not convinced that Marc Jacobs makes 14s and 16s because I’ve never seen anything larger than a 12 in my life and I’m not going to go to the store to find out because who pays full price? If they make 14s and 16s, they need to be in stores so that no one will buy them because fat people only buy Ashley Stewart and then they will be marked down at Century 21 and show up in my Shop It To Me Alert) I ordered the damn thing and it’s the best green dress I’ve bought so far. Well-tailored, sturdy, and expensive-feeling, I just need someplace to wear it. And I don’t think I’ll stop buying green dresses.