I Give You The Lady In Red
While I’m in Italy eating my weight in gelato, I’m thrilled to have the wry, lovely Stephanie Weaver as my guest blogger, appropriately called The Lady In Red for the 4th of July!
Stephanie normally writes about food on her website, Recipe Renovator, but steps outside her comfort zone in this red dress. Stephanie writes:
What you need to know about me: I work from home. I normally wear a long-sleeved Prana tee and jeans. I don’t wear heels. I love my friends.
I a) never expected to wear a red dress to a party, b) I never ever thought I’d post a photo of myself on the Internet in a red dress.
The week before my 51st birthday my husband and I received an invitation to a surprise birthday party for a dear friend’s 40th.
Here’s the rub: The birthday boy loves the show Revenge, which is set in the Hamptons, where the women wear red cocktail dresses ad nauseam and the men wear crisp, white shirts.
The invitation had these very specific instructions for attire. My heart sank. Not only did I NOT have a red cocktail dress, I don’t wear red. Period. It clashes with my hair.
I even declined joining a particular volunteer group because of the requirement to wear a red polo shirt to all events.
But for this birthday boy, who we adore, I decided to suck it up.
I asked around. No one I knew had a red cocktail dress, so I hit a thrift store to see what I could find.
In fifteen minutes I blazed through eight red cocktail dresses, found a pair of strappy black sandals and was out of the store.
The only dress that really fit me was the one above, which reminds me of Nancy Kerrigan’s ice-skating costume. I thought I looked okay in it, and something in me said … Hey! If you’re going to wear a red cocktail dress, Wear A Red Cocktail Dress!
This dress, the sandals and some faux-Spanx cost me just under twenty bucks!
Why was this dress such a big deal, besides the color? Let’s see … as I mentioned, I was just about to turn 51. I hadn’t worn a halter top since the late 70s. It was really form-fitting and it just didn’t seem like me.
Since turning 50 I’ve been trying to push myself in new directions, embrace who I am inside and out, and I decided that this crazy sparkly dress was a symbol of that inner growth. But I had to own it.
So I did my hair, put on party makeup, and walked out of the bedroom. The Husband didn’t know quite what to make of it, as it was so “not me.”
A bit of fear crept inside. Was I going to look ridiculous? Did I look like I was wearing a costume? What if no one else was in a red cocktail dress?
It was too late to change, and I really had nothing else to wear, so we headed out.
The reaction from my male friends at the party answered all of my fears. These guys usually see me at dog park in a baseball cap and jeans, but when they saw the red dress? They were very complimentary.
I decided to pose for this photo specifically so I could share it on my blog. (I also never pose like this.) I shared it because that night, I embraced my beauty. I owned who I am. I broke out of my comfort zone and got some nice compliments for it.
Yes, I have some wrinkles and yes, my body’s not perfect. But that doesn’t mean I can’t throw on some Spanx, glam up for a night, and enjoy the way that feels.
And you can, too.
And that red dress? It’s still in the closet. You never know when I might need it.
Stephanie Weaver, MPH is a writer, wellness advocate, and food blogger based in San Diego, CA, with a Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition Education.
She’s an expert on changing diet for health reasons, and is
currently writing a migraine diet book, which she hopes will hit shelves
in 2016. Find her creative and delicious recipes, suitable for a wide
variety of special diets, on her website, RecipeRenovator.com