Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dresses make me spendy

The dress in question (on someone who is not me.)
I'll come right out with it: I spent $448 dollars on a dress last night.

I've been hunting for an outfit for an orchestra performance this Sunday. Dress code for women is a long black dress or skirt, or black dress pants/top. I had my heart set on a dress (maybe a wee bit of princess syndrome, but I love any excuse to wear one). The most economical option would have definitely been black pants and a jacket of some sort - something I could mix and match with other pieces I own and potentially wear to work. Yawn.

Instead I started hunting for a cheap floor-length dress. I saw some horrible stuff: A $118 piece of stretchy t-shirt fabric with no lining. Polyester prom dresses. $700 gowns covered in cruddy fake sparkles. I knew precisely what I wanted: elegant and non-fussy - almost austere - substantial fabric, ease of movement while playing. And sleeves.

Good luck with that.

Finally I just gave it up, hung my head and went into Holt Renfrew, where a Shelli Segal dress called to me from the rack. I had that "aha" moment - ladies you'll know what I mean - before I'd even looked in the mirror. With tax and alterations to shorten the hem, it ended up being twice what I wanted to spend. Note: This won't affect my $1,000 monthly savings goal. I will be receiving some overtime pay, plus a pretty substantial tax refund.

The big question: Will it be worth it?

Youngandthrifty recently wrote about the logic of purchasing quality everyday clothing, like jeans. I'm definitely on board with that. This is far from an everyday item. However, I will be wearing it for all upcoming concerts in the foreseeable future.  Because it’s so classic, I could actually wear it for years to come. I also plan to start playing weddings and will need something for those occasions, too.

In a way, it does seem essential to have well-tailored, quality clothing for performances. I cringe at the thought of going up on stage in front of hundreds of people wearing something that looks cheap. There’s also something to be said for having a black-tie worthy gown in your closet. You know, for all those last-minute invites I get from handsome young astronauts. Hey, a girl can dream....

So, what do you think? Am I out of my mind?

In an upcoming post, I'll give some tips for how to spot a quality garment, regardless of the price tag or brand name label.


  1. As long as you're in your budget, it's okay isn't it? If you put say, $200 towards clothes every month, roll over any extra money into the following months so you can spend that cash without any problem.

    It would probably be tough at first to adhere to the budget, and track the costs, but planning first definitely allows you to stick to your budget - it also lets you buy those cool gadgets/clothes without any emotional burden.

    So, are you out of your mind? Only if you didn't have the money for it. Sounds like you did though - congrats.

    You ever check out RedFlagDeals for shopping tips? Read the forums, lots of good deals there.

  2. Yeah, I can afford it, particularly because of the extra income I have coming in this month. Honestly, I'd prefer to save that, too, but on the other hand one basic outfit for performing is probably a smart purchase.

    Had I planned a little better, I've not doubt I could have slashed my costs by looking around online, as you suggest. Visiting the stores earlier would have allowed me to scope out what I liked (and my size) and order online at a cheaper price. Once again, procrastination gets me!