Much of my spare time this week has been spent in search of the perfect little black dinner dress. It’s been a difficult search, trying to match my personal style, the dress code stated on the invitation and my budget. It all began with an invitation to the 50th Anniversary gala for Russell and Jeffcoat, one of the largest real estate companies in the midlands. Since my husband is an agent with Russell and Jeffcoat, I knew many of the people and wanted to make the right impression.
The invitation stated that the gala would be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia and that heavy hors d’oeuvres would be served. The dress code was to be just a cut below formal, with men in dark suits and women in dinner or cocktail dresses.
The few dresses I owned were more appropriate for church than dinner, tending toward dark prints, narrow belts and flared skirts. I had nothing that would be appropriate for the occasion.
My style is generally simple, and I’m the kind of person who can live quite happily in jeans and a tee shirt most of the time. When I do dress up, I prefer to strive for a look of understated elegance. I have a fairly good figure and am not ashamed to show it. I never want to be the center of attention, but if anyone happens to notice me, I just want them to think that I look nice.
My search began online, where I looked at dinner dresses on Kohl’s, Belk’s and Stein Mart’s websites, finding nothing I really wanted or could afford. During the week I dropped into Ross, where I found two or three dresses that just might work and be within my price range. I found nothing in Dress Barn and finally ventured into a consignment and formal wear shop in Lexington.
The minute I walked in the door, I was greeted by a confection of net and tulle in a rainbow of colors. Strapless tops and fluffy pastel skirts were, while enchanting, definitely not what I needed. The saleslady told me that they catered to pageants and proms, making most dresses and gowns appropriate for fourteen to twenty year olds.
As a last ditch attempt, I stopped in Goodwill on Two Notch Road. Sorting through their incredibly full rack of dresses, a simple black sheath strewn with tiny white seed pearls showed up. Looking at the dress, I found it to be flawless and, amazingly, the right size. Simple enough for me to be comfortable, fitted just enough to hug the slim figure I try to maintain and as understatedly elegant as could be, it was perfect! The price was $4.25, well within my somewhat meager fashion budget.
If anyone is going to the 50th Anniversary Russell and Jeffcoat gala, keep an eye out for me. The photos in the slideshow are from the fitting room with only the dress showing. Nylons, black heels and small white pearl earrings are going to be the finishing touches. Enjoy my search and celebrate my find of the year!
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~