When I got home, I swung by the front desk to pick up the package of dresses that had arrived that afternoon. I pulled the dresses out of the box and tried them on one by one, trying to gauge how they looked and moved in front of my tiny bathroom mirror. The sparkle was incredible! I wonder what percentage of Swarovski crystals sold each year end up glued to ballroom dancing costumes... because it sure seemed like I had a whole store's worth of stones at my fingertips. It took a few minutes to remember that the point of all this was to see how, if at all, the costumes accentuated my movement. Which was a difficult task given that the only mirror in my apartment is over the sink in my itty bitty bathroom. I ended up standing on my bathroom counter just so that I could see the skirt of a costume.
The dresses were beautiful and well-made. This is how they fit:
None of the dresses would do. Dress A could work with alteration, but since the dress is a rental I can't do something so drastic as shortening the sleeve. I had paid a modest fee to try on these dresses (mainly to cover shipping costs), but I don't think this was a waste of money--I learned something about which shapes work on my body, what I like, and why so many dancers end up commissioning a custom dress made to their own individual measurements. It was starting to look like the basic black fringe dress available through my studio would be my only option. That is, until this dress arrived for try on a few days later:
Be still my heart! This dress fits like a glove and is just darling. What's not perfect? It's yellow and I'm blond. What else? It's not for rent, it's for sale (at more than half off because the dress maker has had trouble finding a buyer who could fit into the dress--it was tailored to a pro who wore it a couple of times). The price is equal to what it would cost to try on and rent costumes for three competitions. I wanted to buy it the moment I tried it on and turned around in front of the mirror, but I'm just not sure it makes sense to buy especially since I doubt I will be able to resell it in the future (given that the dressmaker has had so much trouble finding a buyer). Honestly, if the dress was blue or red I probably wouldn't be able to resist. What to do, what to do?
Can I afford it? Yes. Should I buy it? Well... I keep thinking about how many lessons I could buy for the cost of this dress and at the end of the day learning and becoming a better dancer is what matters the most to me.