Buying a Dress for a Funeral: Shopping as Prozac

Dressing for a funeral. Image of people dressed in black around a casketHere’s a dubious hallmark of getting older: learning how to dress for a funeral.

It’s been so long since I’ve been to a funeral that I haven’t had to think about this for a really long time.

But I will be attending a funeral for a close family member in the next few days and realized that, in the wake of my move overseas two and a half years ago, I’d neglected to bring along any black dresses.

So yesterday I had to go out and shop for a funeral-appropriate dress. And I had to be quick about it.

I hate shopping, so I only gave myself like an hour and a half to complete this task. Fortunately, I live in one of the world’s poshest neighborhoods (Note to reader: My family isn’t posh in the slightest; we’ve just managed to stuff our family of four into an eerily well-located closet which we now call home in said neighborhood ) so there are an abundance of women’s clothing stores around.

And because I have turned into my mother (watch this space for more on that shortly), I decided to go to one of the three designer discount shops within a stone’s throw of my home (the other great advantage of living in a posh neighborhood: even the hand-me downs are nicer than anything I own!).

Within about 15 minutes, I’d identified four potential contenders for the event, two of which – it must be said – fit perfectly. (Note to reader: This never happens. Trust me. NEVER). One was a very simple knee-length cocktail dress which could easily be appropriated for a black tie event (were I ever to attend such functions…but here’s hoping!) And the other was an incredibly trendy Fendi dress, which looked something like this (NO I DIDN’T PAY ANYTHING NEAR THIS PRICE!!) As someone who perennially wants to update her look (but actually puts very little effort into said activity), I thought that if I bought something like this I might actually begin wearing it out about town.

I couldn’t decide. The cocktail dress was quite a bit cheaper than the Fendi, but, at the same time, less versatile. And the two women in the dressing room next to me (a mother/daughter team) kept insisting that I buy both. So while I tend to be a compulsive under-buyer, I made the snap decision to go ahead and take them both. Just like that.

George W. Bush once famously exhorted Americans to go shopping in the aftermath of 9/11 in order to boost the national mood. While I never quite understood his logic at the time, this was the first time in my life that I have gone shopping while feeling depressed and I must say, it worked wonders. I felt great.

Hmmmm….I wonder how many other pieces of the ex-President’s wisdom I ought to now emulate?

Image: Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

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