Monday, April 11, 2005

Kingdom Kome

It’s that time of the year again when all the seniors are preparing for their proms. And anyone who has a young lady graduating from high school can hear the cash registers going “ca-ching” and the money being sucked out of your wallet at lightning speed! Short of a wedding or a sweet 16, the prom can be one of the most costly and daunting events in your daughter’s (and one’s own) life.

One of the most difficult tasks is searching for the “perfect” dress. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack! From style to color to form to fabric to size to price, it all has to come together and click or everyone will be shedding tears, and these will not be tears of joy. It’s her day to look like a princess and she will not expect, nor accept anything less.

We started our search going to the local malls and checking out the usual stores, which I won’t even name and, of course, we came up empty. We are already going at it with the whole “whoa-is-me” routine. We headed out to the specialty bridal shops in our area. Again, we struck out. Now we are heading into a depression with low self-esteem and tempers are flaring up. Unless you are a size 2, don’t count on finding something neither unique nor special. You are lucky if you find something somewhat pretty. And if they do have larger sizes they fly off the racks, so, if you aren’t there when they are put out on display, you are simply out of luck. It is so unrealistic of these stores to carry such a limited size selection when we all know that this country has the highest obesity rate in the world! When did a size 10 become “large”? Actually, it’s more cruel than unrealistic.

We called it a day and headed back home. Someone is having a temper tantrum. Oh, it takes all I have not to say much because I know how fragile her state of mind is. I started surfing online and searched for prom dresses. It was amazing to see how many gorgeous dresses can be found on the Internet. And the sizes ranged from 0 all the way to a generous size 30! Wow! 0-30! I didn’t even know that the size 0, nor 30, actually existed. The Internet is a fountain of knowledge!

However, I had huge concerns about ordering a prom dress, an expensive item, over the Internet. Which style would most flatter her body type? How much in advance do you need to order? What are the return policies? Are we measuring accurately in order to ensure a proper fit? What if they send us the wrong dress style or the wrong size or the wrong color and the prom is upon us and now she has no dress? No. No. NO! I felt the risk was simply too enormous and decided against ordering online.

Much to my surprise, I found a prom dress website that listed stores that carried their line. Luckily, there was a store only an hour away that carried the dress style we were interested in. I contacted them via phone to ask what sizes they actually had in stock and which styles. The store clerk took my phone number, the size I was looking for and the style. She said she would call me within 30 minutes or so because she would need to go to floor and check. As promised, she returned the call within the time she allotted with information on what they had in stock. In addition, she indicated that they could take her measurements and place an order for the dress of our liking and they would receive it within 7 days at which time she would go in for a fitting. If alterations were needed, they would assist in that process as well, for a nominal fee.

We immediately made plans to head out to Kingdom Klothing in the Greendale Mall located in Worcester, MA. I thought that perhaps there was a dress there that the “princess” would love and if not, then we would order directly from them, though I still was hesitant about ordering a dress.

When we walked through that door, we were stunned at the beauties that were hanging on the racks. It was like going to a museum and looking at the masterpieces on the walls. We were blinded by the sparkling beads, rhinestones and sequences, and the colors that ran the gamut. Every style imaginable was under the same roof. And they did have sizes ranging from 0-30, but not in every style. Quite honestly, we felt a bit overwhelmed and I could already get the negative vibes my daughter was putting out.

The store manager, a very polite gentleman, approached us and started to assist us. At first we felt awkward being assisted by a man but that soon changed when he demonstrated his knowledge about clothing styles, colors and body types. He listened to what we wanted and immediately pulled a dress from the rack that matched the style we were looking for. He indicated he first wanted to match a size and to not pay attention to color at this point. My little princess was NOT happy with the color but agreed to try it on. The size was off by one but more importantly, we discovered that the dress style we wanted was NOT flattering on her body type at all! Good grief! That was it for her! She was ready to give up and not go to her prom at all! All of a sudden, the store manager comes back with another dress. Amazingly, it was the perfect size fitting her like a glove and the style had to be one of the most flattering ones for her. Absolutely beautiful! But, Princess didn’t care for the color. Again, the manager comes back with dress number 3 (by the way, he was doing this on his own; nobody asked him to do a thing) in the right size, a similar style, but in a different color. I don’t know for sure if he brought that one in to show Princess how beautiful she looked in the previous color, but that most certainly did the trick. Now she loved the second dress more and more. The store manager offered yet another option: knowing the size and the dress style, we could order it in a different color. This time I would have ordered the dress even though it is still a risk to order because there is always the possibility that the dress could be cut too small or too large. But, it was an option to consider. Finally, a decision was being made by Her Majesty: she was keeping the second dress which color she hated but now seemed to love more and more! Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! We bought the dress and it was well within our budget!

From the dress to the shoes to the dainty little handbag, I highly recommend Kingdom Klothing to all the parents of princesses in training! You will not regret it and your Royal Highness will never forget it. And trust me, everyone around you will appreciate it!

Now, roll out the red carpet!


Anonymous Ilsa said...

I am so glad I found your post! I hav been fooling around with the idea of starting a store just for bridal and "formalwear" in sizes 12+ I think there is a huge need for it and your post just validated my beliefs. I'll let you know when I open ;-)

3:31 PM  
Blogger New England Magazine said...

There most certainly is a need for not only larger sized formalwear but also for fashionable designs at affordable prices. Good luck and best wishes on your future endeavor!

9:56 AM  

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