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From the Home Front: Need a new dress? The clock is ticking

I admire people who land a great outfit long before a special occasion arrives – including shoes and accessories. The funny thing is, I don’t know too many of them.

Last-minute shoppers unite!

We eleventh-hour shoppers rip through the racks at 8:30 p.m. Friday looking for a dress to wear Saturday afternoon. Or, even worse, 10:01 a.m. Saturday after the doors open.

Spare us the lecture on having to settle on something. Or pay too much. Somehow, we manage to pull it off. Most of the time.

Years ago, my husband and I planned a birthday party at our home for his grandmother. The food was ordered. The flowers were blooming. The outdoor tables and chairs were wiped down.

Everything was set except one last detail: I had nothing to wear.

So, the day before 75 guests were to arrive, I went shopping. Not only did I find an outfit that suited the occasion, I loved it so much I wore it time and time again. I lucked out. Or was it there just waiting for me?

I’m far from alone. One friend tells me she once found the perfect long black gown at AMVETS to wear to a gala that evening. Another said she often finds herself at dressbarn near closing time.

We have an out-of-town relative who, whenever she visits for a family affair, needs to shop. And shop some more.

This is so well known among those she stays with that time is carved out to ensure she gets herself outfitted for the occasion.

Shopping has gotten easier, thanks to the internet – if you’re willing to pay extra for fast delivery, if necessary, and are pretty confident the dress will fit.

Helpful, too, is the option of starting your search online on retail sites that let you know if a dress is available locally. Some will even reserve it for you.

What I have learned about last-minute shopping is that it’s not always about procrastination. Sometimes it’s knowing what you want and where you will likely find it – but finding the time to do it. When schedules are busy, shopping often falls to the bottom of the To Do list.

Having kids adds another chapter to this. Have you ever had to buy or borrow a white blouse the night before a school concert? Tear out to buy an inexpensive T-shirt for red-themed day at summer camp?

Back in those days, I also used to keep small scissors and Scotch tape in the glove compartment in case I needed to wrap a gift in a parking lot before dropping off our daughter at a birthday party.

Then they grow older – and the dances and proms begin. So does the dress shopping (and, as I have observed, the last-minute dress borrowing among friends).

Alterations, however, can add another wrinkle. Last year, our daughter found a prom dress with time to spare. It needed to be shortened, which I told her I would do.

When did I get around to hemming it?

Prom morning. Let’s keep that to ourselves.

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