Choosing a gown at Jeneveve

In the quest to find a dress for the Miss World Classic I have been scouring the online search engines. I’m not familiar with gown shops in Colchester, always favouring Debenhams for its ‘under one roof’ appeal.Several times a year I go dress shopping generally, for ‘mess do’s’…..my amazing husband is in the army and we have evening functions to attend. I was keen to see what gowns were available locally first, but was unsure of the names of retailers. I was quick to hit the search engine on the trusty Internet… But page after page was wedding dresses, prom dresses, party dresses….
Dress styles that have been around forever! Oh for the love of god it was so depressing, the same old bog standard dresses that you see year after year, same old styles, same old material, same old colours!I was looking for something out of this world! Something, sexy, revealing, eye catching, breathtaking…. Different!
One of my fabulous girlfriends, Lisa, whom I envy for her effortless style and beauty, suggested I try choosing a gown at Jeneveve, and she quickly and kindly, with no prompting, pulled up their website on the work reception computer. Her big blue eyes sparkled as she proceeded to list their collections, her blonde hair tied back effortlessly, and her pink lipstick looking flawless.

I have so much admiration for Lisa, she has so much grace and poise, and is one tough, strong woman. Happily Married to the love of her life of over 20 years, where she lived a life of glamour. The life and soul of a party, rocking a petite body, whilst being warm, caring and kind. She then had to endure a heartbreaking divorce, all the while holding her grace, with her vulnerability evident at times, that young girl inside coming to the surface, somewhat lost?
…. But fear not, the wonderful Lisa is still on fire, courting an international flight pilot nonetheless! Continuing in her life of fabulousness!

…Anyway, my point is, if somebody else had of recommended Jeneveve I perhaps would not of investigated….but this was Lisa, woman of class!

I scrolled through Jeneveves website, gown after gown, and there was a few catching my eye… A couple of backless, some two pieces (top and skirts) and maybe a lace type option. So true ‘modern technology style’ I screen saved the dresses on my phone, feeling armed with what I wanted to try on when I got there..

I first emailed to enquire on availability, with which a reply email recommended I rang to book in for a fitting! How exciting ‘booking’ for a fitting, I was being given personal one on one time to try on gowns!

I booked the appointment for a Saturday at 3 o’clock , my husband was away on exercise so it was slightly manic! I’d got up at 5 o’clock, been to the gym 5.30 till 7… Back home to walk our dog Blue, work at 8.15 till 12.30. Then work was followed by walking Blue again then meeting Ivor, the lovely gentleman who came round to give us a quote on having our carpets cleaned (blue is a big French mastiff who slobbers everywhere, and although we had new cream carpets in February they have quickly got smelly and dirty, hazards of having a 13stone dog! Luckily, I own a dog grooming business so I don’t let him get too dirty!)

Ivor I must say was endearing! 60years young, survived a heart attack and cancer, now has a colostomy bag and works 7 Days a week!… Also very reasonable price, and yes I have booked with him!

Once we said our goodbyes I chucked on my gym kit..ready for round 2 on the way back from gown fitting…. I know I know, not very glamorous shopping for dresses in gym kit lol it’s not how Id envisioned…. I’d been day dreaming of full make up, skinny jeans, washed and blow dried hair…. To make it even worse I desperately needed a sun bed to top up my Bahrain tan… So I called in the sun bed shop on route! Yep, now I smelt of cooked skin too!

I pulled up at Jeneveve, somewhat surprised to be on an industrial estate outside a workshop…. Again… Not what I’d envisioned…. My day dreaming included velvet chairs and chandeliers… But I was not deterred.. Not being one to judge a book by its cover!

As I went inside I was pleasantly surprised, rails of gowns, sparkling away, but still I was apprehensive, at first glance they were consistent with the typical ‘prom’ shop…. But I knew there was a few specific dresses I was there for so I wasn’t intending on browsing the rails. However, I politely waited as there was a pretty young brunette girl trying on a fabulous red dress, which I can only describe as a Spanish bullfighting style? She was with her mum and trying dresses for her prom. Jenny, the store owner encouraged me to riffle through the gowns, I hadn’t the heart to tell her I knew what I was after, and anyway, It was probably a good idea to see and feel the different gowns, give me more idea of what I do and don’t want.

I overheard Jenny telling the young girl and her mum l was looking for a dress for Miss World and their gasps of awe… I felt so proud and humbled… And grown up…Especially as they asked me for my advice…..I, of course, was going to shop with grace and poise as this young girl looked at me with aspiration….. I naturally took on my role model mode… But it was me that was touched by her… Her excitement of going to prom! Her big grin, the giggles and observing her reflection in the huge mirror leaning against the wall. As she stood tall as she could, inspecting herself from all angles… Before asking if she could try on the other red dress again….

As she changed outfits, Jenny started pulling gowns out for me, some where ghastly, a pink one which I would of looked like a barbie in, sequinned dresses that looked more bugsy Malone, and fish tails I felt were more fitting for Mortisha from the Adams family!

I was starting to feel this trip was not going to materialise into me finding my perfect gown, but then we found the lace backless dress in sky blue and a black backless dress. Jenny then pulled out a few others that weren’t what I was looking for but I remember when I worked as an estate agent we would often show clients houses that didn’t quite fit their criteria, you’d be surprised how many people were glad they looked at properties ‘outside the box’ and changed their mind what they thought they wanted….a bit like the ‘mystery house’ on the TV programme ‘escape to the country’.
Emerging from the changing room, which was an open top cubicle of 3 with draw back curtains, came the young brunette in a much more sophisticated red dress, offering an elegant cleavage whilst not being to overbearing, with a gold detail around the waist… The girl seemed maturer in this dress, perhaps the first had looked like she was trying to hard? They all asked for my opinion and without hesitation I explained my reasoning for favouring the latter dress, adding that the Spanish style, strapless red lace with fish tail train would look gorgeous for a photo shoot, not practical for a prom, and she looked much more comfortable in the classic style dress. With this the girl beamed and declared she was glad as it had been her first choice, that she had already tried it on first and cried because she loved it! Phew, I hadn’t crushed her dreams of wearing an extravagant dress at her most important night to date! It did cross my mind that I may of just lost Jenny a profit but the mother and daughter secured the dress with a deposit, hugging Jenny on the way out, literally jumping and squealing with happiness… Priceless!

I never had a prom at school, I can’t recall wether there was one held and I just didn’t go? I never liked school and certainly didn’t wear dresses, preferring to live in jodhpurs or jeans whilst spending all my spare time with the horses. Funny how you change as you get older!

So now I had Jenny’s full attention as she apologised for running over with her other client. Not a problem at all and I proceeded to the dressing room to try on the blue Lacey dress. Very pretty dress and the colour looked good against my golden skin. Although backless I was already thinking about the alterations to make it sit lower on my back, and the neckline needed to drop lower between my breasts… And there just wasn’t enough sparkle… I was going to be on a stage under twinkling lights and this dress didn’t offer enough reflection. At least now I can rule out lace.

Dress number two was the black backless, this had pretty sparkly detail on the front, however I felt, again, that it would need the back lowering (in all fairness I’m 6ft tall so I expect to have to alter a gown to fit my long proportions) but at the end of the day it was just another black, backless dress that millions of other women have worn before.
Moving on to a couple of two pieces, I still wasn’t convinced on the detailing, the top was covering too much flesh, front and back, my best asset is my upper body, especially my neck and back, so I’m reluctant to cover these up. Whereas my bottom is huge but shapely, with wipe hips, hence wanting a figure clinging dress, hey, if you’ve got it flaunt it!
As it happens I couldn’t get the dress skirts over my bottom lol I personally think it was a sign… Don’t do a two piece!
I then tried on a white strapless fish tail dress, which, although gorgeous, made me look like a bride, just really not what I was looking for.

We struggled to find anything else in my size and although slightly deflated, Jenny and I flicked through her catalogue for next season. There were some gowns more suitable for what I’m after, and I would say unfortunately not ready before the Miss World Classic, but if I’m honest, I didn’t see ‘the one’ anyway.

Jenny is gown shopping next week and after showing her some photos of what I’m after, she has kindly offered to keep her eyes peeled for me. She’s confident she knows exactly what I’m after and is going above and beyond to help me find it. Of course, I know what I’m looking for… But I’m not going to tell you lot.. It’s a secret 😉

So, I’m 11weeks out from Miss World, and still dress less. However I’m glad I’ve visited Jeneveve, I’ve made a great contact meeting Jenny, I feel confident she knows where to shop for specific gowns. She has a wonderful selection of gowns and I’m being far too snobby, I’m after a red carpet, A-list gown I’ll probably never find but my quest continues……now off to the gym, again x

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