Mint green Zara mini dress

The Strange Story of the Mint Green Zara Dress

OK, so if I’m going to tell you the story of my clothes, there are two things you’re going to need to know first:

1) I get obsessed with things. Like, REALLY obsessed.

2) The second I decide to buy one of the items I’ve become obsessed with, it will sell out instantly, forcing me to spend the rest of my life searching for it in stores and on eBay, and whining to anyone who’ll listen about how it’s SO UNFAIR and THE WHOLE WORLD IS AGAINST ME and FIRSTWORLDPROBLEMSOMG.

For this reason, I tend to feel that I don’t so much “shop” as I wage war upon clothes, ruthlessly hunting them down despite all the odds, to finally emerge victorious. Well, everyone has to have a hobby, don’t they?

There are 7 basic stages to a War on Clothes:

Stage 1: Identification of Suspect

In the case of the mint green Zara dress, the suspect was identified pretty quickly – probably within a day or so if it appearing on the Zara website. “Well, obviously I’m going to be buying that,” I thought, confidently. I mean, it was mint green, for one thing: I LOVE mint green. ( A bit too much, actually, but that will become apparent in good time.) It was full-skirted: I LOVE full-skirted dresses. It was made from a ponte roma fabric: I LOVE this kind of fabric (because I’m clumsy and prone to creasing my clothes as soon as I put them on, and ponte roma resists my efforts to crease it for longer than many other fabrics). The dress was as good as mine then, so I proceeded to stage 2:

Stage 2: Stalking of Suspect

For me, one of the main Rules of Shopping, is that I will only ever find something I want to buy at a time when I can’t actually afford to buy it, so I have to stalk the item online, visiting it every day or two to make sure that it’s still there, while plotting my eventual purchase of it. I always do this with a feeling of foreboding in my heart, though, because I know that as soon as I’m ready to go to stage 3…

Stage 3: Attempted purchase of Suspect

… I will bypass it completely and proceed straight to stage 4:

Stage 4: Discovery that Suspect Has Now Sold Out, Normally Just a Few Minutes Before Stage 3 Commenced, D’oh!

Stage 4 is accompanied by much weeping and wailing and banging of my head on the desk. So much, in fact, that this deserves to be a stage all by itself:

Stage 5: Weepin’ and a wailin’

With the worst of this over, however, it’s time to rally the troops  and begin stage 6…


Exactly how this stage goes down will depend on the item I’m at war with: in the case of the Zara dress, for instance, it mostly involved me refreshing the Zara website repeatedly in case it came back into stock (this sounds futile, but actually, Zara frequently re-stocks items, but usually only after I’ve gone to a huge amount of trouble to find them in-store first).  When this failed, I would generally move onto visiting stores in person, and then stalking eBay until I finally found it, but luckily in this case there was a reprieve:


The reprieve was delivered by my mum, who was, quite honestly, fed up hearing me complain about the whole war on clothes, and just did what I should have done all along: she picked up the phone, called the nearest branch of Zara and asked if they had any of the dresses in my size.

And they did.

Just the one, though.

So the nice manager (who my mum has now added to her Christmas card list on account of how well they bonded) put it aside for me to collect.

And two days later, it came back into stock on the website anyway.

Stage 7: Inevitable Restocking of item, plus concrete proof that Amber is an idiot.

And that’s the story of the mint green Zara dress. And also the story of a disturbingly large number of my clothes, actually.

Now, however, the dress has a new story, because now it’s the dress I wore to my friend Mhairi’s birthday lunch this weekend. Which makes for a much shorter story, true, but also a much more enjoyable one!

mint green Zara dress

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  • Haha love this! Seems to happen to me a lot where Topshops tall range is concerned, think everywhere just stocks less of small sizes to keep us desperate! 🙂

    May 21, 2012
  • It’s a completely gorgeous dress, well deserving of being hunted down with cold, ruthless precision.

    My story of Purchasing Things Online is quite similar to yours, except my Stage 4 tends to take the form of Item Unexpectedly Jumps In Price. It’s my own fault, really. I dither so much about spending the money in the first place and then I end up spending more than I would have if I’d just bought the thing in the first place.

    Enjoy your mint green dress of delightfulness!

    May 21, 2012
  • Sandy


    I think I shop like that too!

    Although I’d be adding a step which includes the sense of mild panic while waiting for funds to be available (I’m looking at you Miss L Fire shoes!)….this is sometimes accompanied by full on panic where it will be bought rightthissecond and money sums be damned.

    Oh and I also like to look back on past purchases to see that said item did in fact sell out so therefore I was justified in buying when I did!! If the item is still in stock in your size you just have to keep checking back (months even) until it goes and then you can still try to be smug. 😀

    May 21, 2012
  • OK, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. This is partly a function of the fact that I hate impulse buying, so I tend to spend ages faffing about with items on polyvore before finally deciding that yes, that will work with my wardrobe and yes, I could do with another one of x. So inevitably I decide this the day before payday, then payday hits, then it’s gone.

    Vintage is even worse. Etsy kills me.

    May 21, 2012
  • First, know you are not alone in your War. I am a victim as well, and it is a well-fought battle when that ONE piece sells out. That is the WORST PART. I still think about clothes from a few years ago that I should have bought. NEVER WAIT FOR A SALE. This is how I rationalize buying very expensive pieces at full price – there is nothing worse than it selling out!

    Anyway, you look lovely in this color – I can totally understand why you would obsess over this dress because it is so flattering and gorgeous on you!

    May 21, 2012
    • Liz in Paris


      Totally agree with never waiting for a sale if you see something you really like. Another reason is avoiding the high-street crowds in the first few days of the sales, which seem to temporarily turn people into psychopaths.

      May 21, 2012
  • Karlie


    I try and tell myself that if something is sold out when I go back to buy it then it wasn’t meant to be. I sometimes even believe it.

    May 21, 2012
  • Oh my god, get out of my mind, girl! I hardly ever buy anything at full price so the ebay stalk is my weapon of choice. It’s been pretty successful over the years, so most of the stuff I have bought full price has been worth it, if that makes sense. It isn’t fail-safe, as you know. Some things go for more second-hand (like those Zara shoes) and some just never, ever turn up on ebay, such as the Laura Ashley dress from 4 years ago that I couldn’t afford and have never seen since. You do have to go in on attack mode, though!

    May 21, 2012
  • Haha amazing, glad it worked out in the end! I love this dress and how you’ve styled it, so glad I found your blog. New follower here 🙂

    May 21, 2012
  • maria


    it’s funny because i obsessed over that same dress, and couldn’t find it online or in stores near home, and after lots researches i found the last of my size in a very far-from-home zara (that meant tube, buses and lots of walk), and i had to buy it lipstick stained (sigh) and wash it hoping it came out clean, and luckily it did!

    May 21, 2012
  • See? Totally worth it.

    May 22, 2012
  • Oh Amber I can TOTALLY identify with this – this has happened to me too often!! I buy about 90% of all my stuff online so I’m always finding the perfect item only for it to have sold out. Or, I’ll find the perfect item (mint green chinos from M&S, perfect fit and colour) and then drop and smash a whole bottle of orange nail polish, splashing it all up one leg. My size is sold out online and in all my local stores, hence lots of crying… I’ve had to put them to the back of my mind =sobs=

    BUT I’m glad your story has a happy ending, and oh how your efforts were worth it! I can see why mint is your fave colour, the dress looks picture perfect on you :)) Love your pictures too – beautiful photography as always!

    Catherine x

    May 24, 2012
  • I love your outfit and your style.

    May 29, 2012
  • I do much the same but this week I stalked a particular skirt on vinted which is a swapping/selling site and when the owner of it finally responded to my messages of 2 months and delayed sending it to me, I got it today and found that it wasn’t as described. It was purple instead of burgundy which I asked her specifically if it was and she said yes. Skirt arrives and is not burgundy. Cue the wailing, especially if she won’t agree to a return and refund which I suspect is the case

    June 19, 2014