Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dressing Up Is Hard to Do

The Proper Bostonian is in a tizzy because she has a blitz of social events this month. This is unusual; aside from copious amounts of email, the PB's social life usually consists of witty banter with her gym instructor and the woman on the next mat, and small talk at the register at Trader Joe's and Dependable Cleaners. (Even the PB doesn't count talking to her cats as social life. They are family — although they are often better conversationalists than her two-legged relatives.)

At times like these. the PB wishes she were a cat. Cats are always appropriately attired, whether in fluffy, apricot pajamas (Snalbert) or a striped suit with a white shirt, gloves, and boots (Possum). As a calico, Wendy looks like she had a run-in with an Abstract Expressionist, but she looks great that way.

Most of all, the PB wishes she were a cat because cats rarely are invited to dinner parties. They never have to make inevitable small talk about What They Do. It's lucky for them, since they don't Do anything. Since the PB is unemployed, she has to steer these conversations in creative directions before things get awkward. It can be tricky when she's also trying to keep her dinner out of her lap.

She's already survived one little party (flimsy knit dress, chunky cardigan, boots) and an opening reception for the MFA's American Wing (wacky skirt, turtleneck, boots). But she's got two more dinners coming up this week, so she must look and act presentable twice more. This is exhausting the PB's resources; many of the same people are attending all of these events, and she was raised never to show up in the same outfit twice in a row.

Her winter closet is full of jeans, corduroys, and wacky skirts — typical for a writer who's worked at home or in casual offices for the past decade. In her drawers are cozy sweaters. She owns a couple of suits, purchased deeply on sale for Dreaded Occasions like these. But her "Mad Men" skirt suit has already been trotted out to yet another dinner party with the same characters. And her "In Case of a Job Interview" suit's size 4 pants are on the tight side these days. It's awful when clothes shrink on their hangers when they still have their tags.

Clearly, the PB needs to do some last-minute shopping tomorrow. She will hunt for a Little Black Dress, a longer top to camouflage the suit pants, or a pretty jacket to wear with the black skirt. Finding any one of these at short notice will be a miracle. But she believes in miracles, especially after discovering that shoemaker in Cambridge. She'll keep you posted on the results.

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