Friday, October 14, 2011

Dressing Up Is Hard to Do

We're invited to a big outdoor shindig tonight to celebrate the 375th anniversary of my husband's employer. Naturally, it's raining buckets at the moment but — no worries — it's supposed to stop, to be immediately followed by night of violent thunderstorms.

It always rains when we go to outdoor events across the river, so this is no surprise. But since the PB has to get dressed up, it adds another layer of complication to an already near-impossible endeavor.

Those of you who know or have followed the PB for awhile know that dressing up is often traumatic for her since she spends 99% of her time in "casual" attire, to put it mildly. She has some nice clothing remaining from the days when she didn't work at home when she actually worked, and had more of a life. But that stuff is either out of date or doesn't fit. As you know, clothing shrinks when it's not in a very fancy closet. She has a few nice, slinky knit dresses but she's not looking too slinky herself these days, so they don't work.

Fortunately, she had an inspiration to buy this a couple of months ago with her Anthropologie birthday discount:

With the perfect Little Black Dress in your closet, you are said to be ready for anything (except horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and pool parties, just for starters, but that's what all the style books I read keep insisting anyway). 

This dress is not quite perfect because it's maybe an inch shorter than I'd like, but if I yank it down, it temporarily behaves.

To dress for this gala-in-a-deluge, which is preceded by an indoor reception, I added black tights and brown Wellies. That looked really stupid. So I dug around and found some old black equestrian-style boots I've been meaning to sell on eBay for more than a year. Procrastination pays off, see? I planned to get rid of them because they hurt, but if they get ruined in rain and mud tonight, I don't care. And I've never been to a dressy event when my feet or some other part of me didn't hurt, so I consider them ideal for this one. With the short, full-skirted dress, the boots have a definite '60s vibe. That's okay; I've always had Skipper's hairstyle, so I'm consistent.

I will also wear a black trench coat I absolutely loathe because the belt escapes whenever it's untied and I hate fussing with belts. The coat has two belt loops but they are in the back of the coat and the belt is slippery because it's nylon. Bad design; I tried sewing it down but it looked bad. So I'll wear it and try to keep the darn thing tied and on my person.

If you've been following along here, you've realized that I'm dressed entirely in black, like a roadie. That looks lame as well as funereal. So, knowing I'm terrible at accessorizing, I added this sort of rusty-red paisley scarf as a sash at the waist. We're supposed to wear something "crimson," and this is as good as I've got. Now I look like a 1960's cossack. It's either terrible, or it works. My husband didn't mind it, but he can't tell the difference between cotton and wool and thus chooses his outfits by thickness....

I don't care; it's the best I can do. And all I care about now is that there's going to be cake.

Someone left the cake out in the rain....


  1. This post made me smile, in sympathy of course. I just went through my closet looking for something to wear to the Kennedy Center tomorrow night and 6 things either didn't fit, would be too hot, or looked lumpy because I am now, not slinky either. I finally chose some pleated tencel loungy black pants and a burnout velvet blouse in fall colors, patent flats and yes, pants with an elastic waistband, lol.

  2. Possum asked me to write this. He says, sometimes one must break out and lead the fashion world. He thinks you should find a stunning, Egyptian inspired brooch and use it to secure the belt of your trench in the center of the back.

    He is a wise cat.

  3. Another option for watery events is to throw on a swimsuit and ankle length gauzy coverup. Use a beach towel as a wrap. Very sh(r)eik, er, chic in certain circles...

    Love Penny's for Possum's idea.

    Doesn't everyone dress in an oversized silk shirt and Eileen Fisher drapey palazzo pants, Teri? That's my uniform for all events - grownup pajamas.

  4. i was in the marching band on the library steps, and have complete sympathy for your predicament :( it was so wet! and muddy, which was probably the bigger problem. on the other hand, it cleared up around 10-ish.


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