Ok, so about a year ago we covered this topic in the post on my sister's NYC wedding and the clothing dilemma I faced when preparing for that trip. I didn't get it right then and well, I have to admit, I didn't get it right this time either. Which of course is not really a news flash for a jeans and t-shirt wearing gal like myself.
You see, Kurt's business school reunion, like all reunions I imagine, consisted of a weekend full of various events, each requiring different attire. Friday night was to be business casual; Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning, casual; and Saturday night, cocktail attire. I was okay with the casual. I mean, I can come up with all sorts of ways to wear my jeans! What I was lacking was anything that seemed appropriate for Cocktail Attire. Actually, I wasn't even sure what that meant to tell you the truth. I figured, um, a dress? A short black dress? Isn't that the answer to all fancy events?
I pulled everything out of my closet and spent an hour dusting it off and then trying on each and every possibility. Much to my chagrin, the 40-60 miles I am running each week in preparation for my upcoming marathon did NOT guarantee that I fit into my pre-pregnancy dress clothes (most of which I have had for over a decade now anyway). The most appropriate of dresses didn't fit me in the least! (Darn expanded post-pregnancy rib cage....and, um, 10 "maturing" years!) And so I called around to see if any of my friends had a "cocktail dress" I might borrow.
After trying on the beautiful dresses of a friend, none of which seemed quite right, I realized I was just going to have to bite the bullet and buy a new dress. I headed to the nicer of the department stores in our community mall, Von Maur, where I took my eye off the ball and tried on dozens of pairs of jeans while trying to chase down Solomonster every two minutes. I justified this misuse of time by acknowledging the fact that all my jeans are full of holes and tears and certainly I couldn't go to Stanford with ragged jeans now could I? But, to my dismay, Solomonster figured out how to escape from the dressing room within about 30 seconds and after an hour of chasing him down, I just bought the 6 pairs of jeans I was deciding between and figured I would bring back the 4 pairs that didn't work later.
Still, I had no dress. After trying some of the local consignment shops nearby, I was thoroughly stressed as I had come up with nothing.
The day before we were scheduled to leave, I rushed out to the Mall of America, Solomon in tow, and took a shot at Nordstroms. I found two dresses in my size and tried them on. The first one fit perfectly. I stepped out of the dressing room and asked the sales person (whom I truly thought I could trust.....seriously, I have issues) if this fit right and was considered cocktail attire.
"Oh yes. That is perfect. It looks terrific, blah blah blah....."
"Great!" I said. "What would I wear with it? Black shoes? Do I wear black panty hose?"
"Oh, you could definitely wear black shoes and black hose if you wanted," she assured me.
Now, in case your fashion savviness is anywhere close to mine, here's a little tip:
Not here, not there, not anywhere! And if you are shaking your head thinking, "Well, shoot, I DO!" Then you need to read that again. Apparently panty hose went out around the same time
So, we arrived at the evening of the Cocktail Party. Kurt, having seen several guys go into the party in what appeared to be dressed-up jeans, put on a wrinkled button down shirt and pants and stopped there. I was stuck however because I only had the one option: this incredible red dress, with sheer black hose and thick black heels (that I probably bought with my last installment
We arrived on the scene: probably close to 200 people crammed together in a bright and sunny, outside patio, mingling. (This is where the record player comes to a scratching halt and all eyes turn in our direction.....What? We don't use record players anymore? Since when?!) I would have felt just as comfortable had I been wearing a big orange Halloween Pumpkin Costume because as I glanced around, I realized that California "cocktail attire" resembled something more like the sundresses I might wear to the beach on a lazy summer day, OR ONE OF THOSE KNIT DRESSES THAT I WORE TO MY SISTER'S NYC WEDDING! and here I was, dressed as if I were a lady Kurt ordered from a local Escort Service. I was all Pretty Woman, BEFORE the help of someone who knew proper dressing etiquette....and minus like 10 inches.....in several different areas.....(One of my friends told me after the fact: Next time you have an event, call me and I'll hook you up without hooker-ing you up.)
Anyway, suppressing the incredibly excruciating urge to run back to our room and put my jeans back on before anyone else noticed us, I clung to Kurt's arm and did not make eye contact with anyone until we could slip into the darkness of the actual event. At least there I could hide myself under a table (well, at least my lower half) and pretend that I was as up to date as everyone else. And the few times I got up, for a necessary drink or bite to eat or what have you, I simply prepared a line: "Kurt has a panty hose fetish, what can I say".... in case anyone approached me, which they didn't. I did make sure to tell all our friends that though, you know, because that's how helpful I am with the whole "networking" thing. I figure, if they care what I have to say when they consider investing their livelihoods into his firm, well, they might need to reconsider their investment strategies anyway.
So, to sum this up before I write the next Moby Dick sized novel, if you ever invite me to an event, please consider coming over to my house and picking out my attire for me, will ya? That's what a good friend would do.
(But hey, at least I got a beautiful dress out of it....