Friday, 27 November 2009

Dressing for Success

This evening I am going to a cocktail party. I have not been to one for, I think, twenty years. So nervous did the invitation make me (it said 'business dress' but who believes that) that I went out last week and bought a dress. And stockings. The last time I wore a dress was to my father's funeral in 1997. I am now the possessor of a little black dress, with a full skirt, 3/4 sleeves and the latest draped triangular neckline. It needs a necklace with a drop ornament in current style, but what it is going to get is a couple of gold chains so that I can wear my very expensive drop-dead smart gold earrings with it. I also had to buy something called a 'body shaper' to wear under it. I have to tell you that I am not going to be able to eat much, provided that food is also a part of this mad celebration.

We are going to the party because it is a fund-raiser for a local charity that does a lot of good in slightly unusual places. But the closer we get to the witching hour, the more I am thinking that I should have donated the price of the dress to the charity and stayed home.

For one thing, I don't drink much -- a glass of white wine is my usual limit -- and I think I was maybe, twenty-one, the last time someone persuaded me to actually drink a cocktail. For another, I hate the kind of inane conversation that people shout at one another at these functions. (I do end up at 'cocktail hours' before formal dinners so I know whereof I speak.) For a third, standing around in dress shoes for several hours is not something I enjoy. ('Like, ouch', as the grandson would say.) I will have to put on make-up and this means I have to make my eyebrows behave. Ouch, again, as I ply my tweezers. It might be nice to be a man; all JG has to do is make sure I have ironed his best white shirt. Oh, and clean his shoes.

We are meeting some friends there, and the woman of the couple hates meeting and mingling even more than I do and doesn't drink alcohol at all. I figure the two of us are going to steal a couple of plates of goodies and go and hide in a corner and scoff the lot. No dinner is offered at this event, which runs from 5:30 pm until 8:00 pm. You may find us all in Timmy's at 8:30 eating a belated supper.

The one bright spot in all of this is that JG does like the dress. I was really spooked when I brought it home because he usually does not like my taste in clothes. Quilted jackets, a stand-by of mine, he refers to as 'bed jackets'. My adored YD has given me several smart jackets and he thinks they are all too short - they expose my considerable rear. 'Your jacket needs to be fingertip length', says the bane of my existence. A few years ago he persuaded me to buy a dinner suit, with the right length jacket. I have worn it to every formal function we've attended for the last few years and I am totally bored with it. At least The Dress will be a change and I can also wear it to the Robbie Burns dinner we attend every year, with a tartan scarf. I am looking forward to that dinner -- it is usually lavish and good food is always fun.

I hope the nibblies will be plentiful and interesting tonight, even if I am confined to the modern equivalent of a corset. I hope I will be able to breathe. I promise you a report on all this, provided I survive, but I now have to go and do something about my hair. He's cleaning his own shoes, I assure you.

Got to tell you I don't look like the photo.

10:30 pm.

There and back again.

I got a lot of compliments on the dress, mostly with a soupcon of surprise mixed in.  So, I guess I clean up okay.  Jeanie and I found a corner by the cheese table that was relatively mellow and traffic free although we did miss most of the young waitpersons with trays of good stuff.  The cheese was amazing, though.  Local, most of it, and really, really good.  Am contemplating a size larger on the corset.

I got to see the new hotel where the party was held and it is truly lovely; a boutique hotel and the Christmas tree, about 15' of silver and red balls and silver ribbon, was spectacular.  Thanks, YD, for the shoes - my feet held up well - but JG says I have to have black ones.  And he is going to buy me a necklace, he says.  A few years from now, I will probably be tired of the dress, but in the meantime, I won one.

And they had mini cheesecakes with berries for dessert.  Life does not get much better than that.

And JG dug out a pair of new shoes, so he didn't even have to do the shoe cleaning bit.  Life is unfair.


  1. Getting dressed up can do the ego good. Have fun!

  2. I did, until they started a live auction in the middle of the main room with a bad microphone and no one would stop talking. However, some good came of this because I skived off to a side room and found an almost deserted dessert table.

  3. I want pics!!!! (of the dress, not the corset) I am proud of you - and the shoes do not have to be black (I will have a word with The Father.)


  4. I hate things like that, too, and beforehand always have a pep talk with myself that goes something like, I am beautiful! I am interesting! I can talk in soundbites! Funny ones! Sometimes works, sometimes not : )

  5. What color were the shoes? Unless they were brown or white or tennis shoes, what was the objection? Good for you, wearing a dress even if the invitation said "business." A good black dress is a wardrobe staple, and one can never go wrong being a bit dressier at a cocktail party. (and I have a pair of tartan pumps that would be a nice match for your RB affair! LOL)

  6. I always meant to get myself a little black dress, but they all look so bad on me. Even going by the guidelines you linked to doesn't help. So I go with a little blue dress. :)

  7. The shoes are gold suede, Nance. I would have worn the red ones but I knew JG would not approve of that. Yea, a black dress is a useful thing to have; making mental note to self to remember to have at least one pair of stockings with no runs.
    Alice, I would love colour and if the dress had come in blue, I would have grabbed it.
    Jennifer, I can really see you taking command of a party. I am more commando, where's the food.

  8. can we get a picture of you in the lovely dress? i remember you posting before about how you always wear pants. ;)

  9. girl sounds like you did very well! I've got an "event" Friday. I don't like wearing Dresses either but those shapers? have been in my life since 1990! I wear them under anything and everything for ever single event! things stay put!

  10. Good for you! Much as I write about pants, I love an occasion to wear a dress.

    I'd love to see a photo, too!

  11. Such things make me cringe although the Baldersons cheese (I am guessing) must have been good.