This is bad. This Iowa farm girl has been invited to a party hosted by Metropolitan Home magazine (for which "MOI" is a city editor - okay) at the Four Seasons in New York City. This is happening next week - May 20. My husband will be with me. And I = moi = have to find something to wear. My editor says the dress code is "cocktail - nothing more". Oh, just great. Do I do cocktail in Minneapolis? No. We sit around fireplaces wrapped in heavy blankets wearing wool and polar fleece. I have not worn a cocktail dress since I lived in Charleston where you practically slept in your cocktail clothes because you knew you'd probably have to pull them out again within 24 hours. Where every white male over 17 owned a tux. Where I was also ages 25 - 31 and had an entirely different body. Where I could wear cute strapless taffeta dresses with tulle petticoats, or rayon jersey disco dresses clinging to the body with gold slightly wedged sandals (hey, this was 1980!)Or sexy gold lame halter tops with black jersey pants.
I have been shopping for an entire week. I have gone to the local small mall - Southdale. (Macy's - hello! Is anybody buying???) I have been to the high priced mall - Galleria (Arafina - ho hum....if you like skin and are 18 looking for a way too sexy prom dress.) I have been to Len Druskin (oh, my god, I'm surprised they let me in at 54 - I can't imagine anyone who's earned a high school diploma shopping here! Tween-city.)
I went to LaRue's - an old favorite for slightly Bohemian, older, longer, more covered, but cool things. I got a very groovy Michael Jackson kind of jacket there this winter. But this time, it was like an acid trip at LaRue's. I couldn't get my head around a single de-constructed, tie-dyed, bias-cut with lace and leather thing. Besides, I'm kind of small and everything swallowed me alive. I felt like I had been swallowed by a tab of LSD instead of the other way around. (Full disclosure: I never did acid. I seemed to be cooking, instead, for my friends who did.)
SO....what is left? Well, there's always Neiman's. Ca-ching, ca-ching. But, hey this is the Four Seasons, this is New York City, this is Metropolitan Home. I have to look hot.
My husband has it made in the shade. He's very low-maintainence when it comes to clothes. I just buy them. But, he thinks this is so cool that he has been asking me what the dress is for weeks! (Imagine!) I keep saying (casually) that I don't know but he can't go wrong with his navy Armani suit and a white shirt. I tell my sister that is what he will wear and she reminds me it is "very George Clooney." Suddenly I want to look like Renee Zellwiger, then! He really will look almost as good as George Clooney with his graying hair and sexy goatee.
He cannot understand all this angst that I feel. How do I communicate to him - every time I come home burdened by the fact I have found nothing - NOTHING - I would wear outside of the dressing room! I finally realize I have a comparison. "Ok, honey, how would you feel if you had to go to this party in a Speedo with a tank top? At 57 years old? And you knew there would be 25 - 35 year olds there looking a lot hotter than you? Now you know how it feels to be 54 and shopping for a cocktail dress which is backless, sleeveless, too short and too low for the body I have today. It sucks."
He laughs and may finally understand.
Today I go to Neimans. NOTHING. I repeat. NOTHING. I try on 5 - 7 things and I won't re-live the experience. The flood lights that emphasize cellulite and cast shadows under the eyes, the insanity of sizing. One size 4 Ralph Lauren too large, another , size 8 Ralph Lauren too small. A mesh top with beading! What was I thinking? Help.
I have decided that I will drink quantities of wine tonight and be at peace with wearing a dress that is 13 years old. I looked slightly different in it 13 years ago, but it is old, white, diaphonous, - rather Grecian - long, (which I think is WAY cool and can't find anywhere in MSP!) and LOOSE. I will buy the most fabulous and expensive Mui Mui Grecian sandals I found today, buy a very cool French necklace and say - Que Sera. I am not a fashion victim. I will wear what I have! I will make due. (Except for the shoes that are a 1/2 months rent - oops!) Well, you save on one thing and then you spend on another....
Loose is good for 54. I can't do uncovered. Someone needs to do a store for women over 50 who look good except when they are naked. I think mystery is everything. But the best news? When I came home tonight down in the dumps from shopping at Neiman's (oh, what a brat!!!!) not finding a thing I could wear....my dear husband said, "Have you looked around? You are waaaaaay too hard on yourself. You look great. Did you hear me? You look great to me." Ok. The old white dress works. And I'll look forward to taking it off when we get back to the hotel after the party.