Friday, October 16, 2009

The Most Important Question

How dressed up are you getting for the reunion itself?

I bet you went to a lot of other places in your mind before you got to clothes for the party, didn't you?

Well, I didn't. In fact, I'm just back from checking to see whether my Yearbook will fit into the purse I've tentatively decided upon. It does.

What with President Obama being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace when Arizona State University didn't think he deserved an honorary degree last spring, I wonder that anything could surprise you. So I hope that you won't think me trivial when I say that this is, in fact, an important question.

It is also a question that everyone is reluctant to ask. I, however, have no boundaries between my brain and my mouth, so I've been asking everyone. "How dressed up are you getting?" is how I phrase it, and the responses have been uniform - everyone laughs. Giggles on the phone and LOL on Facebook messages and behind every smile I am also detecting (projecting???) a sigh of relief. Finally, we'll decide on the answer.

Because there really isn't an answer. Lunch at a fancy Upper East Side restaurant, then an after party up the street where the dress code is casual but neat. Now, I can definitely do "neat". Casual is an interesting term.

TBG and I once received a gorgeous printed invitation to a dinner that requested "dressy casual attire." This sounded like jumbo shrimp and military intelligence - oxymoronic and confusing. Turns out they didn't want a certain contingent to show up in t-shirts, so they couldn't just say "casual", and they weren't requiring suits and ties, so they didn't say "dressy." Clues would've been helpful.

I have my standard black silk skirt (or black wool pants) and a white silk blouse. My fashion-consultant-playgroup-mom friend told me decades ago that this would take me everywhere, and she was absolutely right. Proof of this is the fact that every woman to whom I posed this question included, in her list of possible outfits, a pair of black pants and a nice blouse. The brains-behind-it-all-organizer-classmate even sent an email saying that that's what she'd be wearing.

But this is 2009, not 1967 and I don't think I really want to blend in that much. I'm comfortable in my own skin, and I dress like it. I had no idea that it was possible to spend $200 on a pair of blue jeans until a niece let me in on the secret. Most of my wardrobe is hand-me-downs from my boys. Discarded polo shirts and flannel shirts and gym shorts and sweat shirts fill my closet. One of my favorite parts of the Hileman Holiday Celebration Tour is the pile of rejected-by-them-and-adopted-by-me clothes at the edge of my chair after we've finished opening presents. Oversized is just fine, thank you. I'm comfy. I try to stay away from sloppy; relaxed would be an appropriate adjective.

Living in the desert Southwest gives me certain sartorial privileges, and wearing cowboy boots is one of those perks. I'm not a poseur; I wear them around town the way a New Yorker would wear Chucks. They're comfy and they make a statement. I have a few pair from which to choose (it makes TBG happy to buy them for me, and who am I to refuse????) so I've moved on to the shirt decision.

Definitely tucking it in since I have the perfect belt. Black, dark green, taupe..... I have a collection of great silk blouses that are good looking and classic. They all tuck in. But what about the Nat Nast shirt as a jacket-type-thing with that fabulous J Peterman sleeveless light wool shell (which I bought at the only J Peterman store I'd ever seen, and where is J Peterman these days?)? It got great reviews at the rehearsal dinner last month. Or what about the crocheted sweater and the tea length skirt with ballet flats? I have a trendy short shirtwaist I bought at American Apparel, but I don't want to dress "too young" this time. This, even though the two 20-somethings in the store stopped and complimented me as I was trying it on and dismissed my "Isn't it too young for me?" with "No waaaay" in harmony. Still, nothing that gives me even a second's hesitation is going on the short list.

The weather will be a huge factor, since I'll be leaving 85 and sunny. Lovely Linda and her Little Sister didn't have that in LA today while we were on the phone discussing, among other things, wearing black wool pants to the Reunion.

But as I said, there's no right answer. As long as a group of us agree, then we're fine.

When did it get this easy to be the one setting the rules? Was it always this easy and I just didn't know? Did I improve or is it just old age?

Whatever....... I'm liking it a lot.
Come back on Monday for the tale of the $200 blue jeans.

1 comment:

  1. Guten Tag Ashleigh,

    We've been here all along. In my daily stroll around the web I found your post above - a very charming piece. Allow me to pontificate a moment and introduce myself. My name is Jonathan Sexton, Peterman Gladiator for The J. Peterman Company. We are indeed alive and doing quite well lo these many years. I'm afraid we don't linger in the retail store arena any longer. All our traffic flows through the Owner's Manual (catalog) and online at I do hope you come and visit us there and once again engage with us.

    I hope my note finds you well.



    Jonathan Sexton | Peterman Gladiator
    (drab title – Director of Marketing)
    The J. Peterman Company
    1001 Primrose Court
    Lexington, KY 40511

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