Carnivale of Couture: Most Significant Fashion Purchase
I want to invite everyone to write about their most significant fashion purchase. Not the most expensive or most exciting, but the one that was somehow pivotal, or meaningful to you personally.
I've always been kind of a contemporary dresser, with a strong practical streak. But for a time, I let my practical (functional, sporty) side get out of control. Which led to one embarrassing evening.
It was in 1998. My husband worked for an engineering company, and the annual company Christmas party was held at the country club (that's about as upscale as it gets here in the Great Northwest). I had this great dress from Goodwill (do you hear the rising sounds of impending disaster?): velvet top, full polka-dot skirt, puff sleeves. Positively Deb! I realized my mistake, but too late. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure my husband still doesn't realize it.
The pivot point: I did not want to repeat that scene the following year!
Not sure how my friend knew I badly needed help, since she hadn't seen me in that get-up, but she offered to take me shopping. After questioning me over coffee, I agreed with her that I wanted something more elegant. We prayed and then we hit the stores.
My friend is one fast shopper. (It helps that there aren't that many stores here.) We found the ubiquitous bell-shaped long skirt at JCPenney, at a price I could afford, but we had to go to the other mall to get my size. Still, no top. Then, at one of those prom-dress stores, I spotted a possibility on the mannequin in the window. Sparkly, sleeveless and boatneck, believe it or not, it matched the skirt. Together they look like a two-piece dress.
The pivotal purchase: It was just a simple skirt and top. I didn't spend even $100 or more than half a day shopping. But I promise you, there was not a woman at that 1999 company Christmas dinner who was dressed more appropriately.
The following summer I wore the dress again as hostess at my sister's wedding. By then I had regained my fashion footing. Throughout the several days of festivities, varying levels of formality, I was never under-dressed.
Now, later this week I will be attending an event that challenges my idiom: dessert and coffee at a new restaurant, with sort of a dramatic interior, in a group with a bunch of young moms. What do I wear?