Evening wear. Business attire.
Attire: Suits for the men, evening wear for the women.
So the invitation said. It was a special night for a special friend who had become involved with the good work of the members of the Scottish Rite, a Masonic organization.
Ut-oh. I don't have evening wear. And I wasn't going to start getting any. I've been to a couple affairs of the Masons and their associated groups over the decades. When they say evening wear...they mean evening wear. Gowns. Fluffy. Frilly. Chiffon-y. Pastel colors. What they didn't mean was Marilyn.
I called my friend's wife (our kids were best friends in grammar school). I told Bobbi I couldn't go because I couldn't meet the attendee dress requirements. The 'evening wear' phrase concerned her as well. She said she'd found a skirt she thought might work. I was prepared to tell Jim myself but she said she'd give him the message.
Two days later I got a note from Jim. It was lovingly constructed and fittingly firm.
You are my friend. I want you to be there. I don't care what you wear.
I said I'd see him there.
Committed. Ut-oh. Now what. Easier not to think about it. Still it was in the back of my head for several days. My slacks won't look right. A deconstructed jacket? Well, maybe that might work. Evening wear shoes? Out of the question.
Then I remembered just a few weeks before I'd faced a similar challenge. This time the phrase was business attire with no loud colors. What did that mean? Suits? All black? Pants? White too bright?
There was a trick to this one. In exchange for a free two day seminar that was being filmed to 'train the trainers' (it would normally cost $1400 per person), attendees had to look 'professional' and be willing to have 'take two' , 'take three', and mic checks, interrupt the presentation.
The location of the event didn't minimize the intimidation. It was at the St. Regis in Dana Point. Only because I've got Starwood points do I stay at a place like this. The good news is the staff outwardly makes no judgements about their guests and each one is treated like royalty. The bad news is I don't have many points left.
Turns out business attire is really fancy. Barbie Doll fancy. And business attire shoes are spikey and open-toed. I couldn't figure out how most of the women at the seminar could get any work done dressed like that. I actually thought some of them could be brought up on sexual-harassment-temptation-in-the-work-place charges. I survived biz attire without spikey shoes.
I also survived evening wear. Turns out evening wear meant jeans for one lady, lots of dark slacks, some cocktail dresses. Suits for the men meant mostly suits for the men, except for the guys who came in khakis, and the one guy who showed up in his jeans. Whew.
Two fashion bullets dodged. A valued friendship remains intact. I need to get online and order some new jeans. My kind of shopping.
Live richly, marilyn