Last week was a long, hard one for me, so when I was done teaching on Friday I felt less exuberant than worn down, worn out, and worn left and right. I thought I had to do something for me.
I got home and remembered I had to go next door to Mrs. B’s to pick up my ticket for her big church event on Saturday: the church’s 65th anniversary celebration. Mrs. B is my ninety-three year old next door neighbor.
When I got over to Mrs. B’s I found her in quite a state. She is highly functional, both physically and mentally, for her age but she was in a state. She has been REALLY worried about the event on Saturday. There had been some confusion regarding the tickets and the seating arrangement at her table, and though it’s illogical, Mrs. B was so stressed out she hadn’t barely slept all week.
I had promised Mrs. B that I would bring over the dress I planned to wear so that she could approve it. She wanted someone to talk to about clothing since her daughter who would usually come up from Stockton and spend the night before an event like this had to stay home for an event in Stockton on Friday. I was planning on wearing a vintage Carolina Herrera dress: black with a white upper bodice and big collar. Very Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s kind of a vibe. A nice column design, with the collar for flare and a hem that hits below the knee–how could I go wrong? I had originally bought the dress to become a godmother, and I thought it was perfect.
When I brought it to Mrs. B she said “do you have anything with longer sleeves? It’s semi-formal, but you don’t have to dress that fancy.” I told her no problem and ran home to get something else. Thank goodness I had the sense seek her approval.
I brought over a cream colored long-sleeved silk blouse and a black skirt. She said, “do you have anything…[long pause] with more color?” Mrs. B was planning to wear a red suit. Now, being the faux-New Yorker that I am, my wardrobe is mostly made up of black, with a splash of gray, navy blue, and cream thrown in for good measure. I own a pair of hot pink Fendi flats but that’s about it. So I said, “maybe I could wear a suit?” This seemed to meet with approval. I told Mrs. B that the only skirt suit (knowing that pants were NOT OK) I owned was cotton, and therefore less formal. She said that was OK and told me to go get the suit.
The navy blue cotton suit it was. Mrs. B approved, and reminded me to wear hose. (I hate hose, don’t own “hose” and only ever occasionally wear opaque black tights).
Note to self: channelling a high-class hooker character when making wardrobe choices may fly in the Episcopal church but has no place, however iconic, in a Southern Baptist church’s 65th anniversary celebration. As Mrs. B’s granddaughter (who is a good decade older than me) would tell me the following day, “it’s a cultural thing.”
This was more the look of the day: