I don’t know too many gals who would decline an invitation to a ball, or Black Tie Event. Who wouldn’t want to get dressed up for a lovely evening of fine food, drinks and music, all for a good cause? I have been very fortunate to be invited to said events several times over the past 10 years. Back in December when this challenge was conceived, I assumed there would be no ball on my social calendar for 2012. In some kind of karmic super-test, there is not one, but now two black tie events on my horizon and NO new gown. And that spells S-T-R-E-S-S.
I am in the habit of purchasing a new gown for each black tie event. Why? It’s a ball, why not? And, what would a fellow ball-goer think of a repeat gown? There are problems, though. Surprisingly, there are really not that many stores that carry formal gowns in late winter. This leads to an increased possibility that someone else will have the same gown leading to the inevitable “who wore it best” comparison. (It happened to me once and I lost. Not fun.) Additionally, gowns that are perfect for prom gals are not as perfect on a seasoned woman. Foundation garments required. Finally, by the time I add up the cost of the gown, shoes, accessories and required beauty treatments, this complimentary evening out costs several hundred dollars.
At past events, the men are always handsome in a tuxedo or nice suit. The ladies are dazzling but I noticed that the dresses ranged from cocktail to dinner-with-the-queen. I decided to research the current meaning of “Black Tie.” According to Emily Post, the current guidelines allow for a choice of a formal (floor-length) evening gown, a dressy cocktail dress or your dressiest “little black dress.” (emilypost.com) I was under the impression that only a gown was acceptable so this revelation really opened up my options. Emily post does not think a gown has to be new, which is great news! Another thing I realized was, as memorable as the past events were, I could not recount one single particular dress. I only recall that it was really nice.
I decided that the chance that anyone would remember a former dress was slim-to-none. So, for the first event, which was last Saturday, I wore a previous gown. It was flow-y and sparkly and made me feel pretty. No wonder I bought it the first time! For fun, I changed up the accessories and shoes (chunky jeweled necklace and fuchsia peep-toes instead of the basics). My daughter, the cosmetology student, styled my hair and her friend at school did my nails. I spent far less money, and far fewer hours preparing for the ball. Truthfully, I felt fabulous. Without this challenge I would have put myself through the same stressful routine again and again. The next event is four weeks away and the dress I have chosen is slightly snug. The next challenge begins…