It's March and you know what that means (well maybe you don't ...) it's Ball season! The first one, a Cirque du Soleil theme, was two weekends ago. We were invited to dress for the theme (!) or choose Black Tie. We've been working out but I still couldn't picture us in unitards, so we opted for Black Tie. In the past, a Black Tie event brought a mix of excitement and anxiety. I generally used these events to experiment with a new hairstyle, hair color or self tanning products which inevitably went way bad. I also spent a small fortune securing the perfect head to toe ensemble.
Last year, before I started the Bye Buy Challenge, I requested that my husband refuse any Ball invitations for the upcoming year. No problem, he assured me. Big problem, turned out. These functions are work-related so opting out is not always a possibility. In my No-Buy year, I was faced with not one, but TWO Black Tie events. Having to rely on my existing wardrobe was an enormous challenge but I was happy to report that both events went well, no one mentioned that I was re-wearing a dress and I don't think I ended up on a What Not To Wear list. Oh, I still experimented with new products and that always goes bad.
For this year's Cirque du Soleil event, I chose to forgo the opportunity to purchase a new gown (can you tell I have been watching the Bachelor?) and wear my own red halter gown that was fitting nicely (yay!). I wore shoes that I already owned. Accessories that I had. Home mani-pedi. I didn't spend a dime to prepare. I've got this! I didn't even start getting ready until just over an hour before scheduled departure. Then, I didn't have this after all. The Good Hair Gods apparently didn't feel I was putting enough effort into the day because my hair looked awful. An attempt at a "smoky eye" left me looking like I'd gone 3 rounds with Leila Ali. I had forgotten that this dress was a half-turn away from a wardrobe malfunction and I was supposed to alter it. My husband kept asking, "Are you ready now? Are you ready now? Are you ready now?" Arggggg!
The event was nice but I didn't feel so special or pretty. I had gone from way over-preparing to adopting a laissez faire attitude that left me feeling poopy.
Take two. Our second event this year is Saturday. The theme is Miami Nights but we'll be going Black Tie again. I did spend too much time yesterday seeking the perfect gown at the right price and came home completely disheartened. Looking through my own gown collection, I found a wine colored satin strapless dress that I've had for a while. I slipped it on under my sweatshirt (and wearing white cotton socks) and asked my husband, "How do I look?" His expression belied his "great!" response but he assured me that without the sweatshirt, it would be nice. This dress fits (a feat in in itself, really) and I have shoes. But this weekend, I will take my time getting ready. Maybe even a real mani-pedi.
A Black Tie event, even if for work, is the chance to step out in your finest and live it up. There is always drinks and dancing and very good food. We are lucky to have the opportunity. Not "spend an entire month preparing" lucky, and not "throw yourself together" lucky. This week I will try to enjoy the preparation and embrace the chance at a beautiful evening out. It's only Tuesday, though, I'm sure I will come up with some new thing to try ...