I have always been acutely aware of the importance of an outfit. Especially to a special event like a birthday party or a wedding. I can vividly remember what I wore on my 24th, 27th, and 30th birthday. I can remember exactly what dress I wore to prom, Elena’s wedding, Alexis’ wedding, and Lauren’s wedding. While all of these times I had selected The Appropriate Dress (one that matched the occasion to a T!), there is one instance in which I wore the wrong dress — and I’ll never forget that moment.
It was summer 2003. I moved to Spain to become a bartender at an Irish pub in Cordoba. Before moving down south, I spent a couple of weeks in Madrid brushing up on my Spanish, making future living arrangements, and shopping as much as possible. I was in search of a dress to wear on my first night in Cordoba. A debut dress that made me stand out, look tan, and seem absolutely fabulous. La Californiana ha vuelto. ‘The Californian has returned’ is what everyone would be say. I found The Dress at Zara (which is still one of my preferred stores). It was a green silk Chinese inspired mini dress. It paired wonderfully with my small-heeled silver Moroccan flats. I just knew I would look so chic.
When I arrived at a friend’s bar for my Welcome Back Celebration, my friends hugged me and presented me with a surprise. Everyone would be going to the Orishas concert at the Alcazar! Antonio bought me a ticket! Surprise! (The Alcazar is an ancient and stunning space with fountains, gardens, and sand-covered floors and it’s one of my favorite venues in the whole wide world.) The Orishas drew a hippie crowd and as I looked around, I realized my bright green silk mini dress was not the ideal outfit to be wearing at an outdoor Spanish hip hop concert. I felt horribly self conscious throughout the entire event and vowed to never again wear the incorrect outfit to a concert, party, or dinner. Ever again.
This never-to-be-forgotten vow is why I recently had to defend my fashion decisions to my mother. My oldest friend Emily was getting married and I wanted, needed, a new dress to wear to the nuptials.
“You have a closet full of beautiful dresses. Can’t you just wear one of those?” My mom wondered.
She was right. I do have a closet full of gorgeous dresses, but they are dresses leftover from past occasions. I can’t wear another occasion’s dress to a new occasion. Don’t get me wrong. I wear my dresses again and again, but for a notable and significant event like a wedding, the dress must be new. Otherwise it wouldn’t be known as The Dress I wore to Emily’s wedding. I’m sure this all seems a little OCD and fashion-obsessive, but I believe that finding the perfect dress for each and every affair is as crucial as the ideal invitations and the right menu. Call me crazy, but I’m standing by my choice!
How about you? Do you delight in party dresses?
(The green silk dress, which has since gone to dress heaven, I’m wearing on the left in the above photo vignette. It was a lovely hostess dress. The one shoulder orange number is what I wore to Emily’s wedding.)