Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Perfect Attire

Pretty Lady has been inspired by the Dandy to undertake the self-indulgent and seemingly trivial topic of Perfection in Dress.

I am completely happy in white tie and tails, I admit it. Now, before you nigglers in the audience get started, I will myself point out that I am not exhibiting regulation wear, here. I have fully taken liberties. Yes, I have the traditional pique vest, but I am wearing with it (horrors!) a pleated formal shirt, rather than matching pique. And as well, my tie is satin and is frankly a little large, a little flowery, a little...well, queer, of course! *w* (Polyester? Pre-tied? I think not...!) The white linen pocket square is not visible here. Bringing together the range of white textures and shades: a fragrant gardenia in the lapel.

I will not obsess that somehow in the photo, regrettably, no white shirt cuff is visible. I should be embarassed to take your time with petty protestions that, in fact, great care was taken to ensure the jacket sleeves were exactly the correct length to allow that traditional flash of white.
When there are so many weighty matters oppressing us on every side, it may seem downright narcissistic and empty-headed to exult in matters of sartorial detail. But Pretty Lady maintains that creating the proper outfit in which to attend a fraught occasion can occasionally boost the soul's satisfaction to such an extent, that corresponding resonance is achieved, with regard to deeper spiritual affairs.

For example--back in the Dark Ages of Pretty Lady's student days, she made plans to attend an Art World affair of more than usual personal duress to herself. For not only are Art World denizens more than unusually lacking in social skills and common courtesy, but this particular event starred a querulous young lady who had, quite recently, stolen the affections of Pretty Lady's First Love, right under her nose. Pretty Lady was proud, single, and smarting. She must needs go Armored.

So she assembled a costume which, although not overtly alluring, precisely captured the late-eighties haute aesthetic of Underground Grunge. From the bottom up:
Black, thrift-store-purchased men's wingtips, a few months shy of duct tape (applied when holes wear through soles.)

Black pleated hourglass pants.

Black sleeveless mock turtleneck.

Olive green men's suit jacket, also thrift-store-purchased.

Antique, ornate Guatemalan silver chandelier earrings, with stones that might possibly be uncut emeralds.

Black, pink and olive green hair scarf, from Denmark.

Black eyeliner.
This ensemble may appear somewhat hobo-esque and unflattering in the light of today's standards, of course, but in these Dark Ages, take Pretty Lady's word for it, it was Perfect. As she swept through the door of the Art Event, outwardly calm, inwardly quailing, she arrested the attention of both her former First Love, and her genius professor from Thailand. Her genius professor launched himself forward in spontaneous enthusiasm and joyfully bussed her on the cheek; the entire performance was witnessed by her First Love, who visibly flinched. She will be eternally, deeply grateful, both to the demi-gods of Sartorial Inspiration, and to her lovely professor, for that moment.

So, in the interests of shameless self-indulgence, and as an example of how one's personal style may evolve over the decades, Pretty Lady will now describe what she wore to go party-hopping last Saturday night. Simply because she liked it so much.

From the bottom up:
Black over-the-calf Sketchers boots, with high leather lacings and fake fur trim. Not only are these boots exceptionally comfortable, but due to some miraculous alchemy of design, they make Pretty Lady's feet appear roughly two sizes smaller than they actually are.

Pale lavender openwork textured tights.

Gypsy goth skirt; white lace over white satin over sage-patterned ruffles, hem which sweeps considerably lower in the back than the front.

Black knit form-fitting pullover top, with graceful horizontal pleating in front, square neckline extending daringly to the edge of the shoulder. (Donated by aging slutty friend.)

Charcoal grey cashmere shoulder cape. (Serious thrift-store find.)

Black leather hourglass jacket with fake fur trim.

Luxuriously flashy citrine and topaz earrings, extravagant gift from Best Friend.

Special-occasion use of curling iron, super-shine conditioner, eyeliner and glitter gel.
It is a great pity that the parties Pretty Lady attended did not turn out to be the kind which form spontaneous, enthusiastic dance floors, but she blasted Grupo Fantasma in the car to make up for it.

This is all, of course, sheer vanity, but in the grander scheme of things it is relatively harmless.


Anonymous said...

You have me beat when it comes to thinking about an outfit. I could happily wear the same thing (especially shoes) every day. However, I have been known to sweep into rooms and without a word get the attention (the good kind) of everyone in there. It has less, I think, to do with what I am wearing (or not) but rather to do with the aura exuded by people who are confident and not the least bit self-conscience. If one does not skulk or betray insecurities, one can get "away with" almost any type of fashion faux pas. I have often wondered if someone was following me around taking notes, so often has my own quirky sense of style become "The lastest thing"...

Now that I am growing older, and greyer, I do not find my fashion sense to be as keen or my followers to be as numerous. I now often leave the flourish and fancy to the next generation, specifically my mini-me daughter-in-law. However, I find it most satisfying to know that there are artists who still realize that some of the best fashions are those created, often from the cast offs of those with less taste and talent, rather then purchased from some pretend designer who is merely pulling the wool over the eyes of those with lots of money and little to no fashion sense.

Pretty Lady said...

Yes, indeed, Terrymum, your mini-me daughter-in-law is quite a gifted young lady. And you are correct about the aura; not only have I generally been able to get away with wearing bizarre things dug from the bottom of the Salvation Army bin for most of my life, but my friends have a tendency to save up their all-but-unwearable items and give them to me, knowing that I will probably be able to figure out how to use them.

And it is also true that, even when I was a dorky no-account in high school, hordes of people had a tendency to show up wearing the same outfit that I'd worn to the last party, even without ever admitting that they'd noticed me at all.

Pretty Lady said...

Morris, it is truly heartwarming how much you appreciate your lady friend. I never tire of hearing about her. Would that I could meet the both of you one day.

Anonymous said...

Surely a photograph of said attire, sans PL (though we can hope) could be posted herein?


Anonymous said...

PL, have you read Connie Willis' Bellwether? I think you'd like it.

Anonymous said...

I had an elderly lady attending to me at the fabric counter of WalMart yesterday. After squinting at me both over and through her spectacles, she declared that although she normally didn't go for "that punk stuff", my hair suited me and she liked it, and what's more, I shouldn't listen to anyone who told me I'd look better with a natural color. Considering that my hair is nearly waist-lenght and peacock-colored, that is definitely. . . something.

It's all about the attitude.