We’ve been invited to the San Francisco Symphony Gala. While we love the Symphony and have been attending for over twenty years, the idea of a gala means only one thing: the need to shop. And if you know me, you know how I feel about clothes shopping. I do it once a year whether I need to or not. . .and mostly at REI.
No, when forced to go shopping other than my annual two hour foray, I always quote Thoreau: “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
So now I need to find a dress that will work among what Tom Wolfe used to call “The Social X-Rays”, the women who are aerobicized, Botoxed and coutured into a permanent holding pattern. I need to buy the kind of dress, which, if it is truly going to be the right kind of dress, is the kind you buy, don’t ask the price, wear it once, then give it to the maid because you couldn’t possibly be seen at another gala in that same old rag.
So I set off for Bloomingdales to see what I could find in the “Designer Department”. My goal was to find a cocktail length dress, because I did hold out some hope that I would wear it again. In fact, I was hoping that this would be the first and last time I would have to buy a dress for a gala and I could wear it to all two or three other galas I’m likely to attend in the rest of my lifetime.
As you might expect in the Designer Department, only Size Fours and under are on display. I gamely asked the sales attendant if they had larger sizes and would they admit it if they did. She wrinkled her nose and said, “Yes, we keep those in the back.” Hmmmm. If it’s so shameful to be over Size Four, I would wonder that any possible gala attendee would have the gall to show up at one, even if she did find one of the “too disgusting for display” larger sizes. As the sales attendant loaded me up with to-be-unnamed larger sizes, I spotted a dress that had obviously been put back on display by mistake. Because it was my size and it was even a Petite (which veteran shoppers will know doesn’t mean “for skinny people”; it means “for short people.”) I didn’t much care about the dress, but I wanted to try it on for the size to confirm that I really was that size and this wasn’t one of those stores that tries to make its customers feel good by putting a Size Eight label on a Size Fourteen dress.
Turns out all the dresses I’d picked looked better on the hangers than they did on me. Except the one I’d grabbed. It was so so on the hanger but developed a level of Fabulousity when it was on me. Or maybe it gave me Fabulousity. In any case, it looked great. It was comfortable. And it didn’t seem as if it was going to require huge amounts of spandex. That means I might even be able to eat at the Gala Dinner that preceded the Gala Concert. And even have Gala Cocktails that bracketed either end of the evening. Sweet!
When I went to have the dress rung up, the sales attendant informed me helpfully: “That’s a Tadashi. He designs for very interesting people.” From the way she said “interesting”, I knew she didn’t mean Cameron Diaz or Keira Knightly. She meant someone who was perhaps close to normal size.
“So which interesting person is he designing for?”
“Well, Queen Latifah, for one.”
Queen Latifah!!! Incredible! If I have a style icon and an attitude icon, it’s got to be her. She’s big, she knows she’s beautiful, she’s got attitude and when she starts to lose weight, she talks about cholesterol and health, not couture. Queen Latifah! Yes!
This dress is going to give me a whole new way to approach this gala. I’ll be arming myself with Latifah ‘Tude and elbowing Mrs. Getty out of the way to get to the foie gras. (Actually, I can’t imagine Mrs. Getty has eaten much this decade, let alone foie gras, so this should be an easy goal.)
Now I’m more ready than I ever thought I’d be for next week. I just wish I could find one of those turbans Latifah used to wear. Now that would be an accessory that would get me on the social pages of the Chronicle.
Added Extra: Rush to iTunes and get “The Dana Owens Album” and “Travelin’ Light”. Hear the Queen belt out standards and prove herself a worthy successor to Bessie Smith.
Clothing stores in San Francisco can bring me to tears with the sizes they carry. I once asked the salesgirl at Ambiance if it was their policy to not carry anything over a size 8 & she said yes! Seriously! Have you ever seen the ads with the owner of Ambience in them? She is no size 8 herself. I had a friend who was the junior dress buyer for a large retail chain & she once asked her friend for opinions on dresses. I looked at them & said they were all cute if you were a size 8. She told me later that my comments really caused them to do some research & they discovered their best selling size was a 12…hmmm if the best selling size is a 12 how do stores selling only 8 & under stay in business?!
Add to the size descrimination, height discrimination. Try buying what you see in the store window in the Petite section. Or the Petite Ghetto as I like to call it. No matter what styles the store is featuring, in the Petite Ghetto, everything will be flouncy and have bows on it. Because when you are short, you also lack the taste gene. And you want to permanently look like a nine year old. It’s a known fact of science.
Hope you don’t mind a random comment here … since you don’t know me …
I just have to say I’m with you! Shopping? Forget it. Sizes? Since when do women have the skinny thighs that nearly all the pants I’ve tried on have? Or is it that they are saving fabric? I dunno, but I am nearly giving up on finding anything that will fit. (It’s not even that I’m all that large, but my thighs … well … they have a mind of their own.)
I do most of my shopping online these days. Works for me most of the time.
Have a lovely time at the Gala. I’d be envious, but I’m no social butterfly so there you go.
Looks beautiful. Hope you have a great time!
The dress is beautiful.
On the hanger it reads black.
Perfect for the ball!
Also decide how big a your level stake betting will almost certainly be.
When you add your method it’s good and keep two separate running charts
or notebooks or files in your computer. If you be aware of profile for each and every form of race, and they’re going to vary,
you will then be way ahead from the competition which is the profile that wins the horse racing handicapping game.