I am not a casual person – a Casual Casualty, if you will. Ask me to don a Balenciaga ballgown and I can be ready in 20 minutes (gotta get the hairs did, don’tchaknow)… and I’m fine with gym-wear (when at the gym) but! tell me I’m going to a birthday party at some dive bar on the outskirts of town and…….. womp-womp! I have NO idea.
Ask March. Recently I was invited to a birthday party at some dive bar on the outskirts of town (hey, you asked!) and was told ‘dress casual – it’s a bar!‘ – as if I had any idea what that meant. Here’s the thing – it was in the mid 80s, which means I really had to think about it. An evening event, it didn’t seem like a shorts-ish kinda thing (and my idea of shorts are more those skirt-like shorts anyway, that are sort of… not casual? Dunno) – and it was too hot for leggings. And I rarely wear jeans. Denim shorts? You know, the longer ones? Um.. nope. I have one pair, in white, and I always feel odd in them. Had this been in the dead of Summer or a Winter event I could’ve easily managed but this transitional weather is always tricky, when I’m trying to be casual without looking ridiculous.
Ask March. I changed my clothes FIVE TIMES! Exasperated, I finally decided upon one of my trusty sheath sundresses (I have about 10 of them – this one was a leopard print) with a giant shirt over it, just in case it got chilly. Cuuuute brown skate sneakers and black hoop earrings. Done. But, sweatergawd, I would’ve had an easier time of it, had I been invited to a Coronation Ball. That? That I can do.
I needn’t have stressed – once there I was regaled with a panoply of styles, everything from a long empire-waist sundress (she ROCKED it!) to some guy in shorts with a… some sort of short tshirt… and a bandeau that reached his tailbone. The birthday lady wore a pair of knee-length denim shorts and a cute top (she, too, rocked her look). What looked best on everybody? The fun they were having. I need to relax a bit.
Perfume wasn’t any easier! See, I’ve been to those dive bars before but only as a stopping place on a long motorcycle ride – most of them are indoor/outdoor (I stick with outdoor as much as I can) and I knew this venue would be packed – this is an extremely popular, beloved woman and everybody was there! Plus… that pesky 80F. I debated whether or not to wear perfume but that’s sort of like debating whether or not to wear panties with a short dress, imo (the answer to that is: panties. I was at a bar once and saw a woman without… no thank you)… I debated whether or not Gin Fizz would work but I wasn’t feeling very Grace Kelly that night. So. No. Ditto any of the warmer scents (I actually gave a look at DK Gold, for a hot minute – more on that at another time)… I didn’t want to wear No5 because that can get just a tad standoffish and my face is standoffish enough.
Finally decided on Louis Vuitton ‘On the Beach’ – and it was sheer perfection. It’s a thin-but-complex scent, light enough to allow for a few spritzes but never projecting. I got several compliments but always from people who were very physically close to me. I never got the sense that anyone any further than a foot away could smell it. When you’re in a smallish place, semi-enclosed, with 100+ people, that’s a good thing.
My takeaway from the event? Get over myself and just go have a good time! And I did! And I also met a new dish – and I am NOT happy about it – Cheesy Potatoes! Jeebus Pete! WAY too good. That’s another hour on the mat, right there. Similar to au gratin (which are not a fave of mine) but with shredded potatoes and a whole lot more cream and cheese. I think it’s the ‘shredded’ that makes them so yummy. Whatever it is, I am NOT happy about it (Ask March).
So. What’s your Event bete-noire? Evening? Casual? Do you stress the perfume, as well? Lmk and I’ll have your new pal M. Jacques poke the living daylights out of randoDOT.
And omg. You guys! I forgot ALL about the winner for Brown Girl Jane!
gmail your evilauntieanitaAT and I’ll get them out to you pdq!!! Lordt! I am so damb FLAKY sometimes! Sorry!
Hahaha I have to say it’s easier than it used to be, because There Were Standards (and judgment) in DC and here people wear whatever. I lived in fear of turning up in the “wrong” kind of casual. I’ve now spent 3 days eating A Lot of NM Food and will be having a few days of kefir and salad, womp womp.
I’m all about the caftans, if I’ve eaten ‘big’ food!
Between almost two years of working from home, then being retired, and following multiple major back/shoulder/ ankle surgeries, I dress to be comfortable. Actually, even before all this, my everyday look was jeans and a tee shirt and whatever would dress those things up (jacket, scarf, great jewelry, a cardigan…). “Cocktail dress” scares me – I can barely do dressy, and anything short or sparkly is absolutely inconceivable, so…I can wear jeans to drink cocktails, right?
Absolutely! And I don’t dislike jeans – I just dislike them on me!!
Hope you’re all healed from your surgeries.
My wheelhouse is classically feminine looks going towards elegant, romantic, dressy. No problem. But if I have to look cool, edgy, rock-n-roll, hip…I just have a blank look on my face. I put on a black t-shirt and hope for the best. It sounds like you looked and smelled great at that bday party. (I’m so excited that I won a drawing! Bless Jacques’ little pawnail for choosing me!)
Black t-shirts work for nearly everything, imo.
M. Jacques sends his love!
Smart/casual dress. That statement makes my eyes bleed!
I’m retired & genuinely cannot remember the last time I went out out!
So almost all occasions now mean either high waist boot cut jeans over Cuban heel western ankle boots & pull on blouse with a half tuck or tailored cropped or bootcut trousers in black with boots or pretty flats with the same blouses. I have a smart black dress that can be accessorised, a lace navy shift, a cream waisted blazer & matching wide leg trousers. These will take me through most occasions.
As for fragrances? Dressed up? No5 More casual? Probably an Uncle Serge with a light hand or SJP Lovely
Your all-occasions wear sounds fabulous!!! I’d wear that all day – except for the jeans! Dunno why No Jeans – but there it is!
Oh, Musette, I love these sorts of posts from you. In regular life I wear leggings and tunics. I work from home, etc, and if I’m out in general that ‘look’ is fine. But I realised in the middle of the recent London trip that I don’t own clothes to dress casual for being out and about in the city, with the need to look more polished. I know there’s a look I could work (probably skinny trousers and a loose button down — not jeans, I’m really no longer into jeans) but right now I’m too chub for that. So, decision on return was take self in hand and next spring I can shop for 3-4 iterations of that look. No ball gown, but my favourite clothes period was mid- to late 1980s. Work wear was whatever you wanted it to be and going out was clubbing, and among my fave looks were black Angora backless sweater dress (covered up in front, wowzer in back) and red heavy jersey Betsy Johnson dress with scooped neck and tiered skirt. Dressing then was so much fun.
Leggings and tunics are great for pretty much everything (except those pesky formal affairs requiring a ball gown 😉
I have a dress very much like yours – from the 80s!!! I (used to) wear it with a black cardigan…until I didn’t/don’t.
Hey, it worked for Auntie Mame!
Unstructured events are the worst. Give me the rules and at least I know what to do. Although coming off of Covid and having gained a few (ahem) pounds some of the sartorial choices are limited.
I just went to something that I knew was going to be somewhat dressy but was also going to be outside in little to no shade and with temps near 90°. I decided that I was going to wear shorts and a knit polo and to heck with it. I was underdressed but I wasn’t passing out from heatstroke either. I wore Blenheim Bouquet.
Extreme heat means all bets are off! I’d rather be a tad underdressed and not-sweaty, thanks!!
Blenheim Bouquet! I think I tried – and liked- it when it first came out. Then it fell off my radar; must revisit!
I’m with you, Musette. Formal is easy (just put on a fancy dress and some jewelry). Casual is easy (leggings and a tee; no such thing as too hot for leggings for me). Even work attire is fine (jeans and a tee, because I’m a scientist, and no one cares how I look). But the second I have to look effortlessly cute–that dangerous valley of looking nice without looking like I tried–I canNOT get that right. Maybe someday….
I dunno….. sounds like you have ‘effortlessly cute’ pretty sewn up, koyel!
HA! Musette, you’re funny. I can’t think of a time where, no, I just did.
I went on a cruise with some friends a few years back and they said Formal Night. So Formal has always meant dinner suit to me but the crew I was travelling with said, NOPE! A blazer, shirt & tie with pants was enough. It was AGONY. Since becoming a larger sized man I’m not much of a shirt wearer and didn’t have a blazer.
So, off to St Vincent de Paul and got myself a lovely light, dark green wool blazer and a navy shirt, added one of Dad’s old 70s ties and my own pair of dark blue jean pants.
When I got there, the night had everything from black tie to shorts and Hawaiian shirts. Definitely learned my lesson. I’ll just dress for myself.
Sweetie, I’ve never seen you less than 100% pulled together. And cuteAF! So dress for you, yes!
I don’t go out much, but usually stick to jeans, boots or sandals and an interesting top & jewelry. If I want to dress up, it’s a dress or dress pants and a knit top. My looks are pretty basic, I use accessories to make it dressier or not. But mostly I’m a jeans and tshirt gal. 🙂
And I’ll bet you rock the snot out of it, Tara C. My problem is I cannot seem to get comfortable in jeans, no matter the cut! Except for my ONE pair of riding pants – and they are solely for riding