It is a sad paradox, if not the sad paradox, of shopping, that the more money you spend on an article of clothing, the less likely you are to get a lot of wear out of it. The fragile embroidery, the delicate fabric, the intricate stitching: all the elements that justify a higher price turn into reasons to not wear your new lovely garment.
Además, in the age of Facebook, we're all mini-celebs being hounded by paparazzi, except the paparazzi are our nearest and dearest. It's hard to wear the same fancy dress to multiple parties, knowing that everyone you've ever met will see pictures from all of them. Counterpoint: I am reminded of the fashion icon (name escaping me) who claimed she made sure to be photographed in her dresses at least twice, to prove she owned them. I don't worry about this too much.
I own this dress. Take my word for it.
Anyway, in case you're interested, I have hacked through this particular Gordian knot. The solution: embrace formality. If you like to dress up, 'fess up! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the dressiest person in the room; in fact, if I could express the wrongness in negative numbers, I would.
Case in point: my aunt received a literary prize the other day. Forgive my bragging, but I can't stop kvelling! Not a suuuuper fancy occasion (daytime ceremony), but I had a new dress that I was already worrying wouldn't amortize well.
In a bizarre oversight, I have no photos of me at the ceremony, but it made me feel great to be wearing my newest, nicest duds; it was my way (which is certainly not the only way) of marking the momentousness of the occasion.
A little about Enter the Dragon: I want to not only wear it, but carry it around with me wherever I go, like a security blanket. A little more: I was walking down Grove Street, loaded down with grocery bags, when I saw it through the window of Another Man's Treasure, a dangerous store to be in my neighborhood. Tried it on and bought it before the frozen peas could melt, because clearly, the next person to see it would fall in love with it as well. Enter the Dragon is in absolutely pristine condition, which means that anything bad that happens to it will be all my fault. (But thinking like that leads to situations such as those described in the first paragraph, and you wind up afraid to wear your own clothes!) It fits like a dream, the built-in bra is the real deal, and how could I resist this scaly dragonskin print?
The price was at my upper limit, but I'm going to make the most of it. I'm not scared to wear this anywhere and everywhere. Don't let your fanciest clothes molder away in your closet! Put away your jeans and bust out your pencil skirts! It's the New Formality!
All photos by Claire Loeb!
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