I have to go to a party this weekend. It will probably be quite fun, once I’m there, as long as there is a certain amount of ice tinkling in glasses and the DJ plays something more contemporary than a string of ’80s disco hits. But there is a snag. One that causes me so much stress that I have been known to conceal an invitation under a plant in the garden rather than face up to the planning required to maintain a half way decent social life.
There is No Dress Code.
I have quite a lot of difficulty with dress codes as it is. I am not so much a social butterfly as a bat, given my tendency to wear black on all occasions, from funerals to carnival. I have progressed through most events in everything from very short and black to cleverly engineered and black, toyed with elegant and black, and spent a long time with slimming black. You get the drift.
Black looks wonderful on young skin, and fantastic against silver hair. Now that I am no longer possessed of the one, and determined to avoid encountering the latter for another decade or two, I am stuck. Black on les femmes d’un certain âge is…..aging.
Black is not even an option tomorrow. For a start, the party is a belated wedding celebration, and black might be considered to strike the wrong note. This means that I have to embrace colour, ha ha. And to pile up the sartorial difficulties, the party is in A Field. In a tent in A Field. The invitation is beautifully handwritten, and has little flags across it. The tented field is handily located down a rutted lane in some rural idyll called Much Bunting, or something like that.
Now even a recluse like me has noticed the explosion of cupcakes and bunting at all but the simplest of gatherings this year. There is a definite buzz for things vintage and rural; a nostalgic yearning for the sort of ‘Thirties bash that once indicated all was fine in Britain, even with the Depression and a World War looming. Even the simplest rural parties are becoming ever more sophisticated and elegant, as the wonderful business run by my friend Sam, http://www.thekenteventhirecompany.co.uk/ demonstrates. So tomorrow’s party might have anything from gilded seats to straw bales, vintage china to Zen furnishings, or sushi to a hog roast.
What it doesn’t have is a bloody Dress Code. Time for desperate measures.
I consult His Nibs, as the invitation’s source comes under the category of His Friend. Apparently the code is ‘casual’ but the bride has bought a red dress. Very informative. Thanks. Further polite remonstration with HN extracts greater detail. The groom has bought a new shirt, but will be wearing old trousers. Great. Now I know for certain how the conversation went. HN has actually asked his friend what he is wearing, in order to justify the battered chinos and gardening shirt that are HN’s staple ‘going out’ clothes.
I suggest to HN that I buy him a party shirt. He says that he would be ‘very upset’ at the wanton expenditure. He has a shirt, he tells me.
So I am heading off again this afternoon for one last attempt to find the perfect dress; the one that will be perfectly in tune with the Stella’s and Chloe’s next to it. The one that will be nonchalantly floral in an effortlessly vintage chic meets NY loft party look. The one that will work with whichever footwear will best cover a country lane, marquee carpet and a dance floor without causing me to fall over.
Actually, I might wear black, after all. Worzel Gummidge and a crow – now there’s a thought..