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My first gala

GC and I went to the World AIDS Day Gala the other night. We had to buy clothes and get haircuts and everything. I even wore makeup, which was professionally applied by a makeup artist since I don’t know how to do that yet.

I may not be good at dressing up, but I do have some pretty good resources at my disposal.

First thing I did was solicit GC’s help. His job was to accompany me on shopping trips, and tell me what looked good and what didn’t, and to be brutally honest about it.

I emailed my big sister, the one who knows how to dress up. On the whole, my family embraces comfort over style and we tend to like “the natural look” and “windswept hair.” In other words, we are a little unkempt. Except for my big sister, who likes to shop and wear nice things, and even knows how to accessorize. She says things like “Why not get a classic little black dress? You can dress it up or dress it down, depending on the occasion.” (But she doesn’t just say it…she actually knows how to do it.) Sometimes we laugh at her, like the time we went to Florida for a week and she packed nine pairs of shoes, but when there’s a gala on our calendar, she’s the one we call.

We live in different cities, so she had to dress me up from a distance. She talked me through the process and sent me to Bayshore. GC and I shopped, and he gave the first three dresses the brutally honest thumbs down. Then we got lucky and the next two were both good. We had a hard time deciding between them, so we let the salesperson decide. By the time we were done, we had a dress and three accessories.

I sent my sister a picture of the dress, and she said it was gorgeous.

“I wouldn’t wear black hose if I were you,” she wrote. “Get sheer instead.”

“What is hose and where does one buy it?” I wrote back.

“Pantyhose,” she said. “You can get it at the drug store. Be prepared, though – it’s $8 now.”

Ohhhh. Pantyhose. I thought everybody stopped wearing pantyhose in the 70s, but maybe that was just me. My sister says you can get away with bare legs in the summer, but pantyhose is mandatory at this time of year. (I don’t know if that’s an aesthetic thing, or a weather thing.)

I went to the drug store and found the pantyhose aisle. There were racks and racks of it.  I figured out the sizing, and then I hunted until I found a sheer in my size. I gave them a twenty dollar bill and got a five and some change back.

On the day of the gala, I dressed in the hotel room. I took the pantyhose out of the package and looked at it. It was black. That’s when I noticed that the package said “Sheer Black.” It crossed my mind that maybe it turns sheer when you put it on, so I put it on. Unfortunately, as I was pulling them on, I touched them incorrectly and got a run from my ankle up my calf, so I had to throw them away. Just like that, poof! No more pantyhose! Bare legs.

I put on the shoes I got from Value Village a few months ago, the ones I wear for job interviews. They’re not very comfortable, but they’re better than most grown-up lady shoes. At least I can walk in them.

And off I went to the gala, where I drank fancy cocktails with star-shaped fruit in them, rubbed shoulders with influential people, and nibbled on gourmet chocolates. Nobody could tell I don’t know how to dress up, unless they happened to notice my bare legs.


14 comments to My first gala

  • I thought bare legs were “in” now. But I live south of you – maybe that is the difference? Or global warming? It was 60F here yesterday. I never got the hang of makeup, either. You were smart to get advice and help from the pro’s – allowed you to relax and have fun.

  • Julia

    Also, hose causes static electricity and in the winter that is only magnified. I took off my coat at my gala and the sparks were visible and audible!

    But where are the photos!?

  • I have to admit that overall I am really impressed with this particular site.You can easily see that you are enthusiastic about your writing. If perhaps I’d your writing ability I anticipate more updates and will be returning.

  • Eileen

    How about putting up a picture of you and GC in all your finery. I’m sure you both looked gorgeous.

  • I agree with your sister on the whole pantyhose thing – although they are treacherous and so easy to run – so I end up going with out most of the time too! I just feel more formal when I have them on, but I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you don’t.

  • ““What is hose and where does one buy it?” I wrote back.”

    Hahahahahaaa! I love you, Zoom. I’m sure both you and GC looked stunning! Are there photos? Please say yes.

  • kayT

    I see I’m not the only one to want pictures!

  • good to know who to call. sounds like a fun change of pace.

    yes, hose does that. I suppose men stopped wearing disposable pants in the 1800s. I got sheer long johns for mountain climbing. they don’t run. if anyone noticed the difference, no one said.

  • lala

    bare legs! They know now, lol.

  • grace

    I once went to a fundraiser in my friend Cally’s daughter’s Wicked Witch of the West dress up shoes. May I be your friend?

  • Deb

    I am glad I was able to help. You looked amazing. It is great that you had some fun too. You can wear that dress for Kati’s wedding next October…since it is classic. I hope you shaved your legs at least

  • Deb

    You should apply to 60 Minutes for Andy Rooney’s vacant spot…this sounds so much like him. And that is talking about dresses.

  • Okay, your cat is super cute and all, but we get four photos of the cat and none of you in a black dress at a gala with makeup on?? (love the part where your sister warns you that pantyhose is $8 now! ha!)