It was my birthday. Having a birthday in December is always bit of a mixed blessing, but thankfully it’s far enough from the 25th that it never gets tangled up with Christmas (though I can never display my birthday cards for more than a week). Anyway, my birthday this year was very pleasant.
Husband kept the day clear of work, and we went shopping at Bluewater. If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I hate shopping, especially for clothes. This was an exception, and it was rather fun.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to join a board dinner at Trinity House. Do you know Trinity House? (I think you can tour it during the day—it’s next door to The Four Seasons hotel, near the north bank of the Thames.) Anyway, it was nice to be invited for a posh meal, and I dressed carefully. I knew that the board members would be arriving straight from a board meeting—mainly in suits/office attire. So smart, but not evening dress. I am completely uninterested in clothes, but I do own a few ‘posh’ items, so wore some smart trousers with a silk blouse and cashmere sweater, added some pearls and earrings, checked my hair for bits of hay/chicken poop, found some clean shoes, and set off. I thought I looked fine.
The evening was lovely. Trinity House is beautiful. We left our coats in the cloakroom, and walked up a sweeping staircase to where drinks were being served. I was introduced to a few people, and then the gong sounded, and we were ushered into the dining room. There was a big fireplace, and oil paintings, and an huge oak table with flower arrangements. Dinner was very fancy, and the company was good, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The following day, I made the mistake of mentioning my outfit. I explained to Husband that I intensely dislike wearing heels, and you can’t wear a dress with flat shoes, and was my outfit okay? Apparently, it was ‘surprisingly casual.’ I pointed out that the clothes were all expensive, but discovered this makes no difference. Apparently, there are certain items (like sweaters) that are ‘casual’ and other items (like jackets) that are ‘formal.’ I therefore decided that for my birthday, I should buy a ’formal’ outfit. But a comfortable one, because heels and tight bodices and cold knees spoil the evening.
Bluewater has lots of shops. I hoped to find everything in John Lewis, but they don’t keep many clothes in my size, so we failed, and had to venture into other shops. My sister had advised me to buy the whole outfit, so I wouldn’t go home wondering which cardigan or shoes to wear. Husband agreed that trousers can be smart, but only when worn with a jacket. This I do not understand. We found some trousers (they looked to me exactly like the ones I had worn). We found a jacket (which looks to me no smarter than my lovely sweater). We found some shoes, which honestly look exactly like the ones I wore—but when I remarked on this in the shop, the assistant told me that my shoes were ‘casual’ and these were ‘formal.’ In another shop, the assistant entered into the project and brought me several things to wear (which I rejected) including a gold top, which surprisingly, I kept. Goodness! Who would have thought I would ever wear a gold top? Very disco! But apparently it isn’t disco at all. Apparently, when worn with smart trousers and a jacket, it’s ‘formal.’
I admit, I have learnt nothing. I am still completely bemused as to what the difference between clothes is. However, I now own an approved formal outfit. Am just waiting for the next invitation…
Hope you are suitably attired this week. Thanks for reading.
Love, Anne x