Since we're not going anywhere interesting for Christmas this year, we decided to have a Christmas party on December 22nd. This isn't something we commonly do; in fact, we haven't had a real party in years. I expected that most people would have other plans, but to my surprise, lots of people have already agreed to come -- before the invitations have even gone out. Uh oh. This is going to take major planning.
We live in the middle of nowhere, so to give people time to arrive and get home at a reasonable hour, it seemed logical to invite people to come at 3:00 pm. Except that presents a dilemma -- it's not early enough to be a luncheon, but it's too early to be a cocktail party -- so what the heck should I wear? I expect most everyone will be casual, and I want to be too, but my normal version of casual is ancient blue jeans and a twinset or a button-down, and that's not going to work. My closet is worse than useless because it's full of blue jeans and party dresses that are too formal. I don't live near many stores, so I have to deal with the what-to-wear issue now. Sigh.
What I want doesn't seem that complicated -- not too short, not too tight, not too low cut, not too sheer. Just a nice comfy dress with a fitted top that I can wear with tights and flats. My first thought was to order something from that bastion of middle-class dowd: Nordstrom. They have dresses separated into the seemingly helpful categories of 'occasion' and 'day'. The day dresses are further separated into 'casual' and 'wear to work' categories. Easy as pie, right? What I need should be in the casual day section. They have a lot of dresses, but I seem to have a teensy difference of opinion to what constitutes casual (not to mention 'day')! Like this, for example:
I might wear that dress; it's cute. But casual? And what about this one?
You could wear this to a barbecue? Really? My horizons are way too limited!
I proceeded on to the 'occasion' dresses in hopes of finding something on the plainer side of festive. Maybe something in a dark velvet, but with no sequins or whatnot. My choices there ranged from Yikes! to Mother-of-the Bride.
I don't think so!
I suppose this means I have to cast a wider net. My best hope is probably at a shop called Elle in Little Rock, where I'm going next week. Cousin Socialite introduced me to it a few years ago, and it generally stocks everything from Oscar-dress knock-offs to Jolly Hockey Sticks dresses (description courtesy of Gillian as I can't think of a better way of describing the type).
I wonder why the common choices seem to be involve dressing like a pole-dancing stripper, a prom queen, or an ancient cow.