Warning: If You Don't Give a Hoot About Dresses, You Won't Give a Hoot About This Post

Pretty much the main reason we're going to London next week is to see my friend Victoria get married. Victoria and I were at school together in England, and although we didn't become friendly until we were fifteen or sixteen, we've known each other since we were eleven. Which, holy smokes, means we've known each for seventeen years, although I guess that's just as well, actually; knowing someone for seventeen years seems like a pretty good reason to spend a month's rent on a plane ticket.

Victoria and Sean also have a history---um, not that sort of history---in that she was one of my first friends to meet him, waaaaaay back in 1998 when she came to stay with me in Connecticut for a few weeks and he was living down in South Carolina. Either out of boredom or bravado, I'm not sure which, Sean decided to make the 14-hour journey to Connecticut one muggy August afternoon to see me, only to turn around again 24 hours later and drive back home again. A romantic gesture, no? Thankfully, he even brought a friend along for Victoria too, which helped pass the time for her. Although I don't think I'll be telling her new husband that story.

So Victoria's wedding has been the source of much stress over the last few months, mainly because it will be a) in England, and b) in October, and I'm damned if I know what to wear to a wedding in England, let alone a wedding in England in October.

Somehow, however, I got it in my head that I wanted to wear a hat. Apparently I have seen Four Weddings and a Funeral too many times, but really, how many other occasions are there in your life when you get to wear a hat without irony? And don't people always wear hats to English weddings?

(Embarrassingly,  I've never actually been to an English wedding. In fact I've only been to a grand total of four and a half weddings in my entire life and all of them were American! What up, English friends? Time to start getting hitched!)

So I eventually found the hat. I fell in love with the hat, I paid the princely sum of ten bucks for the hat, and then I fretted about the hat, because although the hat was really super awesome, it was also navy blue. Everything else in my closet? Not even close to navy blue. Apparently, I just don't buy navy blue. And that was kind of a problem when it came to the hat.

(Another problem, by the way, was finding a dress with the right silhouette to go with the hat. You want to look vintagey in a hat like that, but not retro. You want to look put together, but not like you're in costume. You want to look, in other words, not like the kind of person who's been watching too many episodes of Mad Men and lusting after Betty Draper's wardrobe. So it's too bad, then, that I'm the kind of person who's been watching too many episodes of Mad Men and lusting after Betty Draper's wardrobe.)

Thank goodness, however, for friends. While the consistently stylish Metalia emailed me a stream of Navy Blue Dresses That Would Go With The Hat, my lovely pal Kristin met me for brunch with the back of her car filled to bursting with eveningwear in a multitude of hues. With this kind of support, I figured, the dress mystery would be solved! The crisis would be resolved! And then I could finally go back to thinking about other things, things like the economy Oh My God, Which Shoes?

In the end, after an epic one-woman fashion show in front of my closet mirror---nothing looked quite right with that rat-bastard hat (although Kristin should check very carefully for a missing navy blue BCBG gown when I return her stuff)---I decided to take just one more cursory sweep of my own wardrobe. I had a dress I loved, after all, but had never even considered as a serious contender. 

And that, dear Internet, was my mistake. Because that dress? It looked, against all odds, rather supremely fantastic with the hat when I tried them on together. I'm not even sure how, or why, or how many magic pixies it took to figure out this miracle, but--ha!---it works. Somehow it works. And together with this faux fur rich-lady shawl I once bought for a black-tie thing back in Charleston and totally forgot I had, it's very rockin' indeed, very London In The Blitz! Quick, Let's Hide In A Bomb Shelter!

But, you know, in a stylish way.

So I guess there's a lesson there or something, perhaps one tied to reusing and recycling and making do with what you have at home. Perhaps the lesson is about stepping back and reevaluating, or about figuring out what's in your closet already and just Making It Work. Or perhaps the lesson is just that anyone still looking for fancy party shoes should go to Ross Dress For Less RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND and score two pairs of (identical!) (but different-colored!) Nine West beauties for $17.99 each. Oh yes, it's definitely that last one: I think I read that on a fortune cookie once.

Oct 01, 2008

I must have those shoes. I currently have no need of fancy party shoes, but as someone who has been to over thirty weddings, I always assume there's another one coming up soon.

Oct 01, 2008

I'm mostly just curious.... How, exactly, did you go to HALF a wedding?

Oct 01, 2008

You crack me up! I'm wondering along with Karen. How does one go to half a wedding? There has to be a story there. It sounds like it could be very uncomfortable.

Oct 01, 2008

I'm going to need photographic evidence of said hat going with said dress. I can't put it together in my mind.

I wish I could pull off hats. Or had a reason to ever try to pull off hats.

We should bring back hats. Hats and gloves.

Oct 01, 2008

I, an American, have been to only one English wedding but I was the only woman there WITHOUT a hat. Boy, did I feel naked with all that exposed hair.

Never saw Four Weddings...that surely would have helped.

Oct 01, 2008

So cute! You'll look smashing, darling!

(Just so you know, in my head that was in a fake British accent.)

Oct 01, 2008

I am heading to Seattle a week tomorrow. Ross Dress For Less is one of my favorite stops...

You will look amazing in anything you wear. You always do!

Camels & Chocolate
Oct 01, 2008

Yay! I'm glad you found the perfect dress--even though it was right in front of your nose all along! Now we just have to find a swank San Fran event to attend in which you can borrow said navy blue BCBG (while simultaneously I wear the aforementioned brown beauty of yours!).

michelle woo
Oct 01, 2008

Thanks to you, I'm starting my holiday dress lusting early this year. Hey, it's October. The fourth quadrant of the year. Merry merry.

Oct 02, 2008

Um, hoot! Hoot!

Have fun in London. (And in Rome!)

Oct 02, 2008

(Ooops, used the wrong link there).

aBd libbing
Oct 02, 2008

I was just married in England over the summer (I'm American, my husband's British), and only one guest (a German!) came wearing a hat. I'd told everyone that hats were optional, but now I kind of wish that I'd made them mandatory!

Anne & May
Oct 02, 2008

I demand that you wear this to my (American) wedding. All my NYC friends have heard so much about my "British friend." If you wear a hat, I won't even have to introduce you around! Besides, I'm wearing A FEATHERED HEADPIECE and cannot go it alone.

Oct 02, 2008

I've only been to 1 English wedding and everyone there was wearing a hat. Except for me. It was sad.

Oct 02, 2008

Ah, the half a wedding: it's not as exciting a story as it sounds. Basically, it was my first wedding ever, but I decided that it didn't count, because the couple had already got married, had a kid, and were basically just exchanging vows again in fancy clothes to please her parents. Also, it was a high school friend of Sean's, who I didn't know AT ALL, and we only stayed for half of it because we had to be somewhere else. Plus it was in the middle of the day, so no dancing.

Melanie Avila
Oct 02, 2008

I. WANT. THOSE. SHOES. the gold ones. :)

Oct 02, 2008

Congratulations on avoiding the Too Retro Look, something I am guilty of all too often. I can't wait to see the full outfit.

Oct 03, 2008

First of all, thank you for the compliment. If you only knew what I was wearing right now, however, you might take it back. (Let's just say it involves olive-emblazoned pajama pants and a radio station giveaway t-shirt from 1994. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.)

Now, I am SO excited to see the outfit all put together! You are going to look beyond stunning, and I can't wait. And the shoes! For $17.99! What a steal. They're both fab, but the champagne-colored ones are CALLING TO ME.

Oct 03, 2008

Oh the joy at finding Nine West shows in Ross. I absolutely adore Nine West. I'm wearing some of their sweet faux alligator shoes right now.

There's a Nine West outlet in my home town in Maine and I go at least twice during my visits to my parents.

I'm glad you found an ensemble for the wedding!!

Oct 03, 2008

I second the call for a photo showing us how it all works together.

And I have gone to 2 British weddings (my two cousins). One I didn't wear a hat to because I was a bridesmaid, but every other woman did. For the other I had a little fuchsia felt number that I thought most fetching. I was so impressed with myself that I actually wore it again to an American wedding, where I felt ridiculous and had to take it off and have horrible hair the rest of the evening.
There's a lesson there somewhere.

Oct 03, 2008

Love those shoes--especially the gold ones! I have no reason to wear nice dressy shoes (I have to have sensible shoes tthat I can stand in all day at work) but that doesn't stop me from buying them anyway (in fact I recently got a pair of Cole Haan pumps on sale, and still they're the most expensive pair of shoes I own).