Coming up with two formal outfits turned out to be one of the hardest parts of my packing, because I'm not a very fancy person. I started out by shopping in my closet. The "elegant" section contained:
- Three black crepe dresses of various sizes and styles, all knee-length
- One navy crepe dress, also knee-length
- A variety of tops, mainly long-sleeved, heavier material (worn at several years worth of company Christmas parties, when it's cold outside)
- Several pairs of "evening" earrings (rhinestone, crystal, or pearl)
- Several "evening" necklaces
I browsed in a couple of shoe stores, but since it was the end of February most didn't have a good selection of spring styles yet, or what they had didn't fit. In the end I decided that if my feet weren't happy I wouldn't have a good time, and decided to wear my comfortable shoes. I figured that if I bought a long black skirt I could bring two evening tops, and hopefully no one would notice I was wearing the same bottom twice.
It turned out to be surprisingly easy to find a long black skirt. At my first stop I found a nice polyester one with micro-pleats and an elastic waistline, which I suspected might come in handy after a few rich meals.
I didn't want to spend a lot of money for tops I probably wouldn't wear again. The clearance racks didn't yield anything, so I started looking at used clothes stores. I struck out at two Goodwills, but I did find a small satin evening purse (big enough to hold my camera, lip gloss, and room key card) at the second so it wasn't a complete loss. At an upscale resale shop close to work at I found the first top--a jewel-toned paisley model with 3/4 sleeves and mock-wrap styling. (You can see a picture of it here.) Not particularly fancy, but with the right jewelry it would work.
One top down, one to go.
After several more days of shopping, I realized that not too long ago I'd had a perfect top hanging in my closet. It was hot pink satin, with cap sleeves, and a low "U" cut neckline. I wore it to Hubby Tony's company Christmas party several years ago. It looked good on me, but since I don't go to a lot of events that call for evening tops I never used it again. At the beginning of the year I did some closet cleaning and decided the shirt had to go. I'd added it to the donation box, and dropped it at our local St. Vincent de Paul store a week before. What were the chances that the top would still be in the store?
"Vinnie's" was on my way home. The parking lot is usually packed, but I was able to find a spot right next to the door. The women's department is on the left, and the shirt racks are close to the back. The store divides their clothes by size. I knew what I was looking for, so I scanned through the Medium area for the bright and shiny garment I was looking for.
IT WAS THERE!