Friday, July 4, 2008

Never fully dressed

I drove to South Texas last weekend for the blessed event in which my dear friend Miss KW became Mrs. KB. More on that later.

In an effort to keep myself honest and also to measure my packing efficiency, I decided to take inventory of everything I packed for the weekend and then to record what I actually wore when I arrived home. I was gone for three nights between Dallas, Austin and a handful of small towns in South Texas. Here goes…

What I packed/ What I wore:

- 7 dresses/ 5 dresses
- 1 gingham nightshirt/ 2 gingham nightshirts*
- 3 pair of shorts/ 1 pair of shorts
- 3 blouses/ 1 blouse
- 2 camisoles/ 1 camisole
- 2 cardigans/ 1 cardigan
- 1 skirt/ none
- 3 pair of sleep shorts/ all
- 1 t-shirt/ none
- 2 bathing suits/ 1 bathing suit
- 1 bathing suit cover-up/ none
- 2 hats/ 0 hats
- 2 tank tops/ both
- 1 pair of athletic shorts/ none
- 6 pair of shoes/ all
- Etc.

*I don't know which figure was more startling: the fact that I somehow managed to wear five dresses in three days, that I left with more gingham nightshirts than I started with, or that I triumphantly wore all six pair of shoes that I packed. Part of the problem was that I was driving, so I knew I could bring whatever I wanted and somehow manage all of it. It's like when you go to the airport with your father and brother and know you can pack to your heart's content since they'll always carry everything anyway. I also like to have choices, but now I'm wondering why I thought there would be any "active" part of this or any wedding weekend, and why I also felt led to bring hats. When have I ever worn a hat during the course of a wedding weekend? Never. Well noted.

The surplus of gingham can be explained: upon my arrival at the B&B where we were staying, my friend AR showed me into our room and to my monogrammed tote bag (way cute) from the bride, filled with gifts for the weekend. At the bottom of the bag I spied a pink and white gingham checked nightshirt, and as AR gushed "isn't it so cute?!" I pulled an identical one out of the bag I had packed from home. Gingham never fails to amuse.

I may need help in the area of packing, but I like to think I'm an above-average shopper, and in recent years I have come into the position of unofficial personal shopper for my family. Two weekends ago my brother and I had the unprecedented occasion of each of us having the weddings of friends from high school on the same night. It was the first wedding he had attended in years, and the first for him of a friend his age.

He made it home from Austin for the weekend with a pair of wrinkled khakis, two button-down shirts, boots and various athletic shorts. Even better was the fact that the clothing items to choose from in his closet at home were a Dallas Stars jersey, bowling shoes, a hunting jacket, a t-shirt from a youth group weekend seven years ago and a few polo shirts. He usually dresses in an acceptable manner, but anything appropriate for a wedding was conveniently left in Austin.

I grabbed car keys and took him to Brooks Brothers; picked out a sports coat and pants while he tried them on with a quizzical "do you approve?" look and shrug of the shoulders. Lucky for him, I had been shopping with our dad the night before, so he had nice selection of new ties to choose from at home as well. He found a book on gentlemanly behavior after we bought his clothes, which had a chapter titled A Gentleman Gets Dressed for a Wedding. I was thinking it would have been helpful to have, except for my doubts that even the most savvy of gentlemen could pull off a hockey jersey and bowling shoes at a wedding.

"I hold that gentleman to be the best-dressed whose dress no one observes."
-Anthony Trollope

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