My closet, sans-ottoman.
When I get an invitation to a party - say, a friend's disco themed 60th birthday party - I want to be the woman who walks into her perfectly appointed closet, glances around and says, I'll wear the Versace."
I want to be the woman whose perfectly appointed closet is room-sized and her clothes are hung by color, exactly one centemeter apart from each other to avoid wrinkling and to allow the fabrics to breathe. She sits on a plush ottoman to don her Bruno Cucinelli gabardine trousers and matching cashmere turtleneck, while gazing upon her backlit Versace hanging in the evening gown section, breathing the rarified air in unwrinkled splendor.
Alas, alas, alas, I am not this woman.
There's no ottoman. Instead my imperfectly appointed closet features a tiny red chair from the hockey pucks' old toddler-sized table set. Lands' End corduroys, Boden blouses, and Macy's cashmere sweaters are crammed onto hangers and shelves, crumpled, and gasping for air. And though I'm able to walk into my closet, all I can do there is turn around and walk out.
This closet, with its reasonably priced clothing, suits my life. I'm no Heidi Klum. I'm too short to rock a Versace. And there's no point in me throwing on monochromatic Bruno Cucinelli gabardine and cashmere just to sit in my writing garret and not write my column.
But I did get invited to my friend's disco-themed 60th birthday party, and my closet had nothing appropriate. I had to go shopping.
In the olden days, shopping meant going to the mall or a department store to peruse the latest styles. Nowadays, shopping means scrolling on Instagram and clicking on the ads - the best activity for me to partake in whilst sitting in my writing garret not writing my column.
If ever there was a time to be shopping for an outfit to wear to a friend's disco-themed 60th birthday party, it's this holiday season. Everyone is selling glittery clothes, including Versace, Bruno Cucinelli, and Macy's. Sadly Lands' End missed the opportunity. They could have sewed sequins on their corduroys.
Imagine my joy when, one day, as I was sitting in my writing garret, not writing my column, wondering what to wear to this party, I came across an Instagram ad for gold sequined trousers from Marks & Spencer, the British department store. I lived in London for six years and I love the venerable Marks & Sparks, as the Brits call it. It is a stalwart and practical store - sort of the Macy's of Oxford Street.
The sequined trousers were so cute. Good price. Elastic waist. Pockets! I immediately stopped not writing my column and ordered them.
When they arrived, I knew they were just the ticket. They're as comfy as pajamas. The sequins twinkled in the light. And if I squinted my eyes in a certain way at my backside in the mirror, my tushi looked like a disco ball. Or more like a disco peach.
This invitation and my new sequined pants couldn't have come at a better time. In September, I had my left knee replaced, and I've been primarily wearing sweatpants and t-shirts ever since. After the surgery, my job has been recovery and rehabilitation. I've been going regularly to physical therapy, which has the most unflattering mirrors I've ever faced.
As I watch myself exercise, I have post-traumatic flashbacks of trying on bathing suits in a Kohl's dressing room. Although I don't typically wear ankle weights and hold my body in a squat position for five seconds with my arms straight up in in the air when I'm trying Kohl's bathing suits.
The physical therapy mirrors are much crueler than Kohl's. On a pain scale of one to 10, my knee pain during the squats is a 1 and my mirror pain is a 13.
We've also had a gloomy autumn. It's rained nearly every weekend. And now that the days are getting shorter, I turn on more and more lights in the house, wishing they could provide me the vitamin D I'm missing from the sunshine.
Not to mention all the recent sad news; the world feels even gloomier. There's a reason various religious festivals of lights such as Hanukah, Diwali, or Christmas are in the Northern Hemisphere's winter. We need a little sparkle right now.
And sparkle we did. The guests at my friend's disco-themed 60th birthday party were glittering. The birthday girl positively glowed, like a shooting star from Studio 54. My new knee shook its groove thing and my disco ball/peach tushi lit up the room.
Days before the party, I was in my writing garret, not writing my column, when another ad flashed on my Instagram. It was for an H&M green sequined dress, A-line - Christmas tree shaped! Surely, I didn't need another glittery outfit?
I confess: I stopped not writing and bought it. It was another rainy/sad news day. And I had just been invited to a celebratory dinner for a charity I love anyway. The dinner's theme was "Wow!" I wore the Christmas tree dress and wowed.
Both the trousers and the dress have been shoved into my imperfect, sans-ottoman closet. They can't breathe, but they are still sparkling.
If I receive another disco-themed 60th birthday party invitation, I'm ready. I'll be the woman who walks into her imperfectly appointed closet and says, "I'll wear the Marks & Sparks."
Published in The East Hampton Press, December 14, 2023.
Photo by ME!