I never pass up the opportunity to dress up. I will leap at the chance to bust out my closet’s equivalent to fine china. This is part of the reason I look forward to holidays. It’s not necessarily the gift giving, but the serving of looks, that I love to share. Valentine’s Day is no exception.
I almost let myself down this year. I think we all have times where we set ourselves up for failure. It can be a string of bad moods, or a period of self loathing, or sometimes it’s the guilt followed by spending money on frivolous things. Is it silly to spend $70 on a new tea length, chiffon crinoline when you have thousands of dollars in future medical bills ahead of you? It probably is. Should you deny yourself nice things, so that you remain financially sound? Maybe? However, will following your gut and buying the seemingly needless object of your affection eventually end up simplifying you and your significant other’s life in the near future? Answer: Yes.
In the 48 hours that preceded this year’s Valentine’s Day festivities, I had a mild panic attack and started to break down. Being that I live for a heart-shaped anything, I look forward to V-day dressing, as it is a chance to break out all of the things to compile the most Cupid-inspired look I can dream up. But this year, I let myself hang out in my shadow of despair for a little longer than I should have. Instead of online shopping for a new heart-shaped purse (aside from the glorious YSL ones that are just slightly out of my loved one’s budget), I was procrastinating, and half-heartedly telling myself I could just wear something old and feel fine about it. I lied to myself.
Like an enemy twin, plotting to sabotage the good twin, I told myself not to go shopping. I did my usual online research for a new shiny thing to gift my significant other, because spending money on other people is not the same as spending money on oneself. It’s basically charity, and should be totally tax deductible, in my opinion. It wasn’t until the hangover from my pity-party-for-one wore off that I realized I had nothing to wear. The panic crept in. The panic then latched on to any human within reach, by text or otherwise. Time was of the essence, and it was time to call in the big guns...and crack open the wine.
I decided to reach out to a lady of great sartorial stature. This style guru will remain anonymous, but for the sake of the story, we shall refer to her as “Alexis”. Alexis and I share a similar love for statement looks and high-drama dressing. A fearless woman in a fierce look, always. A woman after my own heart. We also wear the same dress size, so, an obvious plus. At this point I was hoping for a Hail Mary, but asking a devilish woman in Chanel for answers instead. Thankfully, Alexis is speedy with the text messages. We went back and forth that evening. Me—sweating between pours of Pinot Grigio, her—undoubtedly lingering over a bottle of red (while wearing white, obviously). By the end of the night she had convinced me I had in my possession all the necessary tools for success. She encouraged me to believe in myself and my already fabulous wardrobe.
Pulling myself together, and pouring myself some water, I went back to the drawing board ie. my overflowing closet. I dug deep into the recesses of plastic garment bags to retrieve a Tracy Reese frock from 2013. It was a magical dress that appeared in a store as an online return just 2 days before a special event that year. And it was on sale. Cue shoots of glitter and harpsichord sounds.
Abiding by a “more is more” kind of attitude, I pulled out my newly thrifted red, silk velvet bolero and some lurex socks (turquoise to match a background color in the frock, of course). I modified an old pair of Tarina Tarantino Swarovski crystal earrings by removing the old, dusty feathers that used to awkwardly dangle from the bottoms, thus turning them into more practical crystal drops. I was also able to utilize my Valentine’s Day present—an oversized, vintage pink crystal arrow brooch—as an enclosure for my bolero. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t low key been trying to form an entire outfit around that pin since I noticed my boyfriend secretly purchasing it for me the week before...
After all the gloom and panic and subsequent emptied bottles of wine, I emerged triumphantly from the closet with a winning outfit. Sometimes you need hero’s journey to show you what you already know in your heart to be true. And sometimes you just need the right amount of liquid courage, and some words from a steely fashion wizard to remind you that you already have everything you need, right in your own closet.
P.S. I’m still going to order that crinoline. Take away message: Always buy the crinoline!
Meet Stripe. He watches over my beloved Marc Jacobs when I take trips to the powder room.