Posh Frocks

I’m really not much of a glamour girl – it’s all a bit too ‘high maintenance’ for my liking.

For the last seven years, though, one of the responsibilities I’ve had in my day job at the medical college has been to organise the bi-annual formal dinner for the New Fellows. This is a black-tie affair in a five-star London hotel. Hence, twice a year it is necessary for me to get into a ‘Posh Frock’.

I’ve come to the conclusion that these women that look fantastically glamorous all the time don’t actually do anything at all – they just sashay around looking gorgeous. When I try and get all glammed up, it really doesn’t work out well. Consequently, though I’ve gone through a few posh frocks over the last seven years, I don’t have a wardrobe full of them, which more glamorous women might have acquired.

A few years ago I had a lilac dress full of sequins. I bought a pair of spangly sandals with kitten heels to go with it (another point – me and fancy shoes don’t get on either, but more of that later). Every time I wore the dress, I managed to get the hem of it stuck in the spangles of the shoes, and the thing was full of loose threads. I also kept losing the sequins. Once, I managed to put the heel of my shoe through the chiffon inside lining. But this was hidden under the main layer of the dress, so you couldn’t see the rip.

I did manage to get about four or five wearings out of this dress, but when I had my wardrobe detox a couple of years ago with the stylist, she made me get rid of it. In fact she looked faintly horrified when she pulled it out of my wardrobe. I’m still not exactly sure what was wrong with it – apart from the fact that lilac is apparently not my colour.

Armed with new style knowledge, I went and got another dress for the next dinner. This was a midnight blue long number with Greek-like folds. I had been told this was one of my colours, and I thought the dress looked nice. It was quite expensive, too – first time I’ve ever paid three figures for an item of clothing. I wore it twice that winter – once to the dinner, and once to the formal dinner dance that Hubby’s scuba diving club put on every Christmas. We have to travel by public transport into central London for the latter. On the escalator down to the underground, the long dress got caught in the escalator mechanism, and fearing being pulled into the machinery I had to yank it out hard to free myself. Miraculously the dress didn’t rip – synthetic fabric is hardy stuff – but it was all pulled out of shape and ended up with a fair bit of black oil all over it.

I objected to paying over £100 for a dress I only got two uses out of so I was determined to wear it again. My mother in law managed to work miracles with white spirit and got the oil out of it, but nothing could be done about the rather mis-shapen hem line. As it happens I now can’t fit into this dress – it’s a size 12. I’m a size 14 nowadays and I can no longer get the damn thing zipped up. So I think I have to say goodbye to it, wonky hemline and all.

My latest posh frock is a black and white silk prom dress that I bought for a friend’s birthday party last year (she had a ’60s glam’ theme). Then I wore it to the dive club dinner last year. We had to take the train into London, as usual, to get to the venue. On my way to the train station I fell over because I was having trouble walking in the shoes, and now it has a couple of black marks on it. I deliberately chose shoes I thought I could walk in, because I hate having to take a bag full of shoes to change into when I’m going out of an evening. Clearly I was wrong. Is it too much to ask that someone invent girl’s shoes that it’s actually possible to walk in? And just how are you supposed to keep these damn dresses clean until the end of the evening? If I don’t fall in the mud, I end up spilling my dinner down them.

We’ve had a reshuffle of responsibilities at work and the organising of the dinner has now passed to someone else, so hopefully I won’t have to keep investing in posh frocks. Just as well, really. Evidently staying neat and clean of an evening is completely beyond me. I guess I’m just not a ‘posh frock’ kind of girl.


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