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Fashion Dilemma Part 5: Lessons Learned

March 16, 2011

The day after the big gala dinner I was on my own while DH was still in training. I chose another pair of “short” slacks, booties, and a casual top with the faux collar and cuffs of another shirt built in (I’m sure there is fashion vocabulary for this but my mind is totally not working this morning). I had DH’s logo jacket to keep me warm.

I noticed something as I made my way to the center part of the west end of the city and to one of its three major universities. No one was wearing sunglasses. Except for me, of course. I always have to wear my amber colored Magic Clips. I cannot live without them and I even wear them on rainy days. I must have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Or maybe not. I walked down the main street of the university to find the art gallery I was looking for and I saw students campaigning for student government positions. It was all very lively–fliers and balloons everywhere. Free cookies too. I was surprised when an eager student tried handing me a flier. Either I looked like I could have been a student or she was really desperate for votes. I politely declined.

I spent a fabulous three hours wandering around the art museum. I learned later that one of the other spouses had been there at the same time–we just were so absorbed in the artwork we never saw each other! I bought some souvenirs but I could kick myself for not buying more. These would have at least been unique gifts–I can buy Scotland souvenirs at home.

I took relaxed back at the hotel and waited for DH to get back. Not really having plans, we joined several coworkers across the street at the local bar. During cocktails where everyone was looking at each other “what do you want to do for dinner?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” one of the company execs invited everyone out for dinner and he went back to the hotel to get his wife.

I’m glad I was in my business casual. At dinner though I ended up a little removed from the other two wives. I would interact with them when the whole table was sharing the same conversation. Otherwise, I entertained DH, another chief, a captain, and the corporate guy. DH tried vegetarian haggis while I went with a safer dish. For dessert he had the sticky toffee pudding and I went with a bread pudding. All good.

Our final day on the trip we left the city and took a tour of some historic sites. I firmly believe because we wives packed umbrellas we did not have bad weather. All in all it was a very good day.

Looking back, now I have to think about what I have learned:
1. If all else fails you cannot go wrong with the pantsuit.
2. Perhaps it was the time of year that made everyone else wear dark colors. I think I still liked the pop of color in both my casual and formal business attire. (See photos.)
3. I probably could have gotten away with a church dress and knee high boots if the others wore church dresses and open toed shoes.
4. I really need to figure out my size and wear more fitting clothes. If I do that, then I really do have items in my wardrobe that are appropriate and I can save the superhero t-shirts and blue jeans for truly casual days.
5. Figuring out my size will save me “miracle tailoring” in the future. It was worth it and I got a good laugh out of it. (“You have no butt!”)
6. Maybe I need to also figure out accessories–I’m sure everyone on the street took one look at my amber shades and said “Foreigner”.
7. DH is probably right: women dress for women and men really don’t care. I really wanted to know if he thought a., I was the youngest; b., it was okay I didn’t wear make-up; c., my pop of color was okay; and d., I did a good job representing him as his spouse. He just keeps laughing at me.
8. The other spouses are just as confused as me so it is all good.
9. Avoid wearing the corporate logo or else I might be put in charge again. Now, if they want to give me carte blanche on the corporate credit card for some shopping, that’s another story altogether…

During the dinner we did talk about the location of the conference, asked why it was still held in that location if the executive from there was no longer in a training position, where the conference had been held before, where we spouses would like it to be next time, the pros and cons of bringing children, and we spouses gave a glowing review of our distillery tour. I think DH and I are in agreement that we will try to bring T1 & T2 on a future trip–if he’s “forced” to go again. But we would prefer them to be in high school. The exec seemed interested in the feedback so I can only hope it makes a difference in upcoming trainings. Of course visas and other travel issues will certainly have more weight than my desire to go to Rome.

This was a good trip for DH and me. I’m glad I finally got to go. It was a nice 15th anniversary/Valentines/birthday treat.

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