Wardrobe Challenge: Rain and Sweat

I was invited to an exhibit opening at the Renwick Gallery a couple of weeks ago. What to wear, what to wear? I wondered. I’ve been so few places in the last two years.

It was an evening event and the invitation suggested “festive attire.” The forecast promised temperatures in the mid-eighties and rain.

My first thought was this old blue satin dress — half party silhouette, half flight-suit — but I thought it might be too heavy for the temperature, which was unseasonably warm. My second thought was this raspberry silk georgette dress — but I realized that what was “fitted” pre-pandemic might feel like a full-body tourniquet at my current weight, and that the fabric might seem too light for May.

And then I remembered my Pepe Le Pew dress — which you have not previously seen — and said, “Let’s make this easy, shall we?”

Rain, heat, possible hot flashes? Let’s make this easy, said I to myself

Neither rain nor sweat nor spilled Diet Coke shall show on this dress
You are correct; it’s virtually indestructible

Great utility

I bought this 3.1 Phillip Lim dress on The RealReal a few years ago and have found that it’s the perfect cocktail dress, particularly for a weeknight. It’s a loose, undemanding cut fabricated in supple silk. And while it’s not exactly figure-flattering, it’s sophisticated . . . and very comfortable. I did, however, add a belt to give it a little shape.

Note: I am wearing a heel (technically, a wedge) for the first time since February 2020.

I was meeting my aunt at the museum, but arrived very early — and so positioned myself at the entrance of a tent set up to shield guests from the rain as they approached the museum’s steps. From that perspective, I had the fun of watching a steady stream of artists and craft enthusiasts arrive. I had the sense — from the giddiness and good humor on every face — that for many, this may have been their first significant outing in some time. And in terms of festive clothes and art jewelry, they were bringing it.

I felt a little guilty for dressing in black, but I did attempt to hold up my end of the social contract with an interesting brooch and absurdist bag.

Holding up my side?

Marni bag, made of PVC . . . I don’t even know what to call these; Flaps? Curls?
Looks like the lovechild of a carwash and a Glad trash bag

For once, I remembered to take a “before” and “after” shot. Perhaps these aren’t precisely temporal states, but you get what I mean. I am showing the dress one way and then another. Because this is a conceptual style blog!
Sans belt
Avec belt
    The exhibit, This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World, shows objects and art representing (or provoking) political and social themes — the work was not simply beautiful, but moving. These were my favorite pieces.
White Coffee Maker, Margarita Cabrera (vinyl, copper wire and thread)

Portrait of Resilience, Sharon Kerry-Harlan (machine quilted, dye-discharged fabric designed by artist and other textiles)
Small Dark Cloud, Christine Joy (willow, beeswax, and resin)

The exhibit is open until April 2023, but do not tarry. We now know how quickly a year can pass with little to show for it, and how quickly one year can become two. Enjoy!

6 thoughts on “Wardrobe Challenge: Rain and Sweat”

  1. Thank you, Directrice…..you’ve started my week with a laugh – the Pepe Le Pew dress with a purse you describe as the ‘lovechild of a carwash and a Glad bag’ – haha…turns out to be a marvelous look…’festive wear’ indeed!
    The Renwick has put together an amazing exhibit – I’m glad I’m local and can revisit throughout the year!

  2. Rain, heat, possible hot flashes, I see you fellow southeastern middle-age lady 😉 A whole new equation to solve for. But, fun to solve it! I just bought a big swath of Anna Maria Horner fabric for a floaty summer skirt – this https://annamariahorner.squarespace.com/fabric/source-code in spark. This solution is basically the opposite of your pepe le pew approach, which I also think is gorgeous and perfect for a gallery. Thanks for sharing the art!

  3. This is lovely – right up my alley – black/white, modest length and neckline, interesting cut! This is a total win. I love your touch of whimsy with the purse. While your color choice may be considered conservative, your texture is off the charts!

  4. This dress and bag are really perfect and you do wear them perfectly!
    Ah the joy of being “tall” (if I am correct, I stand at about 4″10, not being american nor english I may be wrong).
    And also very elegant. All right yes colours would have been welcomed but I thought (Call me naive) that black was the colour “de rigueur” with artsy people?
    Anyway I like the bag and once again you do not disappoint and I am glad of it.
    There are currently several exhibits in Paris that I would like to go to, first real going out since the pandemic as well… with some different weight “placement” in my body, it is going to be fun…


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