Dress for distress

By Peggy Duffy

I dislike dresses. It’s not the garments themselves, it’s the stilted shoes that go with them, the pantyhose that bind at the waist and twist in your crotch. I own just one, a sleeveless summer frock I wear only when the temperature is high and my legs are tan, eliminating the need for hose.

So it is out of desperation that one Sunday afternoon I am in my favorite store making my way over to the dress rack. I’ve come in search of black silk slacks to go with the gold shirt I plan to wear to an upcoming gala, a museum opening in D.C. sponsored by a client. An earlier call to the sponsor’s assistant yielded two dreaded words: “cocktail attire.” What does that mean exactly? I had to look it up. “Dresses are advised,” I read. “Slacks are acceptable, but not in any fabric seen in the office. Never wear a business suit.” Alas, in September, as the trusted saleswoman informs me now, black silk slacks are not yet in stock.…

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