Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ALA, Post Three: That Dress (Contains a photo!)

Warning: highly superficial post ahead.

If you met me at ALA, you met the ALA version of myself. The Bristol version of myself wears yoga pants or riding tights; the ALA version wears dresses. Bristol version: Dansko clogs. ALA version: high heels until I wrecked a heel on the escalator and gave up and wore my Wonder Woman Chuck Taylor hi-tops. (I passionately adore my WWCTHTs. But I can't wear them around the farm: they're white canvas.) Bristol version: scrubbed, possibly sweaty. ALA version: makeup. ALA version: Spanx. Bristol version: not.

This is partially because I want to present a professional and pulled-together public face, and partially because I don't get big excuses to dress up very often. If you read this blog--and at ALA I met a number of you who do--you already read the four-part saga that was my ultimately successful quest for the perfect Newbery Banquet ball gown. I'm here to tell you now, it was absolutely a success.

Please understand that the dress code for the Newbery banquet is pretty much whatever you want it to be. Betsy Byrd made a dress out of old cards from a library card catalog. Vicki Jamieson, one of my partners in crime, who also took to social media to describe her dress shopping experience, wore a lovely print frock that looked exactly right on her. Ekua Holmes had a regal floor-length dress with a tie-dyed edging (if you think "regal" and "tie-dye" can't coexist, you're simply incorrect). Sophie Blackall went with black lace. Pam Ryan wore a wide full skirt with a beautiful fuschia sash.

I loved putting on my dress. I loved every moment of wearing it. I hated the shoes, on the other hand, with a passion that increased every moment they were on my feet. Which was not very long. If you were at the banquet (a thousand people sat down to dinner; more came just to hear the speeches) you saw me walk up the steps to the stage (dress sparkling in the spotlight, murmur of approval rising from the crowd), shake hands with the Newbery committee chair, pose for a photo, and walk back down. Immediately thereafter I removed my shoes. One of the great things about wearing a floor-length dress is that no one realized I was barefoot for the receiving line.

I am not a glamorous person. I don't have a glamorous shape. I don't actually aspire to glamour. But for one night I wanted to be beautiful in a long sparkly dress, and for one night I was. "If you chose that dress for yourself," one of my new friends said, "then I entirely trust your sense of fashion."

I have a sense of fashion! Who knew?

Note: the photo was taken at home, this afternoon, without benefit of makeup, fancy hair, jewelry, or Spanx.