Wednesday, 27 April 2011

bar mitzvah

Something bad happens to English people when they have to dress up. (I'm purposely not mentioning the horrorshow that is on Friday, but I'm sure there'll be some rare sights on offer.)

I include myself in this. I love clothes (if not fashion) and never get anxious about looking right, but when it comes to dressing up for a formal occasion my brain locks up and the whole thing gets too much. Spaniards look cool and classy when they dress up. They just up the ante a little bit and glide smoothly from every day into formal wear. But us poor English women go mad. We tend to look like we've been forced into drag at gunpoint and made to wear mental foliage on our heads too. Look at Ascot, or any wedding you've ever been to. Everybody just looks dead uncomfortable. You just know we'd rather be in our jeans & cardis, covered in cat hair.

All which is to say, I have to venture into what is known as Occasion Wear soon. Number 1 Nephew is having a bar mitzvah (absolutely his choice, I think he liked the idea of a big party and fuss rather than any serious religious leanings.)

I can't find a dress. This summer is all about the maxi (I refuse to go as Demis Roussos to my nephew's bar mitzvah) or is short-short (don't have the legs for it) or is CRAZY EXPENSIVE. £150 is clearly the new £50. Even so I nearly bought this one - I love it, and it's not too saucy that it will offend the rabbi - but it's still too short for me. Curse my baby elephant's legs.


  1. Yes love those Birtwell dresses* and they are much too short, whatever the legs (proportion, people). I wandered into a section of a Jaeger stall recently and thought I was looking at a range for little girls - baby dresses; nope, women, albeit young, are supposed to wear them.
    *Liked a couple of Avoca ones, but again too short. We've both been in John Lewis?

  2. Wear a burqa. That'll liven things up.

  3. Dude. I've seen you. You do not have heavy legs. And even if you did, that's not short. Buy eeeet!

    Actually, I don't get too fussed about smart. What I cannot wrap my head round is 'smart casual'. Which is probably why I've worn jeans every day this year (although I did change out of them for the funeral).

  4. same deal with Irish people. i stick to vintage styles, big skirts with crinolines, and thus end up looking more fancy dress than dressed fancy. fuck it, it suits me.

  5. Arabella, I like Avoca, hadn't seen it before. Just been online shopping, I'll shop on Friday. I did find the perfect dress - demure, pretty, etc in Jaeger except it was £400, FFS.

    Tim, I'd rather go dressed like a Vegas stripper, even in the synagogue, than ever don a burqa.

    Thank you GSE, you are kind. I love jeans. Sometimes when I look around on the tube, 99% of the people are wearing them. That's because they're great & suit everybody.

    Rosie, ha! Vintage is good, fancy dress too, Maybe I should hire a sexy lady pirate outfit, I saw them on Angels costume hire and quite liked the style.

  6. I'm going to the British embassy to watch "the wedding" on Friday. I have no idea what to wear. My wardrobe consists of things from H&M. You are absolutely right about English people and formal wear (well, beyond proper tweed and suits). Summer just makes it all much, much worse.

  7. How about a nice red, white and blue colour scheme? And a tiara...? Aaargh, it's all a nightmare...

  8. Am saving the red/white/blue/tiara/faux ermine for our anti-Royal Wedding party in the evening.

    Tell you what, I did try on a nice and cheap and unusual frock at H&M. It was short, and a sort of draped sack in silk, with what looked like handpainted flowers in dark blue on it. I normally can't wear artfully shapeless stuff, but this looked fine on me and was really striking. And about €30. Sort of thing that no one will believe came from H&M. Am v tempted to go back and buy it for no reason.

  9. GSE, or anyone,please help: what is 'smart-casual' in the UK? For years I've been doing Levis with a big turn-up and my best cowboy boots....

  10. You probably don't need reminding to ignore my mutterings about hem lines: the obsession with 'tea length' is mine alone and I shouldn't inflict it on others when it can be nurtured alone with paranoia and sherry - but just in case, this is that reminder.
    Successful shopping!

  11. That sounds lovely B - BUYITBUYIT.

    Don't ask me about smart casual Arabella, I just get a visual image of someone wearing jeans with a crease ironed down the front.

    No no, I'm with you on the tea length. I might start a campaign - LET TEA LENGTH BE KNEE LENGTH.

  12. I have a lovely knee-length stripey-but-muted sleeveless frock that I bought for a wedding. It's perfect - the problem is I haven't worn it since due to lack of occasions.