Say No to the Dress

“Can we just go like this?” my husband jokes.

Rich and I sit on the couch in sweatpants, although I know I’ll be donning a dress for his holiday party since the CEO’s wife probably shouldn’t model joggers while the other women sport (see what I did there?) fancy ensembles.

“Sure!” Then I pretend I’m Lesley Gore, and sing “It’s your party, you can wear what you want to!” only I can’t carry a tune so I sound nothing like her, although that’s beside the point.

Rich looks mildly concerned about my enthusiasm for wearing sweats to his semi-formal, so I head upstairs to choose between my only two cocktail dresses because I got the memo about the white and silver theme too late so now I have to work within the limitations of my closet and its lack of sophisticated outfits.

I select the clingy black and beige dress instead of the clingy pastel dress because it’s February and what even is spring? I know what you’re thinking: What kind of company hosts a holiday party in FEBRUARY? It’s a fair question. But not-around-the-holidays parties cost less and if you’re a small start-up company with a relatively tight budget, you can have a better bash for fewer dollars. It’s math.

However, this arithmetic fails to factor in that it’s WAY colder in Boston in February than December, and nobody should have to wear a dress in FEBRUARY, especially people with California blood, like me.

But whatever, I shimmy into the dress after covering my legs with the thinnest layer of nylon because apparel etiquette demands pantyhose, clearly a ploy by the same guy who decided women’s clothing shouldn’t have pockets, although I’ll admit the control top aspect might come in handy after I eat too many hors d’oeuvres.

I spend ten minutes searching for my two-inch rubber-soled sandals because I’ve already compromised enough with my attire so I figure my feet deserve to be comfortable. But apparently those shoes have vanished from my closet. I spy the four-inch heels I previously dismissed, the ones that look amazing with my dress. Relenting, I strap them to my protesting feet.

The venue, Moakly Courthouse, sits adjacent to the water in South Boston. Our route to the suggested parking garage doesn’t pass by the entrance, so when we exit the garage on foot, we face the side of the building, which spans an entire city block. We walk to the right, looking for entry.

Shivering, I pull my coat tight against the frigid air, to no avail. We round the corner onto a heel-incompatible brick pathway covered in rock salt. I see the harbor now; the offshore wind adds an additional bitter edge to the already sub-zero temperature. We arrive at the back entrance only to find it closed, the party tauntingly visible through the windows one story up. My feet turn numb; we continue around the building at my burdened pace.

Finally, we arrive at the main entrance and slip inside, narrowly escaping death by hypothermia, although I’m not yet convinced that my toes won’t need amputating due to severe frostbite. The courthouse, even when closed, maintains airport-level security, I guess because people who work at a company developing life-saving cancer therapeutics might sneak a bomb into a federal building, when given the chance. You never know. I step through the metal detector, which beeps in protest.

“It’s your shoes,” the guard explains.

“Do I need to take them off?” I still can’t feel my feet, but I smile sweetly. Or maybe I shoot daggers from my eyes. Under the circumstances, it’s hard for me to tell. Either way, the nice man waves me along.

The Atrium boasts a breathtaking panoramic view of Boston Harbor through its floor-to-ceiling windows. I notice for the first time that multiple harborside buildings glow red, white, and blue, a nod to the Patriots, who play in the Super Bowl tomorrow. Inside, white and silver decor transforms the space into a winter wonderland. Food and beverages abound, a DJ takes requests. I spy a photo booth in the corner.

Whoever planned this party thought of everything.

Except foot warmers. To be fair though, who could have known that people might circumnavigate the building for twenty minutes just trying to get in?

Why yes, that’s Tom Brady! He came stag, probably because Gisele refused to wear a dress in February.


5 Responses to “Say No to the Dress”

  1. Jamie MilesFebruary 7, 2018 at 4:20 pm #

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with what to wear — for dressy events — this time of year. Y’all look very cute and festive. I like the idea of a off season office holiday party. A spark in the dull long night of winter.

    • StacieFebruary 7, 2018 at 6:19 pm #

      It’s just so hard to be cold! But you’re right, it’s a nice festivity, once motivated to leave the house.

  2. Donna-Louise BishopFebruary 8, 2018 at 4:29 am #

    “Relenting, I strap them to my protesting feet.”

    If feet could talk…

    This was a great essay and very relatable. We’ve all been there and every time I still ask “why do I do this to myself?”

    I also liked the use of the photos!

  3. Shailaja VishwanathFebruary 8, 2018 at 11:24 am #

    I found myself chuckling and sympathising with you simultaneously! How did you do that? Hope the feet and other appendages are frost free now, Stacie. You look cute in the pictures!

  4. Michelle HFebruary 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm #

    Oh, your poor feet! I felt you with “Relenting, I strap them to my protesting feet.” I swear my feet hurt even looking at heels these days. And I used to wear them constantly. And the bare (pantyhose does NOT count) legs in the cold… I’m going to go find a blanket to wrap up in. Hope you’ve warmed up!

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