The Morning After

Mr. Blandings and I had the pleasure of attending one of Kansas City’s most lovely fundraisers Saturday night.  A benefit for the Kansas City Symphony and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, the Ball is held in the Gallery and it is nothing short of spectacular.  The space itself is majestic and the artful arrangement of boatloads of flowers by Bob Trapp and Kenneth Sherman make it a fantasy land.  

You might remember that a while back I was mulling over what to wear.  I had ordered a dress and kept trying it on, fussing with this and that.  It just didn’t seem to be the thing.  But then again, no one is particularly looking at me except Mr. Blandings.  When I tried it on for him, he diverted his eyes from the T.V. briefly and said, “Honey, really, I think it’s fine.”  As you might expect, “fine” was not exactly what I was after.  “Fine” was, in fact, the kiss of death.
The only problem was finding a better than “fine” replacement in time.  I circled back around to the Brooks Brother’s skirt.  The women here were lovely and had it sent for me to try.  While the color and shape were not buzz-worthy, I loved it.  A new white blouse (oh, how this is a weakness; I have a dozen, but adore them on the initial wearing) and a few alterations and I was out the door.  The manager who helped me when the skirt came in totally got me.  The blouse needed a slimmer fit.  Tie instead of tuck.  Yes, she agreed, collar and sleeves up.  A woman in the fitting room blinked and said, “For that party I prefer to stick with black.”  Yes. Fine.  Another observer noted, “It’s cute!  Don’t some people really dress up?”  Needless to say, these women were not getting me.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time.  The next day was a dose of a reality.  Cinderella Kansas City style.  Sunday is laundry day at the dream house, so we started off with gathering and sorting.  I’d neglected quite a lot of things in the Spring and my housekeeping was one.  Once the first load was in I started editing the wardrobes of boys 1, 2 and 3.  T-shirts and jerseys multiply like rabbits in their dressers and they need to be thinned out about twice a year.  While I sorted and begged the boys to focus, Mr. Blandings went down (to the scary basement) to switch the laundry.  When he came back up he had a sheepish request.
“Honey?  I don’t want this to be a thing.  I mean, don’t take it personally, but I think you might need some new underwear.  Like today.”  Cinderella looked up from the piles of nylon jerseys.  The blue birds momentarily ceased singing; the mice paused their merry dance.  “What?”  “Well, it’s just…I mean they are basically threadbare.”  
Shamefully, I knew this to be true.  When you hate shopping, you really hate shopping for things like undergarments.  In Mr. Blandings’s defense, he was not fishing for fishnet.  He’s long past hoping for something racy and raucous.  It was more like your mother and the accident thing.  So off I went.  To reconfirm that I hate shopping.
Brooks Brothers and Hall’s is one thing.  The Gap and Victoria’s Secret are quite another.  Loud.  (Oh my heavens I am so old and grouchy.  Why must it be so loud?) And messy.  These stores make me blanch when I walk through the door.  The indifferent, unmotivated teen-aged sales girls don’t help and I mean that literally.

After very little success I headed back to the car.  My route took me past Barnes and Noble, and while I usually buy my books at Rainy Day, they are not open on Sunday and I thought it might be just the thing to calm my nerves.  

As it turns out, it’s only clothes shopping that is so painful.  My arms heavy with design books and the new World of Interiors I headed home.  As I came through the door my darling husband inquired, “Any luck?”  Absolutely.  A complete success.

This image is a bonus.  I’ve had this open on my desk for a week.  House & Garden, 2000, from The Well-Lived Life.  Photography by  Dana Gallagher.  The rose is the “Sonia Rykiel.”

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25 thoughts on “The Morning After

  1. Love the details in this post. you crack me up. i agree 100% on white button downs and The Well-Lived Life!

  2. Oh, I think your choice of attire was perfection! Very Katharine Hepburn/Philadelpia Story-ish! Beautiful!

  3. LOL- glad you left the condition of the undergarments up to our imagination. I was afraid as I scrolled down that I might, just might see something totally tattered, threadbare and “just fine.”
    You are a woman after my own-fruit-of- the- loom.

  4. Love your writing!!!!!! This post is soooooooo real to all us mom’s. I think Mr. Blandings is a treasure. How did he like the final outfit? So very chic!

  5. Cinderella, I am sure you looked lovely at the Ball! I love white blouses as well. Pefect with the Striped skirt.Try Soma for lingerie. (Chicos sister store)Comfy, yet very pretty panties and camis, lounge around wear etc.

  6. I’m so glad you stuck with your signature look — the white blouse, Chinese turquoise and long skirt. You should be photographed in that, in your dreamhouse garden, for future publicity.

  7. Wonderful choices — classic, sexy and very Charlotte Moss! As for undies — check out Nordstroms online — very nice items! Look for brand names like Wacoal …..

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  8. Thanks to everybody on such supportive feedback. Patricia, rest assured, no unslightly underwear pics will appear here. Too embarrassing.

    Anon. – Thanks for asking, Mr. B found it much better than “fine.”

    And, Courtney, this is a fabulous idea! Then I could use it in the carpool line instead of my number. Wouldn’t that give the mommies something to talk about. 🙂

  9. I am intrigued..what are the titles of the new books. The cover on the second one looks interesting.

  10. So Chic, Glamorous Lives, Stylish Spaces by Margaret Russell and the editors at Elle Decor – which I have been meaning to pick up for a while, but always seems to be out of stock. The purchase of this book is allowing me to throw away a fistful of tearsheets from my file.

    Perfect Neutrals, Color You Can Live With by Stephanie Hoppen, which was recommended by a friend and is a fabulous study of color – not neutral in the way you usually think, i.e. beige, but all colors. It’s quite good.

  11. Patricia- I think your outfit looks gorgeous in the photo above, and I’m sure it looked even better on you! And to those women who didn’t understand the look- don’t you remember that great photo of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy at a formal event- she was wearing a white button down shirt with a fabulous, formal skirt. Elegant, chic, and simple!

  12. Does mr. blanding have a younger brother we can introduce to my 25-year old daughter? He certainly has some “great catch” genes goin’ on!

  13. Hello! I popped over here from Pamela Terry’s place. I used to live in Kansas City and miss it dearly!! We lived in a comfy old bungalow south of the plaza. There was always so many charming things to do there. I am envious.

  14. I thought I was the only one who hated modern day underwear buying. Why can’t there be a beautiful salon…all white on white…with sales assistants that care. I’m thinking the shop in ” the Palm Beach Story” where Claudette Colbert choose an entire wardrobe with Rudy Vallee picking up the tab. dream…

  15. Meg – yes, Charlotte Moss wears this look very well!

    Jennifer – I do remember that shot – I love the look, even if not everyone “gets it.” Thanks for the reassurance.

    Anon – sadly, no brother. He’s the youngest of four – three older sisters – do you think that could be the reason?

    Willow – people who have been here always seem to love it; maybe you’ll have a chance to drop back in soon.

    lynnqweeny – yes, yes, yes! That is just what we need! Not gum-popping salesgirls and ear-piercing bass.

  16. Great look…coincidentally right after reading your post, was flipping through March-April issue of Southern Accents…on p.155 a photo of Atlanta designer Suzanne Kasler in similar ensemble, but with French cuffs. I like your rolled-up sleeves. Your look bespeaks fashion confidence!

  17. After reading your blog for sometime I just had to write to say greatjob and thank you! I know I would rather be out shopping for antiques any old day then shopping for clothes. Oh, I love Brooks Broth though!

  18. Very elegant indeed Mrs B, love that look! And I love that you had the courage to tell the world about your threadbare undergarments. I must admit it’s not my favorite thing to purchase either!

  19. Was a long time retailer… I totally agree…What HAS happened to these stores?? and WHY are they so loud??… You should stop in Ambercrombie…the loud music and perfume/cologne will knock you for a loop!!!!! Great post and your choice of attire was fresh and elegant~

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