If only funny came in a wrap dress

By Mir
March 26, 2008

There aren’t words to adequately describe how completely ANNOYED I was when I dashed off yesterday’s post, and even as I wrote it I thought to myself that folks would probably suggest I take a nice hot bath or perhaps half a bottle of Xanax and go have some quiet time. But no, it turned into One Of Those Things where my extensive premeditation was “GAH!” and yet it turned out to be a piece that went over really well.

We’ll not discuss the times I slave over a piece of writing, convinced it’s marvelous, and the reaction is a resounding chorus of crickets chirping. It’s a Murphy’s Law application to writing for an audience, methinks.

And we’ll also not discuss the pressure (OH THE PRESSURE) of following up after such a post, when I know deep in my insecure little heart that whatever I say today will not be as amusing as yesterday. Alas.

It’s HARD being me, people.


Today’s dilemma: I’m going to be speaking at a conference next week, and so for the last month or so I have been plotting my wardrobe. This is a complicated business, because 80% of the reason I chose to work from home is so that I can consider myself “dressed up” when I’m wearing anything other than my pajamas. (Of the remaining 20%, 1% is because I wanted to be available for my children, and 19% is because being here alone means I can eat all the cookies and feign ignorance, later.)

Clearly, I need something business-like to wear on the day I speak. Good. Fine.

Clearly, I need something slightly-less-business-y but still appropriate for mingling amongst people for whom I may wish to work, on the other day of the conference. Good. Fine.

I was trucking right along, people. I have a new dress. I have new shoes. I picked out some things and felt reasonably confident that all was well.

Last week, someone contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to come do ANOTHER thing while I’m in New York, and I said yes. And after arrangements were made my very first thought was OHMYGODWHATAMIGOINGTOWEAR??

And I’m exactly the sort of dork who is now completely wrapped up in this, frozen with panic, because I have less than a week to figure it out and I’m guessing that jeans and a t-shirt and my favorite sneakers (the ones with the polka-dot laces) would probably not be appropriate. Ha.

So, um, I bought another pair of shoes. OBVIOUSLY.

And, uh, I bought some new pants, and a cute little swingy jacket.

No, they don’t actually go TOGETHER. But they were on sale….

Lord, I’m hopeless. Utterly hopeless.

Too bad I can’t take a post like yesterday’s and wear that and look instantly put together. I bet it would match my new shoes, even. I mean, OF COURSE IT WOULD.

I have to go back to my closet and stare at things, now.

[And in case you were wondering, I absolutely did lay down the smack on many of the items in yesterday’s post. This morning the children were assembled for breakfast by 6:45, as directed. We had a lovely, calm morning. And no one cared that I was wearing my bathrobe.]


  1. Megan

    Black trousers (oooh! Original), gorgeous shell of your choice (I know!) and nice cardigan. And yes, yes I do wear that every. single. time. Why? Because I don’t have to think. However, other question is whether the people at event A and job thingy B will also be at new activity C because if not…

    Oh, and good on you for the smack down. In my household such a thing lasts approximately 2.5 days.

  2. tori

    I have no advice because I don’t actually know how to dress like a grown up but I will think good thoughts for you anyway.

  3. All Adither

    Do you have Nordstrom down there? Nordstrom Narrative Department, I say. Only thing is, you have to close your eyes when checking the price tag. But not when you’re twirling in front of the three-way mirror. Make sure you look, then, to see what a fabulous figure you cut.

  4. All Adither

    Also, I don’t believe for one second that YOU ever hear crickets chirping.

  5. Melanie Marie

    I’m not supposed to wear my robe to the office?


  6. Mom24

    If I could hear you speak, I am absolutely sure I would not care one bit what you were wearing. You are an incredibly witty writer, I’m sure you will be a terrific and entertaining speaker. I also know you are very, very pretty. Good luck finding something though. This would send ice water cursing through my veins.

  7. daysgoby

    Call SUSAN! What are you waiting for??

  8. liz

    if you want to come over and go through my closet, you’re welcome to. i’m not sure if i have anything appropriate either, but it would be free. inappropriate but free. take your pick. ;)

  9. RuthWells

    I often (okay, always) prefer my own writing when it is spontaneous, not-thought-out, and subconsiously driven.

    As for the clothes, splurge and buy the perfect outfit at full price if you need to. You deserve it.

  10. daysgoby

    Uh, Friday Playdate Susan, not that (I’m sure) many of your OTHER readers named Susan wouldn’t have great advice as well….

  11. Jenn

    If I were in your position, I would buy a suit. Like a nice 3-piece suit from J Crew in a trendier cut and a 3-season fabric like wool crepe. Then all I’d have to do is keep it up-to-date with blouses or even a tee. And, of course, shoes. And I’d be done. But that’s me. I like to be done shopping.

  12. dad

    I don’t get it.

    You’re not worried about standing in front of a huge crowd of strangers who are expecting you to be amusing, nay brilliant , but you’re having a mini-anxiety attack because you haven’t resolved your outfit?

    I guess I should expect that from someone who in high school used to ignore homework and start a term paper by putting bond in the typewriter and just…type it…the night before it was due.

    I am again in awe.

  13. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Wait a minute–I’m supposed to get dressed before I leave the house in the morning? Oh.

  14. Aimee

    How are you at sewing? You could print out multiple copies of yesterday’s post on a flattering color of paper, stitch it together, and VOILA! Instant outfit. ;)

  15. Katie

    I bought the cutest swing jacket and have had a heck of a time finding a pair of pants to go with it. Men have it so easy, a dress shirt and tie. Add a sports jacket as necessary.

    Congrats on this morning’s better behavior. I probably need to do something like this but then I’d have to admit that I’m half the problem in the first place.

  16. saucygrrl

    @dad, yes, it *sounds* silly doesn’t it? But if you’re dressed to kill you’re almost bullet-proof, and sometimes it’s easier to deal with all the important stuff (like being brilliant) when the little stuff is far from your mind.

    Mir, I agree with Jenn, sometimes the more expensive J Crew is worth it. And did I mention they have free alterations for cardholders? Free! Tailored! Quick! It’s a marvelous thing, really.

  17. pinks & blues girls

    I work from home, too, so when I actually have to dress for an event/conference/meeting I am in a similar predicament. I’ve considered going nude on more than one occasion. Good luck with the outfit. I’m sure the audience at BlogHer will be focusing more on your energy and wit. :)

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

  18. Tammy

    Mir’s Dad, you are too funny.

    I agree with Jenn about getting a nice suit & then you only have to change the blouse/jewlery/shoes. Kinda the best of both worlds: you don’t have to think (much) about what to wear but you STILL get to buy shoes. What more could you ask for?

  19. Flea

    Don’t you have a friend nearby? Someone who will take you and your cute shoes shopping and assemble you? I always have to phone a friend if I want to dress to please (not to shock, watching people run from the room, eyes streaming and covered, hearing the screams reverberate around the now-empty room). Shopping is painful, but you can do it. Go Mir!

  20. Jenn

    Can I just say the last time I surfed J Crew’s suit selection was about 7 years ago. After I posted I stopped by and almost spit out my cocoa.

    Here’s the reason I stress over clothes in a situation like this. The clothes I can control. I have no control over the conference, the audience, or my knees and voice which get a noticeable wobble at the thought of speaking in public. But I have pretty much complete control over my wardrobe. And if I feel I look good, I’ll probably do good.

  21. DR

    Just be sure you’ve broken in the new shoes at least a bit. Otherwise your smile may become a grimace! As you might guess…written from experience.

    Since it’s after Easter, you should be able to find nice suits at a reasonable price.

    You also could pack something to fall back on “just in case” but go shopping while in New York if your schedule permits. Sometimes the “bestest” outfits are picked in a time crunch.

    Enjoy the trip!

  22. Crisanne

    Find a nice dress or skirt to wear with the swingy jacket thing. That way you don’t have to worry about holding in your tummy while you talk! (Or maybe that’s just me.) And you can wear it to church later.

  23. Sheila

    Hey, I know of this great site called WantNot that has awesome shopping advice…

  24. Heidi

    I feel for you because I.Hate.Shopping. Especially for clothes. Other things, not as much now that I’ve learned so much from you and can do it online from the privacy of my own home. In my pajamas.

    And make sure you get to stand behind a podium so you don’t have to worry about sucking your stomach in.

  25. MomCat

    Pretty Mir, no matter what you write, it’s great! Your blog is like chocolate – a daily dose of humor or poignancy or “Sure feels good to know other moms go through that, too!” It’s a calming ritual for me, even when I’m very busy.

    Now pull something cute out of your closet, put on those new shoes, and go break a leg! (In the theatrical sense…not literally)

  26. Headless Mom

    Ah the bathrobe. The perfect wrap/accessory for all days and all occasions. I (still) happen to be wearing mine as we speak!

    Unless you’re speaking in New York. Good luck with that.

  27. Jan

    I don’t get why the new clothes you bought for BlogHer can’t be reused for the ‘other thing’?

    And I ♥ it when your dad posts. I kind of want to call him up and invite him for brunch.

  28. pam

    I’ve been working from home for the past 5 months then my boss had the nerve last week to require me to go into an office! (ballsy I know!) Add to that I live in Florida and have to go to Michigan (ouchy!). It’s cold and I don’t have a warm coat. Let alone businessy clothes. I went shopping and when I unpacked at the hotel I went huh? I’m wearing the same style shirt and pants every.single.day. Uggg

  29. lindasands

    Oh honey, I so do this.. even though I’m just in the AUDIENCE. Also, the days you get tons of comments? It’s not that you are more witty than normal- it may be that we have more time to respond… because, you know, you’re always worth 81 comments to me.

  30. becky

    So, uh, have you placed an emergency call to Susan yet? *grin*

  31. elizabeth

    As a new yorker I recommend chic dark jeans with the slightest of whiskers and a black top and your choice of heels (not necessarily black). Put the swingy jacket on top and you are finished!!! Be sure the jeans are dark blue, not black. Unless there is dress code on the invitation, this is standard and acceptable.

  32. Cele

    Now I know what to blog about. For years I heard “people” say you need to build your wardrobe around specific pieces. Good idea, I began with black slacks, several pairs of black slacks, added a black blazer, some colored silk blouses, shells, and a sweater or two. A black skirt, no two black skirts. And when I got the wardrobe I’d always wanted, I gained 50 pounds.

    That is Murphy’s Law of accessorizing

  33. prophet

    ah. . . . the pressure.

    surely it’s producing something good. . . . somewhere?


  34. dorothy

    You have just made me completely paranoid about what I am going to wear next week. And I had not even thought about it once yet.


  35. Beth

    You do realize that we don’t expect you to “be as amusing as yesterday,” right? You write about life. That’s what we love about you. And life isn’t always amusing.

    As for the paranoia about what to wear? I hear you, sister! I always figure out what I’m going to wear for an interview before I start the actual content prep!

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