It’s a Friday night in December, and you’re home alone (again), which is hopefully endemic of COVID-19 and not the new normal. Maybe it’s just me? I’m curled into the sofa wearing my pandemic best; oversized sweats, fuzzy socks and a hairdo that is unintentionally Cindy-Lou Who after a wild night out – suggestive of the idea that even Cindy Lou has a better social life than me.
Tucked next to me on the sofa-bed-dining-office-lounger are Tula and Milo, my caninecompanions turned COVID cuddle buddies-coworkers-therapists. They have their own Hulu and Netflix profiles now. With a supersized bowl of half-eaten popcorn on my lap (which I had every intention of using to trim the tree), I pick up the remote and ask the pups if they’d rather watch Nine Perfect Strangers or another episode of Unexplained Mysteries. It’s a multifunctional cum dysfunctional new world, and we’ve adapted.
A sudden vibration from deep within the sofa signals I’m being contacted from the “outside,” and in a manner unbecoming even to the dogs, I frantically scratch and dig the cushions to unearth my phone. The bowl of popcorn topples, Milo growls, Tula jumps ship, and I inadvertently press one button or another on the remote simultaneously changing the channel and increasing the volume to a neighborhood-waking decibel. “I’ll have what she’s having” blares out for all the world to hear. I’m not even sure what that means anymore.
Extricating the phone from the depths of the upholstery I raise the device above my head as though it were the holy grail. I have a text! It’s a bona fide invitation to a bona fide party. But wait, in two hours? It reads, “Hey, sorry so last minute, I thought I added you to the group text last week (LOL, crazy-face emoji) but hope you can join us for our annual holiday party tonight at seven.”
I’ve officially become an afterthought but fearing the invitation will somehow self-destruct I reply quickly, “OMG YAY can’t wait, see you soon – thanks! (hugging face emoji, heart emoji, Santa emoji, dancing girl emoji)”. Though desperate to reclaim the part of myself that once was a festive style-diva ready to jingle at a moment’s jangle, my closet is full of too-small size 4 party dresses from the “before times,” and I haven’t gone to the gym, worn real clothes or fixed my hair in months. The only thing I’ve dressed is the tree…
I feverishly set about dismantling the Christmas tree to fashion myself an outfit. The 52 inch Nicole Miller tree skirt will do nicely on the bottom while a smaller 24 inch tree skirt makes the perfect over-the-shoulder wrap. The holiday wine bag and tumbler set make for an inspired purse and COVID-safe non-shared drinking vessel. While layering holiday décor like ribbons and ornaments with foundational pieces and existing accessories from my wardrobe, I wonder if I’ve inadvertently invented an entirely new category of apparel but before I begin envisioning myself as the wunderkind of next year’s fall-winter fashion week, I must get myself dressed and out the door in under an hour.
Still, it’s tempting to consider what I might name this potentially CFDA award-winning new fashion style, COVID-Festivus? Haute Home Goods? TJXmas? I jot them all down. The resulting look is fascinating but after a few spins in front of the mirror, visions of becoming fashions new wunderkind dissolve into the realization I may have instead become my eccentric Aunt Edna from Yonkers. I remind myself it takes courage to be at the cutting edge of style.
Anna Wintour has not weighed in, but early indicators (the dogs) are favorable noting messages of self-expression and feel-good optimism. The pair also note the full skirt is in keeping with the trend toward more fantastical, dramatic and regal looks for 2022. Milo is obsessed with the fringe, fun appliques and tassels. Tula is especially crushing on the big red hair bow.
Thankful for their nod of approval I give them each a treat and turn on “Beverly Hill Chihuahua” followed by “Legally Blonde” before leaving for my big night out.
Disclaimer: This story may or may not be fantastical, autobiographical, theatrical or true. Happy Holidays!
Get this look
•Must-have skirt: Nicole Miller Home 52” tree skirt, $39.99
•Must-have stole: Home Goods 24” tree skirt, $19.99
•Optional handbag: Wild Eye Designs Wine Bag & Tumbler Set, $19.99
•Optional COVID-safe personal drinking cup: Wild Eye Designs Mini Flask $9.99
•Use ribbon and ornaments to accessorize as needed.
Denise Stoughton of Denisebidesign.com writes the monthly Designer Monologues column for this newspaper.