Last Saturday my company held its annual Holiday Party. I splurged on a salon-made updo, just as I had the previous year. This hair sortie was not inexpensive, as my venue of choice sits inside the San Francisco Four Seasons, and is priced as you’d expect. This year I also had my nails painted. I couldn’t help but wonder, was it worth the $143, after tip?
Well let’s deconstruct. Those of you with no patience for financial analysis can jump straight to a discussion of whether the the choice of messy updo was correct.
Here’s the thing. In San Francisco, few of us can justify fancy clothes since the city, apart from a small socialite crowd, dresses down. But I can never resist celebrating the holidays with a new party look. The years I hold back I always feel a small, silly, disappointment. What to do?
Invest wisely. Friday’s outfit relied on a low/high retail mix, and previous classic buys. Let me count the savings. Literally.
#1. A new gold Restrain skirt, from All Saints, cost $275. But the thing is industrial-strength stretchy, so I could go without squeezewear of any sort.
#2. The evening was warm enough that bare legs felt fine and no one-night-only stockings were tossed into the garbage in the wee hours.
#3. I owned all the jewelry already. Gold bangles bought when I returned from India, and yearned to recall the trip, family bracelet I usually hope people will think is fake unless I decide they will enjoy its audacity, ancient gold hoops.
#4. Shoes were pre-bought too, 2 year old Louboutin Simple 70s.
(Yes, these savings are somewhat tongue-in-cheek. How many of us find “savings” for discretionary purchases?)
#5 with extra points for well-nigh negative cost-per-wear. I bought a new shirt, a woven black button front from Old Navy for $25. That I expect to wear to work sooner rather than later.
Collar popped for Carolina.
#6. No new makeup. The look relied on a bright lip, created with a mix of 2-year old Medieval Queen layered over a Sephora private label in bright red that I bought 8 years ago. Hmm. I should probably throw out some of my old makeup. You think?
Possible But Not Guaranteed #7. Reuse. I might wear the skirt again for New Year’s Eve, this time with this white shirt. If so, I’d have to spend $50 for inexpensive gold sandals. So be it. Hair worn down in that case, as the outfit would be all about silver threads amongst the gold. Or I might just give the skirt to my daughter. Adult girl children who fit one’s clothing are a great help in purchase justification.
The night remains in the face of numbers, Sturdies always have to do the analysis.
The only sunk costs, as we say, were in hair and nails. But since the value of the evening was ephemeral, the investment correctly reflects what I was paying for. One night only. Be-spangled. Clutching one’s Significant Other’s suited arm to prevent high heel wobble, or staring across the floor at future Significant Other to catch his or her eye.
BTW, the Plebian Top, Footlights Skirt is not my idea. Sturdies don’t come up with new fashion, we just execute the heck out of good ideas. Sharon Stone did it here and here. Carolina Herrera does it all the time. And Miss Cavendish explores a similar, but more adventurous strategy, here.
Go out my friends and have some fun. Big-haired if you please. Even in our 50s we have the right.
I found sequins on the floor Saturday morning.