The High WASP aesthetic is not homogeneous. We allow for individual expression. Hence our style archetypes, the Grande Dame, the Sturdy Gal, the Artsy Cousin. The aesthetic is neither proprietary nor immutable. Anyone can do it if they like. I say so.
She wears her LBD to the Garden Center Board dinner. Pulls out the family pearls. Vaguely annoyed by the frivolous supporting diamonds, but not enough to go shopping. She dreads shopping. If her sister doesn’t call to check, she will wear her flats, even though, being leather, they are unsuitable. Caught, she will bow her head and wear satin pumps. No heels over 2 inches, however, no matter what gets said. Or by whom. Leopard cardigan, matching clutch. Who says sturdy limits our fun?.
She may mutter under her breath about the demise of long dresses on the West Coast for anything except Opening Night at the Opera. Or Hollywood rigmarole. “These awards,” she might say. “Good lord, when will they stop with all these awards? The next thing you know we will be awarding people for taking out the garbage.”
I digress. The Grande Dame wears bling. She finds it appalling, that term, bling. But, in the language of the day, it’s bling. And the Grande Dame, who likes to shop, who has a personal shopper at Saks, and another one at that boutique (you know the one), she wears au courant shoes. Nude shoes. Take that Vanessa Williams, Chloe Sevigne, Sienna Miller.
Ha! For the Grande Dame, the little black dress is only a starting place. But, fortunately or unfortunately, her deeply ingrained culture will constrain her to the world of the appropriate. Nude shoes, diamonds, outre jackets, and all.
The perfect chance to untangle all her Indian jewelry and hang it from ears and neck. Even if the little black dress is something her mother gave her. And the jewels might have been affixed to her clutch in some non-righteous workshop. But it’s all for a good cause. Many things are burning in this world..