It’s when you find out who your friends are.
First, a friend takes me to the most likely shops one after the other, ignoring ploys to distract her and circumventing my attempts to do a bunk, standing outside a series of changing rooms with inexhaustible patience. We are on a quest for A Dress. I must like it, it must like me, and I have to be able to afford it. When we finally buy A Dress, she circumvents a few more escape bids while we find A Little Jacket and the Matching Shoes.
On the next shopping expedition I am alone. I dither about the Bag, wishing for an advisor, and come home with three bags (luckily all cheap so I don’t have to curse too much). Thank Heaven I am not the bride’s mother or near kin, and needn’t find a Hat.
Next another woman stands by at home, putting her head on one side, and then on the other, while I try every conceivable combination of Dress, Jacket, not-Jacket, Matching Shoes and not-matching shoes, all three bags plus one I found in the back of the wardrobe, and every bit of tinpot jewellery in my possession. (It turned out to be pearls – how conventional.) After this session we finally have An Outfit.
I then take advice again, and have a final (private) session deciding what to put under the Outfit. I’m saying nothing.
Thus I turned out yesterday trusting that I would be reasonably warm if the day was cool; reasonably cool if the day was hot; decently covered from all likely angles; not look as if I was competing with the bride’s mother; would be able to walk; not look like mutton dressed as lamb, or like the poor relation; and would not resemble Postman Pat’s van or (worse) the recently dead, owing to unfortunate colour choices.
Thank you, ladies. I owe you much.