In high school, I was part of the band. In 1998, I could give you a pretty awesome flute rendition of "Forever in Blue Jeans". Don't ask me to play now, I haven't picked it up for at least 10 years. This bodes badly for my mom who recently told me she wants me to play it at her funeral. Luckily, she's young, and I have 50 or so years to practice. She didn't tell me a song, so she'll probably get "Forever in Blue Jeans" too.
Anyway, as part of my band adventures, we had to play at concerts. I think high school band concerts are mostly an effort to 1. Convince our parents their $400+ instrument investment was worth it, and 2. Trick us into wearing dress clothes on days we shouldn't have to wear them at all. One cold night in February, I made my way from the band room to the auditorium for a concert. It was February in Utah, so frigid is an understatement. I was wearing my concert black attire which included a skirt. Under the skirt, I was wearing a slip. As I walked across the asphalt to the auditorium with a group of other band members, the sharp breeze nipped at my legs. I pulled my coat around myself and kept walking. After a few minutes, it suddenly got a lot warmer.
Strange, I thought. The wind must have died down.
No. That wasn't it. My curly Carrie Bradshaw-like hair was still whipping my face with solid slaps.
But my legs were so warm. Why would that be?
I had my answer as I started to trip. I looked down, and saw a bit of crumpled fabric on the ground. My slip had fallen straight to the asphalt. Face hot with embarrassment, I checked to make sure my skirt was still up--luckily, it was--then stepped out of the pool of fabric on the ground. I discreetly bent down, picked up the slip, shoved it in the arm of my coat, checked for witnesses, blew out a relieved breath when there weren't any, and I never told a soul. I vowed to do my best to never to have a wardrobe malfunction again.
...Then I got invited to a black tie dinner with my husband. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was the keynote speaker.
In my defense, I've barely remembered to brush my hair because I've been working like mad on revisions. So, I didn't really think about the dinner, or my outfit until the night before the event. There was a moment of panic about what I'd wear, then I remembered a fancy black skirt. Yeah, the skirt was a couple of years old, but it was formal. It would work. I decided I'd pair it with a lacy white shirt and black jacket. I had a teeny, tiny moment where I thought, hmm...I haven't worn that for awhile I hope it fits, but then I had a great idea for the scene I was working on and went right back to that.
The day of the event, I realized I didn't own a pair of panty hose. In the hose aisle of Target, I got this text from my husband: Does black tie mean I actually need a black tie?
See, I wasn't the only one unprepared. Using my vast knowledge of all things etiquette (read: I watch a lot of Hollywood awards shows and the fashion critiques after), I
explained that while "black tie" used to mean tuxedo, he could get away
with a really nice suit, and while his tie with smiling soccer balls on it was out of the question, the dark purple satin tie he wore to our wedding would work just fine. He
still bought a black one on the way home from work just to be safe.
Tie crisis averted, I grabbed a pair of panty hose, went home, and attempted to get dressed. The key word there is "attempt." First, as I pulled the panty hose up, they ripped. I kid you not. I haven't worn panty hose in a VERY long time, but nylons are not made like they used to be. So, I grabbed some nail polish to try and fix the hose crater on my thigh. With that emergency managed, I slipped on my skirt, zipped it, and watched it fall down. What the...??? I picked it up. It fell again. Thanks to Jillian Michaels' commitment to kill me 5-6 days a week, the skirt I thought would be kept up by my hips, wasn't. My husband stared at me, the skirt, and me again. Then the conversation went like this:
Husband: "That's a problem."
Me: "You think?"
Husband: "Can you pin it to something?"
Me: "Like what?" I asked, frantically throwing things around in the drawer where the safety pins should be, "My bra?" Pause. Deep breath. "And we're out of safety pins."
Husband, in a very helpful tone: "But we have paper clips!"
Yes, nice to meet you, Mr. Bezos. I'm sorry, did a paper clip just fall off my skirt and hit your shoe? Do you sell safety pins on Amazon?
At that point, we were already running late. No time to go shopping for a new dress. And my only other option was my baby blue, 15 year old prom dress. That seemed like an excellent way to make a bold, bad, statement. With some pretty impressive skirt MacGyvering, I was able to keep the skirt up with a belt. I covered the bunches it made with a shirt that went over the skirt, and had a band around the bottom that would help hold the skirt in place. My jacket also helped cover most of the waistline disaster. But, remembering my past band concert slip adventure, I made sure to kept one hand on the skirt all night.
Wardrobe malfunctions aside, the night was definitely inspiring, and I really enjoyed listening to Jeff Bezos. I didn't realize Amazon had started as an online bookstore. The host of the event asked a lot of questions about ebooks and print books. Jeff said Amazon was trying to sell ebooks for years, but no one wanted them because people didn't want to read on a computer. So, Amazon decided, hey, let's make a device people will want to read on, and make it easy for them to publish their books. The Kindle was born, and ebooks and publishing changed forever. He said people read four times as many books in the year after buying a Kindle than in the year before buying a Kindle. He was also asked if he thought ebooks were a threat to physical books. His answer was really interesting. He said he didn't think physical books would ever go away, but he thinks in the future they'll be used differently. He compared it to horses, saying we still like horses, but we don't commute on them. The thing I really took away from the speech was that people change, technology changes, and Amazon succeeds by listening to their customers.
And next time, I'll remember to try my outfit on BEFORE the event.