The Holidays. Yes, I mean ThanksgivingChristmasHanukahKwanzaNewYear'sEve. That one. Does the thought of entertaining at this time of year strike terror to your heart? There is nothing casual about holiday entertaining. One can't call up a bunch of friends for a spur of the moment get-together any time between November 22 and January 1. Everyone has Plans, and if you're thinking of a holiday party, chances are you're planning it already.
The last thing you are planning? What to wear. You know you will have to get out of the comfy slacks and ragged t-shirt you've been wearing all day while cooking. You know you owe it to your guests to make an Effort, but that anything fluffy and pretty will be ruined. An apron will be too Mad Men, even if it's a cute one from Anthropologie. What to wear? What would Laura Petrie do?
|Laura's parties looked like this|
|My parties never looked like this|
That's right— Laura Petrie, Dick Van Dyke's wife on the "Dick Van Dyke Show". His name on the show was Rob Petrie, but he was always Dick Van Dyke. Laura was played by Mary Tyler Moore, but (at the time at least) she was just Laura Petrie. Laura was always ready for company. Though we never saw her preparing, I suspect she didn't own ratty cooking clothes. Her style, reflecting the 1961-66 time period, was a cross between Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina and Jackie Kennedy. Hers wasn't a trend-setting character a la Marlo Thomas in "That Girl". Laura Petrie's style personified the idealized young American wife— the one I expected to morph into whenever I found that Prince.
I've yet to solve the what-to-wear-to-my-own-party dilemma. I almost can't remember anything. There have been a number of ruined silk shirts and a few sweat-drenched black turtlenecks. I do recall a floor-length plaid cotton jumper worn with a shrunken t-shirt that was a success— sweat-proof and washable and no worries about the shoes. Let's hope the parties themselves were more memorable.
There is a solution, but it will require some fast planning on your part— Halloween. Then you can go (or stay) as anything, maybe even Laura Petrie.