The beau and I were invited to a "fancy dress" gathering at McClellan's Retreat
in the Dupont Circle area of DC this past weekend. The friends who invited us are in the steampunk and dandy circles, and with this establishment evoking the American Civil War era through decor and drink menu, we plotted new clothing choices for the beau beyond his British military tunic. We settled upon a suit jacket and slacks, but he needed a waistcoat with more flair than the subtle pinstripe and more formal than the garish plaid vests already in his collection. We decided that a trip to the thrift store was in order.
I was quickly derailed by finding a red puffy vest the likes of which I'd been coveting for months. And not far from the vest was a sharp little tweed-ish dress suit which fit me perfectly. Oh, yeah baby. So, with my "kills" in hand, I went in search of the beau.
He had not found any suitable waistcoats in his size (only smalls and extra-extra larges), but he did discover TWO tuxedo jackets. I preferred the one with curved lapels and, happily, it fit him like a dream. He wondered if there might be a tuxedo shirt lurking about and I set to examining all of the white button-downs in his size. The sixth shirt I located was an honest-to-goodness tuxedo shirt with French cuffs and no buttons. Happily, it also fit! The beau did not own cuff links and wondered where we could find some on the cheap; I suggested the jewelry counter. He called me brilliant, kissed the top of my head, and grabbed me by the wrist to race over to the where we found both white and black cuff links. Oh, he also found an AMAZING full-length, wool dress coat (another item missing from his wardrobe). He walked out of the thrift store with a tuxedo jacket, tuxedo shirt, wool coat, and two sets of cuff links for about $60. (My suit and vest cost me just under $30.)
With a quarter of a yard of silky paisley material fashioned into cravat and one of my earrings as the pin, plus the tux shirt, pinstripe waistcoat, tux jacket, dark pants, shiny black shoes, top hat, and dress coat, the beau looked like a rail baron. Oh my goodness, but I am soooo disappointed that I did not snap a photo of him. Myself, I donned a black and gold brocade bustled jacket, maroon walking skirt, the semi-appropriate underpinnings, and a wool and shearling cape which belonged to my grandmother. We made quite the pair on the metro and had a few people ask where we were going. At one of the stations, I heard a group of guys blurt out, "I didn't know 'Gangs of New York' was in town!"
Due to all the track work on every single metro line, we were about an hour late arriving, but we quickly found our friends and discovered that they were in modern "fancy dress" and some of their friends considered "fancy dress" to be a tie over a button-down and jeans.
Oh well. We looked fabulous and quickly settled in to getting acquainted with the assembled crowd, making all sorts of new connections, and getting cozy with ACW-era drinks. I had two Sherry Cobblers, which were delicious, and two Sangarees, which were AMAZING while the beau got cozy with a gorgeous port. I've got to redact that Sangaree recipe because I need lots more of it in my mouth even if it did make me a bit of a careless drunk resulting in the loss of my Smart Card while transferring trains at Metro Center. (Funny story: We raced back up to the red line platform to look for my card, but it wasn't to be found. I sorted through my purse when we got back to the blue/orange/silver line platform and then realized that I'd lost my gloves WHICH I'D JUST REMOVED to dig through my purse. The beau gamely returned to the red line platform and located my gloves. I nearly burst into tears from embarrassment, but he sweetly patted my hand.) Don't tell anybody, but I gate-jumped to exit the Reston metro station (okay, I followed the beau quickly through the handicapped gate) but only because there wasn't a station operator at the desk nor did anyone answer the intercom-pager thingy at the desk.
It was quite the day of lucky thrift finds, delicious drink, transit hijinks, and camaraderie, and I think I'm still recovering from all that fun.