In preparation for the glorious New Year's Eve party event, Mr A and I thought we had better have a bit of a practice with the clothes, what with it being Black Tie and everything. Good thing that we did - Mr A's dress shirt (which he must have worn last for the Millennium party we went to) turns out to need studs rather than buttons, and was a bit grubby around the collar. His trousers came nowhere near to being done up, with probably a three inch gap at the waistband (again, last worn around the turn of 1999). The jacket was passable, although a little tight under the arms.
My planned outfit didn't work at all - I need to lose an inch from my bust and waist. A standby plan was brought into effect, which was fine, and I even found the watch I'd been looking for for ages, inside my 'best' shoes (the ones that Lola II found for me in the charity shop). These best shoes are the only ones I have with heels, but are not in the least glamorous, and have rubber soles that make dancing a bit sticky, but it's those or walking boots (or sandals, slippers, flip flops or wellingtons). I went with the unglamorous but comfortable shoes.
Mr A sallied forth to investigate the world of charity shops, and returned with a pair of neat black trousers for £5 and news that a set of studs in the gentlemen's outfitters cost a fortune, and double that for cufflinks as well. I can't imagine how he has ever worn this shirt before, given that I have never seen cufflinks among his belongings and I don't even know what shirt studs look like.
After some discussion and investigation of my sewing bag, he ventured out into town once more. At the ethnic haberdashery he bought eight buttons which he proceeded to sew together to make four very attractive studs. He looked good to go: the shirt and tie were laundered, we had means of fastening front and cuffs, trousers ironed. The cobwebs and Millennium mud had been brushed from the patent leather shoes (which also had not seen the light of day for 10 years) and cleaned with Windolene - don't ask me why, but Mr A chose it in preference to shoe polish.
We thought it would be a good idea to assemble all the features of the shirt in situ, and again it turned out to be worth doing. The home-made studs and heritage cufflinks (retrieved temporarily from the family treasure) were fine, but we hadn't tried doing the shirt up before, and had overlooked the possibility that Mr A's neck no longer fitted the collar. I was called upon to move the button, but it still placed considerable stress on the Adam's apple. What a performance this was turning out to be. It had better be a good party.
The last hurdle placed before us was the tying of the bow-tie, which was overlooked in the previous dry runs and was only attempted in the last minutes of the lead-up to leaving the house. I had assumed that the clip-on version would do, but no, the dress shirt has a sticky-up collar that requires proper tying. After several attempts, I managed to produce something that bore a passing resemblance to a proper tied bow-tie. We were ready to roll.
If I can get around to it, I'll blog about the party itself. If I can't be bothered, then I should just mention here that it was a fantastic night. Here's to 2010!