This morning, I happened to glance at an ad for fuzzy winter bedroom slippers and immediately, across the tableau of my memories, was this vivid recollection of one of life’s embarrassing moments. Keep in mind that I was very young at the time.
My boyfriend was traveling from a different direction and I was to meet him outside the train station so we could take the train into the city to do some shopping and see a play. In the old days, and living in a metropolitan area, men and women dressed very differently than they do today. Men wore suits, white shirts, and ties. Women wore girdles, stockings, and bras, although in those days bras and girdles were called foundations. Women also wore suits, high heels, hats, and gloves.
I mentioned that I was living in a metropolitan area at the time because there was a vast difference between the metropolitan dress code and the dress code that one would encounter in the suburbs. In the city, you couldn’t even get into a restaurant without being suitably attired.
I remember a story about Carol Channing, the famous actress, going into a restaurant in a pair of slacks. The maitre d’ stopped her at the door and told her that she couldn’t be seated if she was wearing slacks. She told him she would be right back. She went out to her car and retrieved her mink coat and walked back into the restaurant wearing her mink coat over her slacks. She was seated immediately.
I wasn’t Carol Channing and I didn’t have a mink coat in the back of my car so I had to dress according to our very formal dress code if I wanted to be admitted into the theater and into a restaurant after the play. Because this date with my boyfriend was for a very special occasion, my mother allowed me to borrow one of her chic, dressy suits. I was going to wear my own leather gloves, hat, heels, and leather purse. When I left the house, I felt good about my appearance. I knew I was dressed in the height of fashion.
I was about a block away from the train station and I could see my boyfriend doubled over and he was pointing and laughing. I looked around and couldn’t see anything that would cause him to laugh so uncontrollably. When I reached him, he could barely talk for laughing so hard and all he could do was point down at my feet.
My face turned a bright red. There I was, dressed to the nines, feeling great about going into the city like an adult, and I was wearing my pink, fuzzy, bunny slippers with this sophisticated outfit.