we're invited to a christmas party. the invitation says "dress casual," but jim and i know that is a bold-faced lie. ok, maybe not exactly a lie so much as a glaring generational difference. the party is for jim's men's group and their wives, all members of the episcopal church to which we belong. jim is the baby of this group by probably fifteen years.
the first time we went to this party, under the impression that dress was casual, we wore our nice jeans. i wore heels and a cute shirt, and jim wore a polo. everyone else, in their forties, fifties, and beyond, many owning their own businesses, had interpreted "dress casual" to mean sport coat instead of suit. every single man there either wore a jacket or the sweater/tie combo, and the women were largely dressed in cocktail attire. jim didn't even own a sport coat, and we felt like teenagers crashing mom and dad's fancy party. perhaps not our parents' party (they aren't so fancy), but someone else's, surely. once we got over feeling ridiculously underdressed, we relaxed and enjoyed the good company and wine that flowed.
last year, dylan was just three weeks old when it was time again for the christmas party. at that point in my life, looking nice meant showered and out of pajamas, but nevertheless we suited-up. jim had bought a sport coat by then, and i wore an elegant skirt that pre-baby had fit at my hips and post-baby fit properly at my waist. this time we would look nice and appropriate. we're still the babies in a group no longer of strangers but friends. they probably wouldn't care what we wore, but we've learned our lesson: casual dress at twenty-six is a far cry from casual dress at sixty-two.
live, learn, and buy a sport coat.