Maggie invited us to her house for Christmas Dinner, and we love Maggie and Duff and their friends and relations - remember the illustration of Rabbit's Friends and Relations?
Himself says "Duff never met a stranger."
So we knew that no matter who else would be there, and however many guests there would be, there would be no strangers.
Maggie's house is perfect for gatherings and celebrations, it's not large, but almost the entire back wall is glass and looks out to woods. The ceiling of the main room is very high... It feels baronial, not because of the size, but because of the way that you're greeted at the door and ushered in by Duff, you feel that the Earl himself has brushed off his Guard and Affinity and come to the door alone to honor you.
Duff is always surprised and delighted that people have come to his house. Even if he was the one who invited you.
Thus you will not be surprised at the following exchange of texts between me and Maggie:
Looking 4wd to Christmas, dress code?
not formal, but festive
so, tiaras but no decorations?
absolutely tiaras. guys do not need ties.
So naturally I wondered about making an effort to show up wearing a tiara. I turned to my trusty computer, and in only seconds:
here is the full address in case the above link doesn't do it -- http://the hairpin.com/2014/12/are-tiaras-the-new-power-scrunchies/utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thehairpin%2FBdYj+%28The+Hairpin%29
In sum, The Hairpin has identified (Heaven help us!) a new trend - wearing tiaras to work to build one's confidence and give one an air of being in charge. Hmm.
This must be the next new thing after wearing sequins during the day and in the office: the headpiece. Kind of the ultimate version of Diana Vreeland sitting at her desk with her hat on. Or of an intergalactic female executive telling the Copywriter From Space what her year-end bonus will be.
But if you're already wearing a tiara, HOW DO YOU DRESS IT UP TO GO OUT AFTER WORK?
Nevertheless, as wannabe fads go, the tiara isn't a bad thing. It beats wearing shorts and woolly socks with high-heeled peep-toes and a garish smear of red lipstick - which I confess was one of my favorite outfits WHEN I WAS THREE - or going to work or school in your pajamas, spike heels and a garish smear of red lipstick - which I confess I once did when I'd been up all night finishing a crucial paper and had to run for the bus.
The good thing, assuming there is one, about daytime tiara wear is that if you get where you're going, say, to work, and you decide that the tiara is a mistake, you can remove it. Not so easy if you've decided to introduce leather shorts to the hallowed hallways of Dewey, Cheatham & Howe.
So, how to go about it?
If you haven't inherited a tiara, they're easy to find on Etsy and Ebay, but you need to research creatively, and beware of things with trailing ribbons and leaves and little flowers. I once passed on the opportunity to hire an otherwise promising candidate because her resume revealed that in addition to English and Portuguese, she was fluent in Elvish. It was tempting to imagine her sharing an office with the guy down the hall who was said to speak Klingon, but I resisted.
There are some cute tiaras at BHLDN, but they cost. Further, I would suggest that to any potential tiara-buyers out there that if possible, you should try the thing on with the rest of your outfit before heading for the conference/meeting/closing/lecture. Imagine popping into a bridal shop and exchanging your tiara for "something more tailored."
So rather than go out and tiara-shop, I decided to work with what I have. This hasn't always been a great solution to staffing a project, but in the seated dinner context it was possible - because yes, I own a tiara. In a moment of madness, I once left an Ebay bid on what looked like a round gold wire, ends unjoined, one end terminating in a snake head. In the earlier days of Ebay, many sellers hadn't yet watched Antiques Road Show or searched the listings of other sellers... they were selling things on Ebay because they could find no better way to sell something that wasn't selling locally because nobody knew what it was. In fact, my seller described it as looking like some kind of a large bracelet.
I won the auction, and the prize arrived. It was a very large bracelet indeed. In fact, it was a tiara, made of one piece of heavy, bent gold wire, and the word Peretti was stamped inside, along with the number 750.
I would like to tell you that I immediately ran down to Tiffany's for verification of my "find," but Tiffany's doesn't work that way. You make an appointment - the wait is longer than for most fine restaurants, and a few months later, you get a little card reminding you of your date and time, and instructing you to be prompt. My appointment was difficult to schedule, because I wanted to verify that I had a Tiffany piece, and if so, could it be sized to accommodate my head at the point I wanted to wear it, and if so, what would that cost. The person I spoke to found dealing with three issues a challenge, but ultimately gave me a date some months off.
When the day came, I reported to Tiffany's. Result: my piece would have to be evaluated by a Peretti specialist, I should leave the tiara with them - I got something that looked like a laundry ticket but with a picture of my treasure attached - and I would hear in due course.
Sure enough, I was again summoned to Tiffany's. The piece was indeed 18 karat gold, and was indeed a Peretti from the 1970's or early 80's. (yay!) They would not size it, however. That would tamper with the integrity of the design. I protested that it was unwearable as it was, and was offered the opportunity to donate it to their private design museum.
|magnificently beautiful woman wearing ex-tiara|
And if I ever need to go to Tiffany's again, I won't wear it there either. But my friend Maggie was delighted with the concept of an "ex-tiara," especially now that style journalists tell us that tiaras have a chance at becoming "workwear." And isn't making our friends happy something we all like to do, especially at Christmas?