Introducing the LBDLGNO
Patrick is standing as best man in a wedding this month, which means I had to go to the mall last night to find something to wear. After several hours and numerous text messages to various people, an outfit was chosen. It takes a village.
It also takes money, time and energy, even online. As it happened, I found the perfect Little Black Dress marked way, way down. It's classic and versatile enough that I will likely wear it several times over the course of the year.
But I have other party dresses in my closet that maybe see the light of day (or candlelight of night) once or twice a year. Most women do. So I had this idea: the LBD Loaner Girl's Night Out (fellas, LBD stands for Little Black Dress, but don't tell that I broke rank and told you). You invite a bunch of friends to bring (not wear) their formal and semi-formal outfits (including matching accessories if they are willing) to a casual gathering, maybe a Sunday afternoon or weeknight just before holiday season ramps up. Cast the net wide to get a variety of styles and sizes. Refreshments, of course.
Someone will need to bring a clothes rack or string up a clothes line to display the outfits. Tie a card onto each hanger that describes every item in the ensemble and provides the owners name and contact info. Assign each outfit a number on the same note. The hostess should put out a clipboard with a numbered sheet where guests can reserve to borrow an outfit for a particular date. Everyone should agree to return the items, dry-cleaned, within two days or whatever. The hostess should hang onto the sheet in case anyone needs it for clarification or contact information later.
This way, several people could borrow one outfit in the course of the season, but if you wanted to keep it real simple, you could just let everybody go home with their loaner that day, and declare a general returns deadline.
Naturally, everybody has to be comfortable with loaning out their pretty things. And an unavoidable element of risk has to be understood. Wine spills, things snag. I would lend an evening bag, but probably not my pearls. Tell guests in the invitation that they shouldn't bring it if they can't stand to lose it. But I'm sure most women have a gorgeous dress or two that will languish unworn in the back of their closets this season, and we could all use one less trip to the mall.
I don't have time to pull this off myself this holiday season, but maybe somebody else will (or has) and will let me know how it works.