Entertainment Style Kirstie Clements: I yearn for ‘occasion dressing’ even when there are no occasions

Kirstie Clements: I yearn for ‘occasion dressing’ even when there are no occasions

occasion dressing
Ladya Gaga's Met Gala look is just the thing for next week's picnic with friends. Photo: Getty
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Like many of us at this stage of lockdown, I have forgotten how to dress up.

There’s been no ‘occasion dressing’ because there have been no occasions. At this point it’s hard to imagine needing to buy fancy clothes ever again.

I’m seeing celebrities swishing up the stairs in evening gowns at the Met Gala, and influencers cavorting around the Greek Islands in patio dresses and gladiator sandals and gold bracelets, and the only item of clothing that has had me vaguely interested is a pair of elasticated-waist terry towelling shorts that will be handy for the pool.

My daggy, black-knit drawstring pants and I have become inseparable, so when I was invited by text yesterday to join a picnic next week with four other double-vaxxed friends, I rushed to the wardrobe.

Closet stripped bare

What did I wear before lockdown anyway? What could I pull out for a celebratory picnic?

Apparently I was sufficiently bored a few weeks ago to do a very harsh closet throw-out and I must have decided I didn’t need pants, because all that was left was one pair of jeans and some silk culottes by Dolce & Gabbana that haven’t fitted me since 2009.

I also threw out almost every dress I owned, and I was clearly going through an ageing crisis, because any item that was floral, frilly or that sort of shiny Thai silk had been turfed. Those fabrics can be quite treacherous when you are more mature.

I recall asking my husband his opinion on a couple of jackets I was a bit iffy about, and when he answered “They are a good look for older ladies” I couldn’t stuff them in that bin bag fast enough.

So here I am now, with a lovely lot of crisp cotton shirts with mandarin collars (thank you Jil Sander for Uniqlo) and not much else. I was reinventing my look, streamlining my life, but I forgot about the fact that I will need to wear something on the bottom apart from leggings.

Back to basics

I also edited down my winter coats, as the weather in Sydney has pretty much been 23 degrees and sunny since May 2015, and they are lying neatly in plastic garment bags, packed away at the top of the wardrobe, presumably never to be seen again.

In reality I probably need new basics, like linen pants and skirts and a sundress, but now what I really feel like doing for this almost re-entry picnic is to dress to the nines. After spending 100-ish nights in watching Nordic noir in my tracksuit I want an evening dress.

I hopped online, and narrowed down which style would suit my shape, my taste and my budget, which, my friends, took about seven hours.

I settled on a floor length silk black and white floral gown, with a built in cape and draped sleeves, very feminine, very la dolce vita dramatic.

I currently have zero black tie events or parties to attend in the foreseeable future, but I think it will be just the thing for picnics.