As soon as I unwrapped 2009’s birthday suit, I recalled the one from year’s past that was stumping me last week when I wrote the Birthday Suit post. 

I recalled it, because, as I opened this year’s, I had a flashback.  I had a flashback because it was made of the exact same fabric.  We’re not talking wool crepe, or red chenille, or even a similar plaid.  Exact same.  Teal print with chairs emblazoned on it.  Arm chairs and Eames chairs, chaises and footstools, high chairs and wing chairs.  And I don’t think she remembered the repeat.  She just thought it was so clever!


I’ll have to dig up a picture of this beauty.  It’s a dress — pattern is pretty nice, actually — with a notched neckline.  My ample bust just fits in the bodice, pushing the notched part out, so the corners turn down, exposing cleavage.  And there’s a jacket.  It’s bolero/cropped length, with puffed elbow sleeves pleated to a buttoned cuff.  The tailoring was very nice; Mom always tries harder for gifts.  She finished the inside seams and put in a zipper beautifully.  I told her as much; it was the only honest(ly nice) thing I could think to say as I picked up the phone to tell her I had opened it. 

Ironically, we were watching Project Runway during the opening of the birthday suit.  We waited till a commercial break, then tore into the gift and groaned.  Oh, the print.  It can’t be so bad.  And it wouldn’t be, except for the fact that the entire dress and jacket combo (a “suit,” mom calls it) was made out of this fabric.  I could tolerate the skirt being that fabric, or the jacket, or the bodice, or the totebag (yes, it came in a matching totebag), but not all of it.  It looks like a clown costume or pajamas.  As we dejectedly turned back to Project Runway, I thought of what Tim Gunn would say:

“Oh, I don’t know.  That fabric is coming on a bit strong.”

“Well, if you’re determined to use that print, make it work.”

“Hmm, you’ve got a long way to go if you want to make it to Bryant Park.  Work, work, work!”

And then there’s Heidi:

“In fashion one day you are in, and the next, you are out.  I don’ t think this was ever in.  You are out.”

Since it did fit, I threw a green sweater over the top, buttoned it all the way up so it only looked like a chair-print skirt, and wore it to work on Friday.  Because I am a good and dutiful daughter.  Because I am grateful and I am trying to see the potential in this outfit.  Because it is the right thing to do.