Traditional Dress to the Rescue

What on earth to wear to a “formal” dinner, where the macro theme is the medical profession, but the micro reality/true focus of our table will be, Bacchus?

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How to look appropriate when your husband introduces you to his childhood mates for the very first time, knowing that you will be the only wife attending?

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(This question can be re-phrased as- )What to wear so as to not embarrass your husband before his friends, who have no idea of who you are as a person, and no memory of you in their shared past?

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(Or-) What to wear to make your husband look good, because every Asian man secretly/not so secretly likes the idea of a trophy wife?

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And how to be suited up when that one pair of glittery heels, and the few dresses that could possibly cross into evening/formal are in the London Closet, a 13.5hr flight away?

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Dr Chan’s gentle request- Baby?  Please tone down tonight, ok?

Huh?

It’s a formal event.  I have to wear my jacket…  It’s dinner for doctors… Doctors are very conservative.  Plain, no need for any fashionista …

But Baby?  I have nothing to wear.  All my…

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No need to wear anything special.  In fact what you wore to lunch works.

Huh?

Doctors, Baby.  Very conservative.  No style necessary.

***

With all that in mind, I took a page from my grandmother’s closet, and retrieved a sarong kebaya.

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Like a well-cut little black dress, the traditional dress of the Straits-born Chinese is a faithful, multi-tasking friend, rising valiantly to any occasion.  Worn with a deliberately messy pony tail, nude-coloured sandals, favourite clutch and enamel bracelets instead of family jewels, I felt completely at ease, and fully myself.

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My stance?  True style is unfussy.  Elegance comes only with age; grace is simply being, who you authentically are.

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