Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sophomore Cotillion or making do with what you have and impressing the socks off everyone in the process

Do you know what a cotillion is? I don't even know if it's supposed to be capitalized, but I do know it is a kind of a dance. Strictly speaking, it's a particular kind of elaborate dance for couples, resembling the quadrille (oh, that's clear as mud). But it also can refer to a ballroom dance.

Mom putting the finishing touches on the hair

Redheaded Snippet's high school has hosted a Sophomore Cotillion for years. And I do mean years because they were doing it well before I was student there and we all know that was ages, eons, ago!

And she got a date how?

Redheaded Snippet loves her a good dance and hasn't had one for two years (we squeaked through last year without having one) so she's literally been counting down the days for at least three months.

Now, this is the dress Redheaded Snippet said she wanted to wear.

So I suggested this one instead.

Getting ready to get jiggy with my makeup brushes

And so we compromised.  Did you notice that first dress up there?  You'll see it again in a few minutes, don't worry.  Anyway, it was my grandmother's.  She had it made for her in the early 1940's.  It seemed to me that Redheaded Snippet was about the right size to fit into it so we hauled it down from Mom's attic to see what we could see...

There's Mom on the left, ironing the dress and Obama on the right  (for once) being Presidential
Lo! and behold it fit!  Almost perfectly!  And Mom still had the shoes and jewelry Grandmom had bought to go with it.

A friend put me in touch with a seamstress.  A real, live one.  Maybe it's just me, but I thought seamstresses had gone the way of the milkman.  I felt so old-fashioned taking Redheaded Snippet to her workroom.

I can't be expected to be serious ALL the time!

It took only one week and about $10 for the dress to be fitted to Redheaded Snippet.  I don't think you can find a dress at Goodwill for $10!  And as we already had the shoes and jewelry, that was the total cost for Redheaded Snippet's entire ensemble!

"I have to be home by WHAT time?"

All we needed next was a crinoline. We could only find crinolines for bridal gowns; you know, floor length and super poufy. And we had plenty of those already, leftover from the three sisters' weddings. What we needed was a knee-length, less intense crinoline...

I wish I had photos of the crazy process which followed, but I do not. You see, since we had floor-length, super-pouf crinolines and needed a knee-length, moderate-pouf one, and as no one else is likely to need three full-length, bridal super-pouf crinolines again any time soon, we decided to hack one up. A (literal) crinoline hack.

Mom did the hacking. Redheaded Snippet did the stool-standing. I provided moral support and an extra pair of eyes. It took several days, and cost Mom dozens of tiny cuts in her knees as tulle is surprisingly sharp, but we got that crinoline cut down to size. And for free!

Now you may be wondering about the cost of getting Snippet's hair, nails and makeup done, but we've always done those ourselves so that was a no-brainer. Mom and I are quite a good team when it comes to gussying up, actually. She does the hair and nails and I do the make up.

And because our hairdresser is in the family, we were able to go over to Mom's one night earlier this week for a trial run. She and Redheaded Snippet fussed and fretted, combed, curled, pinned and repinned until they finally got the look they were going for.

We decided to go along with the style of the dress and do a vintage-style hair style and makeup. Redheaded Snippet took some convincing at first, but as Mom and I have never steered her wrong, she decided to trust us.

That meant a roll in the front of her hair, subtle eyes with long lashes and red lips and nails. And in the end, she was glad we talked her into it. When her date and his father, who both have an affinity for 1940's styles (which, I admit, was what kind of gave me the idea to use the dress in the first place) arrived for photos later, they were very complimentary about her attention to detail.

Yesssss! Score one for Mom and Gram! We know what we're doing!

And as for the date...the date is not the boyfriend, in case you're interested. He and Redheaded Snippet would very much like for him to be the boyfriend, but we have decided we are not entertaining the notion of her having one until she is at least 16.

And we will revisit the question when that happens. She is simply not mature enough to handle it. And that is that.

But a date for a fancy dance is quite another thing. Snippet has been friends with this young man for several months and he seems like a nice, respectful, mature and responsible youth from a very nice and loving family.

Of course, as far as The Viking is concerned he is a cad and a scoundrel, but that will be his opinion of every young man who talks to or even looks at Snippet until she is safely and securely married. And I think that's probably as it should be.

And so, off to the dance they went!  Here they are all ready to go paint the town red.  That fur stole (also Grandmom's) was the perfect finishing touch!  His fedora wasn't too shabby either, though I don't seem to have a good photo of it...

And the shoes, of course.  Have to show the shoes.  I think Redheaded Snippet felt rather like Cinderella in those shoes.

Well, since I first started this post, Redheaded Snippet has come home, taken the pins out of her hair,  scrubbed her face and changed into comfy pajamas.  The spell has worn off and the enchanted coach has turned back into a pumpkin.  But she had a smashingly grand time!

Not too bad, for a use-what-you-have hack, eh?

1 comment:

{Carrie} said...

Absolutely stunning. I saw photos of a vintage themed wedding and the bride wore a similar dress with red spectator pumps!
Tell her she looks gorgeous and I am sure there were many heads turning.