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Stretch Velvet Durability Test

I Would Not, Could Not, on the Beach: Sand and cigs make a lethal combination for expensive frocks.

Photo by Jackie Wey

or: Somebody Musta Slipped Something in my Drink, Part II

By Alissa Pea

How to ruin an expensive outfit? Let me count the ways. First. Pull out the stretch velvet outfit from the vacuous tomb that always tells me I have nothing to wear though I shop incessantly and my Victorian closet is crammed in a very un-Victorian way. It's the same garment I haven't touched since New Year, the one I wore while standing in the rain for four hours waiting for a cab, the one that--oops! I forgot about that cigarette burn on the lower left leg from when someone so casually enlightened me in the truest sense with a glowing orb-like ember that nestled itself in the heavenly poly-substance draping softly about my calf.

But, nevertheless, I decided to wear it anyway, hoping if I positioned myself just right, no one would notice. And you know what? They didn't.

Next. Visit a remote (yet familiar) elite community for the occasion and bond with strangers. Smile as an oyster rolls down your breast and laugh out loud as you dump your champagne on the country club verandah amongst those strangers, cascading Dom Perignon around your shoes. At least the glass remained intact. Spilling on one's self is only half the social faux paux. Splash others, so they can join in the fun. See how they react. You can really learn a lot about a person that way.

Ever find yourself strolling on the green at midnight in silk shoes? Yeah, well, it does have a certain lure to it, doesn't it. Don't even think twice about muddy shortcuts, just take them. It's two days too late for the debutante ball, anyway.

Oh, and let's not forget that we're still in that French Laundry stretch velvet, which was very much not on sale at the time at Impulse at Macy's--until of course after the 10-day statute of price adjustment limitation had expired, wouldn't you know it? I suppose that's when you become so perturbed that you have to purchase another outfit (to ruin) at 40 percent off.

Well, heck, we've traversed the golf course, so why not take a dip at the beach? So much life, so little time. Or would you rather roll around in the sand? I hear it cures cigarette burns.

And I wonder where exactly I put a run in the stockings I just bought at Bloomingdale's before I got on the plane to this never-never land--didn't even have the imperative second pair.

Or maybe talk until you can talk no more and then take a little nap in the car. Stretch velvet doubles as PJs, don'tcha know? Speaking of which, they should really sew stretchy fabric with stretchy thread. I wonder if that would solve this phenomenon: It never fails that the armpit seam will rip.

And, since I've just illustrated just how hard I am on the clothing I wear, would someone please tell me the best dry cleaner in town? Please write in. Money is no object.

But despite the abundant abuse heaped upon my black velvet stretchy number, my clothing karma came back to me in a big way when I left my coat at the check overnight. Luckily, my friend was kind (and brave and cute) enough to recover it for me. God bless the man who can pluck your eyebrows as well as his own.

Alissa Pea is serious about what she said about dry cleaners. Write to her here at The Metropolitan.

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From the May 1997 issue of the Metropolitan

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