Formal schnormal
// Cheetah Powers

Everyone seems to spend a lot of effort whining about how they hate going to formal events, because they’re stuffy and boring. However, these people are missing the point: your attire sets the mood for the evening. Going to formal events in a rented black tuxedo or an off-the-rack dress is like a recipe for falling asleep before the chicken dance even begins. However, if you take this opportunity to unleash the sartorial beast within, chances are that you’ll not only incite seething lust and jealousy, you’ll end up party-rocking until the sun comes up.

Anyway, what is there not to love about swanky events? Sure, the small talk is grating, but after 20 minutes and the open bar, things start to loosen up, not to mention the spread of tiny finger foods that act as a secret aphrodisiac. Whether you’re attending your ex’s wedding, taking your 18-yearold girlfriend to prom, or crashing the local country club gala, there’s no reason to “under-dress” or “be tasteful”.

Basically, if you’re a man, you will want to look like you’re a secret agent on an assignment that involves rapid-fire dialogue with a Machiavellian host while sipping a dry martini and eating tiny wieners on sticks. Get a white dinner jacket. White shirt. Black bowtie. Pin a red carnation to your lapel, side-part your hair, and bring your gun, because you will need it. Other men will be so jealous of your 007 steeze that they will probably actually challenge you to a fight or a loud James Bond trivia competition. But ignore them; they were dressed by their wives, those silly gents, and you have supervillains to catch and bitches to seduce. I’m actually getting a little bit hot under the collar just thinking about the potential you right now.

If you’re a woman, on the other hand, just go all-out Rich Bitch. Think Bianca Jagger, Elvira Hancock, or even Lana del Rey. Those hoes know how to dress like they tinkle champagne and shit diamonds. The key is really all in the details: a great blowout and manicured talons go a long way to exude an aura of wealth and taste, even if all your tiny bedazzled clutch contains is a maxed-out Visa and two sticks of gum. So, go make friends with an esthetician: my girl Kasandra operates a secret ghetto beauty salon out of her illegal basement suite and will make you over in exchange for a few hours of babysitting so she can go see The Hunger Games
with her babydaddy! Who needs a fairy godmother with friends like these?

Also – and this takes planning – hit up every rummage sale, garage blowout, craft fair, Salvation Army, and old-dead-lady estate sale in West Vancouver. These places are a veritable treasure trove of furs, bling, and accessories that you can pile on that amazing vintage silk gown with navel-baring cleavage that you’ve never had the guts to actually wear (extra points for going the pantsuit-with-only-a-bra-underneath route). Anything with velvet, gold, big cubic zirconia gems, or centuries-old beading is good to go, and don’t be shy about stacking bracelets ten deep over your elbow-length opera gloves. That way, when your ex-boyfriend’s new flame tries to make a snide remark about how she’s so happy, you can drown her out with a deafening rattle of your Rich Bitch chains before blowing a cloud of perfumed smoke from your Cruella de Ville cigarette holder all over her boring black dress. Then, you sail away into the crowd to dry-hump James Bond on the dance floor.

In summary: never forget that you’re better than other people. Dress like it.

Cheetah Powers is a long-time hoarder and lover of fabulous clothes. She believes that a truly stylin' outfit should always be affordable, universal, and easy to pee in.

//Cheetah Powers, columnist
//Author illustration

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com