imaginary outfit: opening night at the metropolitan opera

My adult life has been pretty casual — a handful of cocktail dresses sprinkled through a wardrobe of plaid, denim, cotton and wool — but I love dressing up. It's my favorite kind of shopping to do. As satisfying as it might be to buy something to wear everyday, I prefer hunting for a knockout dress. I might only wear it a few times, but each time becomes a distinct memory – a specific night, a specific place. For me, they are the hardest pieces to let go of, and they tend to hang in my closet for years beyond their season of glory. They hold the ghosts of happy times in a way that regular clothes don't.

Sometimes, if I have a weekend afternoon with nothing to do, I'll drift over to fancy department stores on pretend shopping missions. One of my favorites is picking an outfit to wear to the opening night gala of the Metropolitan Opera. (Multiple viewings of Moonstruck and Cher's opera-related shopping spree probably have something to do with this particular dream.) I picture myself slightly older, elegant and silver-haired, wearing something devastatingly luxe, ready to step into a box and hear the tenor of the moment in his signature role. Someday, maybe.

In the meantime, I have a wedding and an anniversary celebration to shop for. I have my eye on this