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My Adventure in Red Satin

The Inner Musings of Stephanie Van Orman

By Stephanie Van OrmanPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
My Adventure in Red Satin
Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

Every year, my husband has a work party before Christmas. It’s in a ballroom at a fancy hotel on the waterfront. I look on it as one of the events of the year and what I wear to it totally matters. When it comes to the dress I wear to such an event, I think of it with relatively the same feelings I have when I buy wrapping paper. As long as it’s shiny, it only has to last 15 minutes, so quality is not the main concern.

This last year, an obsession took hold of me with its deep vermilion claws. I had to wear a red dress to this party. The year before, I wore a gold dress I bought for literally eleven dollars. It looked like crap on the hanger because the dress had no shape, but I knew its potential. Obviously, it had not been flashy enough if I had a hankering to wear red. Not just any red. I wanted to wear red satin.

I looked everywhere. Sadly, shopping is not one of the charms of this part of the island. But I had been infected by this bug and I had had my eye out for a dress for most of last year. Actually, it was hard to find any at all. It seems islanders don’t wear dresses (or pantyhose). The date for the party was coming up fast, and I hadn’t found anything. I ended up resorting trying on everything in my closet hoping to figure out what to wear. I had a few options, because my closet is awesome, but none of my options were the red I had been fantasizing about. Three days before the party, I was at a Salvation Army going through their dresses.

I found something. It was $13. I’m not even sure if it was satin. Like I said, it’s wrapping paper so the satin look was all I was going for. It could have been made of paper for all I cared. I didn’t even bother to try it on, it was so obviously going to fit.

I went up to the register to pay, and as I was standing there, waiting for my turn, something about the way the fabric twisted in my fingers touched a nerve, brought me back to another place and another time. It was a familiar feeling, and suddenly I knew that my dress was not a dress.

It was a nightgown.

I let the thing unfurl and held it up. That was why the fabric was in such incredible condition. It was a nightgown circa 1997 and it had been mushed in the back of someone’s drawer for twenty years. The reason it wasn’t with the nightgowns in the thrift store was because nightgowns are not made like that anymore. Nowadays your nightgown is see-through, or it doesn’t cover your thighs, or it’s cotton and stored with your period panties. This red satin number was a classy piece of opaque beauty and I saw then that the neckline was extraordinarily low, because… you aren’t supposed to wear a bra with it.

The teller called me forward and I bought the thing anyway. I took it home and ironed it, found that it had a rip in it, which I immediately, expertly repaired. Then I tried it on. The neckline was ghastly, but I’m not incompetent when it comes to altering clothing, so I brought it up a few inches. Then I styled the thing. I got a black belt, a black shrug, black stockings with a rose pattern (they had holes in them in at least four places, but I treat my pantyhose like we’re in London in 1943, so we’re good), black high heels with the criss-crossy straps, red stone necklace where the stones are carved into leaves, and red and black feathers for my hair clip.

Then I showed my husband what I planned to wear. I told him very specifically, “Now honey, some of the ladies at the party might be sassy enough to know this is a nightgown and say something about it. Are you going to be able to deal with the fallout of my wearing this highly inappropriate outfit to your special party?”

He shot me a weird look and quipped, “I’ll just tell them you’re already dressed for the after-party.” Then seeing my smile, he continued, “Really, you’re being crazy. You are covered from elbow to calf. No one is going to make the connection.”

Yes, nothing weird happened, except I have something to say about wearing your nightgown to a party. It’s awesome. Nightgowns do not have the same binding stitches and seams as normal party clothes. My belt gave the garment shape it wouldn’t have had otherwise and I was supremely comfortable all night. I tucked some slippers in the car for the ride home. I would be driving, so I tossed the heels and put on my slippers. I was very ready for bed by the time I got home.


About the Creator

Stephanie Van Orman

I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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