More Literary Debutante Ball Fashion Advice from Marie-Helene

The cover of How to be Well Dressed, from the Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women

I was delighted to be asked to act as fashion godmother again for this Friday’s Literary Debutante Ball, especially since this year we will be honoring the role of literary mentors.  If you will (will you?) and if I may be so bold (I may!), allow me to act as your fashion mentor.

As I advised in last year’s blog: Be Bold.  Be Comfortable.  Do Your Best.  As was the case last year, there is no dress code for this year’s ball.  Office casual, cocktail dresses, bedazzled shirts with over-achieving torsos paired with Olsen twin sunnies: all good.  Khakis and blazers, hoodies under sports coats, sharp black suits: all good.

Faux tuxedo shirt on top with a chicken costume on bottom: may I have this dance, sir?

This year will offer its own new twists and turns.  As you may have heard, important nuptials will be taking place the day of our ball. Turtlerino Bertino, my male turtle, will finally be making an honest terrapin out of my other male turtle Leonardo.  The wedding will take place in a Foreman Grill box and the bride will be wearing a repurposed napkin from Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City where, as you know, they met.  The ceremony will be three times as long as regular ceremonies because turtles are really slow.

Prince William of Wales will also be getting married that day, though I’m fuzzy on the details of when and where as that event has gone grossly underreported.

Neither wedding will interfere with our ball.

With all further ados a-done, here are two fashion DOs (I don’t recognize DON’Ts):

DO compliment the Associate Editor on her dress, which she will be making out of repurposed napkins from Caesar’s Palace where, as you know, she works.

“You are never fully dressed without a smile.” – some orphan.  And clothes.  DO wear clothes to our debutante ball.

And, here are more fashion nuggets from the life of yours truly:

“You’re never fully dressed without nude panty hose and red lipstick.” – my Mom

“Nothing, nothing is more important than fashion.” – William S. Randalls, my gym teacher in grade school.

“The only rule is don’t be boring and dress cute wherever you go.” – Paris Hilton

“Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” – Quentin Crisp

“Practice forgetting yourself.  Self-respect is being conscious of yourself without being self-conscious.” – Five Clues to Becoming an Interesting Woman, The Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women

“Stop talking about your phone.” – One Clue to Becoming an Interesting Person, Marie-Helene Bertino

“What are you wearing, a napkin?!  Mom, are you going to let her go out of the house like that?” – my brother Chip on the occasion of my first prom

“Two more rounds of suicides or it’s your ass.” – William S. Randalls, my gym teacher in grade school

“For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.  For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.  For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.  For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.” – Audrey Hepburn. I would add: then take a shower, eat a hoagie and throw some lip-gloss on, because no one wants to be the starving, bleeding-lipped weirdo with kid junk in her hair.

“Put your name on something, it better be the best.  You only get one shot.” – George Foreman

In conclusion sweet reader, whenever I find myself feeling anxious about fashion, I fire up some lean chicken, watch my gay turtles do nothing, and reassure myself that no matter what I wear on April 29th, Michael Cunningham will look better than me.

See proof of that and some fun and friendly faces from last year’s ball here:

I will be so charmed to see you at the ball.  No matter what you wear, I think you look dope.

Until then I remain your dedicated Associate Editor,


4 thoughts on “More Literary Debutante Ball Fashion Advice from Marie-Helene

  1. Can Marie Helene keep talking, please? I forgot where I was and who I am. Lost in her. It happens.

  2. I can’t believe that they decided to have the royal wedding on the same night as the debutante ball. England. Sheesh.

  3. Pingback: Literary Debutante Ball Fashion Advice III- Dress Harder « One Story blog

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