Sunday, May 31, 2015

The little black dress

I had the opportunity on Thursday evening to be at the opening dinner at the Denver Art Museum for the new tapestry exhibition, Creative Crossroads: The Art of Tapestry which opens today.

The invitation came with the ominous words, cocktail attire. If you know me, you know that if I can't wear "yoga pants," I am most comfortable in blue jeans. I am definitely not someone who pulls off fancy dress easily.

Though I was very excited to be invited to the event, I did put off thinking about what I might wear until Thursday morning. I rummaged in the depths of my closet and found three skirts and four dresses.

I know. I was surprised by the numbers too.

After much debate and a long back and forth between the long printed skirt with boots I really wanted to wear and the little black dress with shoulder straps and a lowish back from my sister's wedding, the black dress won. It seemed to best fit the definition of "cocktail attire" I had in my mind (largely gleaned from movies and not necessarily accurately either considering The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favorites).

My sister has been married long enough to build a house, two businesses, and two children since the wedding, so you know that dress has been around awhile. And it still fit.

The problem was the undergarments. I have no idea what I wore at the original event, but no bra in my drawer was going to work with that dress. So, two hours before we had to leave for Denver, I found myself at Macys in the bra department pawing through the never-before-experienced land under the strapless sign. I muttered something about how monumentally uncomfortable these seemed to be and the perky young clerk said, "that is the price we have to pay for being women!" I coughed to cover the "bulls***" that involuntarily escaped. I have no problem with blue jeans and cotton pullovers which never ever require a bra without straps. I was going a long way out on a limb in the name of tapestry here and I definitely don't think being a woman should require wearing uncomfortable clothing.

I grabbed the best one and ran when she suggested I try the contraption she wore for her prom, a set of cups that apparently you just stick to your breasts with adhesive. A woman who just went to her high school prom might well get away with something like this, but let me tell you, once that big Four-Oh rolls on by, the girls get a little more saggy and there is no way a stick-on "bra" is going to fly.

The evening went quite well. (Except perhaps for that moment when the tiny purple carrot was a little harder than my butter knife-technique could handle and went shooting into my lap and onto the floor.)

The tapestry show is stunning. I only had an hour to look at it and I will return soon for the full experience.
James Koehler, Ramona Sakiestewa, Rebecca Bluestone in Creative Crossroads at the Denver Art Museum
I was invited to this event because I was interviewed on video about my time working with James Koehler with fellow Koehler-student Barb Brophy. One of his pieces is in the DAM collection and this exhibition. You can watch the video on an iPad near the work.

The event was also a sendoff for the amazing Alice Zrebiec who was textile curator there for 19 years.
Alice Zrebiec and Irvin Trujillo. Irvin is talking about one of the two pieces he has in the show. (second one not pictured)
Alice's dissertation which I ordered a month ago was on the porch on Friday. Evening reading... check.


  1. C'mon now; a slim blonde in a black dress??? Always a stunner!

  2. You made my AM, Rebecca! Yup, I too, am looking forward to seeing the exhibit. My attire? Jeans & cotton polo :-)

  3. Bravo, Rebecca. To be able to get into a dress you haven't worn for that many years is a feat not many of us can do (at least not me). I'm sure you looked fantastic (no matter what bra you had to wear). I wish I could see the show, but unfortunately for me that's not going to happen.

  4. Loved the story which speaks for so many. However part of the story is missing: how about the shoes fashion seems to say that heels and or strappy party shoes? Ha that's an entirely different story perhaps. From the pictures you inserted into the story you most likely looked as good as the piece done by James Kohler. Positively striking.

  5. ok, where's the pic of you in the little black dress..
    you could have at least given us a glimpse

  6. Loved your story about the dress. But also wanted to say thank you for showing Irvin Trujillo and his fantastic rug. He was working on it when I came to visit Santa Fe last year to take a workshop from you and ended up going to his studio as well. He gave me a personalized tour and demonstration for an hour and I was mesmerized. His style of weaving is very different from yours, but also truly remarkable.
    Karen in chicago

  7. Love your story. Makes me feel better. My biggest problem right now is what happened to bras and how to find one to wear with different outfits and work out. It's driving me nutz! So glad I may not be crazy!

  8. I recently tried to find a sports bra. I first tried on what I thought my size might be. I could hardly tug that thing over my head. I finally found one my "real size", tugged it over my head, adjusted my saggy boobs, and stood in the mirror wondering why I would torture myself like this. I handed over the try-ons to the nubile young woman checking folks in/out. I walked out of the store.

  9. Yes Rebecca, you owe us a pic here! I won't make the show and appreciate your reporting. If I did go however, I'd be inclined to go bra-less just to compensate for your silent suffering!!

  10. Oh dear! I so feel your pain. I don't like bra's under the best of circumstances! Dressy clothing in general is a challenge. I was recently invited to a January wedding...No problem I thought. Opened the closet and realized I had no winter dressy clothing, adhering to the same yoga pants or jeans and t-shirt style as you. SOOO I looked on line (generally hating shopping as well) and found a nice (forgiving ) cashmere sweater dress on sale (!) no less. Ok, done! Then, a few days later, it dawned on me, .. shoes....Ahem, nothing in my collection of flip flops, sneakers and hiking boots seemed to work with the dress. This did involve the dreaded shopping. Finally finding appropriate footwear for a winter wedding I was ready for that ...unseasonably warm (75 degree) day. What the heck happen to what we used to so fondly so fondly call, around here "Stock Show Weather (10-20 degrees below zero?! My bra, dark colored but light weight legging an a merciful reprieve from menopausal hot flashes. I agree with others. Pictures! And thank you for the reminder about the show. I am hoping to make it down to see it.

    1. Sounds like my story!!! Do see the show if you can. It is open until August 7, 2016. I'm going to think about that sweater dress thing. Maybe if I just had something like that.... and still don't have shoes. Sigh. Why aren't hiking boots and jeans appropriate for every occasion?


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