Because I am a lady, or at least I attempt to be, I will not mention the profane hour this morning at which Hot Latin Boy’s best friend Chango called us and announced he was minutes away from Plumcake Cottage, but suffice it to say it was early enough that Jem the mule–whose cranky bray serves as community alarm clock at 7:15– was still in his cold cream and bed jacket.
I do not have warm feelings towards unexpected visitors in the best of cases, and this morning my sentiments were particularly arctic because in the weekend’s excitement my normally pristine kitchen went from Health Inspector’s Fantasy to Trainspotting House and twenty minutes –HLB bought us some time– to make the house and myself presentable was pushing it.
Unfortunately, I’m still in that tenuous warming-up period with HLB’s friends which puts me a good six months away from being able to tell the possibly-still-drunk friend who has driven (and that’s another head explosion for another day)three hours to get here that he can turn right around and drive himself back home.
Thankfully, I have an Emergency Hostess Outfit.
I know we’ve talked about having an Emergency Funeral Outfit ready at all times because You Just Never Know, but having something you can just throw on and know you’ll look fantastic and guest-ready can be a lifesaver when your beloved’s bestie –who is a total baboon, a baboon with a heart of gold, but a baboon nonetheless– shows up with three minutes’ notice or someone important from the office is going to Just Swing By your place to drop off a copy of the memo about the new TPS report cover sheets.
You want to put your best foot forward but if you’re like me, sometimes the anxiety of an unexpected visitor can be paralyzing. Instead of getting a batch of muffins in the oven or gathering your underwear off the ceiling fan –it was our anniversary last night, don’t judge us– you’re stuck naked in your bedroom staring blankly into your closet which is now suddenly devoid of anything remotely appropriate.
A good Emergency Hostess Outfit should be easy and glamorous.
It should be casual but still have that extra bit of polish that makes a guest feel like their visit is a special occasion, even if it’s one for which you’re in no way prepared.
Maxi dresses are always a strong go-to option here, provided you’ve found one that works for your shape and isn’t encrusted with sequins or rhinestones. There’s a reason they were called hostess dresses in their previous life. They’re long, so if you got caught out of the shower with only one leg shaved no one will be the wiser, and easy to accessorize: just throw on a big cocktail ring or a tremendous pair of earrings and you’re entertainment-ready.
My emergency outfit is a tea-length cotton sundress with a vaguely Thai floral pattern in cocoa, caramel and cream, flat burnished gold sandals and a cream shawl. The pattern of the dress means if I get a tiny spill or splash myself doing some last minute dishes without having to rush back to the bedroom to change before guests arrive. I know that’s not ideal, but desperate times my friends..desperate times.
For jewelry I want something a little over-the-top to offset the casualness of the sundress without looking too Done, so I keep a pair of large amber and cinnabar 1940’s ear sparklies clipped to the dress hanger. Clipping them to the hanger means I won’t lose my mind rummaging through my bazillion pairs of earrings trying to find The Very Best Ones for the outfit which will lead me to reorganize my jewelry boxes instead of getting ready for my rapidly-descending visitors. Can you say “displacement activity“? I sure can!
For makeup, I suggest going for a sheer lipcolor a few shades deeper than you’d usually go for daytime wear.
When you’re doing a serious lip you don’t need much else, maybe a lick of mascara if you’ve got the time, but really you can just slap it on and go. I use Revlon’s Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze in Overtime Wine.
I know finding a sheer, highly-pigmented lippie can be problematic since deeper, bolder colors are usually reserved for lipsticks with matte or satin finishes, so here’s a quick and dirty cheat:
Apply a generous but not goopy coat of Vaseline or clear gloss to your lips, then go over it with your dark, matte color. It might take a few swipes to get the color intensity you want, but it’ll get the job done on the cheap.
As for Chango the unbidden visitor, he WAS sober (barely) and stuck around for literally three minutes before driving three hours back to go to work. It was just long enough for him to ask HLB if I ALWAYS looked that great (knowing which side his tortilla is buttered on, HLB wisely answered in the affirmative) and for me to affectionately threaten his life if he ever pulled that sort of stunt again.