Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Real Best Dressed on Oscar Sunday

Last weekend I threw a birthday party for my little sister. There would be five 12-year-old girls in my apartment, and while I was excited to host them I couldn't help but worry that they would work themselves up into a hyper frenzy and start bouncing off the walls I share with grumpy elderly neighbors. That never ends well, so I planned a roster of party games that involved sitting down, writing, doodling, maybe taking a nap, etc. (What? Don't all the best parties include naps?)

As the guests arrived, it became apparent that this group was actually deathly shy, and more prone to milling around awkwardly than screaming and bouncing. Twenty minutes in, the party was quiet and I knew I had to change my game plan. I stood on my couch and yelled, "Pair up! I'll be right back."

I disappeared into my bedroom and ransacked my closet, grabbing purple blazers and pink tutus and sequined dresses and about fifty colorful silk scarves. I gathered up high heels and big bead necklaces and an impressive array of sunglasses. Then I walked back out into the living room where the girls were standing, quite obviously under the impression that I had gone insane, and dumped the tangled mass of bright fabrics onto the floor. I ran over to the stereo to turn on the Spice Girls' Greatest Hits and told each pair to decide who would be the model and who would be the stylist. "The stylist will create an outfit for the model using the clothes in this pile," I said. "The model is not allowed to complain about her outfit. We'll have a photo shoot, then the model and stylist will switch places. Ready? GO!"

It totally worked--the stylists pounced on the pile of clothes, laughing madly as the models shrieked, "Please! Anything but that furry rainbow belt!" As you can imagine, the outfits they came up with were pretty amazing:

Favorite conversation of the day:

Me: You actually look like a model!
Girl: Why would a model wear a tutu over jeans with three coats?
Me: You've never looked at a fashion magazine, have you?
Girl: Nope.


Beth said...

I demand to see this furry rainbow belt. It intrigues me.

Everything Is Better Tinted Purple said...

Awesome fast thinking! It looks like they had a great time, and as we all know, getting girls that age to enjoy AND participate in something is no easy task.

Anonymous said...

You probably just won "Best & Coolest Big Sister Ever" at BBBS. I know my nieces (who are a bit older than that now), never seemed to get tired of that kind of thing.

Kim said...

Will you be my Big Sister?
You throw the best parties ever.

Anonymous said...

Further proof of your brilliance. And those girls are NATURALS! Just check the pouty faces ... love it.

WendyB said...

This looks like great fun but I would have opted for the nap. I'm old and tired.

Anonymous said...

Aw, I had a Big Sister when I was little--she was pretty great. This party, however, might beat our cardboard box dice costumes.

Anonymous said...

Winona, you are a force for good in this world. Take over some corporation or run for office, will you, already.

Lisa said...

Haha this was a brilliant idea, and it sounds like the whole party was a hoot! :)

Unknown said...

That's so lovely!
I wouldn't be brave enough to host such a party and you're totally right; Sleeping Lions was one of the best games of my childhood! ;)
And that conversation was too cute! You should put it in one of those children quote books!

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, most adorable pictures EVAR. Sounds like the perfect way to get shy girls moving, grooving, and having fun.

Too bad you didn't have the full-body sparkly leotards that have been in Vogue recently. Those are REALLY a party. :)

Anonymous said...

Ummm... is it bad that I am totaly considering doing this for my 24th birthday now?

Tricia said...

what ensembles, a great idea! and the quote should be archived in fashion history.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Your closet sounds like it replicates the one Cyndi Lauper had in 1985. Didn't she also wear yellow tights?

Seriously though - that looks like the best party ever. I want to have one of those (except my bitter little closet includes mostly practical pants suits from Ann Taylor and some Target t-shirts...that's what you get for having 3 kids, a corporate day job and no independant wealth). I would have LOVED this when I was 12.

Vanessa said...

This is so cute! I would be so afraid that I couldn't entertain that many kids-- heck, ONE kid-- at a party. Good job!

By the way, why haven't we seen you wearing all these tutus?

Poochie said...

You totally rock, my dear.

I have no other words!


Lindsay said...

Alright.. so I'm pretty sure that your closet opens up into some strange magical mess that is MY closet ahaha. I own soo many of these clothes that were pictured it's fabulous!


- The Other Lindsay

(PS: Party City has a great selection of glasses!)

Whit said...

Fabulous idea! You are the hostess with the mostess!

echidna girl said...

Wonderful, wonderful photos. Total hit. LHC approves!

Robo said...

Totally adorbs, and they are all fabulous :) I'd probably hand them a bunch of saris and see what they come up with.

Oh and yes, yes you can have some of my shiny hair. As soon as it grows out again that is LOL! That comment made my morning...thanks, Winona :)

pretty said...

Aaaw how adorable! You should obviously follow your natural calling as a fabulous party planner xx

Anonymous said...

this is epic, and i am appropriating this plan for a grown up party. you rock.

Anonymous said...

That is soooo cool. Way to think on your feet, well done!

I've been considering doing this kind of Big Sister thing for a little while.. I'm just worried that I'd bore the kid to tears!

You're truly an inspiration! Keep bein you & workin that magic!

Rachel said...

Genius. I think that's basically what my friends and I did after school when we were 12, but we didn't have as good a closet to pull from!

Speaking of sisters, my little one is coming to visit me and have a "sweet sixteen in LA." YIKES. What do I DO to celebrate? What do 16 year olds DO? I am getting her backstage passes to some gross music fest she wants to go to, since a friend of mine's band is in it...le sigh.

ALSO, re: that workspace meme thing, check out this:

MizzJ said...

What a cool idea, I want to have a party like that now! Dress-up never gets old. You must have quite a huge closet to have accumulated such a vast array of different items.

Anonymous said...

I miss dress up - I mean, I still do it now, but it's not quite the same as the brilliant dress ups you get involved in as a kid!

I distinctly remember one particular session where I was instantly converted to sea goddess through the simple wearing of a long shimmery green skirt as my hair.

Ever since then I have never looked as cool.

Mel Spillman artwork said...

I teach middle school in Memphis, teenagers today are hilarious! What a sweet idea to do a fashion show and to document through photography/ the blog. I will show it to my students.

Anonymous said...

aw good quick thinking i wish i had a big sister me and my friends are definatley not camera shy.



Fiona said...

Aw, so cute!
I wish my sister did that for me when I was 12! Or, you know, now... =p

ivoreece said...

aww so funny pics! great! :D

Lydia said...

such a good idea
i am going to do something like this for guides next week

daddylikeyblog said...

Not sure that you could handle the furry rainbow belt. It's pretty epic.

Awww that's the sweetest comment ever! Thank you!

Kate CH-
My closet actually is a replica of CL's circa 1985. Pretty much exactly.

You would certainly not bore a kid to tears! Seriously, send me an email if you want to know more about being a Big Sis. It's super easy and super rewarding and I know you'd be great!

Awesome! Let me know what your students thought of it!

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