Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Perfect Outfit

In the last two months, my daughter has had two important interviews--so important, they will change the course of her life. For the first interview, she flew to Sacramento for a day at UC Davis. She plotted and planned: plane and hotel reservations,  whether or not to rent a car, and the contemplation and practice of possible interview questions with perfect answers.

Previous to her invitation to interview, she'd spent hours filling out forms, writing, editing, reediting what seemed like hundreds of essays. It was an intense period of time.

As much work and fret as she put into her application process, once she made the first cut and had an interview, even more time and consideration went into what she would wear. Everything else in place, the personal presentation had to be flawless.

She went to the experts--the women who'd been there before and over and again, the advice was: look professional! Skirt, hose, and blazer.

The critical shopping began.

It only took us one afternoon. Two skirts we found: classic black pencil and camel colored conservative. A white blouse with personality; and she made the outfit her own--bold enough to forego the blazer so highly recommended but not preferred. The campus was large so she settled for a pair of flats. She could carry on now only because she had the perfect outfit. I sent my daughter off with confidence!

There's something about the perfect outfit. On the night before a special occasion, knowing I have the right dress and shoes, sends me into blissful sleep. When I awake to remembrance of that special pantuit and pair of boots in the closet, I jump out of bed excited to start the day.

It sounds a little shallow (I know).

When my daughter received word of her second interview for her top choice school, silly me, I thought the first outfit would be just fine. But the season and locale had changed. It was now too cold for a skirt and she was ready to embrace the required blazer. She needed to shop again and needed my help. This time I wasn't too compliant and resisted until it hit me hard how important this was to her. How did I almost miss out?

This time the shopping was even more blessed! The perfect black blazer with an unusual cut complimented her figure perfectly. We found a cropped matching pant and both of us pictured the ensemble complete with a pair of camel pumps with silver studs around the heel that belonged to me. The only glitch this time was my shoes were one size too small. We had to find the same shoe, and we did--on the sale rack!

We did it! We'd created the perfect outfit. Again. She was ready.

We even had a couple of unexpected bonuses: the blazer was also on sale and the pants were deeply discounted, so much that since I already had the shoes and an old black blazer of my own, I bought the pants too. I'm now prepared and excited for the occasion (as yet unknown) to wear the perfect outfit!

And...we could go out dressed like twins.

Postscript: She attends the interview and feels it went well. She worked strategically with other applicants in a mock scenario and had answers for all the tough questions. When she finishes filling me in on all the important conversations and events of the day, she mentions a funny anecdote about her well planned outfit: "One of the professors who didn't interview me, pulled me aside and said, '"Your shoes are bad a..."' She laughed and thanked him. I imagine if this school sends her a rejection letter, they should at least do so with an explanation, You were a great candidate, but this isn't a school to earn a degree in fashion.

Postscript II: She got the phone call this morning; she's been accepted into the program of her dreams!!!