A distantly familiar phrase that I had never thought about…. Until I go on a date on a cruise ship…
Cruise attire is formal, yet breezy. It oozes rich and relaxed, but pretty.
I think it ought to have flowers or pastel.
It must afford both an air of summer and protection for the shoulders agaist the wind on deck.
Cruises are for couples. Cruisewear is not sexy.
My charge is complicated by the fact that we weren’t paying passengers. My date is an officer.
“Dress like you are going to a nice restaurant”, he instructed. And “don’t wear anything freaky.” Eliminating 75% of my wardrobe.
Of course there was plenty more he didn’t say…  I had to pass as a passenger but I would also be in the crew areas. So I didn’t want to come across as one of the elite. No real jewels.
But I’m the date of an officer which meant that I wouldn’t wear anything obviously fake either.
I should not be too visible. Definitely not a diva. Not too glamorous or sparkly.
And, as I would be with an officer but not charged with providing service I also needed to not look like crew. This eliminated the professional clothing I keep for the occasional university lecture.
Not sexy, not freaky, not diva, not professional, nor rich, not poor…
Basically it needed to be Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Chaste and Impeccable with sufficiently overt signal of an absence of wealth.
Knee length skirts in good fabrics but nothing too fragile for navigating garbage bins down the narrow crew hallways.
Pretty tops, with chaste shoulder wraps. Velvet tank tops and v-necks  hit the right note. Jeweley: antique or artistic. Chandelier crystals, brass keys, antique buttons…
The saving grace was that I could wear high heels all the time to make everything more elegant, without working about cobblestones or long walks.