Last night at around 10:15, my husband called me to tell me that the gabbai ("deacon", I guess, is the best translation - he basically makes the services run smoothly. This is a voluntary position of great honor and responsibility.) of our synagogue was having a "vort" for his daughter in a nearby shul. A "vort" is sort of an engagement party, and it usually happens very quickly.
I asked if I needed to change and he said he was just wearing what he wore to his daf yomi shiur. Um. "Daf Yomi" means "page a day" - international study program for the entire Talmud, studied both sides of one page at a time over a period of 7.5 years - this is the tenth cycle, and it's done by thousands of people. Shiur means class.
So, against what should have been my better judgement, and not thinking that he wouldn't notice what the women were wearing, I left the house wearing what I was wearing - a sweatshirt, a shabby black skirt, sneakers and a plain crocheted snood. Think of it as the equivalent of a sweatshirt and sweatpants.
And even before I got to the shul, I realized I'd made a mistake. Every woman headed in the same direction was wearing a dress suit and sheitl or hat. I was drastically underdressed.
Oh, no one looked or cared, but I was very uncomfortable. If I'd thought, I'd have pulled together an outfit - a nice top, a nice skirt, a hat, maybe a piece of jewelery. It wouldn't have been on the same level as the other women, but I don't need to be the *same* as them. I'm happy enough in my own style of clothing. I just need to be in the same ballpark as opposed to looking like I was just scrubbing my bathroom.
I kept my coat (old, lining tearing out, as opposed to my fake fur, which would have been too warm anyway) clutched closed, quite unfairly scolded my husband for not noticing the other women, because he's not supposed to notice them, said "mazel tov" to Eli, who was the only person I knew in the room anyway, and left.
This all makes sense, doesn't it?
I should have called a frum friend to find out what was right to wear to one of these. I'd never been to one before.