Dressed to Kill

Last year, my Suit Yourself piece was the cause of much debate. Islanders and Dom Yorks alike were immersed in the discussion regarding my apparent “need” to fit in Dominican society, hence the diversified wardrobe. The harsh reality is  when we visit the Island, Yorkies such as myself must always be en guarde for the damned if you do and damned if you don’t mindset, in Island lingo la mentalidad de la perra de Dora. If you wear whatever style you want, you run the risk of getting some kind of unsolicited opinion about your attire (to your face or behind your back). Then again if you decide to follow protocol and dress according to what is customary on the Island, you are misconstrued as pretentious, pompous, and pedantic.

Last year’s touchstone outfits were meant to mirror certain occasions that are part of a Domi-York’s itinerary. This year, the stakes are much higher. With my travel reservation in hand and tons of invitations in place, I need to reinvent myself as the Barbie doll of Dominican Yorks (snide remarks sold separately).

Vintage Dream Nuala

Everyone in my inner circle knows that I am a sucker for vintage. This gold brocade dress from the sixties with Badgley Mischka open-toe satin pumps will be the talk of Las Doñas de Piantini. I anticipate they will comment with nostalgia the days when as single women, they wore such dresses before trading them for their standard married woman attire comprised of linen pants and blusas bordadas.

Stepford Wife Nuala

The time will inevitably come when once again my mom will drag me to visit her old time circle of friends porque hay que cumplir. Therefore I have to wear my watercolor Banana Republic dress and Steve Madden nude Mary Janes that showcase my “wife potential” para que vean que las muchachas que se crían fuera también son decentes. After five minutes of air-kissing Las Doñas, my phone will strategically ring with the important message that I am being picked-up and whisked away to la Zona Colonial.

Gala Affair Nuala

Word has it that I might be attending an important benefit. But even if I weren’t, one should always have that just-in-case formal ensemble, no vaya a ser cosa que me inviten a una boda y no tenga ropa con qué asistir. ¡Qué vergüenza! Since my silk Escada gown and Michael Kors Italian heels were good enough to attend a wedding at Le Cirque, I only hope they appease the La Marina de La Romana crowd.

Avant Guard Nuala

No NYC girl wardrobe is complete without a who-the-hell-does-she-think-she-is outfit. The Balmain sleeves on this H&M daring mini-dress and Max Azria satin stilettos will surely have Islanders’ stare in check.

 The Accessories

Some time ago, while on the Island with my dad, it was reported to me that someone had said “pero Don Fulano viene siempre con el mismo reloj todos los años.” To what I respond that a watch is indeed an investment. My dad’s 18k gold watch with an alligator strap more than suffices the need to own a dozen Guess watches for show purposes. But I guess my Dominicano Ausente dad who has lived in The City for forty years forgot that on the Island it’s not about investment, but more about inventory. Needless to say that I will simply have to make do with my Bill Blass leather bag, my Fendi watch, my Kate Spade wallet and my Tiffany iphone leather case. Islanders will just have to deal with the monotony of my carrying around the same accessories throughout the trip.

Of course, there are many more outfits already packed in my bag. But they are of lesser importance because they pertain to lesser affairs attended by individuals of a lesser social sphere as deemed by la crema y nata of the Island. Once again I will be reporting on the festivities upon landing. Happy Holidays and easy on the brandy Alexanders!

Nota Importante: Ladies, if you absolutely must blend in, my advice to you  wear flared jeans, wedge sandals, a Karla Reid cotton top and call it a day. For the gentlemen, a checkerboard shirt, washed or white extra-tight jeans, moccasins with no socks, and a full head of gel will suffice.

4 responses to “Dressed to Kill

  1. Oh my God! You are such a genious portraying islanders lives… Having NOT visited the island in many years…I still remember…how was it… You did beatifully…Happy holidays

  2. Nuala: Once again you’ve hit the nail on the head? How does it feel to right all the time? 🙂

  3. If you really want to shock them you should hang out with me. I will show up straight Isaac Hayes as Black Moses, bald head, bare chest, shirt made of chains and tight leather pants. “Who is the sexy black dick sexifying all the chicks? Shaft. You damn right. He s a complicated man and no one understands him but his woman. Shut your mouth.”

  4. I am so with you on this one! I must share with you that I found the solution to this dilemma back in 2007 when my mother made me bring two maletas full of clothes and shoes I did not even get to wear the 21 days I was there. Somehow, DR could not take the pressure of my Jimmy Choo with pencil jeans and a t-shirt. Since the fact that I was wearing a simple, yet sophisticated ensemble did not suffice the high standards of Dominican society attire, I decided to twist things around. Next time I traveled Choo and friends stayed home, and I walked the capital in more comfortable shoes. The change: I traveled with 2 dresses, two bathing suits, a couple of jeans and a few of Zara’s knit shirts, my toms and a pair of birkenstock, an evening gown in case something was cooking in el Teatro Nacional (mind you that I did not have shoes to wear with it!) and a cute bag where I could hide my camera and laptop. I have to admit that it took me 10 years, a crazy overweight charge from Jet Blue and a good look in the mirror to let go of all patterns and have my mom, my friends, my mom’s friends, las vecinas, DR, to accept me as the “hippie” they assume I am: “Porque las muchachas que salieron para acá -NY- de nuestra promoción [de la secundaria] ya no saben vestir, andan como locas, como las jipies esas de los 60…” -words of a childhood friend and the echo of my mother’s toughts.

    Thanks for sharing. Tus dilucidaciones abrieron las ventanas de la reflexión…

    Have a nice time there and keep us posted of you adventures!

    Un abrazo.

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