Some of my brightest memories from my early teenage years, a phase I mostly spent feeling like a two-legged construction site, are the Friday nights I got ready to go out with my two best friends. We always met at the same house — that of the friend with The Cool Mom. Her place was warm and safe, there was Britney Spears playing from the laptop, and we could dance around the living room in our bras, borrowing clothes from four different closets. With the night and the world lying at our feet, everything seemed possible. Sometimes I wished we didn’t have to leave.
Could it get any better than this? I used to wonder. Outside, the troubles began: fake IDs failed, night clubs were overcrowded, boys turned out to be bad kissers (or they didn’t want to kiss at all). Weren’t we better off at home, dancing to music nobody could judge us for in clothes no one could spill a drink on?
“The best part of a party is getting dressed to go,” the late socialite Nan Kempner used to say, and while one could argue that it’s the anything-could-happen promise of an imminent night out that makes this part so electrifying, I have often wondered why I couldn’t simply skip the act of going out, without sacrificing the fun of getting ready for it. You know: get a little drunk, listen to that 2000s playlist on repeat, put on pink eyeshadow, borrow my friend’s pair of sequined hot pants, climb into the most ridiculous, impractical, wonderful outfit, and then – TA-DA! – stay in.
Of course, I get the allure of a wild night out or the promise of a glamorous party. You never know who you could meet, or what kinds of stories you could collect. It’s also an excuse to wear your so-called “party wear”: your open-back satin slips, silver lamé mini skirt, crystal earrings, embellished high heels — all those things you tend to save for special occasions. And in theory (even though, ironically, I rarely wore my party clothes “out” in high school for fear of ruining them), parties are the occasions.
But your living room can be, too. After all, it’s the only place where you can wear high heels without having to worry how to get home in them. It’s where your glittery going-out top can shine like a star without being forced to hide under the party pooper currently known as a “winter jacket.” It’s where you can wear your shortest skirt or your invisible pants (that is, no pants) without having to rack your brain about how you’re going to make it to the bar before you freeze. If you think your boobs are the best top you own, go for it. If you miss your favorite beach caftan, wear it by the fireplace and pretend it’s Barbados. Everything is possible when you dress up to go out but never actually leave the house. It’s like dancing on your own: a deep, genuine pleasure, undisturbed by the presence of others.
And just like a good solo dance allows you to try the most extravagant moves, I have found that the freedom of dressing up for no one but yourself also often results in the most creative outfits, which you can always wear again the next time you actually do leave the house — or, even better, share in the comments below! If you do, don’t forget to include the songs you’re listening to in that outfit. After all, no one-woman living room party is complete without a playlist to swing a bottomless butt along to.