Going to Love, Loss, and What I Wore is like being part of a grown-up slumber party. You read each other’s diaries, share secrets from your past, frustrations growing up or growing old, shake your head in recognition, feel that catch in your throat at a poignant moment and laugh a lot. The only thing missing from the evening was a glass of wine during the show itself.
Five women of varying ages—the cast rotates about every twelve weeks—all dressed in black and all wearing incredibly high black heels appear on the intimate stage of the Westside Theatre/Downstairs, sit on high chairs and proceed to tell us stories that center around clothing. Needless to say, the stories aren’t just about clothing. Clothes are just the starting point: we hear how what we wear reflects who we are; deflects from who we are; makes us part of the group or singles us out. Relationships are entangled with fabric. How many knowing laughs when one mother says, “You’re wearing that?” The joy expressed in the paeon to New York City women’s ubiquitous black: “I love black!” they say in unison. The pang when a young teenage girl, wearing her gang’s sweater for the first time, is seduced and then ignored by the gang leader. And the completely hilarious rendition of Nora Ephron’s tale, “I Hate My Purse.” (Marketing alert– the yellow plastic NYC Metrocard bag she loves is on sale in the lobby).
My recent trip to Lord & Taylor, accompanied by one of the store’s personal shoppers, didn’t result in anything as funny or poignant as one of the play’s stories. I was looking for a dress for an upcoming afternoon wedding, nothing fancy. This was an opportunity not to throw a colorful jacket over a LBD. Trolling the racks of dresses (I’d forgotten the great selection the store offers), I soon went on overload. Too fitted, too frilly, too old, too young, ugly color, boring color…feel familiar? I tried on at least a dozen. The winner: a fitted dress in a floral print. Honestly, it’s a dress I would have left on the hanger, but that’s what personal shoppers (or friends with good fashion sense) are for. I wore it to Love, Loss…and felt fabulous. And at some point, what more can a woman want?
Barbara Kurka won Woman Around Town’s contest. She received a $200 gift card from Lord & Taylor, shopped with the store’s personal shopper, then with a guest attended an evening performance of Love, Loss, and What I Wore.