Getting Dressed for Rideau Hall

Prince Edward Island is a very compact place, both physically and socially. As a result, the diversity of experiences one can have on any given day is unusually vast. Today was no exception.
Our friend Catherine Hennessey is to receive the Order of Canada on May 31. Orders from Rideau Hall are for ladies to wear a long dress. Catherine, while certain fashionable in spirit, doesn’t have many long dresses in her oeuvre. And so new clothes must be sourced.
Tonight on my way to work I happened to drop in at Catherine’s resuscitated mansion on Syndey Street, where I accidentally joined the ebullient Dolly Hennessey [no relation] in an evaluation of Catherine’s current long gown options.
Candidate one was a lime green three part affair. Formal, vaguely uncomfortable looking (but perhaps in a manner appropriate for the occasion?), it consisted of a long skirt, short-sleeved stop, and senatorial jacket. Certainly the most formal possibility. And the greatest distance from “every day”.
Dress number two was out of the running from first viewing. A Martha Stewartesque casual affair seemingly constructed from T-shirt fabric. My only thought was “good for Miami Beach, bad for Rideau Hall.”
Number three, nearest perhaps to Catherine’s own tastes, said Dolly, was a lightly exotic leopard-print (not really leopard, I suppose — more like “autumn leaves”) one-piece dress with some sort of neck-surrounding sash. A nice dress, but again, not appropriate for the occasion.
So there we were: forced to choose between Elizabeth Dole, Martha Stewart, and, well, everyday Catherine Hennessey.
And at that moment of supreme indecision, Catherine emerged wearing a wonderful top, just the perfect balance of formal and personal. It’s a duotone brown-shaded striped top, with alternating matte and sheen stripes. It needs a long skirt (black crepe, thought Dolly). But this can easily be found, it was decided.
And so there we go. Watch Newsworld on May 31 to see the final decision.

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