Not so much dressing up, but more getting dressed up to the nines.
It was December in the early 90s, my husband was working for a company in London that treated its employees and their partners to an all expenses paid Christmas dinner and dance in posh London hotels. This particular year we were invited to the Hilton Hotel, in Park Lane. Very swish. At this time, I had a 2 year old and a 5 year old. Posh frocks were not a part of my wardrobe, I was still in 'comfy clothes' mode!
This coincided with my husband's cousin opening a dress rental business. High quality, designer clothes and accessories. She took pity on me and offered me a free rental. It was hard to choose, so many beautiful dresses, totally out of my price range if I'd been buying but I had a free choice. Now before I describe this dress you have to remember that it was the 90s. Fashions have changed. What was fabulous then would be a tiny bit 'over the top' now. I finally decided on a fabulous dress. Emerald green velvet, very fitted at the top, with a drop waist. The velvet underskirt was a pencil skirt shape and over the top was 3 gathered ruffled skirts in a shimmering green taffeta. I felt amazing! I had some lovely black patent high heeled court shoes with a bow attached to the back of the heel (very 'Lady Di').
My mum had agreed to have the children to stay overnight and we set off for the evening. Husband in dinner suit and bow tie, me in my posh frock.
We had a new car to travel to London in too. My husband's company changed the company cars of their staff every two years and we had a brand new car on the drive. However, as time went on, this car turned out to be possibly the most unreliable car we ever had. And its first time of breaking down was that night. At a petrol station. On a dual carriageway just before the junction with the motorway. We stopped for petrol and the car refused to start again. We rang the breakdown company and they told us they had a van nearby but couldn't locate where we were. (Days before mobile phones became part of every woman's handbag essentials!) I looked across the road and could see the breakdown van at the services on the opposite side of the road. So in desperation I decided to run across 4 lanes of busy traffic in my finery to get his attention. By the time I returned to the car, my hair was ruined, my shoes were dirty and the relaxed, child free evening mood had well and truly evaporated.
Happy to report that the car was easily fixed, we got to the hotel on time and had a fabulous time. However, after that, whenever we went to the Christmas 'do' I always had a sensible pair of shoes in the back of the car in case I needed to flag down a rescue vehicle again. I still don't know why I chose to go, why on earth didn't I send my husband?!!!