Jasiminne Goes To The Ball : Prepping for the Malaysia Tatler Ball

November 09, 2014
Add to my resume 'content creator for and Instagram muse of Malaysia Tatler' for that's exactly what I did in the run up to this year's Malaysia Tatler ball. For a collaborative feature with Malaysia Tatler online I created a series of exclusive Tatlergrams (Tatler-Instagrams) affording a look into how I prepare from the moment I receive my invitation to the red carpet.
You've read about the indisputable social event of the year on my blog post about the ball and you've seen my feature on  Malaysia Tatler online about how I prepped for this most prestigious event. I must confess, my Tatlergrams make my life out to be more languidly charmed than it really is but of course you know that, surely by now people know to take social media content at face value. Myself, I'm not cut from the same cloth of aspirants who would never let the truth get in the way of a good Instagram. So, in the interest of those curious about the more earthy details behind these polished pictures I offer a more elaborate  explanation and candid look at  #JasiminneGoesToTheBall.

"1 month before the ball: The much anticipated invitation arrived complete with silver stencils and hand-printed calligraphy."
The reality: I wasn't sure if I would even make it back to Malaysia in time for the ball as I was essentially grounded in the UK thanks to immigration bureaucracy. The timing was unfortunate: I had to renew my extension for British permanent residency in September, no earlier nor later, and this sort of thing takes months to process. In the meantime I had to RSVP to the ball and I hate to be the sort who says 'attending' to an event of gravitas only to not show up. I pulled some strings and got the Home Office to speed up my application to be completed a week before the ball, giving me back my travel documents and the all-clear to say, yes, Jasiminne is going to the ball! 

"2 weeks before the ball: The hunt for the perfect dress began."

The reality: Although in the weeks leading up to the ball (of which my attendance was still pending) I was searching for a dress to wear, in the back of my mind I was convinced that I had always known that I was going to wear this blue number that I found in On A Cloudy Day many months ago. In fact I found both these dresses back in February! There was something about that dress that made it seem like 'The One', maybe it was that shade of royal blue, maybe it was the way those delicate eyelash lace panels wrapped around the waist accentuating a suggestive, feminine shape. But if there's anything I've learned it's that the best laid plans always go awry. You'll see. 

"2 weeks before the ball: For the lady, it was a royal blue pair of Carvelas that was decided upon for the feet."
The reality: You all know that nothing thrills me more than a good find on a bargain hunt. I love trawling consignment shops, vintage, sample sales, The Outnet etc. for a bit of champagne luxury on a lemonade budget. I rarely splurge thousands on a handbag (not when I can 'shop' from mother's wardrobe haha) let alone a pair of shoes that I'm only to wear occasionally. On the other hand I refuse to buy cheap high heels (anything less than £100) as I can think of no faster way to snap a stiletto and plummet to a painful death. When I found these royal blue Carvela heels for £10 in a thrift store *cue Macklemore 'Thrift Shop'* I thought it was a sign, no, two signs; one: yes, I can reach new heights (heels) on a new low (budget), two: royal blue is my colour to wear to the ball this year. 

"3 weeks before the ball: Based in London, Jasiminne booked the first flight home to Kuala Lumpur to prepare for the Tatler Ball."
The reality: I actually booked Henry's and my flights to K.L the weekend before and just two weekends before the ball. I flew Economy class because I felt guilty about using twice as much air miles to get return flights for two. Any discomfort on my decidedly downgraded standard of aviation luxury I endured by repeating to myself: "Do it for love...do it for love." Next time, I'm putting my foot down and insisting we pay more to fly Business Class.

"1 week before the ball: A minor hair touch up was scheduled to keep the mane in check."
The reality: Since thrift seemed to be the recurring theme, I thought I'd save myself some money by dying my hair at home with a box dye. Two boxes of Liese 'Natural Black' bubble hair dye and an hour later, I emerged with the same results as I would have in a hair salon. It all went perfectly but for the big black mess in my shower that looked like the aftermath of an epic octopus battle. 

"1 week before the ball: Like everything else in life, the impact of an outfit lies in the finer details, and nothing adds a punch like Dior."
I love rewarding (some would say undoing the good effects of, haha) a bit of clever budgeting with a luxurious little treat. I might even reward myself with the marble effect 'Mise en Dior' earrings to add to my gold and silver ones.

"2 weeks before the ball: New shoes were in order for Jasiminne's date for the night, Henry Ridley-Cook."
The reality: I gifted Henry some dress shoes to wear to the Tatler Ball...which he of course forgot to bring to Kuala Lumpur. Luckily we found a last-minute replacement that was inexpensive enough to buy to wear once and leave behind in Malaysia as 'emergency shoes'. I lent him a Patek Phillipe to add a final flourish to his already well composed outfit, and schooled him on the Who's Who of Malaysia with Tatler's 'The List Issue' (of which my mother but not I am in).
"3 days to the ball: Time to scrub, buff and polish so she will shine in photos."
The gruesome reality: This was my first pedicure in four months. How the spa people turned my cloven hooves into presentable, if not pretty lotus flowers is beyond my comprehension, but I'm glad they did. 

"2 days to the ball: A woman can never have too many bags -- until it comes time to decide on just one to carry."
No comment. Everything about this is so true.

Now this is when the story gets truly terrifying.

It was two nights before the ball on Saturday when I couldn't fall asleep and no amount of mentally rearranging my apartment furniture (my equivalent of counting sheep) could get me to drift away into restful slumber. So I got up, paced about my room while Henry slept, blissfuly oblivious to the shitstorm of hysterics that would soon follow. I slipped into the blue evening dress I was going to wear to the Malaysia Tatler ball and did up the zip halfway when I realised that the dress.didn't.fit. Panicking, I wiggled this way and that but no amount of yoga expertise (of which I have none, by the way) would maneuverer this pork sausage into a nylon stocking, so to speak. Now, when it comes to my fluctuating weight I deal with it the same way I deal with my body issues: I ignore it until the big fat problem becomes so confrontational that no amount of looking sideways away from the mirror will allow my eyes to evade the truth: that I had let myself go and that no amount of denial was going to squeeze myself back into the size 8 dress that I bought six months ago. 

I think I allowed myself to cry and rage at myself (and Henry, and my father, the poor innocent lambs) for a good night and a morning before pulling myself together. It was now Friday and I had a little over 24 hours to find a dress that would not only accommodate my expanded waistline but also hold its on against the display of show-stopping glamour at the Malaysia Tatler ball. Problem was, I wasn't going to let myself remain this embarrassing size forever and I sure as heck wasn't going to spend thousands on a dress that I was going to wear once before hiding away as a shameful relic of that time I let myself slip. So, the day before the ball I trawled all the boutiques I knew in Bangsar and Mont Kiara looking for an emergency dress on a budget (nothing over one grand, 1.5 at the most) that would fit me. I was just about ready to give up when I remembered the shop where Michiekins bought one of her wedding dinner dresses from two years ago, and on a whim I went to the very same place (I can't say which, sorry). Astonishingly, they had the blue dress I was going to wear to the ball, which I took to be a good sign that everything was going to be OK. And it was...! I tried on about ten dresses, two of which I liked but was lucky not to buy because two people I knew wore those dresses to the ball the next evening! I was just about to settle for this turquoise and silver sequinned dress that was a dead ringer for Queen Elsa's gown but I Let It Go. Then I tried on this dazzling green number that screamed Disney Princess, or more specifically, Ariel. It was a perfect fit, and even more so when I realised that ages ago I bought an ostentatious green choker that I never had the right occasion to wear to. That, and that I had the most suitable Bottega Veneta green clutch to go with it. 

My final outfit, pulled together at the eleventh hour. Interestingly enough green is my lucky colour and it certainly proved itself to be fortuitous when I went to the ball and saw someone wearing the blue dress I was planning to wear! It was like the green sequinned hand of some higher power intervened and saved me from my initial choice of dress. But did said higher power have to do that by making me gain a dress size? Well, the universe works in mysterious ways. 

The chubby Little Mermaid finally grew her legs, got back her voice, and went to the Malaysia Tatler Ball. 

The rest is history: they all lived happily ever after, that is, until the time comes to find a dress for the next year's ball. I'll just take it one day at a time. x


1 comment:

  1. Nothing packs on the pounds like happiness! Blame Henry! Just kidding, you really can't see it on you at all. Maybe just your boobs got bigger?