Once my time at the Shamrock Shuffle expo wrapped up on Friday, I came home and went straight into prom mode. After all, I had a ball to attend!
The Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council had their annual Red or White Ball this past Friday at Venue One in the West Loop. The Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council is a group of young professionals that work to support the Steppenwolf for Young Adults Program, an arts education program for high schoolers. I’m not a member of the auxiliary council, nor was I ever really involved in theater beyond my eighth grade musical, but when one has a friend who works in development at Steppenwolf, sometimes one finds oneself attending fundraising events. C’est la vie 😉
After whining on this very blog more than once about needing a date to the ball, I found out my best friend from high school was going to be in Chicago the same day as the ball and conned her into going with me. I then went on a mission to find a dress. With very little time to find an outfit, I was really concerned about my chances to find something I liked.
I considered going to somewhere like Macy’s or Nordstrom to find a dress, but since this was a Chicago event, I wanted a Chicago dress, so I went to Akira. I had been in Akira once but never really shopped there, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.
Oh, you guys. I could sing the praises of Akira allllllll day. I’ve legitimately never had a better clothes shopping experience. A salesperson introduced herself to me as soon as she saw me looking through their racks, and, after asking what I was in the market for, took the dresses I already had in hand and started a dressing room for me while I continued to shop. Since I didn’t have much time, I grabbed just about every dress I could find in my size, figuring the more I tried on the better chance I’d have at finding The Dress in one shopping trip. At the same time, the salesperson went through the store and found dresses similar in size and style to the ones I had already picked out.
While a lot of the dresses I tried on didn’t fit (or were a little more, ahem, scandalous, than I was looking for), I was pretty happy with the fit of a coral dress. Being the snow white lady that I am, I generally don’t think coral does much for my skin tone, but the Akira salespeople raved and raved about how nice the color looked on me (which, yes, it is their job to sell things to me, but they also told me that other colors didn’t look good on me, so I felt like their opinion on the coral dress was reliable) and decided the dress would look great belted (again, trying to sell me things, but they were definitely right). Honestly, shopping at Akira was like shopping at a running speciality store for shoes. The service was UNREAL, and I can’t recommend them enough if you need shopping guidance.
The belt I bought was navy and gold, and since all of my dressy purses and shoes are black and/or silver, I had to go shoe and purse shopping. So tragic.
With Erin’s help, though, I was able to accessorize with a necklace and earring set I already had.
After getting all dressed up (and coaching my best friend through the art of attempting to find a street parking space after 5 p.m. in Chicago), we were off to the ball! We were, um, very fashionably late, so the party was pretty hoppin’ by the time we got there. We grabbed some amazing food from a tasting station, got some drinks from the open bar, and proceeded to wander around for awhile looking for my Steppenwolf friend. Since I’m not really part of the see-and-be-seen crowd, nor am I super involved with Steppenwolf, I didn’t really know anyone there, but that was fine by me. I haven’t had a chance to really hang out with my friend from high school since before she got married last June, and it was so nice to have an opportunity to just hang out and have fun.
Even though I may not be a Steppenwolf groupie, I really had a great time at the ball. I suppose my opinion is a bit biased, because I know my friend at Steppenwolf put a lot of work into the event, especially over the past couple of weeks, and for me it was cool to see the results of their hard work and long days. Fun event, good cause, great company: can’t really ask much more than that out of my Friday night!
When did you last have a chance to get dressed up for an event?
Have you ever had a shopping experience like I had at Akira? Seriously, I need to find more places like that, because goodness knows I can always use shopping help.