Diplomats have been at the forefront of the news in the past months, working feverishly in places like Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Japan, New Zealand and the Ivory Coast to fend off civil war, protect citizens from their own leaders, and help Americans get out of harm's way and nations to rebuild.
Our brothers and sisters have sacrificed their own personal safety, have broken up their children's school years, have sent loved ones away from their homes - all in order to serve the United States and represent our interests abroad.
We at "Your Bottoms" remains eternally grateful for their determination, dedication, fearlessness and sacrifice. We know the challenges they face, and we know how much it takes to 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.
This blog post is about the lighter, fashionable side of the recent evacuations, and does not in any way minimize the total respect and admiration for our friends and colleagues and their work.
When you're told "You have one hour to get home, pack up, and report back here to get out of the country," your mind races in a million directions at once. Is my passport valid? Do I have my vital papers? Do I have some cash? Are my spouse and kids safely at home? Are they packed? What about my pets? Stilettos or flats for a boat evacuation or should I go for the 'sailor look'?
Just kidding on the last one. But seriously folks, many friends have had to throw things into one (not the Foreign-Service Fashionista's standard TWO giant suitcases, usually evacuees only get one) suitcase and hustle out before the going gets to be untenable. So how do you decide what to pack? What will the weather be like in ______ (fill in evacuee destination of choice)? Will I have report to Main State right away? What do I have in storage? What can I reuse and re-pair to make a small suitcase have some big value?
It's all about versatility in an evacuation. Layering, classic cuts and neutral colors, and the knowledge of what can transition from day to night, from work to play, and can be dressed up or dressed down.
One friend got it just right, as shown in the photo - she's got a classic trench, slim fitting black pants, chic yet comfortable shoes and a Hepburn-esque (Audrey) black turtleneck. Yes, she'd been through some tough times at her post, and yes, she left a career's worth of books, treasures, clothing and sentimental items behind. No, she hasn't slept decently in weeks, and no, she's not sure when she'll see her home again. But does she define "Evacuee Chic"?