The black dress was flattering, with sleeves that ended just past the elbows and a skirt that tapered out to the sides, ending a few inches above the knees. The cuffs were white, standing out in contrast to the black, and there was a matching collar. The white fabric of the collar extended out across the shoulders and down the front, forming the shape of a tie or stylish scarf.
It was the latest fashion to appear in the streets of the city, and Dr. Collins had to admit that he didn’t understand it one little bit.
“Why not just buy a separate tie?” he asked under his breath. “Then you could wear it with other outfits.”
“It’s a matter of style, of course!” a cheerful voice answered from behind him.
He closed his eyes and groaned. “You’re following me, aren’t you?”
“Not at all!” Dr. Raines protested. “I’m just trying to help you.”
“What luck I have.”
“Now look at it this way,” Raines said. “When you looked at the woman wearing that dress, you knew it wasn’t a regular tie or scarf, right?”
He opened his eyes. “Well, yes,” he admitted cautiously.
“It doesn’t look the same, of course.”
“Exactly!” Raines clapped his hands together in delight. “Why wear blue instead of purple? Why wear lace instead of silk? Why wear that dress instead of a separate dress and tie? Because they look different! You can’t just substitute one for the other!”
“Thank you,” he said through gritted teeth. He hoped very much that if he sounded gracious enough, Raines would leave him alone for once.