For the rest of you, dear friends all, the 3 Way refers to the mirror, or rather I should say The Mirror. A topic worthy of a long post, long even by my lax standards. Perhaps a pee break would be indicated now before you settle in for a read. You see, yesterday, Petra curled her index finger and cast the rest of me a come-hither look that I had not the strength to ignore. So I (we???) went out last night and got in front of a few of them. Mirrors, that is.
I have blathered on here about how much of a high it is for me to be accepted in exclusively female environments – wig salons, shoe sale racks, the aestheticians counter at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s or what have you. Wonderful places where, freed from the presence of guys, women find their natural, unguarded selves, their truest voice. This is the voice I love best.
That voice can be found in the hushed, hopeful hall at the back of the shop, that well-lit warren of far-from-the-Office cubes, the runway of runaway shopping impulses, the Fitting Room area. First stop, Dillard’s at Atlantic Station for a quick run through their BCBG Max Azaria boutique. I have been lusting for some months now after a beguiling skirt of the clingy, flashy variety pictured here. The gorgeous sales assistant pulled the last one from an off the beaten track rack when I described what I hadn’t found.
“Oh yes! The foil skirt … we have one, hang on… yup, your size too!”
And then disappointment as she toddled the trophy back to me …
“O no! there is a tear in the waistband …”
I suggested that I should at least try it on for size, and think then about picking it up online.
“Oh yes, you will love it, cute, cute cute…”
The door closes, the bag is hung, the jacket draped, something is peeled off and something new is pulled on. And if that something is not a total disaster, the 3 way calls. The Big Mirror down the hall. You see yourself walking towards it, running all the calculus, does it fit, what would I wear with it, is this really my silhouette, don’t I already own this ….?
You will have quietly resolved the thousand questions by the time you step up on the small riser, strike a pose, look left and right, up and down, front and back with the one question left … is this my skirt (dress, blouse, jacket, etc…)?
“Oh my God but you rock that skirt … you like?”
“Like? I love it (hands smoothing skirt, a little shimmy, knees together…), shame about the tear…”
“You know that must have come from some girl who had no chance of getting it past her knees. Honestly you would not believe what gets ruined before it even leaves the store”
“Really? ,,, ouch ( reset the waistband, turn 90°, regard ass over right shoulder) … too too bad”
The second shop assistant walked in ..
“Uh huh, you like? … I thought it was too stiff for me….”
“Yes, o yes … ( hands on hips, standard female comic superhero stance)… Love it.”
More conversation of a similar ilk followed, I continued to flirt with the wounded skirt I knew I would leave behind, stripped down and dressed up again, waving so long. It wouldn’t be fishing if you struck every time you dropped a line I suppose…
I went to drop a line down the road at Ann Taylor. The Friends and Family 40% off every loving stitch in the place sale was on last night. AT is always a top shopping experience for me. Quality, current, and classic, I believe that AT has the pulse of the maturing contemporary woman better than any other major retailer, at least in this part of the world. You would be mad to not be signed up for the email specials.
After the usual “Welcome to Ann Taylor” salute from the staff and a slow wander / ponder about, the nice assistant asked if she could set a fitting room for me, relieving me of the rapidly building pile folded over my arm.
“Thanks, of course. Let me see grab a couple of other things … see you there in a tick.”
“Take your time … I’ll just leave the twill slacks on your rooms door, ok?...”
OK, indeed. I grabbed one more pair of slacks, asked for the stacked platform giraffe print bootie and retired to my private space. While changing the tap-tap-tap on the door heralded the arrival of my shoes, but you know it is ok to pull the door open in a half-dressed state here.
“Here are the 8 ½’s, hope you like them!”
Out to the long hall, prowling, dead center the length of the walk up to the riser, pretty much convinced that the pants were not for me and my fellow shopper hailed me with a nice smile …
“Give me a zip up please, would you?”
A dark complexioned woman, nearly dressed, early 30’s with stunning grey/blue eyes, a rare sighting of one of the universes most extravagant displays of beauty, gestured towards her back. The royal blue knit dress with the dropped waist was a little full on her to my eye as I fastened her in, but she was more concerned about the short hem.
“O no, the length is great. Opaque tights and you are fine. And the blue, o my god it makes your eyes just pop! I think it looks great, but you … you not convinced are you?
“I just don’t know. It is my color, but…. I don’t know….”
“I like the cut … it’s not for me though, I like a higher waist line..”
I helped her then with the unzipping, and we each retired to our private reserves. The style chit chat continued over the tall walls, and we both made a few forays back out to the racks trading views all the while. There were a couple of men there, attending their wives, fidgeting uncomfortably, privately wishing the Mayans would move the end of the world up a couple of months and just end it all, now. Not us girls.
I saw the skirt at the cash desk, opined that I liked it, hadn’t seen it in my size and asked did they have one for me? Yes they did, and I settled into the work of imagining a top for it. My new friend pointed at the ruffled cami and said that would work. That was not available in Petra dimension, but I did spot the glitter, metallic thread long sleeve crew neck that I thought might just work.
She did not have to say a word, just smiled and nodded. She was in fact trying the same skirt on, truthfully to lesser effect. I felt it was simply too big on her.
“What size is it?” I asked.
“Petite right?” (She is about 5’ 2” tops, and the skirt hit at knee where mine was right where I like, about three above the knee.)
“It has a lot of stretch to it dear (hands circling rump) Try the zero, it will work and you will feel soooo good about wearing a zero, admit it…”
“O god, you know me too too well… and that top, I would not have picked that … great outfit”
I was finished by now, and glowing even before I realized the bargains I had won. The $130.00 skirt and the $80 top for a mere $58 after all the markdowns.
I waved goodbye to my stylish sister, and waded back out into the evening air, into the wider unsuspecting and mostly uncaring world. I was armed against worry in part by the bag hanging from my shoulder, striding happily along the busy sidewalks, happy couples and lurking lads, everyone looking everyone else up and down, top to toe. Atlantic Station on a Saturday night is very much a place for people watching, and some did watch me.
I was particularly charmed by the young woman who dropped her boyfriend’s hand for a moment to touch my hot pink flared-waist jacket and tell me she loved it. I told her she was sweet and that I loved her hair. She gave me a quick hug and a wink and carried on down the road with her flummoxed fellow.
A short drive home, a glass of wine, the slow disrobing, the long shower, the many layers of exterior washed off, folded away, leaving the more familiar exterior surfaces of the guy visible. The interior things have a longer, deeper impact though, feeling it very much this morning. I revel in my privileges, and feel tuned up, in touch, at peace.
Simply had to share that with you today. Thanks for staying with me.
I encourage you to visit often, and especially encourage you to check out the many fine vendors I have been delighted to work with. For the complete body of Petra Guilty Pleasures essays, simply click here. Recent posts include some terrific hosiery finds (including the wonderful Cecilia de Raphael’s, pictured at right), and a wild, happy variety of all the pretty things a woman needs.
Happy shopping friends.