Monday, October 04, 2010

The danger of dress-up

Today, I was very proud of my Fashion Personality 1 get-up: navy-with-white-details Aigle garden-store rainboots, Bensimon used brownish-green (greenish-brown?) Barbour-esque jacket, camel-colored bag and canvas tote, black corduroys, neatly-painted (matter of luck, really) dark red nail polish, pearl studs. It really came together, I thought, looking in (what passes for) a full-length mirror before leaving the apartment.

I suspect the outfit had something to do with why, on 8th Street of all places, I was accosted by a group of impeccably-dressed preppy Spanish (or wealthy South American, but I suspect Spanish) tourists. Who began speaking to me in Spanish, not in the way someone does when this is their only option and the language of the place they're in isn't one they speak, but the way a tourist does when they're abroad and delighted to have found someone of their own kind. My Fashion Personality 1, paired with my natural-born coloring and facial features, adds up to upper-crust Spaniard. Who knew?

Unfortunately I don't speak Spanish, but I understood, soon enough, what they wanted: Tiffany's. They wanted Tiffany's. I tried to explain how far this was from 8th Street, made somewhat more challenging by the fact that I assume it's on 57th Street but don't know for sure. I then remembered passing one on Wall Street. Neither of these locations would be useful if you're next to Washington Square Park. After the group of tourists recovered from their disbelief that I could not explain to them, in Spanish, how to find an expensive jewelry store, we parted ways and, in keeping with the Spanish-language theme, I got some excellent tacos.


Amber said...

Apparently I have looked very German/Austrian to Germans and Austrians, and English to English in the North. Of course, this was before H&M really took off in the US, so anyone wearing their merch and looking vaguely of the local ethnicity was probably deemed a native in a manner that wouldn't occur today.

Phoebe said...

Wow, there was a time when H&M wasn't everywhere! Seems hard to remember, but now that you mention it, I remember a high school friend returning from an exchange program in Germany very excited about the chain. But yes, it's when perceived ethnicity and clothing converge that these mix-ups are most likely.