Friday, August 26, 2005

Grown-up clothes: My self-inflicted "What Not To Wear"

Way back when, there was no obvious difference between the way people dressed in their teens, 20s, 30s, and so on. Or was there? I really wouldn't know, but period movies set in, say, the 1950s make it look that way. Or maybe the differences are there, but are too subtle for me to pick up on.

That said, today, with my mother's help, I sought out clothing that would make me look older than 18. Who am I kidding: older than 12. In other words, no GAP Kids.

Today we spent as much time in Bloomingdales as either of us could stand, which didn't get us far, since apparently neither of us has an especially high threshold for Bloomingdales-induced-pain. A search for blazers led us smack dab in the middle of the designer jeans section, which seemed to go on forever and which would really go against the goal of finding relatively inexpensive yet adult-looking outfits. That seemed to be the theme of the store: very expensive clothing for 14-year-olds. I suppose there are more respectable clothes on other floors, clothes that don't say "Juicy" or worse across the ass, but our Bloomingdales stamina was not great enough to explore those levels.

I was unwilling to make a fourth (!) trip to the Barneys Warehouse Sale--so promising, yet disappointing, each time--which somehow led us to Ann Taylor, where I tried on the least flattering pair of pants I'd ever encountered, designed for that lucky woman with massive thighs and no butt. They'd have gone great with the sweater I'd tried on at Banana Republic that was the least flattering sweater I'd ever encountered. A member of my grandparents' lodge once famously referred to Ann Taylor as "fancy schmancy," but compared to Bloomingdales it was positively sedate.

Enough of that. So we got on the bus and considered looking at Searle, which was having a sale, until a woman on the bus overheard our conversation and told us that pants there are $600. So we ended up at agnes b., where even if the clothing was too expensive, at the very least it would look good and thus be a pleasant place to spend a few minutes. There was no "sale" sign in the front, but my mother correctly speculated that there would be a sale rack in the back. Indeed there was, but what was most exciting to me was that an awesome pair of shoes, very much on sale... in a 37. Not good at all. But wait! They had them in a 38 as well! No need to explore options at such oh-so-fascinating establishments as Enzo Angiolini (sp?)!

I couldn't quite figure out the clothing sizes, but I think the way agnes b. works is that all clothing comes in sizes "Tiny Frenchwoman" through "Slightly-Less-Tiny-But-Still-Tiny Frenchwoman." All clothing, that is, except this one fabulous but strangely enormous tie-dyed skirt. Much like Ann Taylor, agnes b. sells ill-fitting pants. Yet unlike just about every place I'd been looking, agnes b. had well-cut, interesting-but-not-neon (oh, how I wish grown-ups could wear neon) skirts.

So mission accomplished, more or less. I'm sure the folks at "What Not To Wear" would find something wrong with all of it.

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