It appeared to be an easy mission. All I wanted was a pair of pants.
My friend Meg came along for the ride, to provide moral support on what could only be termed a “fat day” for me. If you are a woman, you will know what I mean. For you uninitiated men out there, this is a day in which the scale might not have moved but you feel as if you’ve added 15 lbs. overnight.
I needed something for just a few days hence. Did I mention I loathe shopping when I need something? Far better to shop when nothing is necessary because that is when you find the keepers. When you need something quickly, desperation kicks in—and it makes for a terrible shopping partner. You usually buy things you wear once and regret soon after.
Desperation was whispering in my ear when I walked into a chain store I normally do not frequent. I brought a pair of pants back to the fitting room, thinking I could slip in and out in a couple of minutes.
That is when Debbie, my STYLIST (yes, she said it with this emphasis), swooped down upon me. I had unwittingly walked into the lions’ den.
As I looked Debbie up and down, she was no stylist (let alone a STYLIST). I had written fashion/style features for years. I have a very good sense of style. Of what I can wear and what I cannot. This woman needed to let me be. Which I tried to politely tell her.
“I’m fine, really. Just need a pair of pants.”
She had overheard me talking about what I needed them for, which was a key meeting.
And then it began. The ridiculousness. This young thing, who had obviously never seen the inside of a corporate conference room, began to STYLE me. Her older counterpart chimed in from time to time with equally crazy “advice.”
I frowned at the pants I’d brought into the dressing room for not looking as good as they should on me. Out of nowhere, an arm appeared through the curtain, thrusting shirts in my general direction. As I tried to cover my unclothed upper half, a disembodied cheery voice said, “Pink is such an UNEXPECTED color for autumn, don’t you think?”
I couldn’t really think anything at the moment. I was too busy trying to cover up my nakedness on a fat day.
As she brought me more billowy chiffon blouses, I balked. No STYLIST would ever put me in anything billowing, which is not particularly flattering on my frame any day, let alone a fat day. And pink? Well, cotton candy pink and I parted ways at about age 20.
The jacket and pants Bossy Arm thrust through the curtain next were two entirely different shades of black. When I exited the dressing room to verify this fact under real lights, a scarf was immediately thrust around my neck and tied, as I protested that I NEVER wear scarves (she is not the only one who can speak with emphasis).
She insisted I try pants on with the shoes she brought me. No thanks. These feet don’t need to step inside shoes hundreds of other women have tried on barefoot. Besides, leopard-print shoes are not something I bring to the conference room. Just a silly little rule I have. If it makes you look like you should be purring, it probably won’t get you that promotion.
As the older one chimed in, chastising me for trying on a tunic as a dress (It’s a tunic on a woman who is 5 ft. 10 inches. On me, friends, it’s a dress. Trust me on this one.), I tuned out.
Sought out Meg and tried to hear her comments above the din my STYLISTS were creating around me.
I believe I had a come-to-Jesus moment with the older one when she suggested leggings—LEGGINGS—for my business meeting. Because everyone knows that when you want to be taken seriously, you wear something form-fitting and tight that you wore regularly as a sorority girl in the 1980s, right? Perhaps I could pair the leggings with the leopard-print shoes and sashay my way into corporate credibility. Score.
What happened to the days when buying a pair of pants was just that? If I want a stylist, I’ll go somewhere that employs an actual stylist. Not a girl barely older than my teen who reads Cosmopolitan, which has never truly been anywhere close to a fashion magazine. (Case in point—the “Must Read” on its website currently is “10 [sic] Life-Changing Ways to Save Money at Starbucks.” Followed by, “Is Kylie Jenner Wearing Butt Pads in This Photo?” I’m seeing Debbie lapping this one up and suggesting butt pads next time I visit.)
When I finally made my way out of the dressing room, leaving behind a pile of wreckage worse than the Edmund Fitzgerald, I made a beeline for margaritas with Meg.
Purchasing pants can be perilous. Purr.
I’ll leave it to you to decide if I say that as I’m wearing leggings with my leopard-print pumps.