The shop assistant carries the ecru Electric Feathers dress and the red À Détacher dress back to the dressing room.
I hurriedly snatch the black Veronique Leroy dress off the rack in front of me as well. “What the hell, this one, too.” I smile, handing her the dress.
I’m high on Christmas money.
I try on the Electric Feathers piece first. I almost like it best without the belt; it hangs like a toga, yet somehow feels modern and ultra-feminine (this is due to the bateau neckline and the ruffles down the side). “Art Professor with blue blood,” I think, nodding with approval at my reflection. I tie on the belt. I tie it on several ways, the appropriate technique not being obvious. The belt gives the entire look something both ancient and space-aged. “Jedi,” I whisper.
Next comes the À Détacher dress. The material feels amazing against my skin. I feel amazing in my skin. The shopkeeper comes to check on me, suggests that this dress is too big for my frame, and tiptoes off to bring me back a size 4. Inwardly, I weep for joy.
In the meantime, I throw on the black Veronique Leroy dress. It also feels light, easy, and elegant, but how many little black dresses can a girl have? My answer, turns out, is seven.
The size 4 Dress of Dreams comes back and, much to my pleasant surprise, does actually fit me better. That’s decided then. It was originally priced at $700+ but is now on sale for three-hundred-something. This dress, I tell myself, proves that sometimes money does buy happiness because why wouldn’t it? Then I tell myself to cut it out because I sound like an asshole.
The many-angled photos I’ve been snapping on my phone are sent off to Jimmy and Emma for approval. We decide that the Veronique Leroy is a no, that I should get married in the Electric Feathers dress, and that I should be buried in the À Détacher dress.
I go to check out and the shop assistant is wearing the black dress that I just rejected. We awkwardly discuss this for some time. Then she asks me if my purchases are for upcoming events. “No,” I answer truthfully before immediately kicking myself. Why was I not more creative? I’ll prepare a fun
lie story for next time, I decide, knowing that next time is far off because I am now officially broke.
The shopkeeper recognizes me. “Welcome back,” “So glad to see you again,” etc. This alone is enough cause for celebration.
She explains the concept of the event to me. Slow And Steady Wins The Race pieces – a collection of structured, neutral, monochromatic clothing – are displayed in the center of the store, an area that is usually left bare and gives the boutique its usual art-gallery ambiance. There is a smartly-dressed woman, possibly the designer, off discussing the concept of the collection with two older gentlemen in the corner. There are two low-lying glass tables in the store, one scantily decorated with very sophisticated pastries, cleverly cut into fourths (would anyone – besides me – dare eat an entire dessert in front of this crowd?). On the other table is the largest cluster of grapes I have ever seen.
“Would you like some wine?” the shopkeeper asks me. A pause. “Or water?” We smile at each other and I almost say, “Duh.” I smile and roll my eyes a little when I answer, “Wine, please.” We laugh together because now she knows that I am a lush. We’re practically becoming best friends.
Drinking wine and eating a brownie are terrifying activities to do around such expensive clothing. Imagine the shame I would feel if I had to purchase that white silk Carven skirt, not because I loved it (I did), or because I could afford it (I couldn’t), but because I had ruined it with chocolate fingerprints or doused it in rosé? I set my treats down, confident that no one would touch them because no one is touching anything edible in here. I continue to peruse.
Ah yes, here are the wool Caron Callahan pants that I’d been eyeing online. They’re marked down to $198, which, for a moment, sounds like a steal until I remember my bank account and my life. I try them on anyway. Because I am ever-so-slightly short and petite (remember, I said ever-so-slightly), these trousers come up all the way up to my tits. I untuck the shirt I’m wearing in a way that makes the pants slightly more flattering. Then I snap a picture, post it to Instagram, and have my friends and followers vote on whether or not I should buy them. Five seconds later, I decide on my own that they’re not for me.
I finish my wine while admiring Maria La Rosa socks and a pair of heels by A.P.C. I wave goodbye to my new BFF, who is busy tending to the other, more serious clients in the store.
Happy with my decision to be frugal and responsible, I check my phone to see if any Instagram votes are in. Much to my chagrin, some of my friends have voted no. Like, thank you for your honesty, but also, ouch.
I’ll probably buy them next time.