Well, Dear Readers, I had every intention of catching you up on what’s been happening over the last few weeks (the Blizzard, the Great Baguette Battle in New York, etc.), which I promise to do soon, but, on Friday, a brief encounter with a young woman turned a very good day into something special. So, I just had to share. But first, a little background.
Saturday was my birthday, and since February is the shortest month (Please, no jokes about my 5’1” height, s’il vous plaît.), I like to celebrate the entire month. I think it’s only fair, don’t you?
Birthday cards and good wishes come in from friends and family all month long, not to mention lunches and afternoon tea with my girlfriends. My dear blogger friend, Mariette, of the beautiful Blog Mariette’s Back to Basics, always sends me a lovely message. Connecting with people like Mariette is one of the many blessings of blogging.
This year, my husband gave me an early present – a very generous gift certificate to Talbots. I don’t need to shop very often, since I have a wardrobe of versatile basics (See A Wardrobe for All Seasons), but, from time-to-time, even basics need updating, and Talbots is usually where I go to do just that. For those interesting, dare I say quirky, pieces and accessories that add a dash of je ne sais quoi I go to boutiques and vintage shops.
Anyway, it was Friday afternoon, the day before my birthday, and Talbots was running HUGE sales – 25% off, 30% off, 60% off. Armed with an additional coupon for 25% off, my Gift Certificate PLUS the 15% off Talbots gives you during your birthday month, it was time to do some real retail damage!!
Did you ever have one of those shopping days where everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, you try on looks great?
I admit they are rare, but when they happen, it’s like being on a winning streak in Vegas. The hits just keep coming. The dressing room was filling up, and my only problem was triage. I even found that great little, navy blue blazer I’ve been hunting for for ages in a size “0” Petite, which meant no alterations!!! It’s rare to find a “0” at Talbots these days, but, apparently, someone had ordered it from the catalog and returned it to the store, so I snapped it up.
As I walked up to the cash register with my purchases, a young woman was standing in front of the accessories display. She was clearly having trouble making a decision. The well-meaning sales lady was trying to help, but she was hell bent on talking her out of something the customer wanted.
It was time for this mild-mannered shopper to turn into mutant Jean-Grey, a/k/a the Dark Phoenix of Style, whose telepathic and telekinetic powers shield and protect shoppers from well-meaning, but pushy sales clerks.
“Do you mind if I give you my opinion?” I asked. “I do this for a living. I’m an image consultant.”
“I’d love it,” said the young woman. “I really don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m so confused.”
It turned out that she had a special event to go to in a few hours, her husband had dropped her off at Talbots, and she literally had about 45 minutes to put together an outfit. She had chosen a pair of pearl gray dress slacks, but was torn between a silk blouse in fuchsia and one in pale pink.
To make matters worse, she was drawn to a fabulous pair of red and rhinestone earrings. The sales lady insisted that they wouldn’t go with either blouse (She was right about the fuchsia and wrong about the pink.), and was trying to find something that would work with the fuchsia blouse. Everything she showed her seemed to confuse her even more and time was running out.
It was obvious to me that she really wanted those earrings, so I asked her why she was drawn to them.
“I don’t really know,” she replied, “but it’s been a really tough year for me. I had some serious health problems, and I just think wearing those earrings will make me feel good.” That’s all I needed to hear. Those earrings meant something special to her on an emotional level, so, instead of accessorizing the outfit, we needed to outfit the accessory, which is exactly what we did. In no time, the sales lady and I pulled together the perfect outfit to showcase those red and rhinestone earrings. The look of happiness on that young woman’s face as she left the store was the best birthday present I could have received – that….and all the great clothes I bought.
Another year, another birthday. I don’t kid myself. I notice the little changes from year to year, but I can still pass the pencil test, I still have a waist and I think the comfy shoes can wait another year.