Tuesday, November 6, 2018

With a Little Help from my Friends and a Shopping Spree

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth – more like I fell into a hole.  I’ll explain.  The truth is that I was under the weather for a while.  If you have auto-immune issues as I do, you know exactly what I mean.  I think of it as walking along minding my own business on a bright sunny day, when suddenly I fall into a dark hole and have to dig my way out again.   

Those are the times when you feel like just curling up with your favorite purse and shutting out the world.  But you ride it out, do what you can, postpone or cancel what you can’t and when you start to feel like yourself again, it’s time to celebrate with a little help from your friends and a shopping spree. 


Linda and Earline always know what I need when I am not at my best – some lavender linen spray to calm and soothe, a bottle of my favorite champagne Veuve Clicquot to toast my return to good health and when I am almost there, a lovely ladies lunch to get me over the finish line.  How lucky can a gal get! 

Now, about that shopping spree! 

Maison Marcellé, my favorite Haddonfield Boutique (see In my Own Backyard – Maison Marcellé), was celebrating its first birthday last month, and I was invited to join the festivities.  Well, I definitely couldn’t miss that!

Proprietor Andréa, who has become a special friend, certainly knows how to dress for a party,

And how to keep the champagne flowing.  Earline and I had a fabulous time, and I bought some great accessories, a sweet, pink sweater, which I wore to lunch with my friends (see above), and a really interesting jacket….

As soon as I put on this Asian-inspired, silk jacket I knew it was coming home with me.  The intricate detailing on the banding at the waist and on the sleeves alone made me fall in love with it, and the color is perfect with my hair and skin tones.  Andréa loved it so much on me that she insisted on taking my picture right then and there, which she posted on Maison Marcellé’s FB and Instagram sites.  I will definitely be wearing this to the opera.  The beauty of it is that I can wear it over a full-length evening gown (such as my red beaded silk), over a short, cocktail dress or over a pair of skinny jeans and high heels.  I was definitely digging my way out of that nasty hole I’d fallen into and starting to enjoy the view. 

A few days later I headed to Talbots to catch a sale and redeem the balance of a Gift Certificate my husband had given me for my birthday.  My feelings about Talbots wax and wane.  Lately, it seems they have been sizing down (or is it up?).  They no longer carry size “0” petites, except occasionally on line, and I seem to swim in their size “2” petites these days.  Their tops are too long, the sleeves are too long and they seem rather shapeless, and they no longer carry much in the way of dressy dresses. 

However, I did manage to snag some cute pieces.  Here are three of my favorites. 

This casual, all-in-one piece is in a beautiful color, feels soft and comfy (cotton/cashmere mix) and the sleeves were not too long.

This quilted jacket with red striped epaulets has a brightly colored lining which shows to advantage when I roll up the cuffs, which I need to do because the sleeves are too long.  I’ve already gotten a lot of wear out of it. 

This cream-and-black three-quarter tweed duster was my favorite purchase.  I live in these things.  I have them in various colors, weights and textures.  I prefer them when I am driving rather than a heavy winter coat.  Just wrap a scarf around them and that’s all I need. 

During the opera season, we park under the Met.  Because the parking lot is open to the outside, in winter it can be a very chilly walk from the car to the theater, but if you wear a winter coat, you have to wait in an interminable line to check it before and retrieve it after the performance, and it's too bulky to take to your seat.  So, I leave the coat behind in the car, put on my duster, wrap a warm scarf around me and hustle to the theater.  The duster folds neatly beside me on the seat and the scarf gets tucked into my handbag.  I always take a handbag large enough to accommodate everything I need – scarf, opera glasses and half a sandwich for the longer operas, particularly if it’s Wagner.  You can get pretty peckish at a Wagner opera. 

And there you have it, the perfect example of adapting your wardrobe to your lifestyle, which is something I used to stress with my clients during wardrobe consultations. 

But that still left me with the problem of finding some dressy/cocktail dresses for the opera.  Frankly, I was getting tired of recycling the ones I have, even though I’m really good at creative pairings, which go a long way to freshening up an existing wardrobe. 

Last week I was passing White House Black Market at the Cherry Hill Mall and saw a big sign that they now carry “petites” in the store.  Well, I definitely had to check that out.  I knew they had more color offerings beyond black and white, but the last time I checked, they only offered petite sizes on line.  I’m definitely a “hands on” (How does the fabric feel?), “try on” (How does it fit?  How does it drape?) kinda girl, so ordering clothes on line is not something I’m comfortable doing unless it’s an item I’ve already tried on and want in another color. 

So, in I went to check out the dress situation.  To my delight, they carry “0” petites!  Hallelujah!!  I bought a day dress in black, gray and white, which can be dressed up or down and two cocktail dresses for the opera. 

This sophisticated peplum dress in a wine color they call “port” is actually much prettier in person, and the color is brighter.  A fancy gold or rhinestone necklace can amp up the wattage of this dress considerably.  Can’t wait to wear it!!  

This charming little black dress with lace overlay is just so feminine.  In fact, the version of it I bought is even prettier.  Mine has dark red, almost purple, flowers on the overlay.  It comes with a matching black, grosgrain ribbon sash, but I bought a dark purple leather belt to wear with it that picks up the color of the flowers.  The only accessories this dress needs are a great pair of chandelier earrings and a sparkly bracelet.

Well, I guess I’ve finally climbed out of that dark hole with a little help from my friends and a shopping spree, and I definitely like the view much better from up here.   


  1. Hello Marie-Thérèse - So glad you are feeling better now and it's wonderful to have friends like your's. I am happy to say so do I. I know what you mean about love/hate relationship with Talbots but whenever I shopped there I found all the things that suited me too. I love your selection. If and when I visit America I shall be sure to check into this much maligned shop. Meanwhile here in Paris, I'm in the fashion centre of the world n'est pas, but I sometimes wonder when seeing the next generation ? I console myself that they have their own take on "chic".
    Best to you,

    1. Always an enormous pleasure to hear from you, ma chère. Glad you approve of my selections. I always taught my clients how to shop efficiently for their body type and lifestyle, but I do believe shopping has become more fraught w/difficulty recently. You, on the other hand, are in the Paris, the epicenter of "chic". How lucky can you get? I am so jealous!! I do know what you mean, however, when you wonder about the next generation. I think they have been infected by American casual, which once was the envy of the world and has now slipped into sloppy, sad to say.

      Warmest regards,


  2. Marie-Thérèse, as you know I sensed something was wrong since you weren't posting new blogs and not leaving comments on mine. I have missed your take on subjects I write too. You insights are of great value to me. Glad you're feeling well now, that's what matters. Lucky you to have not one, but two special friends nearby. I love all your buys ... especally the lace overlay, feminine dress. I bought a similar one years ago at B. Altman, remember that store? I still have the dress ... so classic, it never goes out of style. I'd love to see it in another color.

    Stay active and well, my blogging freind!


    1. Dearest Debra, you have an amazing sixth sense. Your instincts were so spot on. I thought no one would notice, but you did. I did receive some messages from readers who were worried about me; you'll never know how much of a positive effect that had on my recovery. I am blessed in friends and special blogger friends such as you.

      Glad you liked my purchases. I am quite happy with them and can't wait to wear them. If I weren't so camera shy, I would take some photos in them, but I just HATE having my picture taken. Andréa had to practically ambush me to get that photo at her boutique. I'm glad she did. That jacket is just stunning.

      I will be over to your Blog very soon for a visit. I do enjoy reading your posts and commenting on them.

      Cheers, M-T

  3. Happy to have you back; glad you are feeling better.

    1. I'm delighted to be back, as well. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts.

      Cheers, M-T

  4. Comment sent to me by my friend Anna:

    "Great clothes. I love the black one and the burgundy. And the duster. The green sweater is definitely you. The black jacket is very cute. Will see some of your new stuff at the Met. Lately I am leaving my coat in the car too."

  5. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    So happy you have fully fluffed back!
    My Pieter went through some rough weeks, with a mean bronchitis. I got so worried, in regard to his weak heart.
    Not helping much for him was the dusty times we live in (starting our 4th week!) with our bathroom renovation and some more work in the house.
    But like you, getting some fabulous clothes helps! Your choices are excellent and I've used Talbots a lot in the first years before the Escada Outlet Stores popped up. They always stock a size 4, sometimes a size 2 (for you...) and it fits me like a glove. Their pants with inseam 32" are the only ones that fit me!
    I've just managed this afternoon the scanning of the surprise box Pieter found under the front porch storage. I'd thought back in June, when I was forced to sitting idle for 2.5 months, that I'd scanned ALL old letters. This excited me as Mom's letters and his Mom's letters etc. are a treasure but so much work! Not planned for but done.
    My latest Mac update has caused my Adobe Photoshop Elements to no longer cooperate with Apple... Arg, have to aline my scans and crop them before filing away by date. Always something to wrestle with!!!
    The tiles had not gotten ordered at the time we selected them, so the contractor had to wait one week before putting them in. So aggravating... but what can you do other than putting your brain on zero as I always say.
    Life goes on! This morning they hung the towel bars (swivel for 2 towels) but the door of the vanity barely can open. Always something to fight and correct. Poor painter, he did such a meticulous job after they stripped the wall paper. So pleased with his work that we let him do some more work in our bedroom and office.
    Just focus on Christmas, by then I have a neat spic and span home and we can relax!
    Sending you hugs and so happy for you to feel well. My anti flu shot must have kept me afloat so far. We got it 8 days before going on our Rocky Mountaineer trip.

    1. I know how that feels, ma chère Mariette, forced to sit idle while we mend. I always feel as if life is passing me by at 100 mph and I'm still in the slow lane. But then, things pick up and I get back in the game. Glad you got the flu shot. So did I. It's supposed to be a nasty strain this year.

      Stay well. Big hugs,

  6. So happy to hear that your world is right way up again and that you know how to take the rest and recovery days you need. And isn't it a treat how delightful a new outfit can make you feel? A shopping expedition is good medicine, for sure. Your posts always bring sunshine to my days. Thank you from my heart.

    Honey Bee

    1. How sweet, Honey Bee. I do my best even when I'm not at my best. But, when I'm back in form, no one appreciates feeling well better than I do. I never take it for granted. No one should. We should all be grateful for every healthy day.

      Cheers, M-T


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