Well, just in case you are feeling old, fat, or like your are losing it, I got a story for you that will either make you feel like you are not alone, or you will be thinking, well at least I'm not that bad!
It all started out so innocently and yet so badly....
In my last posting I was telling you about my Big Ass Button Trip (aka NYC) and how I found this fabulous dress - I mean couture chiffon with black roses (see above). Well, I found a chance to wear it recently on a beautiful fall day. I had loads of errands to do, a computer class to take and I was meeting some girlfriends for lunch. I put on said couture, black tights, boots, vintage 1950's short sweater that belonged to my mother and the brooch that I also bought on my trip.
I was stylin!
I was in a rush (I am always running late) so I grab my computer and head out for my class - I am trying to learn some new skills as I build my new website and I meet my teacher in a one on one class and a bunch of other students and while a zillion customers mill around the store. I then run to the bank and a few other errands and then I meet my girlfriends, Debbie and Gretchen for lunch. As I enter the lunch place, my girlfriends are already there and as I walk in they squeal with delight and ask me to twirl for them to see the dress. They ooh and aaah over the black roses....it seems no matter who old we women get, we still like to play dress up and we still squeal. It makes me feel young though when that happens because it is all so sincere. My friend comments on the brooch and sweater and then we sit and gab and gab and finally go the counter to order. (I order dessert first and bring back a big piece of cake with three forks...gotta try the cake while we wait for our lunch...it will be a long gabbing session, must have strength!) We all catch up on what's what and the place is getting crowded but we just gab, laugh (howl actually) and hours later, we must depart.
My two friends are heading to flower row (a cool place here in St. Louis to get wholesale flowers and floral supplies) and I am headed over another friend's home, Karen for a visit. I drive to Karen's home and as I walk up her sidewalk to her glass door, she is waiting for me and she is already oohhing and aaahhing my dress and says for me to "come in! come in" and as I enter her home, she asks me to take off my little sweater so she can get a look at me and here is how the 30 second conversation goes as I stand there for her to admire my dress:
Me: Don't you just love it? I can't believe I got it for only $40!
Karen (aka Miss Fashion Plate): Oh! It's beautiful!
(I do the mandatory twirl for her..)
Me: I love the color...
Karen: Me too! But why do you have on one black boot and one brown boot?
(My twirls come to an immediate halt needless to say...)
Me: What??!!! (As I glance down at my feet in horror...)
Karen: Yeah...? You have one brown boot on and one black boot..?
Karen (now laughing): Don't they feel different? Couldn't you tell how they feel?
Me (now laughing): OMG!
Karen (matter of fact tone): Oh, I see, (she studies my boots closely) they have the same heel....but one is brown and the other is black...you know one is black and the other...
Me: I heard you....man the bad thing is (as I look down at my boots) the bad thing is, is that one boot toe is pointy and the other boot toe is rounded! (And I just give up and laugh with her.)
But in my defense, they had the same leather feel, same heel height, and same squished look. You can judge for yourself....see below.....
(I know...pretty bad, isn't it?)
We both crack up laughing so hard...I mean, I am with Karen 30 seconds max, and she spots it, and I am with Debbie and Gretchen for hours and nothing....so I tell Karen to wait a second, I MUST make a call. I pick up my cell phone and call Gretchen. She and Debbie are still in the car driving. I don't say "hello" I don't say anything when she answers, I just say:
"Do you think you can help out a girlfriend???!!"
I proceed to tell Gretchen what Karen and I discovered and I hear loud gasps over the phone and then I hear Debbie in the background saying that she did later noticed I had two different boots on, but when I came back from the restroom and sat down and we started gabbing all over again, she forgot all about it. I proceed to tell Gretchen about all my morning errands and class and so on (more gasps over the phone) and how I thought I looked so cute....we laughed and laughed and then Gretchen, trying to comfort me, told me about her fashion faux pas just the week before.
She told me that she went all day long wearing two different shoes. They were both black and one shoe had SILVER RIVETS on them and the other shoe was like a loafer! She went all day long and even at one point during the day, she looked down at her loafer and said to herself, oh no! I lost some rivets! I laughed and laughed and felt better. But at the same time, I thinking, what is wrong with us? We are both only 45 years old....what are we going to be like in 20 years?
So, then Karen tells me about a time she was at a public pool (recently) with a friend and they came out of the dressing room and walked all the around the pool finding a spot. They stayed at the pool laying out and Karen has a great figure so she has a two piece on. So they are chatting and talking and Karen goes back into the dressing room (after she walk all the way around the pool again - a very crowded pool at that) and discovers that she had her bottoms on inside out! Her tag was hanging out on the outside on the back and LUCKILY the crotch area, didn't have that white panel - you know what I talking about, it had a brown one that matched her suit, but all the stitching was showing, and it was very obvious. Well she goes back and tells her friend, and her friend said she noticed it but didn't want to say anything because she was from the south and people from the south don't point things out like that. Karen made it very clear that girlfriends do not let other girlfriends parade around a public pool with their suits inside out whether they are from the south, north, east, west, Mars, Venus, or wherever, hahahaha...and I agree!
Fashion faux pas isn't just for women - men are victims too (as we all know too well). Just two days before my boot disaster, I went to bible study with my husband and he put on his new jacket as we were leaving the class and saying our good-byes. Out in the parking lot I noticed a HUGE tag hanging under his arm! I chastised him because I asked him that morning if he got all the tags off (he rarely, if ever, gets all tags off his clothes...he is a walking advertisement) and he told me just a tad sarcastically that of course he got all the tags off and now, here we are, in the middle of a parking lot, with this huge tag swinging in the wind just after he put on his coat in front of the bible study class....oh, I couldn't resist and rolled my eyes in sheer frustration! After my boot incident, I tried very hard to convince him that his hanging coat tag was a much more serious faux pas, but that didn't fly nearly as high as his tag did on that windy day....
But this wearing different colored boot thing has got me really thinking...while I find it really funny (and it was) it does say a lot about human nature in general. Most of us just handle life day by day and do our best to plan for the future. Some years are good years and some years are extremely challenging. But for the most part, all humans want the same thing. To be safe, happy, and to feel accepted. And in striving for those very simple things we can get so caught up in the everyday stuff, and so caught up in our culture and what others are doing, or we start thinking that we need this or that to make us feel safe, happy or accepted when actually we just think we need those things to be happy. We can lose sight of what is really important in life.
Then we one day we wear one brown boot and black boot. All day long.
And at the end of the day, someone points out your one brown and your one black boot and you both have a good laugh. You laugh because most likely, people have been laughing at you all day long and you never even knew it. That's the beauty of it. People laughed, judged, and maybe even commented, and you didn't even care. You still went on being you - the real you. Granted, you didn't know you had on two different color boots, but how great it would be if we could really go through life like that. We could be who we really are, enjoy our friends, life, feel pretty all day, eat cheesecake, and just be who we are and truly not care what anyone else thought, said, or did? Wouldn't that be great? Because in the end, when all is said and done, what we all really want anyway is just to feel safe, happy, and to be accepted.
While I may roll my eyes in exasperation at my husband with his huge tag under his arm, he wasn't about to pass up his chance when we were leaving for church and I came out of the bedroom into the living room, in a nice dress, and yes, wearing boots. He got his car keys, and I was grabbing my purse and just as he was opening the front door, he stopped short and turned and grabbed my shoulders and pushed me back a bit and looked down and "studied" my outfit for a second. Then very officially said, "Good, both boots black...it's safe to go out now..."
I laughed and yes, I felt very safe, happy, and most definitely accepted.
Hopefully you don't have two wear two different color boots, or two completely different shoes, or have a giant tag hanging out or even parade around in public with your swimsuit inside out to feel like it is okay to be you no matter what others or saying or thinking about you. It was a freeing moment though, when I was standing there, looking down at my different colored boots, thinking how clueless I was all day, and yet, I didn't even care...now that is freedom...not stylish mind you....but still freedom.
May your stylish moments truly be stylish and may your moments of freedom be faux pas-free.
Here's to putting your best foot forward in life...and may the other foot match.
From my house to your house,
P.S.....Okay, I have been getting some great fashion faux pas stories that I had to pass on:
My brother, Bill, is in chemical engineering sales and he finally had a huge appointment with a big-time possible customer that took almost a year and a half to snag. Bill flies out of town to meet this customer and as he waits in the airport for this customer to pick him up, Bill decides to do a "fashion check." Now, when my brother is telling me this story, you have to know that 1. My brother is not into fashion, so when he told me he was checking anything, I was very surprised since dressing up to him usually means wearing a shirt that has buttons. And 2. Bill is not a morning person is this was a very early flight. He has two very small children, a wife, 3 dogs, 1 cat, and for him to dress nicely is a challenge in of itself.
So my brother is sitting in the airport, trying to keep his eyes open (he is not the nervous type at all, very calm) and decides to do this "fashion check." He tells me he feels his collar...good...it is down...tie is straight...jacket lapel is flat....he feels around his waist...yup all belt loops are looped, and yes, he isn't flashing anyone, he is zipped up, and he stands up and yes, his pockets are tucked in, and pats his butt, yes, wallet in place, and looks down the front of his pants, and the creases are still crisp with a crisp line....all the way down to his bright white socks and white running shoes!
He tells me he is wearing this very nice suit with the biggest, clunkiest running shoes he owns...he was in a rush that morning and wasn't thinking and he just now noticed. Never mind he had to take them off to get through security at the airport AND put them on again...never mind he sat on the plane and crossed his legs. Never mind he sat in the airport waiting for his very important customer, and it is only when he is doing this very last minute "check" does he notice....just in time to look up and see his customer approach him.
I gasp and say my usual OMG!!! I ask him what did you do??? He said (so typically calm of him) "What can you do?" He said as the customer approached and they shook hands, the customer looked down at the shoes and Bill just shrugged his shoulders and said, "It was an early flight..." And they went on their way...nothing more! End of story! No frantic phone calls to friends, no rehashing his plight, no photos of shoes and then blogging about it, no gasping...nope that is it.
Okay, one more short story....I got an email from my friend Gary. He said that once he had his collar up, missed belt loops, and one sock was inside out..all in front of an important meeting with clients...I am starting to feel better and better.... :-)