Tag Archives: Old Navy

Snap to It

I’ve been working on a blog about what I’ve been calling Collegepalooza 2016. We’ve been driving all around New England and New York sniffing out colleges for my son. It’s interesting on so many levels that’s good for blogging. But the incident this past weekend earned its own standalone blog. I’ve noticed that a number of people (more than I consider necessary/normal/optimal) bring the whole family to these things. It’s downright odd. OK, if you’ve got 2 teens close in age, it’s a 2 for 1, that I get. But the 8-11-year-old? Um you can leave him/her home, thanks. A friend suggested that maybe there is no other place for the kid to go. Nice try, but that’s bullshit. Play dates start at the toddler stage and fake friendships with other families based solely on your kid’s connections actually peak between the ages of 8-11, so believe me, people have options for dumping their kid for an overnight/weekend.

But then I started to think. That sounds mean, right? Who am I to judge these middle class/upper class people and their khaki shorts and collared polo shirts? Except the moms, who wear dresses straight out of the Lands Ends catalog. Not that there is anything wrong with that. One of my favorite dresses comes from there. Anyway, who am I to judge in my last year’s Old Navy attire? So there I was strolling with the group at Union College in Schenectady working hard to:

  1. Ignore the ubiquitous khakis and polos.
  2. Pay attention to the tour.
  3. Not pay any attention to the 9-year-old kid on the tour snapping a rubber band on his head and whatever else was in his range.
  4. Struggling with my conscience about all the judging going on in my head.

I was actually doing pretty well with all of the above, when towards the end of the tour it happened. That rubber band launched and snapped me in the arm. We were already moving on by the time the snap registered in my brain and I glanced first at its resting pace on the sidewalk and then cast an accusatory glance to the 9-year-old, whose face came right of out of Simpson’s cartoon casting: “Doh!”

I wanted to yell at the stupid kid. I wanted to call out his parents and question their wisdom of dragging a kid on a college tour. But I’m classier than that. Plus we were nearly at the end of the tour and I thought we’d hold up the others if I yelled, “Holy sting, Batman! What the hell just hit my arm?!? A rubber band? Where the hell did that come from?!?” I wonder if they train the student tour guides for situations like that. Alas, we won’t know, but now I get to throw my guilt out the window and declare it:

Leave your bloody kids at home, or I will make them bloody.

Oh, and good luck at college all you newbies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Continuing of the Girlie Girl Adventures: Accessories

Last summer I began the girlie girl adventures with a  post called “I’m Sexy (if Only in My Head).” I had a summer dress with a gaping crisscross overlay in the front, a new pair of matching shoes, and a dream. Hilarity ensued.

Still, I persevered through the winter months by rediscovering Victoria’s Secret and going “underward.” My girliness continues to evolve, and this year my summer dress collection expanded thanks to the addictive marketing of Old Navy. I’ve learned a whole new language—ruched and empire waists, scooped necklines, adjustable straps, and dresses with features I don’t yet know the names of. I doubt I’ll ever be fluent in girlie, but like a tourist in a foreign country who can ask where the bathroom is, I can get by. So there I was wearing my dresses wantonly everywhere—the grocery store, at the beach, to take out the trash—when I realized that the black pair of flats I’d added last fall to go with my black dresses wasn’t going to cut it for the new batch of light-colored blue, white, and peach colored summer dresses. Curses.

I’ve never had a shoe thing. I own the basic black and brown work shoes, some kickass tall black boots, a pair Fluevogs I got 15 years ago after the birth of my son to reassure me I was still cool (if you haven’t had a baby, please be kind; if you have had a baby, you totally know what I’m talking about), and a small assortment of flat shoes I can walk in, including one pair of sneakers. None of these plays well with cute sundresses. Well, maybe the kickass boots and the Fluevogs, but I don’t have the fashion sense or attitude to pull that off. This reminded me that girliness can be a harsh mistress, but there was nothing  for it now but to head back to Old Navy. I managed to get one pair of blue denim flats that pretty much covered the non-black dresses.

Then as the summer heated up and I no longer needed a jacket, I lost the pockets and a way to carry my wallet, keys, and phone. Designers, please note, I will pay extra for dresses with pockets. And this is where I and the mistress had words. I don’t like purses and refuse to get one. I can barely keep track of the things attached to my body, never mind things that are easily left behind. We settled on a cross body bag—I would look for the smallest one that I could find that would fit my three items and maybe my sunglasses. I knew I couldn’t order this online. I was going to have to feel it and see it. I knew what I had to do, but I fought it for weeks. Waving my sundresses at me like a red cape before a bull, my mistress stared me down with her steely gaze until I gave in,

I was going to have to go shopping. In multiple stores. For more than an in-and-out-15 minutes. Dear god have mercy on me.

It took a few weeks to psych myself up, but finally one lunch hour I decided this was it. The time limit as well as  a target of three stores in close proximity would minimize my pain. The only thing I hate more than shopping is driving to shopping. So I power walked to Downtown Crossing, took a deep breath, and hurled myself into TJ Maxx, H&M, and Marshalls. I attacked the bag section with a laser-like focus. I could eliminate 90 percent right off the bat by:

  • Size – what do people carry in these things? Babies? Small dogs?
  • Color – neon lavender goes with, um, what again?
  • Cost – if I’m spending three digits for a bag, there better be a baby or a dog in it.

The remaining 10 percent got whittled down by discounting the bags with silly accents like tassels and gold chains. That’s what pasties and necklaces are for. The remaining candidates got tried on and loaded with military-drill-like precision. I soon realized that bags are like wedding guests. You invite people by groups and each new group increases the guest number exponentially. You can have 20 people, or 75, or 150, but nothing in between, unless you want the left out people in your groups to stop speaking to you. The bags turned out to be frighteningly similar. I could fit in the three pieces, but there was no room for the sunglasses. The bags that could fit all four things were much bigger and looked suspiciously like a dreaded purse.

I was more ruthless and brutal in my assessment than Harvard admissions, and by the time I had hit all three stores and loaded and unloaded 20 bags, I was sweating profusely. I finally settled on a small Baggallini, and was quickly rewarded with that ultimate seal of approval: a fellow shopper stopped to gush about her (multiple) Baggallinis. Mission accomplished.

My enabler coworkers were impressed when I got back and they too gushed over my bag, even indulging me when I patiently explained that is was a cross body bag, not a purse. What’s the difference, you may ask? My self-respect. My one coworker—let’s call her “Shoe Sith”—couldn’t resist murmuring, “The shoes are next.” I looked at her and for a moment I saw the Emperor in “The Return of the Jedi,” when he’s trying to win Luke over to the dark side. She has a shoe collection under her desk that people come to visit, mesmerized by the four-inch heels and strappy fantasies.

I laughed without fear. No one was getting me into that kind of shoe. My feet don’t fit for one thing—I have very ungirlie wide feet—and I firmly believe in wearing shoes that you can run in—either away from something scary or toward something fun.

And then I saw “Kinky Boots.”

I saw the movie years ago and loved it, and I had no idea how they would translate it into a musical. OMG. Damn that Cindy Lauper to hell. It’s fun, the music is catchy, and they honored the movie. And those boots. I can only blame my love for disco and gay men for the fact that I want to wear those boots. How else can I explain how I want them even though I can’t possible walk in them? They are so red and sparkly…and red…and did I mention sparkly? In case you haven’t had the pleasure, here they are.  Who wouldn’t want to wear these badass boots?

kinkyboots2

Mind you it will take more than a flashy Broadway show to get me into some serious girlie shoes, but when my sequined vision finally cleared, I had to admit the door was cracked open. I thought I was done with accessories with the Baggallini, but I may have to admit there really is no end to girlie accessories. Maybe there is something fun I could run to…

I’m Sexy (If Only in My Head)

You may recall my post featuring Blanche, who keeps me honest and told me to “Get back on the damn horse and ride.” Well, I’m still not ready to do that, not in a even semi-permanent sort of way, but I am thinking it would be nice to just, you know, chat up a decent guy once in a while. However, I’m long on thinking and prepping and short on action, so my first, hesitant step into this fresh hell was to go to Old Navy to look at cute dresses. Oh, I know, believe me, I’m the main reason Blanche drinks so much, and once I induced an eye roll in her that required medical attention.

But you have to understand, I’m not a girlie girl. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t own one of those bag things many women carry around their girlie stuff in, I prefer jeans and plain tee-shirts, and lean toward black chunky shoes because I get to have comfort disguised as cool (perhaps only disguised to me). I own work dresses but only because pants are too hot and I don’t have to wear hose. So, for the record, me skulking around Old Navy for a dress is a BIG DEAL. I admit I kind of got caught up in the girliness of it all, and bought not one, but two dresses. One is a little black number that I have absolutely no use for and no place to wear, but my understanding is that this is the bedrock of girlie shopping. It may play into my scheme to sit in a nice bar to chat up all the decent guys who would most certainly be drawn to the dress like squirrels to an acorn. (Oops, I just made Blanche choke on a beer nut). The second dress is cotton and is a long sundressy kind of thing, and I have so little experience with this, I don’t even know how to describe the style. Here’s a picture.

photo (7)

It’s sort of a crossover, wrap around, which I usually avoid because 1) when it wraps all the way on the bottom, the women I see wearing them are constantly having to hold on to the bottom lest they end up flashing the world and I’m much too lazy to do that, and 2) when I was younger, I didn’t have the boobage to carry something like that off. But this dress was only wrapped at the top and since having a kid, I’m almost average size, so I thought what the heck? It looked pretty darn cute, if I may say so myself, and so I bought both and had exactly three minutes of giddiness until I remembered, oh yeah, girlie is a harsh mistress: you can’t just buy a dress. The dress needs other stuff like a necklace and shoes, perhaps even a scarf and other things I don’t even know about. I mentally scanned my belongings and thought I could scrape up everything but the damn shoes. My choices were Merrell sandals and girlie sandals the wrong color from a dress and event long ago. Crap. Despite these reminders of why I’m not a girlie girl, I attacked the shoe store like a Navy SEAL. Sweating and gasping, I got a pair of black sandals, even though there is no black in the crossover dress. (Blanche is sighing and ordering another shot.)

With the summer dress burning a hole in my closet, I decided to kill three birds with one stone: celebrate city life and the end of summer, debut the dress, and practice being cute in public. I put on my costume, complete with the new sandals, a black chunky necklace and earrings I’d bought once for a fancy work dinner, a bracelet-watch, and rings. I gathered a small group of friends to meet me at an outdoor hotel bar in the afternoon, so we could enjoy the weather, sip cocktails, and look like those people in the outdoor furniture section of a Crate and Barrel catalogue. I was well into enjoying being a person who had no piles of laundry at home or a teenager to corral, chatting and laughing, when one of my friends pointed at me and asked,

“Um, what’s going on there?”

I looked down to discover with horrifying certainty that my boobs were only big enough to hold the dress up while I was standing. Sitting on the Crate and Barrel couch, not so much. Despite being manhandled by my strapless bra, one boob was half popping out of the now slackened wrap around/crossover, which clearly is not the right name for this style because that dress was doing neither of those things.

We all laughed while I scooped up my dignity and my boob and then I spent the rest of the time checking and plucking the dress from the back and sitting on it so it wouldn’t gap. But that’s what dry runs and fun friends are for, right? Just as I was starting to feel cute again, in spite of having to sit ramrod straight to keep my dress in place, I glanced down and spied a small chain poking out of the side of my dress near my boob. Like a tawdry stripper/magician act in Vegas, I tugged on the chain and slowly pulled out my necklace from the side of my dress. Bless any of you who are blaming a broken clasp—I promise not to take my lukewarm mess to any public venues near you. No, I hadn’t actually caught the clasp in a link, just around the chain, so it slid up to the last larger link. There it sat precariously until my boob shenanigans had undone the thing. Ooooh, yeah, I’m a real catch.

We all had another round of belly laughs as I struggled to re-latch the necklace and keep my boobs covered. As I headed home, I had flashbacks of similar results in my attempts to be cool/cute/sexy in my 20s. It wasn’t pretty.

  • Trying to kiss a guy on a first date and practically knocking his teeth out with my inexperienced eagerness.
  • The time, after a bad break up, I went to the dance club determined to go home with someone, and even the last dance desperadoes fled from my female version of the “What is love?” SNL guys.
  • The time a guy was putting the (not unwelcome) moves on me and I kept asking, “What are you doing?”

I should be asking myself the same thing. Well, to quote Blanche, I’m “getting back on the damn horse.”

“I’ll drink to that,” says Blanche as she takes a fortifying drag off her Marlboro. “But better make it a double.”