Thursday, March 15, 2012

Twenty Year Olds shouldn't be allowed to Serve Me

So, I'm going to a family wedding in England in June. This is Very Exciting as I have missed every single one of my cousin's weddings since I've lived in the States.  I'm thrilled that I'm actually able to make my youngest cousin's wedding, and the Queenager (who finishes college in May) is coming too.

But....

Everyone already seems to have their outfits. My mother is looking for just the right hat, but other than that, the females all seem to have their outfits, down to the shoes. Gulp.  So I took myself off to Michigan Avenue in Chicago just to browse, perhaps try a few styles on to see what suits me. Big mistake.

It was a very quiet morning, so I was pounced on as soon as I walked in most stores. One shop looked particularly promising so I waded in despite three beaming sales assistants bearing down on me. They all introduced themselves to me and asked me my name. Argh. Too much communication. Despite  informing them that I was not intending to make a purchase today browsing, they noted which garments caught my eye, and then slinked (slunk?) up next to me with "something else that I might like". Oh, they were good.

Eventually I was coerced into trying on a long-ish, floaty summery dress. I had misgivings about it looking good on me only because it had a peasant-y elastic waist and a round neck, but hey - you have to try things on don't you. The "Oh dear" that I emitted probably gave the girls a clue that I wasn't happy, but when I walked out of the changing cubicle (the mirrors are all outside so you have to come out), I was met with thinly disguised looks of horror, until one assistant managed to rescue the situation by saying "You know, I don't know one shape that dress looks good on." (Like I said, they were good.)

For some reason, they grabbed a dress that may have been a different length (short) and colour, but it was still pretty much the same style. I tried it on, this time more for a laugh and to show them that "I  know my body", than anything else. The thick white athletic socks I kept on probably didn't enhance the look but still - Oh dear, oh dear.

"See, I have no waist and a very long torso this look just doesn't..........".

Whoosh, a black patent belt was cinched around me in a nano-second, followed by a chorus of "Oh yes, that's so cute".

I can't even tell you how ridiculous I looked. The dress (a frothy gathered affair, when I should be wearing slim pencil silhouettes) came about four inches above the knee. (Did I tell you I was going to the wedding with my nineteen year old daughter? Mutton dressed as lamb anyone?) The "waist", being elasticated, was about two inches below my armpits - never a great look but worse when it's then "cinched". My boobs quite frankly made me look like a matronly milkmaid in the round-neck gathers! As I said, "Oh dear, oh dear".

"I don't even like it", I said, seizing the only way to get back into my comfy jeans and shirt. No point mentioning that customers of "a certain age" should never be dressed by twenty year old, bored stiff sales assistants.

Think I'm exaggerating?


19 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha! Love it! If it's as stinking humid in Chicago today as it is here I can only imagine how irritating all that was. That dress wouldn't look good on anyone would it?

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  2. None of them would ever get it. You need to wait for second shift to come on. Or find a store with an experienced sales force. But it was a funny adventure. Good luck. And, enjoy the wedding.

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  3. I hear you. I had a similar experience once in Jigsaw in the King's Road - trying on wedding outfits. I now own a skirt that is ridiculously short and inappropriate for someone in her late 30s.

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  4. Of course, I should add - I realise there's a distinct lack of wrinkles, jowls etc. but you try drawing them in and not ending up looking like something from Planet of the Apes. My 8 year old commented that I had no nose! (Bless.)

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  5. When I am going to try on dresses, I always find the best "socks" to wear are the nude colored nylon ones that you can wear with ballet shoes in the summer. They don't distract you from the dress, and you don't have bare feet in the nasty dressing rooms!

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  7. If you have time when you get home EPM, I suggest you go to Peter Jones on the Kings Road (and, I think, the bigger John Lewis's) where they do a personal shopper experience for no charge. Since they don't earn commission either, they have no ulterior motives. Can't recommend it enough. I understand that Saks in NY (so possibly in Chicago?) offer the same service - although I don't know about the commission. Good luck! (And email me if you want the low down)

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  8. Alas Potski, I am basically flying straight to the wedding so I have to get my arse into gear before then. I heard that Bloomingdales do a similar thing; I just hope they're better than these clowns the other day!

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  9. Any shop assistant who dresses someone over the age of 12 in this outfit should be shot. Right between the eyes.

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  10. oh hilarious. Having accompanied a mother of the bride to a buying recently I feel that old pain. My friend had right rubbish foisted on her, nothing under £800 (plus £160 for a sad flourish of feathers for her head). Just awful. And you'll end up panic buying and never wear it again.

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  11. I detest shopping for a wedding.It's because you have to get something.I am at a wedding on March 31st and I have nowt.Argh!White socks may be the way forward though,no?

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  12. And who do they sell this dress to? Same with short shorts, jumpsuits, short leather skirts and those Mrs Roper floaty tops that make you look ginormous! (and preggers) (personally I've given up on dresses, fully embracing my elephant knees)

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  13. Steph - maybe I'll do just white socks and teach everyone a lesson!
    ALW - I don't do floaty anything!

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  14. Black patent belt. Did that make you feel like you'd gone back to the 1980s.

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  15. Are you sure the milkmaid thing doesn't work for you? In the picture you're really rocking it!

    Why don't they get a mix of ages of sales assistants, so you can get someone who knows right away you don't want to be swathed in something humiliating?

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  16. Oh dear, I like to be left alone to browse & try on & often leave a shop where an assistant is too enthusiastic.
    Can you not go to the wedding in a smart pair of trousers and a lovely top? Dresses don't suit me either!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  17. I feel your pain. Last summer's family wedding in England had me going thru the same angst here. My sis in Newcastle bbm'd me pics of hats and things; fascinators etc and I should have picked one of her choices because I hated mine when I got it home. My dress was also a bad choice because as you know the fashions in UK are FAR superior to anything this side of the pond! FACT! So, get off plane, do not pass go, go straight to Northumberland St. and try on the suggestions of your family who will pre shop for you after you give them your likes and sizes. *(unless you can get Trinny and Susannah to step in) You are tall and slim from what I can tell so you will look good in anything! (except THAT concotion you depicted above.) shriek.
    It's the only way!

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  18. Maggie, I"m definitely leaning towards a jacket and trousers combo with a colourful silk top underneath. I'm far slimmer from the waist down do that will be the most flattering. I just don't want to get there and find that I'm too informal.
    Clippy - I daren't leave it that late. I'm arriving on the Thursday before the wedding and if the toon and the Metro Centre don't come up with the goods I'm snookered.

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  19. Still laughing at this one, having missed it when you originally posted. I can't even claim it's age as have never ever looked good in ruffles or anything that is vaguely floaty and don't get me started on the maxi dresses that are currently popular in Sydney, hobbit in drag is the best description. Have a fabulous time at the wedding - best thing about UK weddings is potential to wear hat - and I do suit hats! But sadly they are not big in Australia as wedding garb, first wedding I turned up at here only the bride's mother and I were toting tifters.
    C

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