Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Slice of Life & Les Soldes

It all started out innocently enough with what seemed to me to be a simple question.

The question in question (posed to someone verrrrry close to me -- I'm not naming names to protect the innocent) was: "So, what do you think of this dress!?" 

Can't you just feel the perky, hopeful cheery tone of the query? 

This is the conversation, by e-mail, that ensued. To make for easier reading and avoid the necessity of the "she said; she saids," we'll do it like this: I'm "T," the other person is "A."

And the conversation begins:

T: "So, what do you think of this dress!?"

A: "Is this for you?"

T: "It might be. Why do you ask?

A: "If it is for you, all I'm saying is, 'don't do it'."

T: "Why? I was thinking, theoretically, wouldn't it be great in black -- obviously not red -- with black tights and black boots?

A: "Yes, it would be. Is this dress for you or not?"

It looked great -- in theory. Or, it looks great on this model.

T: "Yes, it is and I already ordered it. I ordered one for you too -- in a different size of course and furthermore since we live on different continents we'll never run into each other and you will never be embarrassed."

A: "Let's get back to the point. You ordered this dress for yourself? You know you wouldn't wear something above the knee unless you planned to wear it with tights, boots AND pants."

T: "I am trying to make the painful, stressful, perhaps impossible move from 25 years of pants every day all the time to maybe one little dress. I figured, head to toe black, I'd be protected."

A: "I have no doubt you will like the dress, in theory. It seems like a great dress -- unless it turns out to be made of some weird material or isn't really black. 

"The questions I believe you need to ask yourself [Ed. Note: she really does talk like that] are the following: 'Am I REALLY, REALISTICALLY going to wear a dress with tights and boots? When is the last time I wore a dress? When is the last time I wore a skirt? Am I prepared to wear something that may or not completely cover my knees? Do I even own knee-high boots?"

T: "I ordered it in tall so it should cover my knees and yes, I own black knee-high boots. Just because you've never seen them doesn't mean they aren't in my closet -- someplace."

A: "Can I return it in January?"

Denouement: Both dresses were returned. They were truly dreadful, but that does not mean I am not re-thinking the dress/skirt/new me/new year/ let's try something new idea. 

I'm now off to the soldes in Paris for some recon scouting before I make any radical decisions. The markdowns started officially yesterday -- they're governed by strict laws of start and stop dates -- and the television news showed some nasty physical encounters over major electronics.

I'll tell you what's out there, what might be a good idea for us to buy now and most important, what are Frenchwomen adding to their wardrobes this time out.


helen tilston said...

Good Morning Tish
That is so funny. I am giggling as I read your dialogue.

I do love the dress and boots look. I looks so timeless and classic.

Looking forward to your next post
Have a great day

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

We all need a close friend who will help us think through a purchasing decision!! It is great to have this relationship! I decided to "live on the edge" last year and began to wear more dresses and skirts at the knee, more tights, and more boots...loving it all and I will be sad when warmer weather comes and at least the tights and the boots go away! I had stopped wearing dresses in my late 30s and 40s and I am so happy to have them back!

frugalscholar said...

My son is in France, so I will alert him to the sales. He needs some clothes. Could you say a few words on men's sale shopping in France?

Lost in Provence said...

Oh this is me all over. Sigh. I was really proud of myself last fall. I found an absolutely great camel Max Mara turtleneck sweater dress with a matching sleeveless vest that tied in the front for only 60€ on ebay. They couldn't be better with my caramel knee high Tod's. Perfect right? Wrong. I have only worn the ensemble once together, the vest twice...with pants. I couldn't believe how quickly I got dressed wearing it and yet...nope. Am a pant girl.

Ooh, I am so jealous that you are doing the Soldes today in Paris! Not the same thing here in Arles. I always braved Le Bon Marché and Printemps for their shoe departments. I did actually have a very BCBG lady try and pry a pair of Pradas out of my hot little hands once...she lost. :)

LuxeBytes said...

Aren't those J.Jill dresses? Their stuff is soooo hausfrau, totally shapeless and depressing. I know women sometimes find a good piece there from time to time, but for the most part ... that place gives me a major case of the sads.

And you should hear what my HUSBAND says about J.Jill!

xo --

Northmoon said...

I wore a long grey tunic sweater over slim black knit pants and felt weird all day. As in "does this look like a dress with tights? OMG it's so short, what was I thinking?" Had to remind myself several times that no, it was a sweater over pants. No one recoiled in horror or snickered that I noticed.

Good luck with the sales, I look forward to your report on what French women are buying!

déjà pseu said...

That's too funny! I've seen the dress in question, and yes, returning was probably the right decision.

BUT, in the last year I've become a dress-n-boots convert, and now wear them multiple times per week. The comfort factor alone....

sisty said...

Hahaha Luxebytes! I can imagine what your husband says.....

By the way, are you still blogging?

That's why I don't shop on line -- the dress looks pretty nice in the photo, but obviously the reality didn't live up to the image. What was wrong with it? Fabric quality?

French Girl in Seattle said...

How perfect. I am a "pant-only" kind of gal. I read this and smiled. I was on YouTube recently and watched an interview of the late Coco Chanel. She was older then, but as petulant as ever as she proclaimed her disdain for women's love of pants (the interview was taped in the 1970s after her "comeback.") One the things she said was that women try to hide their bodies while wearing pants, when in fact pants do just the opposite. Then she added -rather cruelly - "They can try and change the body. The face remains the same." Ouch. Dear Coco. It must have been something working for her ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Oh I must be in the minority but I love a dress with tights and boots...I would like a dress like the black version but I'd need a V neck style...
I feel too if a top/tunic is short, heavy tights or leggings counteract the above the knee issue.

But then I am not the Fashion Police!

kathy peck said...

Is that the J. Jill dress? I bought it in black and it was so frumpy on me, so I returned it.

la fourchette said...

This was an adorable - if awkward in reality - exchange...and I can relate!

With a few soldes behind me (not to mention a few LBDs that look really lovely...errr...hanging in my closet), I've *finally* decided to just accept my style: "Things-That-Go-With-Jeans"

Occasionally I pull out one of those LBDs and pair it with tights and boots for a workday, but each time I do, I just feel not quite myself. Same thing happens when I try to add colors other than my standard blacks, grays, taupes and the occasional muted blue/teal - I don't feel like me...In the case of colors, I *do* feel like a neon sign.

So this season as les soldes rolled around, I embraced my inner 'Casual California Girl Of A Certain Age Who Lives In France" and have added (as of yesterday) a pair of black jeans, black motorcycle boots, a classically cut black top coat, and a grey cashmere hoodie. Best soldes *evah* for me!

Now the only question remaining is: will this newly embraced style of being true to myself be equally embraced by some lovely French fellow? On verra...

BigLittleWolf said...

Laughed out loud at this! Oh, for a Euro to accompany each time I bought a piece of clothing I was sure I would wear, despite the little voice on my shoulder (A for "angel?") telling me non, non, et non.

On the other hand, I'm certain you'll find some glorious things with all the soldes.

Perhaps a charcoal or black pencil skirt of some sort, with a very smart sweater or blouse?

OMG. Hard to conceive of not being addicted to a fitted skirt, tights, and a sexy pair of heels - even on my fuller days.

I feel utterly womanly at any age (or weight) when I do, as long as I respect my own rules of the classics, and knowing my (at times challenging, rounded, and very Lilliputian) body type.

Wishing you luck at the sales! Can't wait to hear what you've purchased! (You willowy woman you - surely there will be a LBD or LBSkirt among them?)

Oh - and did you hear the latest news? You're on the right continent to be enjoying a little "woman of a certain age" blush and flush of feminine engagement...

(Tu verras si tu viens lire chez moi. Trop drole, toutes ces recherches qui nous disent ce que l'on sait déjà !)

Class factotum said...

I love wearing dresses and skirts. They are so much easier and more comfortable than pants (for me). Unfortunately, it's too cold for me to wear them here in the winter, so it's jeans and long underwear for now.

I have a serious question: Why are there laws about when stores can put things on sale?

JBeaudetStudios said...

HaHa! Got a good laugh for your story! I've done the same thing with good intentions at least you sent it back before it just wasted away in your closet. I do really like the idea of those boots though!

Jill Ann said...

Have to agree with the comments about J. Jill; sadly, because I really WANT to like them, since they have my name & all. But most of their stuff really is pretty frumpy. I am going to look at linen pull-on pants next summer there, but am not overly optimistic.

Debra said...

I bought that dress, too, in red; when I tried it on it was clear that multiple clothespins were used when it was photographed for the catalog. As much as I want to like J. Jill they just cut too short and wide (and short in the sleeves, even tall) for me, and I have finally given them up.

Thank you for the reminder about the soldes! After finishing this I am headed over to the Eric Bompard web site to see if anything catches my eye. My daughter found a v-neck there in the most beautiful blue when we were in Paris during last summer's soldes and hopefully it is now mom's turn to find something special on sale.

sara r said...

A's comment: "If it is for you, all I'm saying is, 'don't do it'."
is exactly what I can hear my 22-y.o. daughter saying to me. . .

The most recent was when I asked about some heeled combat boots. . .okay they were a lot cuter than they sound, and when I actually showed them to her, she approved :-)

Aren't daughters fun?!

Carol said...

So funny ! the dress looks as if it has so much promise too.

It was a great idea and perhaps you should follow through with a dress you fall in love with ?

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

I had to laugh as I have a daughter who acts as my fashion policeman and talks EXACTLY like yours! To make matters worse, she is invariably right!!
Warm regards

Jacqueline said...

Good grief I still getting it wrong? I love the dress/tights/boots thing!

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Tish. good post--made me laugh! I'm thinking I may never put on a dress again except for the occasional weddings that come along. Happy shopping in Paris.
best, nadia

Duchesse said...

I'd forget J. Jill if that's whose dress. But having a pretty dress in the closet is a spirit and wardrobe lifter!

Susan Tiner said...

So funny. That dress does look great in the photos. I can see why you ordered it.

Dresses generally don't work for me but I do like my Eileen Fisher pencil and maxi skirts very much.

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