You might remember that a while back I was mulling over what to wear. I had ordered a dress and kept trying it on, fussing with this and that. It just didn't seem to be the thing. But then again, no one is particularly looking at me except Mr. Blandings. When I tried it on for him, he diverted his eyes from the T.V. briefly and said, "Honey, really, I think it's fine." As you might expect, "fine" was not exactly what I was after. "Fine" was, in fact, the kiss of death.
The only problem was finding a better than "fine" replacement in time. I circled back around to the Brooks Brother's skirt. The women here were lovely and had it sent for me to try. While the color and shape were not buzz-worthy, I loved it. A new white blouse (oh, how this is a weakness; I have a dozen, but adore them on the initial wearing) and a few alterations and I was out the door. The manager who helped me when the skirt came in totally got me. The blouse needed a slimmer fit. Tie instead of tuck. Yes, she agreed, collar and sleeves up. A woman in the fitting room blinked and said, "For that party I prefer to stick with black." Yes. Fine. Another observer noted, "It's cute! Don't some people really dress up?" Needless to say, these women were not getting me.
Anyway, we had a wonderful time. The next day was a dose of a reality. Cinderella Kansas City style. Sunday is laundry day at the dream house, so we started off with gathering and sorting. I'd neglected quite a lot of things in the Spring and my housekeeping was one. Once the first load was in I started editing the wardrobes of boys 1, 2 and 3. T-shirts and jerseys multiply like rabbits in their dressers and they need to be thinned out about twice a year. While I sorted and begged the boys to focus, Mr. Blandings went down (to the scary basement) to switch the laundry. When he came back up he had a sheepish request.
"Honey? I don't want this to be a thing. I mean, don't take it personally, but I think you might need some new underwear. Like today." Cinderella looked up from the piles of nylon jerseys. The blue birds momentarily ceased singing; the mice paused their merry dance. "What?" "Well, it's just...I mean they are basically threadbare."
Shamefully, I knew this to be true. When you hate shopping, you really hate shopping for things like undergarments. In Mr. Blandings's defense, he was not fishing for fishnet. He's long past hoping for something racy and raucous. It was more like your mother and the accident thing. So off I went. To reconfirm that I hate shopping.
Brooks Brothers and Hall's is one thing. The Gap and Victoria's Secret are quite another. Loud. (Oh my heavens I am so old and grouchy. Why must it be so loud?) And messy. These stores make me blanch when I walk through the door. The indifferent, unmotivated teen-aged sales girls don't help and I mean that literally.
After very little success I headed back to the car. My route took me past Barnes and Noble, and while I usually buy my books at Rainy Day, they are not open on Sunday and I thought it might be just the thing to calm my nerves.
As it turns out, it's only clothes shopping that is so painful. My arms heavy with design books and the new World of Interiors I headed home. As I came through the door my darling husband inquired, "Any luck?" Absolutely. A complete success.
This image is a bonus. I've had this open on my desk for a week. House & Garden, 2000, from The Well-Lived Life. Photography by Dana Gallagher. The rose is the "Sonia Rykiel."