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Out Of My League
May 22, 2014 - Carrie Olson
I feel comfortable sharing this story, as I don't think a majority of the party involved will ever remember my name. In fact, I think they might have just looked down their noses at me as one of "the poors." Oh well, I wasn't there to impress.
Ever since arriving in New York City, I have had a bucket list, if you will, of events or locations I would like to visit before well, leaving, I guess. (Who knows when that ever will be.)
A small portion of that list is dedicated to fashion. I'm not someone who keeps abreast of all the trends, and I am very comfortable shopping the sale racks at Macy's or scouring thrift stores for a fancy brand at a decent price. (Two check off's on my NYC list.) My workplace has "sample" sales for beauty and fashion, and I just scored a really nice pair of sneakers for $5 (yay, as walking around this town has ruined my only pair of running shoes.)
But I still haven't gone to a runway show or other designer event. One of my friends recently had an invite to a fashion preview for a designer. Previews usually show off the next season's wardrobe at discounted prices. I was excited but completely unprepared for such an event. I had to have my husband bring me a dress to work, as I had worn nice jeans and a blouse for my 10-6 job. It was pretty hilarious asking him to find my black dress in our closet. He did a great job with the detailed information I gave him, but I didn't even try with shoes (too much to ask, I thought) so I went to the event with a black dress and brown shoes. Sigh.
We showed our invitation to the front desk of a skyscraper building and headed up to the 21st floor. A waiter greeted us with glasses of sparking champagne. Uh-oh, I thought. Everyone there was fancy. Beyond fancy. With their red-soled shoes, expensive duds and reconstructed faces, I did not fit in. Here I was in my $25 dress and scuffed flat shoes, with frizzy hair and a tired non-surgically-enhanced face after a full day of staring at a computer screen.
Nervously, I pretended to shop, looking at fine linens and silks along the walls of the store. A pair of bedroom slippers for $150. No problem. Tank tops starting at $250, sure. And that tweed dress only cost a small sum of $700, no biggie. A worker whispered excitedly to me that the collection was 40 percent off for the crowd.
New York is expensive. To the point where we are always trying to figure out how to save a few more pennies to pay our rent and make sure we aren't eating up funds from our next month's budget already. Taxes are high, rent is high, groceries are what? High. I tried to picture my husband's face as I explained that I needed a $250 scarf to go with my Kohls spring jacket. Not only that, but I tried to imagine my shaking fingers handing over my Target credit card to the store clerk. Nope.
There was a lot of whispering while I walked the racks. A couple pairs of rolling eyes, and this time, it wasn't in my imagination. They really work. "Why is she here?" And even a, "Are you just here to talk, or are you going to shop?" Ouch. I even took a sniff to see if I had body odor or something else wrong with me. I slowly sipped the tiny amount of champagne that was the bottom of my glass (not much there to begin with). I felt guilty for even taking one, as I had no plans to try anything on or buy an Upper East Side-styled frock. I wanted to put the flute down but it was a definite crutch. I could look like I'm super enjoying this drink so much that I couldn't be bothered with shopping. My sips were getting tinier at the second.
My friend and I hurried off to the bathroom to talk about our exit plan. Five minutes more, we decided. Those were seriously some of the longest seconds I've had to endure. But during that time, a girl tried on that $700 dress. She came out, getting the "oohs" and "awws" of the public. It was if no one had ever worn a dress before, let alone one that beautiful. One thing though: It didn't fit. The bottom part did but the top hung like a sack of potatoes. Sales people came out of the woodwork to tell her that if a tailor were able to take in parts here and there (so much fabric to remove), it would be GORG. Uhhh, I wanted to say, if I spent that much on a dress, it seriously better fit like a glove. An amazing glove. My wedding dress wasn't even that expensive. But the gushing worked, she handed over her card and got her beautiful paper bag with her golden dress.
My legs could not walk fast enough to the elevator when we said our goodbyes. Waiting for the door's bell to ring felt like eternity. I heaved a giant sigh of relief as we headed down. We debated on whether we should hit a McDonald's or a Wendy's to class up our experience, but we decided on a pub near my train station.
Check off that list. It wasn't the greatest time of my life, but I'm sure amused by it now. I didn't care too much what these ladies thought or said about me now, and I kind of laugh at what they might have said about my outfit's color combination. For me, it was just a weird experience that I had heard about or seen on TV, and I got to magically be a part of. Cool. But yeah, there's my story for you all to have. Sorry, tight-faced ladies if you find this blog and this offends you. Not.
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