Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fashionita for a Day

I was 10 minutes early.  I’d factored getting lost into my commute time estimate and had somehow managed to get there without getting lost.  That was a first.  9:20am on Saturday morning, and I’m standing on Short Artichoke’s… heck, I don’t even know what to call it.  Porch?  Ramp?  Plank?  Standing outside the door of her houseboat trying to figure out why she’s not answering the door.  Why?  Because I’m ten minutes early.

Short Artichoke invited me over to help her sort through her wardrobe and maybe identify some missing pieces.  I figured it would take the morning, and maybe part of the early afternoon.  Boy, did I underestimate the extent of her wardrobe!  And I thought I had a lot of clothes.  10 hours.  10 hours of clothes.  On, off, store after store, shop, shop, drop.  It was after 7pm, when I finally slumped into my car, exhausted, but happy.  The day was worth it.

Redoing Short Artichoke’s wardrobe, we had our work cut out for us.  Let me start by saying that there’s a reason she’s called Short Artichoke (much to her disapproval).  One day, shortly after I met her, she was dressed head to toe in artichoke green, and she’s short.  You get the idea of where we were starting.

As I settled onto a kitchen stool, Short Artichoke began hauling clothes into the living room.  (Ok, Short Artichoke, in addition to being annoying to her, is a pain in the vampire to type. From now on, she will be SA.)  Shirts, trousers, sweaters, even a couple of dresses.  Piles of hangers, mounds of fabric, everywhere you turned, clothes.

Surprise after surprise came out of those piles.  Including a few goodies for me that were too big for SA.  Sure, there was the expected stuff  - the army green array of every article under the sun, the blazers and crew neck T’s I’d seen her wear.  But the expected was easily dwarfed by the unexpected.  A gorgeous burnt orange gauze blouse that fit perfectly and accented SA’s dishwater hair and green eyes.   A black vintage 1950s sweater from her grandmother.  Two suits that fit better and looked nicer than anything I’d ever seen her wear.  She even owns some heels!

But by far, the biggest surprised wasn’t in the clothing itself; the biggest surprise was what the clothing revealed.  SA has a figure! This discovery reminded me Pretty Wendyof when the neighbors and Munchkinhead and I played dress up with Alfred when she was in 5th grade and discovered she was really pretty.  Or when they played dress up with me in high school and we discovered I’d finally gotten some shape.  I was stunned, and super excited.  
Pretty Alfred.

The best part was when SA herself discovered just how great she could look.  We’d been jousting back and forth, me saying those jeans looked amazing on her and her griping about how she didn’t like them and yadda yadda.  Or her saying she loved some shirt and me telling her it was too stretched out and didn’t fit her well.  Back and forth, back and forth.  Then, she put on these jeans that were so different from her normal high-waisted tapered old-lady/Aflred style jeans,  resting a bit above the hip, boot cut, and a black button up blouse she’s practically never worn.

“Oh my goodness,” I exclaimed, catching my breath.  “You look amazing!”  Here she was, little ms SA, little ms frumpy t-shirts with the army barracks palate standing in the middle of her living room in a pair of blue jeans and a black blouse, looking like she was about to go out for a night in the City and arguing with me about how much she didn’t like the way she looked.  “Turn around.  Look in the mirror.”  Still muttering her complaints, she rotated around to the full length mirror.  “Oh,” she said, disappointment in her voice, “I do.”

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