My Blog

December 3, 2015

B.B. Country Mouse goes Shopping

My attempts at shopping for clothing has never been a protracted affair. Living in Huntsville, there aren’t a whole lot of options. A trip to some handy store nearby, a dress or two and that’s it. Now that I am retired, however, I thought I could just head for the jeans and T-shirts. Guess not!

DAR Library

DAR Library

A very kind friend invited me to join her for an afternoon tea for the Daughter’s of the American Revolution in downtown Houston. White gloves required for the receiving line. (Have you ever worn white gloves? My mother did, I’m sure, but not I!)  I’ve spoken to the group before so I know the members are mostly wealthy River Oaks socialite matrons, dressed to the nines.

I was certain I didn’t have anything remotely appropriate so I asked a knowledgeable friend for advice on where to shop. She suggested Neiman Marcus, Saks or Nordstrom’s in the Galleria area of Houston. It’s probably one of the nicest malls in the state of Texas. And they offer a “Personal Stylist.” Never having tried one of those before, with considerable trepidation, I called Nordstrom’s and made an appointment for Saturday morning. The tea was Saturday afternoon.

Feeling very much like a country mouse, I launched out for Houston.

Houston is almost always horrible, slow, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and worse around the Galleria. I finally found a parking garage under Neiman Marcus. It is a dark, multi-level parking structure with cars roaming like barracudas for parking spots. Nothing like that in Huntsville! The parking gods were with me and someone backed out just as I got there. Hallelujah!

Nordstrom’s, of course, was at the far, far distant end of the monster mall—I got my exercise for the day--in heels – hurrying – since the traffic had made me late. I arrived to find Candice, my personal stylist, waiting with not one, but two fitting rooms full of clothes to try on. Candice is a cheerful, 30ish, quite hefty young woman in flounced, tight-fitting black dress.

Okay, trying on clothes is WORK! I mean, hard, sweaty, hair-mussing, fast-paced, psychologically draining and emotionally traumatizing WORK! Okay, maybe not for you. You’re used to it, right?

Thank goodness, Candice was NOT one of those tall, svelte, model-thin creatures that I’m always sure are silently sneering at me and feeling all superior as they go off to hunt up a larger and still larger size of skirt or pants. It made me feel better to hear someone in the dressing room next door doing the same. And Candice was kindness itself. (Okay, I’m a little cynical)

The clock was ticking on towards twelve-thirty when I finally settled on a pair of black slacks, black satin top and a simple white and black weave jacket–don’t ask me what brand.  Of course the jacket and slacks needed to be hemmed. Candice called in the alteration girl who said she could have it done in an hour. They really do that?

No white gloves anywhere to be had. Candice suggested David’s Bridal down the road on 610. Another hike down the mile-long-length of the mall and actually found my car again without having to punch the alarm button.

Dared to give up my parking spot and drove down to David’s where Saturday chaos reigned. Lines of girls, their mothers and their friends all looking for bridesmaids dresses, Homecoming ball gowns, and debutante attire, all waiting to check out. Sold out of gloves.

Raced back to the Galleria, this time thinking to find a closer parking spot. Missed again and ended up in another cave-like parking garage, on the opposite side of the mall. Again, the parking gods found me a spot.

More, faster hiking to get back to Nordstrom’s. Leaped into the outfit and off to the DAR tea. Blessings on Candice, she figured out how to set the map app on my new cell phone. With Siri’s guidance, I arrived at a McMansion in a golf-course community. Valet parking, of course, so I left my ancient–but still serviceable–Honda mini-van with the BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Lincolns and Cadillacs.

The girls sitting outside at the reception table had my name tag ready, and blessings on them, loaned me a pair of white gloves. I proceeded down the receiving line shaking the white-gloved hands of the DAR president, the Board members and fifty (?!?) new DAR members.

My outfit worked and I fitted right in. What a relief! My friend rescued me and introduced me to several delightful friends of hers. Now, they want me to join.

Does that mean more trips to Nordstrom’s?  But I now have a Personal Stylist, so it’s all good!

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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