The other day, I had to give a presentation to the college's Board of Trustees and several school superintendents during a 7:30 am (!) breakfast meeting promoting the partnership between local high schools and the college where I teach. This could only mean one thing: I had to get a pair of pantyhose.
Since I have a super amount of autonomy in my job, no one says anything about how I dress for my job everyday. No one cares when I wear faded jeans to class because I have to shoot out of there right after to pick up my kids because it's an early dismissal day and we're going straight to soccer practice. Business dress in academia is a much different animal than in the corporate world. However, the "power breakfast" with people who actually do make decisions about education that affect lots of families kinda does require that I dress up a little.
So I head to the mall in the 30 minutes that I have between getting off work and picking up the kids. I know that I need just the one thing, but something happens when I get in the mall. Oooh. It's shiny! Music lures me into stores! Fashion beckons! I'm a sucker for a wildly stylish store window! I try to put on my blinders and go straight to the hosiery section in Nordstrom, but I can't help it start thinking about the other things I need that I could squeeze out of this trip. Concealer. Lip stick. Hair product. (These things seem to run out at the most inopportune times, right?)
On this trip, I actually get out of the mall unscathed, pantyhose in hand, concealer and hair products in a little bag for good measure.
But yesterday was another story.
I was at Starbucks with T2 while T1 was at karate. I saw a woman wearing this:
This is the Interlock Asymmetrical Dress from American Apparel. American Apparel is a place where I don't usually shop because the clothes are for tiny, small-busted adolescents and I am DECIDEDLY, not that. I'm a middle-aged woman who is as stocky as a football player and taller than pretty much ever woman I know. One-shoulder dresses are something that I NEVER wear. If I can't wear a bra, it doesn't make it into my closet.
The woman at Starbucks, however, was pretty much the same size as me. She was rocking the dress with a pair of leggings and ballet flats, and it looked really cute. All of a sudden, I had to have this dress. I plotted a trip to the mall to get it. Cars on the road were not driving fast enough. I almost crashed into someone pulling out of a parking place in my haste to get. in. there. I hustled through the department store with the massive make-up event that had homecoming-going teenagers lined up for free makeovers so I could get the dress that I NEEDED. I did get the dress, and it looked as flattering on me as I had hoped. Sometimes, when you see something, you just know. That's how it was.
But then I needed more. Spanx! Stylist's tape to hold the dress up! Wait! There's some cute jeans. Oohh, shiny things again. Stop. Stop. Stop. I calmly went to the counter, bought the dress, and quickly got out of the mall. Once home, I found I had everything I needed to wear with it. I wore it scrunched up as a top over a straight skirt (again, middle-aged women should not wear mini-skirts) to a wedding we went to last night. I felt confident and comfortable among the super-skinnies at the wedding.
Shopping season is coming, and I know I'll probably find myself in the mall again in the next 6 weeks. I need to remember a mantra like, "buying gifts, buying gifts, buying gifts." Distractions aside, I think I'll make it. I just hope no other super-stylish must-have clothing item makes it way into my mind's eye between now and then.