So I went to a fashion show the other day. I’m not really sure I was invited, or if I crashed. A friend was hosting, another school mom I know at the Italian consulate was involved, and most of the other moms at the school were given paper invitations. D, the hostess, said, hey – I’ll forward you the email, just show up. It didn’t come, but F, another mom, gave me a paper one, and said to just show up. So I figured why not? It was something fun for a Thursday morning.
I’d entered the world of fashion before when I lived in Ghana. I became a serious Vlisco addict (http://www.vlisco.com/home/en/page/305/?CNID=121&noshipping=false ), and it was fun to get clothing made there. I had a friend, Brigitte Merki (http://ghanarising.blogspot.in/2011/12/fashion-brigitte-merki-ibrahims.html ), who was very active in the fashion world and who made me some beautiful things.
Our school had a few fashion shows (seriously, this is normal, I promise), one of them a fundraiser for the UNHCR. I also discovered Renee Q (https://www.facebook.com/ReneeQgh ) and bought some of her things. One of the other women at the Embassy was also a designer and made me the most beautiful dress I own that I wear for formal events. It’s probably one of about 2 dresses I’ve ever cared about enough to wear again and again.
Still, I’m pretty much the average Target Chic Mommy, and I never really “got” the fashion thing. I like it, but I’m not the daughter of a shopper, or even the sister of a shopper, so to this day my shopping strategy is targeted (hahaha – in more ways than one) and “is it available in black?”
Still, I was excited to go, and pulled on a cute little top I’d found in a shop in Bandra, beaded Ghanaian sandals, and jeans and headed off.
When I arrived at D’s, I realized I’d made a HUGE mistake. Everyone was wearing the couture, or at least a pair of sky-high “petting shoes”. Crap. I found a place to sit in the back and stuffed my braided plastic Ghanaian purse in between two chairs and hoped that someone thought it belonged to the lady next to me.
Glancing around the room, I realized that I was completely out of my element. The Petite Asian Wife Contingent was there, including my friend, N, who always looks effortlessly chic. N looked fabulous in a flowing top, Jimmy Choos, and skinny jeans. She and her friends were all talking animatedly, and it was clear this wasn’t her first rodeo. Or her second . . . .
About half of the room was glamorous Indian women dripping in ice. Like, diamonds, ice. One woman was so heavily decked out, I briefly contemplated trying to lift one of her bracelets and paying off my mortgage. Briefly. Rumor was it that a Bollywood personality was coming. I think that rumor was substantiated, because at one point when a heavily botoxed woman swept into the room, silence was quickly followed by an undercurrent of whispers as she air-kissed the hostesses.
Now I was really feeling uncomfortable and frumpy. I have nice shoes and handbags and I could have brought the bling and been stylish, but I was just clueless. Sigh. I was beginning to feel like the biggest fashion nightmare in the room when the wife of the consul general from A-Country-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named-Here showed up with a scrunchy in her hair. Ha. At least I didn’t do that.
Right before the show, the woman who had taken a place next to me abandoned me (can you blame her??), leaving me alone on the end, sitting my no one. I spotted my friend, V, across the room in the second row and I made a beeline for her. She looked better than I did, but still wasn’t as highly dressed so as to solicit the clicks of the camera in the first row.
The music started. And then stopped. And started. And stopped. And the models kept walking, until K, one of the hosts, stopped them and D had to hook the music up to her iPod dock. This was a blessing, because the music D has on her iPod was way better than the crap that was playing.
I immediately regretted moving. The clothes were just fantastic, especially the eveningwear. For about 15 minutes, four waiflike girls walked the length of D’s living room (which is loooooong) and showcased fabulous evening gowns, skirts, dresses, blouses and pantsuits. I found myself feeling sad that I probably would find nothing that fit me.
After the lights went back up, everyone clapped and then the racks to the side of the runway were taken out to the center of the floor and women started flipping through the collection.
Reluctantly, I got up and began looking too. There were some really cute things. Some crazy things I’d never be able to pull off, but some really cute tops and dresses that were edgy, definitely fashionable, and while not something you’d typically think of when you think of me, they were something I’d feel comfortable wearing. Eventually, I struck up a conversation with K, another “Western-Sized” girl.
“It’s all so lovely.”
“Yeah, I know. But I seriously doubt any of this fits me.”
“Yes, me either. Where do you find the size? I can’t seem to find it.”
Eventually, we asked K, and she showed us that the size was in the shoulder for pieces that had sizes, others were one size.
“One size? What does that mean?” K mused.
“It means either you fit into it or you’re out of luck, babe”.
Eventually, we both wound up trying things on, and I was next to N the Fashionista, who was having such a hard time finding something she liked. Probably because it all looked fabulous on her and she was narrowing it down. I tried on a flowing red top, and she started shrieking.
“OMG, that looks great on you!”
I was completely off-kilter at that. “Really?”
“Yes, put it with heels and skinny jeans and it will look great. The color is very flattering too.”
Not entirely sure, I ducked back into the changing room we’d fashioned out of the Kovani signs and was about to put my shirt back on when I noticed N wasn’t particularly happy with the current tunic/dress she was trying on. For whatever reason, it just didn’t look fabulous on her. It didn’t hug curves the way it should have – probably N was too petite, and she wasn’t thrilled with this cutout that should have hit right above the breastline. She took it off and tossed it into a pile that was probably going to be her “reject” pile.
“Are you finished with this?” I asked.
“Yes. Not getting it. I don’t love it. It looks strange on me.”
“Mind if I try it?”
“No, go right ahead.”
As N continued her search for the perfect fit, I put on the tunic. It hit me at the right place. I could wear it either as a very short dress with very high heels or with black skinny pants. It hugged my curves and gave me the proverbial hourglass.
I looked down at the two pieces and decided what the Hell – I’m getting them both. Merry Christmas to MEEEEEEE! I went over to K and told her I was taking them both, and she lit up like an apartment building during Diwali.
“Oh, DiploMom, I am SO glad you are getting something!” gesturing to the shortish and slightly pudgy Indian woman next to her, she says, “All these Indian women, dripping in jewelry and they won’t buy couture because they say they can’t because they don’t have perfect arm and legs and their breasts are too big. But you are embracing it, they should too! See, this looks fabulous, and it’s meant for girls with a figure! I am so happy you are finding something to enjoy!”
Thank you. I think.
Not really sure if I’ve just been insulted and if I should pull the sale, I head over to the cashier lady and hand over my purchases and pay. Ouch. That hurt.
Still, I rocked that dress, and I made it look better than my skinny Minnie friend, and I’ll be damned if that didn’t feel awesome.
See you on the runway – I’ll be the one sitting up front, keeping it real for imperfect women everywhere.