Monday, May 17, 2010

"Wait! Stop! Don't Come Any Further!" (A Trip Down Memory Lane...)

So, the other night, Kathryn showed me her "Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall" styling photos for the Blooming Lattice cardigan, and I decided, on the spot, that I needed that sweater, so that I could put together the same outfits. "Isn't that a bit much?" you might ask. "Why own the same exact things? Don't you run the risk of wearing the same outfits?"


Yes. Yes, we do. In point of fact, we have. Kathryn and I have a long history of shopping together, beginning with our early forays into mall-and-Target shopping when we were kids in high school. But we didn't really hit our stride, when it came to wardrobe-building, until we were in our 20s. We'd both recently graduated from college, and I was working as an elementary school teacher for LA Unified and Kathryn was working as an office temp. At least once, sometimes twice a week, we'd meet up after work to have burgers and fries at Ruby's in South Coast Plaza, and then browse the mall. In fact, this was when we first discovered the benefits (and liabilities - in the form of blown budgets) of having relationships with specific sales-people in stores. Though she wasn't called it, Diane (I don't remember her last name) from Benetton, was our first personal stylist. It started really innocently - we'd stop by the store to browse the offerings and she'd come over to ask if we needed help and just chat, and then she'd point out some things to us that we thought were cute, and we discovered (myself in particular) that she really seemed to have a good eye for what would suit our body types and our personal styles...well, and then, one thing led to another, and we'd walk in, and she'd have "put aside" entire outfits for us, from new inventory, just in case we came by...and she had this really fun, charming way of getting us past our ambivalence.


"Try, just try!" she'd say, coaxing us towards the fitting rooms. And nearly every time, she was right. Whatever it was she pulled for us would look and fit wonderfully, and well...back in the day, that Benetton store (it's been years since I shopped there) had these Frequent Buyer Appreciation Cards, and you'd get a stamp every time you spent a particular amount. After you spent (gulp) $1000, you'd receive a $75 gift certificate (this was in the day before gift cards which is funny to think of, now...). Kathryn and I both earned at least a few of those gift certificates over the couple of years we worked with Diane. Our shopping at that store petered out when Diane was transferred to Max Mara in Century City (and therefore, out of our tax brackets entirely) and we discovered it wasn't 1) nearly as fun to shop there without her easy chatter and help and 2) the things in the store didn't really grab us without her there to pull the outfits together. But there was this one time (not at band camp), when she pulled this amazing plum tweed pencil skirt and paired it with a ribbed, 3/4 sleeve boatneck sweater and belted with a burgundy croc-print skinny belt, and both Kathryn and I totally loved it. So much so, that we both snapped up the outfit - all three pieces - in our respective sizes. Now mind you, we'd both bought similar or even identical things before, but I don't think we'd ever purchased the same exact outfit before. And even so, we'd never actually found ourselves wearing the same things on the same days when we were together, so we didn't really worry about it...


You know where this story is going, right?

So, one day, I call Kathryn from my car, on the way home from work and ask her if she wants to meet me at South Coast Plaza for dinner at Ruby's and some shopping, and we agree to meet in what was then called, "Crystal Court" so that we could eat at the Ruby's there, before heading over to the main SCP building. I was wearing my plum tweed pencil-skirt outfit, and was striding down a corridor, feeling particularly chic and well put-together, when I glimpsed Kathryn walking towards me from the opposite end of the mall. When she was about 50 or so feet away, it dawned on me what she was wearing, and I threw my hand up, shouting, "Wait! Stop! Don't come any further!"

She was wearing the same exact outfit as I was! Different shoes, but otherwise, the same exact thing - skirt, top, belt...we stared at each other, giddy with horror and ridiculousness of ourselves, and burst out laughing. If we think about it now, we realize that it was bound to happen sometime or other...but for some reason, we'd dodged that particular bullet over and over, and found it shocking when it actually happened.


Luckily, Kathryn also had a coat draped over her arm, so she threw it on and buttoned it up, so only the bottom couple inches of her skirt was visible. We had dinner and shopped and amazingly, never wore the same thing on the same day again. As you can see, we've continued buying the same items over the years...it's easier now, as we don't live in the same town anymore, and it feels "safer." And part of the fun of being friends, it seems to me, is the joy of sharing something you find delightful - whatever that is, right? It's that part of you that wants to urge your friend, to "try, just try." ^_^

20 comments:

  1. Aaahahaha jeeeez! I miss having a girlfriend with the same taste in clothes as me. That's such a funny, sweet story ^___^

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  2. that is such a funny story! I only could see the first picture, although it looks like there are a few more?

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  3. Beautiful - just beautiful!! That story makes me homesick for my best friend - NOTHING replaces a girlfriend with identical tastes. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Awww...I love this story about friendship and shopping - two of my favorite things! Well, besides my children ;-)

    I wish I could see the pics, though! But really, I would be doing the same thing because when an outfit works, it WORKS, ya know? Who cares if someone else owns it?

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  5. That is one great story! And like the others, I couldn't see a few of the pictures, but I can just imagine in my head! I think my mom, sister and I may have one or two of the same shirts from Anthro, but we all live at different places.

    You guys are just really too sweet! And funny Carol - "this one time (and not at band camp)" ;o)

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  6. What a cute post!!! My sister and i used to do the same thing...

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  7. Same here...love this story and wish my BFF lived near me to go shopping together.

    It's so true about personal shopper...I've got one at JCrew and we're like friends and I feel bad if I don't purchase from her. ;-)

    Btw, love both versions of the Beda dress on you and Kathryn.

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  8. Very cute story! I lived in Orange County from 93-97 and fondly remember South Coast Plaza and Crystal Court across the street. CC was always so empty of shoppers it seemed. The Coach store on that side was very nice though!

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  9. ahahah I love this story! And I love hearing about a long storied friendship between two stylish and lovely ladies! Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Oh this made me giggle - you two are the cutest! I need a bestie that loves to shop!

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  11. You gals are sooo cute!!! I love how you each made your outfits unique and even if you're wearing the same thing it looks so different! I can't wait to see more :D

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  12. That is so funny : )
    hahahah.. I have to laugh!

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  13. Such a great post! There is nothing better than having a shopping soul sister who happens to have just as wonderful fashion sense as you do. You ladies look great in every single shot.

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  14. Oh what a lovely post about friendship! I have known my best friend Viv for more than 20years. I can still remember we used to buy the exact same tote bag, love the same romance author, love the same stuff. We also have ESP because we will sometimes want to talk about the same stuff at the same time. :))

    I love reading your blog! :))

    AhCapp

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  15. Hi Kathryn,

    You look so lovely in person! I recognized you from across the floor. I told my husband about your blog and he said he wanted to read your blog. That is a surprise!. He has never read any anthro blog. My husband said you look quite attractive. It is so nice to see you in real life.

    Cindy

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  16. Carol and Kathryn- this was the most adorable/entertaining post ever! I loved the story and the twinner pictures. Soooo cute!

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  17. wow i really loveee your blog! i discovered your blog when I was listening to NOrdstrom's annual shareholders report...did they know that the CEO of nordstrom talked about one of your blog posts about nordstrom? thats really cool!!

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  18. Thanks, everyone, for your kind words! You guys are the nicest!

    @Melindaa: Wow, that's amazing! Hahaha! I just tracked down the webcast of the meeting, and I can't believe it! Thanks for letting us know! And we're so glad you like the blog.

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