Fellow swimmer: "Ooooo! I love those pale gray jeans. Whose label?"
Me: No immediate response, just my usual stunned expression accompanied by the scrunched eyebrows of total puzzlement.
Fellow swimmer: Filling in the silence, "When you get home, check the label. I would love to get a pair......if you don't mind".
Moments later, sitting in my car, preparing to drive home, I lay my head on the steering wheel and laughed, laughed until my sides ached and tears rolled down my cheeks. For a nano second, just a nano second mind you, I had felt as if I was in a procession of stars parading down the red carpet during awards season wearing a major designer's one-of creation. You know..........that moment when the celebrity interviewer asks, "and who are you wearing?"
After thirty-five years in the real estate industry, I am no stranger to high quality, smart 'labelled' attire. As a new sales representative, "You only get one chance to make a first impression" had been drilled into me by my first broker. I was deeply, in hindsight too deeply, influenced by the 1975 Malloy book, "Dress For Success". My closet today still contains some of those name brand blazers, pants and what Jim refers to as his favourite (not) "here come de' judge," suit. Yes, they still fit. Problem? I have very few places to wear them. To be honest, I thankfully have no one I need to impress but myself. Such is my glorious retirement. Don't get me wrong. Clean and neatly dressed, I appear neither like a drug addict nor homeless lady, so you can remove that image.
One afternoon a week, I volunteer at Chances Are, a second hand store that sells gently used or unused clothing, linens, small housewares and books at very reasonable prices. Thanks to the generosity of Uxbridgeans, a high percentage of the donated goods are of extremely high quality. Annually, our little store donates in excess of a quarter of a million dollars to the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital. Staggering! One afternoon a month I also volunteer in the Hospital Gift Shop, a surprise little gem of a store. It is difficult during these volunteer hours not to stumble on bargains.
Those gray jeans? Jones of New York. $4.00 at Chances Are. Leaving the pool, I began imagining my answer that day to the reporter's, "and who are you wearing?" and that is when my uncontrollable laughter ensued.
Soft gray Jeans. Chances Are ($4.00)
Matching long-sleeved top. Chances Are ($3.00)
Quilted knee-length winter coat with fur lined hood. Chances Are ($10.00)
Leather gloves, new. Chances Are ($8.00)
Scarf, new. Uxbridge Cottage Hospital Gift Shop. (A whopping $19.00)
Sketcher shoes with snow-tire like treads. Mark's......and that's a story for another day.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is what I was wearing. There is just no denying my fashion plate status!