Thursday, September 21, 2006

New clothes

While in Edinburgh, I managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping. Its been so hard to find the time to wander through the shops here in Paris. If Ella is at garderie, I only have about 2 hours, including travel time, and I always have so many things to try and accomplish while I am alone that I rarely "waste" my free time in the shops. If Ella is with me, in her stroller, she will accept about 20 minutes of browsing before throwing a full blown tantrum. Obviously, I can stretch that 20 minutes with a few well placed bribes (cookies, my wallet, my cellphone) but even this will only get me another 15 minutes of shopping time. I remember fondly the days when I could just pop into the shops and have a look whenever I saw something nice in the window and then, when I was ready to actually buy some new clothes, I had chosen the perfect piece for the season that would slip right into my wardrobe so that it got maximum use and might even have been a great price because I managed to find it in some rare mid-season sale. Now, its more likely that I have some special event coming up and a look through my closet reveals only two things, 1) fat boring clothes from early pregnancy and post pregnancy or 2) cool clothes from pre-pregnancy, ie they are around 3 years old now and the "cool" factor is definitely a relative term. So I dash out and use my 30 minutes of shopping time to sprint through one of the department stores. I strip off in a changing room and throw on three or four possibilities, but since I have a slightly different shape (to put it diplomatically) nothing fits the way I thought it would. But, too late for second thoughts, I pick the best of the four, and go home after verifying the return policy as I am almost certain to change my mind.
The fact is, I need to start from scratch. Since I last worked in an office and had a decent wardrobe, I have had a baby, turned 30, and spent a year and a half working from home in my pyjamas. No wonder I feel like I don't have a thing in my closet that suits me. I have decided that when I go back to work, my first paycheck will be earmarked for a new work wardrobe and even better, I have decided that I will avoid any silly mistakes and hire a style consultant. All the big department stores offer the service and I think that is exactly what I need. Actually, I think that the reward of spending an entire paycheck on clothes (something that just seems so hugely decadent and self-indulgent and I guess, technically, it is)has been one of the main motivators in this job search. I keep reminding myself, must sit down and write out one more cover letter because that is the only way I'll get to have the shopping spree.
In the meantime, I did have a lovely afternoon, sans bébé, shopping in Edinburgh, definitely a minispree. We went through the entire Harvey Nics store that was built since I'd left. No actual purchases but I did find something to put on my Christmas list- a gorgeous calfskin travel clutch from Smythson. Already, trying to hang on to my papers and Ella's is getting a bit complicated but then when we have delayed flights and re-issued tickets and food vouchers and receipts to be reimbursed it gets to be a nightmare. So this is a must-have item, I think. We popped into lots of other shops but I ended up spending all my money in Top Shop. I know that it is not a shop aimed at my demographic and I can only think that I was slightly confused by being back in Edinburgh and started imagining that I was 20 years old again, but I found a ton of stuff that I loved. I got a great cropped black raincoat, a white jackie-o jacket, a black silk trapeze top, a grey backless t-shirt, and a brown silky dress. I think that there is still an element of randomness, in that I bought clothes for an imaginary life I lead ("oh, this grey t-shirt will be perfect for when I go to meet my girlfriends in a bar". Which girlfriends? which bar? Oh well, its just a t-shirt. I have little sisters who might like it, I guess.) But I do think I did better than I usually do, plus it didn't cost a fortune so I can make some mistakes. Now, however, I realize that I am going to have to do a bit of a cleanout in my closet because there is no room. Poor B has to squeeze all this clothes into a 5 foot wide space while I have an entire dressing room and still I am in trouble. There is a mountain of shoes on the floor, I have two pieces of clothing on every hanger, the folded shirts are tipping over since they are stacked into little towers on every shelf. I swear that this is my next project.
Of course, in all the shopping madness, Ella was not forgotten. I walked into a shop on the Royal Mile looking for at souvenirs, without anything special in mind when I saw a rack of kilts for babies. I didn't even check the prices because it was clear from the minute we saw them that Ella absolutely needed one. Since there isn't a drop of Gaelic blood in either of us we were free to choose based on color preference. I wanted to try it on her the minute we got back and she absolutely refused. I only managed to force her in to it the day she drank soap, I guess her defenses were down. I think it is adorable and would put it on her everyday if she let me. Here is the proof if you had any doubts:

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