I was in my mid-twenties. I had left teaching and had an executive job in downtown Chicago. I was a young professional with a disposable income, who needed some business suits. My mother had taught me the value of investment dressing–now that I’d finally quit growing. She had said it was worth buying classic, expensive clothing that fit well, because the investment never went out of fashion. A 36-inch inseam meant off-the-rack clothing wasn’t an option for me anyway.
It was a Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the storefront on Wabash Avenue. This was the kind of place where CEOs sat on embroidered couches reading Forbes magazine, while a wife or current affair of the heart decided which 7 or 8 suits and dresses she simply could not live without. Then he paid and, they both left happy.
Three women, all at least 10 years older than my mother who was 30 years older than me, were standing at the elegant counter when I walked in. I was wearing my baby blue, down-filled ski jacket with the torn pocket, a bright red ski sweater with a bicycle tire embroidered on the front, and my blue jeans that came complete with frayed bell bottoms, a patch on each back pocket–have a good day/have a nice night–and a drawing in ink up the inside right thigh that I had made while talking on the phone the night before.
All three ladies, who worked on commission, looked up when I came in. I was the only other person in the store.
I wasn’t the usual vision that walked through the door.
Hoity Hoity Meet Saloonkeeper’s Daughter
Two of the ladies–hoity toity is the only word to describe them–frowned and immediately went back to talking. They had tried to intimidate me right out the door. It was sort of like that scene in the movie, “Pretty Woman.” That didn’t bother me. I was a saloonkeeper’s daughter. Obviously they’d never seen one of me. [Read more…]