Sunday, August 7, 2011

Madame Trousseau

trous·seau, n. [French, from Old French, diminutive of trousse, bundle. See truss.] The possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage.

Last weekend I went shopping. “So what” you say? Well, let me assure you that this is not a common practice for yours truly. Shopping for lumber at Home Depot, purchasing groceries at Publix, selecting paint at Sherwin Williams – these things are common occurrences in my life. But, hitting up the mall to purchase items for me to wear? Unheard of! Even if I had the time and the inclination to do so, I have very little money for such frivolities (See: Home Repairs, Wedding, Honeymoon, New Car).

It’s not that I never purchase new garments. Why just look at me today, sporting an outfit that I “carefully” selected from an easily accessible sales rack at Target while picking up a birthday card and some fresh squash during a hectic lunch break swing-by a few months back. If that’s not dedication to fashion, I don’t know what is. No really, I don’t know what dedication to fashion is. Of course I like to look nice, who doesn’t? But I’ve never been fashion forward, I don’t have a clue what color is “in” this season, and I think that if it still fits (and looks somewhat decent on my ever fluctuating waistline) then it’s good enough to still wear for years into the future. It’s this refusal to purge clothing on a regular basis that causes my Dad to declare that I have “tons of clothing” crammed into my only semi-organized closet (as he less-than-gingerly pulls all of the items out to build me a new shelf in there), and yet causes any other astute observer to notice that I really only own, at max, 3 pairs of pants that are cleverly paired with any rotating combination of half a dozen shirts/sweaters to give the optical illusion that I am not, in fact, just wearing the same thing every single day.

But my recent trip to the mall (which, incidentally, was to pick up items for a trip that GAR is taking to South America – not for me to shop for my own needs) really left me craving more – more pants, more shoes, more sassy tops, more shirts, skirts, dresses, tees, tanks, makeup, undergarments, jeans, pjs, accessories … more more more! And that’s what got me thinking – I need a bridal trousseau!

Yes, in the olden days (you know, way back yonder. I dunno – Victorian times?) single young women all over the world prepared for their change in marital status by accumulating a whole new wardrobe -- jewelry, lingerie, toiletries, hand-stitched clothing for all sorts of formal occasions (well, pretty much everything was a formal occasion back then). Why did this tradition ever stop? Why can’t I do the same?

Maybe it’s because the modern bride is, most likely, not setting off on a whole new life when she enters marriage. I mean, it’s not like I’m still living at home and I need to prepare myself for life outside my parental cocoon. I simply don’t need a whole new anything – I’ve been living on my own, purchasing my own prêt-à-porter (another pretty French term that is much nicer than saying “off-the-rack, mass-produced in China, discounted non-designer clothing”) for years now. If I don’t already own nice things, that’s my own doing. And really it does come down to priorities – would I rather have adorable sets of matching bra and panty combinations or be able to drive around during a steamy Florida August in a car with functioning air conditioning? Can I live without this season’s “must have” nude-colored pumps* in exchange for my dream honeymoon in Bavaria? While I envy the women who always look so fresh and stylish, and I covet their perfectly ironed “this just in” blouses and pencil skirts (are those still popular? I’m taking a leap of faith that they are), I covet the opportunity to see the world, feast on crepes in France (or schnitzel in Germany) and not pass out when I see my credit card bill each month even more.

And so, Target bargain bin, you’ll be seeing more of me in the future (as I quickly zoom by on my way to pick up a new plunger and some toothpaste). But, I will be compromising a little by purchasing a few new items (as budget allows), because every woman should own at least a few fabulous, feel good, knock-their-socks-off ensembles (though I’d settle for owning a pair of jeans with a working zipper that aren’t faded so badly that they look like I’ve been holding onto them since the stone washed jean phenomenon was “in”). And look, I’ve already gone ahead and purchased one gorgeous new get-up – my wedding dress. And once that behemoth garment is added to my closet rack, I’m not even sure I’ll have room in there for new hot pants and bedazzled mini-dresses anyway … not unless I get rid of that oversized Abercrombie sweatshirt I bought off the men’s department clearance rack back in 1997 … and I don’t think I’m ready to part with that just yet. What if there’s a freak cold spell?

Okay, okay, I’ll try to do a little purging while I’m binging on some new wardrobe items. And I’ll even try to pay attention to what’s in style – sort of … right after I put away this new flannel shirt I bought to go with the Nirvana tee that GAR gave me.

* I know that nude pumps are in style this season because, in my effort to find out what items I should have in my modern trousseau, I purchased a magazine that I have rarely, if ever, looked at before – Cosmo. First let me say that the fact that this magazine is able to stay in print in a world where paper is becoming a thing of the past is beyond me. Aside from terrible sex advice, quizzes aimed at deciphering whether or not a boy really likes you (I believe I once took a similar quiz in Seventeen magazine … back when I was young enough to aspire to someday actually be 17) and the fact that ads make up about 75% of the publication’s content, I found no real suitable fashion ideas within its pages. $790 t-shirts? Who are they pretending is the reader of this magazine? Sequined shorts that let your butt cheeks peek out? Yes, I have seen people dressed that way … but I am not considering joining them. It did, however, provide a scintillating article on Kim Kardashian where she reveals that she’s never “passed gas or gone #2.” Fascinating. I’ll be sure to read the rest of that story as soon as I decode the “secrets behind your man’s mysterious facebook status.”

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