“I am sorry Mademoiselle, it is not ready for you.” says the gentlemen at Bruce and Scott in the 8th arrondissement.
“You said Tuesday, my flight is tomorrow.” I reply in my slowest and clearest English.
“Can you return before your flight?” he responds.
“No, my flight to San Francisco is in the morning.” I say as calmly as possible as I curse myself for not finding the suit earlier in my 10 day solo trip to Paris.
“Let me see what I can arrange today for you. You looked so lovely in the suit.”
“Merci. It was just a few alterations at the waist and the length.”
I rush off to gather my other purchases and will return in a few hours.
I had boldly decided to use the bulk of the airline miles I had earned traveling back and forth to New York and Chicago for my first employer, a consulting firm. I was the National Recruiting Manager. The trip was in September after a busy summer managing the summer associates from the various MBA programs. I grabbed one seat in first class with my miles right after Labor day. The trip fit my schedule perfectly before the onslaught of campus recruiting in the fall.
I had ended up staying in a gorgeous apartment that belonged to the American mother of one of the summer associates. I had called her after staying in a hotel on the Champs Elysees as she was weekending in Portugal at the time. I was having trouble with the phone card system for a pay phone and an American actor passed me on the street. I knew he would speak English, so I asked for help. I reached her on the phone and made arrangements to move to her apartment in the 7th on the third day of my ten day trip. I climbed many stairs with my luggage and enjoyed the fitness challenge.
On my last evening my host was able to clear her schedule, so I could take her to dinner.
“So what did you buy?”, she asked.
“A red suit for work.” I proudly replied
“From where?”, she asked
“Bruce and Scott”
“That does not even sound French.”
“Well I love it and it was a great price. There was a small issue with the tailor’s schedule, but I picked it up in time.”
Back home in San Francisco, I was wearing designer clothes that I could not really afford. I always believed you need to dress for the job you want. On this trip I focused on things you could only get in France on a limited budget. I tallied my receipts each night and organized them, so I could file for the refund on the VAT at the airport. My purchases did require that I buy a large suitcase for the return trip.
I could not wait to wear the red suit. I flew home in the jacket with jeans and some new shoes I bought on the trip. Whenever I was a sleep deprived, had a stressful meeting, or I had to stand up in front of the room and facilitate a big decision, I put on the suit to bolster my confidence. It had magic powers.
When I was invited to “Wear Red and Attack”, a Chanel lipstick pop up event last week, I jumped on it. (If you would like to see moreof the event check out my highlights on instagram ). Memories of Paris came flooding back. I am still figuring out how to wear a red lip, but I tried the rouge allure ink in luxuriant and the double intensite in daring red was a runner up (I wear the double intensite all the time in light rose).
This weekend I reached into the back of my closet to find my red suit and was so happy it had not been lost in a closet purge. I bravely tried it on and presented it to my fashion court, which includes my eight year old son, my husband and puggle, Cupcake. Since the suit was expertly tailored to my 27 year old waist, I can’t zip it, or tuck a shirt or wear a belt as I had done then. But I did get it on and the jacket might make it back into the rotation. I will spare my readers a photo of me in it currently. My fashion court was honest and mostly kind. My son was quick to point out that the jacket fit better than the skirt. My husband was impressed that it fit as well as it did. It was thrilled to see it again, no matter how it fit.