clothes


One of the most ‘high powered/ important’ fashion journalists just came into the office today. He walked in as if he ruled the world, which I suppose according to him, and the rest of the fashion industry, he does .He had on jeans as tight as Karl Lagerfeld’s, an even tighter fuchsia tee (”its all about Fuchsia darling”) and funky Ray -Bans that he was wearing despite the typical grey and rainy London day and which he kept on for the entire appointment, that was held inside a showroom. He was fabulous. I would like to say I took the appointment, or showed him around the collection discussing key trends for the season and suggesting ‘must have’ pieces for his shoot, but who am I kidding – I followed him around holding the clothes, and picking up hangers as he selected his pieces while the head of the company, who had gotten dressed up, talked him through our latest garments. I was introduced, I’ll give them that much, but as an intern I did not get the air kisses- which I felt I deserved. He looks; my boss talks and I follow. Suddenly he turns to me and says in his ever so fabulous way ”poppet pop this on, I want to see”. So I took the top and started walking towards the door, to the bathroom , to ‘pop’ the top on, but he says with utter disgust and surprise, ”no, no, no poppet just do it here, quick quick, pop it on” . So right there I had to ‘pop’ my top off and ‘pop’ his top on, while sucking in as much as I could, thanking my lucky stars I was wearing a gorgeous bra and hoping like hell that nothing ‘popped’ out!

Oh, they do care.

Having interned as a trend spotter in New York for a season I am fully aware of the industry involved in searching out the coolest looks on the street to inspire next month’s look of the moment. I spent many a day on a street corner in Williamsburg or downtown Manhattan taking pics of the genius style found in this city. I still enjoy blogs like Facehunter and The Satorialist, and sites such as Refinery29 to see what’s happening in street fashion in New York and beyond.

So the other day when I came across Ugly Outfits New York, I have to admit (with a bit of guilt) that I had a little chuckle. This blog documents, in their words, “every wrong ensemble in New York City” with the aim to “school the fashion retarded” and eliminate all the uggs on the planet. Genuis I tell you- Until the day I see myself (God forbid) on their pages!!!

People say that you can wear what you like in New York City and no one cares. I agree you can wear what you like, but they certainly do care.

Laundry day sucks no matter which city you live in. Today was my laundry day! Once moving into my tiny room, about a month ago, I was told (and I quote) that I “live in the wrong arrondissement for laundromats” which makes laundry day that much more of a mission. Little one doing her laundry is a massive process that starts with the need to build up the energy, once I feel that i have enough energy, I strip the bed and throw the sheets in my big, black (unfortunately not magical) bag. Today I notice that the bottom is the bed is falling off but I have chosen to ignore it until a human visits again to sort it out. I then collect all my dirty laundry _ and I must that by the time I feel the need to actually do laundry there is a lot of it. I put it all in the big, black bag. I sit and breathe, again gathering the energy to start the trek. I then pack another bag, this one filled with french homework, postcards (hence you always getting post 5 days after my laundry day) and my trashy novel. I then close my door and lock it, pick up the big black bag (now wishing it was magical) and make my way down the 6 flights of stairs, across the courtyard and around the block… NO the laundromat is not there. I then get onto the metro, go 2 stops and change metros (who has to change lines in order to do laundry!?) and go another 2 stops. I then reach the fanciest part of town and walk through this area dragging the big, black bag (which was bought on some dodgy street in Jozi) while the other people who wonder these streets are dressed in head-to-toe designer labels and have people to drag their Louis Vuittons for them! I walk 2 blocks and reach the laundry.

At this point (to give Paris and the laundry trip some credit) I must mention that the setting of the laundromat is as french as one could get. It over looks a quaint square which today happens to have a fresh produce market going on in it. There are gorgeous cafes and the laundromat has old fashion magazines for one to read.

The first time I did laundry here I collected my coins for about a week before, but I have since learnt there is a “change giving” machine. I throw my load in and get out one of my many choices of activities. Every now and then someone runs in from the market with a bunch of raw veggies in one hand and gets change from the machine, today someone ran in with a piece of raw salmon in one hand a 20euro note in the other!

I feel like I am a regular n the laundromat now, I have worked out how everything works and today felt so proud of myself when someone struggled to ask me in french if i could speak English and explain to them what to do. I think the pride came from two tings: firstly, that they thought that I was french and secondly that I knew how to use the machines and this middle aged couple didn’t. I also got some (sick) satisfaction of hearing them struggle with the french and then answering in perfect English, although at the same time I wanted to say “take me with you to your English speaking land or at least out for an English speaking meal” but I restrained myself and once helped them went back to my activity of the moment.

After laundry I rewarded myself with a “tarte de pomme” from my favourite cafe which happens to be right there. I am not sure that successful laundry deserves a reward but at least its a good excuse.

I agree with you Middle Sister that its great that Spring has arrived! Today, being Saturday, I woke up late and enjoyed getting dressed into a pair of shorts, sunglasses on and a big handbag, I skipped along the streets of Paris enjoying the sun, (proudly) resisting the ice cream and watching everyone around me… and suddenly I become extremely aware of how tiny Parisian women are… which led me to notice the size of my bottom, especially when I saw it’s reflection in the shop windows, it seems to “stand” out somewhat.

This reminded me of the last time I was particularly conscious of the size of my bum back when a pair of pants ate me! It was last year and I had just finished exams and to celebrate I decided to hit Long Street and Kloof, in Cape Town, for some serious retail therapy. I remember having had a fabulous morning and ended up in a gorgeous shop that was definitely way out of my price range but that didn’t stop me from trying on everything (although in Paris it does). And then I spotted them (I can still see the in my mind): the perfect pants. The shop assistant described them as ‘denim tights’ and said that they would look just fabulous on me, so I took size M and headed for the purple, fur lined, dimly lit change room. I put the pants on. It was then that I realised that no, I don’t have a muffin top but rather a couple cakes stuck onto the side of me but the pants were eventually on…however the cakes on the side seemed to be emphasised and we all know that pants that emphasise cake thighs is not a good look. I decided to take them off, face the fact that I cant wear size M super skinnys and carry on.

Well that was not as easy as it sounds. No, the pants had eaten me, perhaps they were enjoying the cakes! They wouldn’t come off! After much pulling (the pants down and my tummy in) eventually I got them to regurgitate half of my thighs but they were persistent on staying half up/half down! The shops assistant kept asking in a polite voice if I was okay (I didn’t respond), I think he thought I had eaten the pants. He then came to the door and past me a size L! Eventually after much tugging, giggling and red thighs i got the pants off! I remember the relief! I tried on the large but didn’t get them-realised that I am a true African with size L ass but only size M legs and although this was quite a disturbing realisation I think at least I have size M something.

Today as I strolled past the beautiful boutiques in the Marais and other areas of Paris I remembered my pant eating thigh experience and am not even tempted to enter the “out of my price range” stores because they definitely do not stock “African” sizes!

Spring finally arrived in NYC today. Now I hate to think I have been reduced to blogging about the weather when you are planning travels and eating crayfish, but spring is more than just sunshine. As dramatic as it sounds I feel like a new person. In a good way. In fact it seems as if the entire city (and its inhabitants) metamorphosed over night. Hard winter exteriors were shed. Smiles abound. The tulips are out, the parks are fill, the coats are packed away and warm weather clothes are making their debut (which, after being wrapped in layers for months, can make for some interesting sights…). Despite my pale skin’s testimony to the contrary, my roots lie firmly in the southern hemisphere- I was just not programmed to dress in multiple layers without looking like a bergie.  But today spring changed all that and I donned a pretty summer dress topped off with a spring trench and literally skipped out the door.
Happy spring!