Loehmann's is a discount department store stocked mostly with brand-name clothing. It's also well-known for its communal dressing rooms. Usually I bypass that and wait for a private dressing room. One, the four walls of mirrors creep me out. Two, I don't like being looked at. Three, I don't want to inadvertently see a middle-aged woman in a thong, as I did the previous time I went. Nothing wrong with being middle-aged, or wearing a thong for that matter. But I'd never seen a thong in real life on another woman, and the experience was a bit too much reality for me.
So I was trying stuff on in my dressing room, and I overheard the conversation going on in the dressing room next door. It sounded like a British grandmother taking her granddaughter out shopping. The girl emerges from the room and awaits approval. A pause, and then...
"Do you want my honest opinion? It seems to me that you're trying to go from sweatpants casual to a more sophisticated kind of casual. Things that you can wear when your boyfriend takes you to New York for the weekend."
"I don't wear sweatpants," she says defensively, "and we wouldn't go to New York." But at this point we're both listening to grandma because it sounds like she's been around the block.
"That's fine. Perhaps a nice brown turtleneck that you can pair with a knee-length skirt? What do you think?"
It goes on in that fashion. Grandma reminds her that everything she gets will be 20% off (Which reminded me of my own coupon that I'd left at home!).
I liked that interchange. It made me think of the small moments where women pass down knowledge and experience, one to the other.
Photo: Carinne Roitfield, editor of French Vogue, and her daughter