Well, it was long overdue. We needed new pictures for GTWoman. We had cherished and nourished our 30-something photos for long enough. Time to wow the world with 40-something photos that would put our 30s to shame.
Enter a week-long tornado of clothes-shopping, arguing and returning.
It’s hard to find an outfit that you like and that you want to use in your marketing material for years to come (if history repeats itself). Now try finding one that you like, that your sister also likes and, one step of agony further, matches the outfit that she likes for herself.
But the outfits can’t match match. More like they have to complement. Not too “twinny,” but more like you just happened to dress in shades that didn’t clash, in about the same style, with similar flair.
Imagine trying to find this magical combination, not once, but several times, during five hours of shopping over two days.
It was a scene.
First, we wanted a casual photo (pictured here).
Enter the VEST idea. Yes, we would simply wear matching vests and jeans. Not that hard.
Oh yes, that hard.
The black vest fit her best but my dark hair disappeared on it. The cream vest was Kerry’s favorite but my hair popped so nicely against it. Small details, you say? Not when you are two sisters in a dressing room fighting over the very limited choice of neutral vests sold in America. (Epiphany: The saleswoman can hear every threat you make.)
But we liked the picture in the end. You’d never guess we had the sales gal ransack the place for every “Medium” vest she could find, any color, anywhere. Then got her opinion on each one against first Kerry’s hair, then mine.
We knew we wanted something sharp and professional for one set of photos. We needed dresses. But we have two different tastes in dresses. It would take more than compromise. It would take heavy negotiating while keeping things light and fun. In other words, booze.
We hit Macy’s, then Maurice’s, then JCPenney with no luck. We took a night’s sleep and tried again the next day: Younker’s. Kerry had a boatload of coupons to use there, most of which wouldn’t work, but we’d already upended everything at the other mall.
We walked in to find a selection that offered hope. We picked out so many dresses that Kerry claimed permanent injury to her left arm. From there, we took the largest dressing room to share as usual. You might consider that a handicap stall or a family stall. We consider it a “twin stall.”
It’s a good time to point out that our modesty is out the window in a twin stall. There are bra and underwear and slimmer discussions. There is poking and prodding and blatant vetoing. There is no room for emotion. It is strictly a cold assessment of what works, with a heavy emphasis on how many jokes we can come up with for the duds.
That day, there were no fewer than 15 dresses in the room, none on a hanger and all of them black. We stood in a veritable sea of rejects.
But, suddenly, I slipped on the perfect black dress.
Well, almost perfect. It was a tad snug. She didn’t want to succumb to the next size up but it was obvious that she would be unable to walk unless she did so.
But when I tried to climb out of the almost-perfect black dress while in high heels, I lost my balance. But, instead of falling, I let myself sway backwards and lean against the dressing-room door. . .
That turned out not to be latched.
Which is when I went blasting butt-first out of the dressing-room door, all but naked, nearly tearing the dress in half.
There was a moment of silence. Then a moment (or two) of shrieking. Then there was Kerry checking for witnesses she would have to kill and me getting back into the dressing room on my knees.
Followed closely by us both laughing until we cried.
We’d like to say things went better after that. But what followed was a sweat-inducing afternoon of trying on everything we could find that came in two colors but didn’t match.
It was a blur and, in the end, we never did get a drink out of the deal.
Instead, we returned half of what we bought, settled on only two outfits we really liked and swore we’d wait years before trying to find matching clothes again!
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