I'm a bit sheepish to share these photos with you, but if a drive from/to integrity and honesty was the motivation for sharing my sadness, it seems only fair to be honest about my recourse to retail therapy in my self-care. As much as I agree with the Tilda Swinton quotation I included in that earlier post, it's also true that we can't practically remove ourselves from this capitalist-consumerist society. The best we can do is be thoughtful, considered, about our purchasing habits. I like to think I was, yesterday, although truly, part of me (and she can be such a judgmental bitch, seriously, pardon the language!) wishes I'd Just Said No.
But yesterday morning, Pater insisted we get outside in the sunshine, knowing its value as a mood-lifter; he led us up to Café Tourny where we were too late to get a croissant with our Grands Crèmes so instead, bundled up warmly at one of the sidewalk tables, we enjoyed our tartines (the best bread, delicious apricot jam). We watched the steady stream of passers-by, admired once again the charm of the Place, remarked on the travaux (construction projections, whether large or small) that seem to be everywhere. And we talked a bit about my slight depression and how best to manage it, even as it began to creep away into a corner, shrinking an encouraging bit just from being identified and discussed.
And as I felt increasingly positive, I thought I'd walk up to one of the main commercial streets here, Cours d'Intendance, to borrow some sparkle from the festive Christmas windows and street decorations (Little Secret Preview: I'm planning a Countdown to Christmas sharing of some photos I've been taking of Festive Windows for my Instagram feed, beginning December 1st). I have to admit -- and I told Pater this at the time -- that I planned to check out the new & Other Stories store whose construction I've been keeping an eye on since we got here. It opened while we were in Bayonne on the weekend, and we've only got one more day here so. . .
You know, I almost made it out of there with my retail fast maintained, not really even threatened. I kept being drawn to an item, liking the cut, the price, but then finding the fabric wanting, not worth the space the garment would take in my carry-on case. Or I'd realise that I could find something quite similar once I got back home. Or I'd remember that my sweaters at home would feel like new ones after the relative monotony of the last ten weeks. In short, I saw nothing that seriously tempted me, and I felt really good about being ready to walk out empty-handed.
And then, flipping hangers of garments along the rack, I arrived at a pair of wide-legged, black velvet culottes. And a light, fluid, swishy velvet. I mean. . . . Could I see these as the answer to so many evenings of What to Wear for a little Casual Glamour? Yes, yes, I could. . . And it may be there was a silk blouse, black background, colourful print, that I could wear with said velvet trews but also pair with jeans and a black blazer or cardi. (and I assure you, I wasn't influenced by That's Not My Age's post on velvet, my purchase having preceded my reading of her post, but you could be. . . check it out here)
But this little dress.
This one stopped me in my tracks. Because I love it in so many ways, but I wasn't as sure I could justify it. Yes, I need something festive for the holiday season (we're taking our two oldest granddaughters to Hansel and Gretel the week we get home -- how perfect is this dress for that?) but didn't I just say the black velvet pants would do that trick?
And perhaps the length makes this a bit too young for me?
And I've been wearing less print . . . less colour, for that matter.
Of course, you already know how this story ends, don't you? I chose to believe every word the sweet young vendeuses told me about how well the dress suited me--What did I mean? Too young for me? What? Of course I wasn't too old. Etc., etc.
So call me shallow, but this dress also came home with me yesterday -- I love the way it channels the whole Peasant thing that's going on right now (Again!) but in a way that seems relatively restrained, even sophisticated, to me. Of course I love the forgiving shape as well -- and it has pockets!! Always a plus.
In case you're thinking I recommend irresponsible Retail Fashion Therapy as a counter to Sadness or Depression, please know that I've spent considerable time with this low mood and I've managed it over the past few weeks by walking, keeping active with French lessons and yoga classes, writing here, cycling, taking photographs, texting and video-ing family. In other words, this was hardly my first resort and, in fact, it wasn't a deliberate resort yesterday. However, I had made room all along for a serendipitous fashion purchase or two, should it make sense. Given that my festive-wear needs refreshing anyway, and given that the shopping madness will be in full swing when we get back, it made good sense to carry that & Other Stories bag home yesterday.
So tell me, do you go through similar mental, ethical, emotional contortions when making an unplanned purchase of a serendipitous find? Or are you made of sterner stuff and you just walk away? Or are you so well-organised (I'm thinking of you, Sue, and the guidance of your wonderful shopping lists) that what you buy has already long been planned and justified? Do you think that, pace Swinton, sometimes Retail Therapy, within careful limits, is part of an overall self-care response to sadness, or is that too dangerous a route to tread?
Or just tell me if you have outfits planned for festive dressing over the next month. . . .
And if all these questions feel far too much like a homework assignment, or you just don't feel in the mood today, wave me a telepathic hello and we're good. ;-)