Random thoughts on a Tuesday at Annapolis Mall

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I wear Burberry London as my signature fragrance. It is the first time I have had a “signature fragrance,” for most fragrances drive me insane or make me sneeze after a few weeks.

Because of this, a good third of my bureau is decorated with various perfume bottles. I just can’t rid of them because they are pretty.

I forgot to wear my wedding set yesterday… and today. I took them off after the beach because I was feeling stiff and sunburned and swollen from salt and heat and vodka tonics. I must remember to put them back on today.

I never take off my wedding set, not even for a shower or swim in the ocean. I only take them off when we are at a Bailey Banks and Biddle to have them cleaned. I’ve been married three years, I don’t clean them that often any more. It's about the sentiment, not the shine.

Last night I was at Annapolis Mall with my husband and we walked past Bailey Banks and Biddle and he asked if I wanted to go in and have my ring cleaned. He wasn’t happy to find out I didn’t have it on and had it sitting on my nightstand for 24 hours. He said the dog could eat it. I wouldn’t put it past my dog; he has eaten stranger things in the past.

At Annapolis Mall, I found out I am old. I mean, I know I am getting older and this weekend my friends and I cried this statement a few times when we saw ridiculous young peep fashion and actions, but the mall made me feel truly aged. As you know, I write about clothing here and on my other blog, but I like to think that I write more about style than fashion. There is a difference between the two, and there is a difference between fashion and trends as well. I looked at what was an attempt at fashion and what was hot and trendy now, and it made my head hurt.

Jeans so bedazzled on the pockets, I wonder how people sit. Candy-colored hi-top sneaks for men, tops that would hardly cover an areola, multiple layers of knits all cinched up with a faux leather belt… the styles in the store windows were hideous, and I knew I must be old if I was shuddering in front of each wall of plate glass. I felt like a senior citizen. Granted, I am a well-dressed senior citizen who got three compliments from strangers for my choice of shoe, and a good-looking man, my junior, looked me up and down in a way that made me feel violated and vindicated.

My husband noted that those who live in Annapolis LOOK as though they live in Annapolis. We were trying to break down the exact look, and this was our list on the restaurant napkin:

  • Weathered skin – not just tan, but with freckles, creases and a bit of a leathery texture even on teens
  • Very casual hair – low ponytails and straight bangs on women of a certain age, curly mops on men of all ages, tangled long sun-streaked tresses on younger ladies.
  • Very expensive purses with plenty of hardware, or else Very Bradley satchels
  • Very old bottoms, be it cargo shorts, jeans, a chino skirt. Obviously well made to withstand salt and sand and sun and many trips through the washer.
  • No bright colors past lime, pink or coral. Maybe a wild French blue but never Crayola red or emerald green and gosh forbid if you tried to wear bright orange outside of a life jacket.
  • Very comfortable shoes. Flops, slides, sandals, boat shoes. Usually as weathered but well-made as the owner’s shorts or skirt.
  • Minimal makeup on the women – mascara, a touch of tinted lip balm, sometimes a smudge of eyeliner but that is it.
  • An obvious piece of expensive jewelry. It may be large diamond studs, a strand of real pearls, a right-hand diamond ring, or maybe a Tiffany bracelet for the teens.

I said I felt very Annapolis in my black top, white trousers and turquoise necklace. For once I too had the minimal hair and makeup.

My husband then reminded me that I was wearing the leopard-print stilettos that were complimented three times by strangers. Oh well, still have a bit of DC in me, even if I desire to be more Naptown.

I love great shoes. You can wear the most basic things, and your shoes will always take center stage. It is far easier to get away at work with crazy shoes than crazy makeup or crazy dresses.

I am allergic to blue cheese, but I asked for gorgonzola on my salad last night. How can you have field greens, champagne vinaigrette, pears and walnuts without it?

I hate admitting when I am disappointed to a nice waitress. The kitchen brought out our entrees before our appetizer, didn’t bring bread until our second request and never brought my lemon for my water so I had to steal my husband’s off his iced tea. Oh, and the chips with the spinach artichoke dip were stale as all heck, hence the need for the bread. But she was so darn cute and sweet I couldn’t complain.

I don’t think my husband could either; he felt guilty and left a 20% tip.

Today, he is sending a letter to Nordstrom to compliment them on our salesperson last night. I bought my husband some of those slip-on dress shoes (not traditional loafers, more sleek) a year or so ago, and last week, the seam busted out at the sole. We took them back to Nordstrom sans receipt in hopes they could fix them. They could not, so they offered us a replacement pair if I could guess the price. The same brand in a slightly different version was $130, so I said $130. He entered $150 into the register, so we got a $180 pair of shoes for $30 plus tax.

I felt bad because he spent a long time with us to have such a meager sale, and like the waitress, for some reason, we felt bad for doing what customers do and expecting those in the service industry to do their job, so we are writing a thank you letter.

People should write more thank you letters. Nothing makes a person’s day more than having nice sentiments on paper.

I have all my thank you notes and customer comment cards from my retail days saved in a binder in clear pages. I like to look at it when I feel like a loser.

I also save all the sweet compliments and thank you emails I get from readers in my inbox so I can be reminded of why I write and that I am not invisible in this world.

Speaking of which, someone walked by my cube and complimented me on my perfume. I smiled and said, “It’s Burberry London,” when asked about the brand. “I guess you could say it’s my signature fragrance.”

Then I thought, “Oh crap, they can smell my perfume from outside my cube? That’s not a signature; that’s a billboard!”

I promptly licked and rubbed together my wrists in an attempt to wear away some scent. Burberry London may smell nice, but it doesn’t taste nice.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I love this post… tangled hair? seriously… whoa… they kinda sound right out of an abercrombie ad… lols

  2. That thank you letter will mean more to the Nordstrom employee than the lost commission–people should definitely write letters when they recieve exceptional service. Send it directly to the store manager!

    A former Nordy

  3. You’re right, there is a big difference between style and fashion. Look at the difference between couture and what actually works on most people’s bodies! Not to mention the teeny-bopper styles and what anyone over 18 should wear. I’m WAAAY happier old than I ever was young – with my body, the way I dress, who I am and how I represent myself.

    You look awesome. Don’t ever forget it and rock whatever it is you are wearing. (especially great shoes! so true!)

  4. I feel the same way about Burberry London.

    I never really found a scent that I truly loved and felt that I could wear everyday.

    But I love it!
    And Its my signature scent too!

  5. The customer service at Nordstrom’s is legendarily awesome. I specifically went there to look for bridesmaid’s dresses because of that reputation, and I was not disappointed. 🙂

  6. First things first… you’re an awesome writer. It’s almost as if I was with you at the mall. I could see the people you talked about.

    And no, we’re not old… we’re just not as silly as we used to be and as some people still are.

    Leopard stilettos??? Nice!

  7. I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and I am loving its. “Burberry London may smell nice, but it doesn’t taste nice.” That cracked me up.

  8. When I read your cubicle story I started to cring and I expected you to say someone made a remark like, “This is a fragrance-free environment, blah, blah, blah…”
    My husband and I think we are old too when we go to the mall.

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