OPINION: If the Devil Wears Prada, I Wear Turnover

I share a closet with my daughter (true confession). At 10, her shoe collection alone rivals that of Imelda Marcos. I own a couple pairs of flip flops and some ankle boots my aunt took off her own feet and handed to me last spring because my “situation” was that dire apparently.

My “situation” really is that I don’t enjoy shopping in stores. If you’ve ever taken a cat to the vet, you’ve likely had to contend with a fair amount of clawing and contorting as they cling to those last fibers of hope, bargaining and pleading to stay inside the crate (all set to the harsh backdrop of fluorescent lighting and bad ’80s ballads). I am that cat, wishing I had just stayed home and ordered something from the comfort of my own phone.

I like my couch. I like elastic waistbands and not having to wrestle with things like zippers or those torture devices they call tummy control underwear or, heaven help me, anything with a heel. If the devil wears Prada, I wear sweatpants–at least up until the news that my nephew would be having his Bar Mitzvah and that we would be attending in person and that I would be expected to wear something that was not only devoid of fleece and holes but that I could (breathe) dance in as well.

This narrowed my wardrobe choices considerably and after a good half hour of seriously contemplating whether I could fashion something out of a Halloween costume, I found myself at the Turnover Shop, the store I turn to (no pun intended) first and foremost in an effort to acquire something (as per my mother-in-law) that did not resemble Morticia Adams or Cher in Mermaids and was both dressy and casual. This always proved wildly bemusing to me, like chasing a steak dinner with a happy meal but since I was short on funds (and time) and since the Turnover had never once failed me pre- (Where’d my body go?) baby, I decided to put on my big girl boots, the ones my auntie gave me and find something that wouldn’t make Meryl Streep (or my MIL) retreat into their closets.

“You went where?” Brinna asked over coffee.

“The Turnover. It’s the cute one I told you about…the benefit shop with all the clothes and furniture…the one that smells really good, like soup…” but her eyes glazed like the untouched donut in front of her, fumbling for words that didn’t come as if maybe I’d suggested picking through the trash or making a dress out of toilet paper to wear to my dear, sweet nephew’s “Scarsdalian” coming of age party. She laid a meticulously manicured hand atop mine.

“You just can’t,” she said. “Okay?”

And so began a journey into the minefield that was Brinna’s extensive walk in. Playing fast and loose with rhinestones, wrap dresses and ridiculously overpriced handbags, I quickly became overwhelmed and discouraged in something a modest family of five could comfortably sublet. But as luck would have it (hers, not mine), her waist is a good six inches slimmer and her boobs are twice the size of my head so unless I was going to duct tape my midriff and consider a fatty choice of cutlets for my bra, I was back to square one.

“Sorry,” Brinna shrugged apologetically, except she wasn’t because seriously, who wants to clean chicken out of their dress?

I wanted to stay home. I wanted to put the baby to bed early, (this never happens by the way. I wouldn’t even begin to know how), order takeout from Reiki and binge watch something truly binge-worthy (but not baking or cooking shows because I’ve decided these just make me hungry like my closet makes me angry, or more accurately the clothes hanging in it, which (let’s be honest) are fewer and farther between than a Fairfield County rental, what with Young Imelda’s shoes taking up some serious real estate).

I’m tired of the guesswork. I’m tired of trying to scrounge through the few articles of clothing I own that aren’t fleece or hooded or holey but the thought of walking into another store, of going into another dressing room and having to confront the many, many donuts I may or may not have consumed over the past year is enough to make me want  to crawl on my hands and knees and hide under the bed, (where the feral cat is still cozily situated, by the way) and never come out because if I have to shimmy my way into one more sheath, I’m definitely going to go home and start cutting apart Halloween costumes.

I indulge myself with The Turnover again, ignoring Brinna’s ridiculous accusations about used clothing. No luck and I’m hungry for soup. It’s still the best shop ever.

Finally, I call my sister in law who, thankfully, owns hips and something that isn’t a size 2. I make a promise to return the dress clean and free of poultry, eternally grateful not to be clawing and contorting, resorting to heavy duty adhesives or cutting something apart that might be better served at a roadside fun house along with some chicken cutlets and a dash of humility.

Until then, I’m content to sit on my couch (or under the bed), binge watching something not food related; (I highly recommend “Imposters” if you haven’t had the pleasure yet). My sweatpants still have miles of elastic or at least inches before they snap and with my phone as charged as my credit card, it’ll be a hot day in hell before I venture into the land of rhinestones and wrap dresses or those toxic, soul sucking devices they call full length mirrors again. For now, I’ll take a gamble and dance with the devil I know.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.