Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Bit of Background

I guess before I go forward with the tales of my passion for fashion, or shopping, or The One Hundred, I should give you a bit of background.  I've always been a bit a clothes hound.  I am the youngest child in a family of 6 - 5 girls and 1 boy.  The thing is, my sisters were teenagers when I was born and my brother and I were essentially a second family for my parents.  My mother and my older sisters were great seamstresses and sewed many of their clothes.  It was during a time in this country when sewing was actually cheaper than buying (late 40's, 50's and 60's).  My mother made many of the clothes my sisters wore and as they grew older, they began to sew and make their own clothes.

I remember my mother making long-dresses for me in the 3rd and 4th grade but other than that, most of my clothes were purchased on the weekly shopping trips to J.C. Penney's at Park Central Mall.  (It was always J.C. Penney's in those days, never Penney's.)  I can remember longing to shop at Diamond's (it's now known as Dillards) or Goldwater's but as my mother would say, "That's for rich people." so, J.C. Penney's it was.

I don't know if we went shopping every Saturday, but it sure seemed like we did.  I know we went to Basha's grocery store every Saturday and I do remember that in those days, you could buy tennis shoes and rubber sandals at the grocery store, so technically, we did go shopping every Saturday.  It's funny, because to this day, I have a hard time not doing some kind of shopping on the weekends.  (My dear friend Sue has said on more than one occasion, "Michelle, you go to Target on Sunday like most people go to church.") It was a "girls go shopping" and "boys go camping" kind of household.

I never really thought about a life in fashion, I just knew that I liked nice things and as soon as I could start working, I started buying things like Lacoste, Polo, and Calvin Klein.  It was when I was about to drop out of college that I realized I could have a career surrounded around the things I loved so I began working towards a degree in Fashion Merchandising.  Working on the degree was sublime; the career itself, was...hell.  I hated it! and trust me, I've worked for some great companies:  Lenox China, Banana Republic (back in the days when they still had Jeeps in the store), Ralph Lauren and Dillards.  But working in retail is very different than working in the fashion industry.  Retail is basically a career in shipping and receiving, babysitting adults and taking crap from the general public all while you're earning minimum wage, working horrible hours, and acting as if a sale is equivalent to open heart surgery.  It was the most unfulfilling work I had ever done.

Career or no career, the whole idea of fashion, clothes, and yes shopping has always seemed to be a part of my life.  I love it. When I've had a bad day, walking around a store brings me peace and learning about and acquiring The One Hundred about as close to nirvana as I'll probably ever get.