Tuesday, September 14, 2010

133. Proper Bus-Stop Attire

So it is 8:15 AM and we are all huddling at the school bus-stop under the first light drizzly rain of the season. Annabelle walks her sons across the street and I immediately notice her couture lavender dress embroidered with white stitching at the hem and accompanied by impossibly-high silver stilettos. (The rain instinctively knows to leave Annabelle and her velvet hair ribbons alone.) Yesterday, she wore the smart black linen pantsuit with cherry red suede shoes, chunky Bakelite vintage necklace and sparkly eyeliner. The first day of school was the avocado green skirt with circles and the brown cropped jacket with orange sandals (orange! and it worked!).

I can’t keep up. Unlike me, who rotates between my standard two variations of the momiform (sweats, or actual-pajama-bottoms-masquerading-as-sweats) and considers it a “good day” if I found time to brush my hair, Annabelle consistently wears a different (and professionally ironed) outfit Every. Single. Day.  I have now come to other painful realization that she must own 365 outfits. She is not merely a clothes horse, she is a one-woman Clothes Stable.

The lovely Annabelle radiates elegance. Like fairy dust, you can feel a little wafting your direction if you stand near her. Cars driving by that aren’t even lost stop and ask her for directions: she is that magnetic. The group status is elevated when she is present.

Once I got up the nerve to ask her what her job was.  "Consultant," she smiled broadly, her garnet lipstick framing her blindingly white teeth.  I nodded as if I understood.  Consultant for what I wondered later that evening, Consultant for-giving-your-neighbors-a-complex-because-they-look-like-slobs?  

But honestly, I don’t really care that she is breathtakingly beautiful or that she has a great sassy haircut or that she is a size 2 or even that she has enough money for 365 outfits with coordinating shoes. (Must I admit that she is super-nice and funny and engaging too?) I don’t want to discuss how she manages to pull it all off before most of us have had our morning double-shot espresso.

No. What I want to talk about is her closet.

Annabelle lives a few houses up the street from me, in a 1940’s brick Cape Cod that is the mirror image of my house. The appraiser tells me that my little three-bedroom house is roughly 1600 square feet, with approximately 2 cubic inches of that devoted to closets. Which begs the question: where is Annabelle storing all her clothes?

Did she purge her husband's apparel and now makes him wear the same thing to work every day so that she can have more prime closet real estate? Do they eat standing up in the kitchen so that the dining room can be her de facto dressing area? Are her cars abandoned to brave the elements while the former garage has been converted to a wardrobe and styling Mecca worthy of a Hollywood production?

I finally figured it out: I think her four kids all share one tiny bedroom so that she could convert the other bedroom into a walk-in closet just for her.

Now I really hate her. She is not just well-dressed, but also a genius.

(“Mondays:  Observe Velvet”)

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