When I was 12 or so, a little clothing boutique opened right next to the our local grocery store. As a little girl I never cared much about clothes, with the exceptions of prairie girl dresses and jodhpurs, but something about this little store was different. I loved everything in it, not less so because it was all too grown up for me. It made me think of being a beautiful, grown-up girl, someone who drank wine and went on vacations with friends to the sea. For the first time, clothes captured my imagination and made me feel that the way I dressed might actually communicate something about my life. Or even change my life for the better.
The boutique didn’t last long enough for me to ever get more than one of their pieces (a pair of navy and white stripped denim shorts that I treasured), so it remains in my memory as an archtype of good clothes and the joy of shopping. There are few places that have ever made me feel that way since, but I just recently stumbled upon one. Emerson Fry.
When I first saw their Spring collection, I immediately thought of that little store and the life it represented to me. Again, I felt like I was looking at the kind of life I was hoping to build, represented in white linen mod dresses and blue cotton trench coats.
You’ve Got Mail, by the way, makes me feel the same way. I so wanted Meg Ryan’s wardrobe, shabby chic apartment, and her little children’s bookstore. She was a grown-up girl with a stylish life.
I realize now too that that’s what I have been hoping to create with the Twenty Pieces Project: a wardrobe that reflects a lovely, thoughtful life. A grown-up girl life.
I’m not there yet, and no amount of expensive linen will get me there by itself, but it remains a dream, if only to let 12 year old Cate (or Caity, I should say) know that she’s doing ok. We’re getting closer to grown-up everyday.