I don’t push my fashion ideals on people, especially loved ones. I’m full of advice when I’m being paid to offer it, but otherwise I keep my opinions to myself. But when Russ and I went on a three-day weekend getaway to Newport Beach and he blurted out “You never take me shopping” I said, “Grab your wallet; let’s go.”
There was a large shopping center nearby and being a fan of Macy’s for Men I knew just where to go. I walked the floor with Russ, pulling some key core pieces off rounders and shelves, filling my arms with jeans in a price range he’d never faced before, swooping up refined tee shirts, sweaters and shirts that were great to the touch. I pulled a few simple leather jackets, perfect for our Bay Area weather. I spotted a black silk knit turtleneck with fine ribbed detail. He’s been told a few times that he looks like Sean Connery. You’ve seen Sean Connery in turtlenecks, right?
(Image courtesy unifrance.org)
I put him in a dressing room and sat near the full-length mirror. He came out in an outfit and I reviewed everything and got ideas about what sizes needed to be changed or which colors to try next. While he worked on the next pair of jeans, I zoomed around the floor exchanging sizes and pulling additional items that caught my eye and fit into the core wardrobe I was building.
About three hours passed by the time we hailed a cab to take us and his new belongings back to our beachfront hideaway. I sat next to him in the back seat and thought about what he’d just done. He’d never spent a wad of money at one time like this. Even though we benefited from all the sales they were having, he might’ve had a dull ache coming from his wallet.
From my point of view he had a well-edited wardrobe of mix and match items: fine T-shirts, that turtleneck sweater, an elegant leather jacket, a couple of pairs of shoes and new belts in his newer size, a size he hadn’t shopped for before, even new shoes! I don’t think he spent much more than $1200.
Russ is a thinker. My gut feeling was to let him process this experience without me being a sideline cheerleader. If he needed me to reassure him, I figured he’d bring me into a conversation. Once we left the store, we didn’t talk about the clothes.
The next morning we had a plane to catch. Russ needed extra time packing his new clothes. I was silently pleased when he ripped off tags and got dressed head-to-toe in one of his complete combos. He stuffed his old clothes into the suitcase instead of the new ones.
We headed to the airport, checked our baggage and walked to our gate. Did I think he was the most handsome guy at Gate 64? Absolutely! Did I tell him? No, I didn’t want to mess with this process.
As we headed down the jetway Russ was ahead of me by a few paces. Walking toward us was a flight attendant getting off her shift and pulling her carry-on behind her. I could see her face over Russ’s shoulder. I watched as her eyes brightened and her lips opened. She flashed a smile dedicated to him and only him. “Having a good day?” she purred. “Yes, thanks,” he returned in his 007 voice.
The minute she passed us, I leaned in from behind and got close to his ear. I said, “Worth every penny, wasn’t it, Honey?” He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to. I knew that ache in his wallet had miraculously disappeared.
We found our adjoining seats, buckled ourselves in for the short flight and held hands all the way home.