Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fashion Past and Present

In my pre-house wifey/mommy life I lived and breathed fashion. I would leaf through fashion magazines drooling over the glossy pages like a sex addict with a copy of penthouse. I saved stacks and stacks of mags and when it got ridiculous I would cut out my favorite articles or editorial pages and stash them in a binder for future reference (I still have these binders upstairs in my spare room) I planned my outfits out meticulously and sometimes I would write down my favorite 'looks' in my journal for future reference. It was my one true passion and it was what defined me most. In the fall of my Junior year at Purdue University I was leaving my fashion marketing class after recruiters from F.I.T came to speak with my class, that I wondered what the hell was I doing in West Lafayette anyway? If I was really serious about turning this into a career I needed to be in the fashion capitol of the U.S., plain and simple. The day that I decided to move to New York City will forever be burned into my brain, along with my wedding day and Finn's birth.

The 3 1/2 years that followed were filled with constant affirmations of my decision to move there. The classes were taught by professors who held real life fashion executives roles in their former lives and I received the best education of my life. Not only that but I spent my spare time shopping trendy, one of a kind stores and attending Museum Openings celebrating the careers of people like Bob Mackie and Cher. There job placement program landed me several interviews proceeded by several offers and I was left to decide which option I was best suited for. In the end I chose to stay in New York and took a job with Federated Merchandising Group working as a Product Assistant for INC. I learned a great deal about the business of fashion that first year and was quickly promoted. I was also lucky enough to attend a photo shoot in the Meatpacking District featuring Heather Mills as our celeb model. One day we were standing around the studio when lo and behold Sir Paul himself gets out the limo and kisses his misses goodbye (good times..... and poor unknowing bastard).

It was around that time that I decided enough is enough with New York. I'm broke, yo! And after a series of events including falling in love with the man that is now my husband, I moved to good ole St.Louis. So what's a Manolo-clad, Gucci-bag toting girl to do in the city best known for it's huge metal monument and Cardinal baseball?? Like kismet, the same month I started looking for a job, a Nordstrom was opening its doors nearby. I started in Sales in the Designer Department and in eight short months I became the manager of the department. In my role I was able to not only dress people in amazing fashion and build a kick-ass clientele, but I was also able to put my signature mark on the department through merchandising and business development. I became a mentor to some and I was known for my great style and eye for colors and putting looks together to suit peoples individual personality. Yay! My calling! Cue the singing angels!

Fashion was here and there and everywhere and I not only worked the business end but I also had a quick stint in modeling (kidding, I'm not). I made a friend at Nordstrom, a keen business woman who quit to open her own store. She asked me to model clothes for her store and several months later she would ask me to catwalk a runway (yikes). She would pay me in clothes from the store, which were worth there weight in gold.

(my past life colliding with my present as I prepare to walk the catwalk, 2 months pregnant)

The passion I felt for my work would only be out-numbered by the intense love I felt for my son when he was born and knowing that being without him for the majority of the day was no way an option for me. Every smile and coo from him was like a drug and I needed my fix like a typical junkie. It was a whole new and exciting world and I LOVED (love) every minute of it. Fashion continues to play a role in my life, albeit a much smaller role and it comes through in strange ways (Finn is by far the best dressed baby in his playgroup hands down, peeps). But day in and day out I am reminded by what I would miss the most....the fashion. The days new shipments would arrive in the department filled to the brim with brand new Missoni and Cavalli and all the girls nearby would flock like sheep to drool over it. The days my favorite clients would walk into the department looking to me to show them what's new, what's hot or dress them for local events. The days when I would spend way too much time standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear or what accessory goes best with what outfit. And then I look over at my son, with his thick and tosseled sandy colored hair rocking it out in cowboy boots and thin wale cords and think I am totally were I am supposed to be right now.

(So innocent and unknowing and has no idea what crazy ideas his momma has in store for him)

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