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Fashionata, Part 2

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

A few days after the makeup session, I met Wendy, Joanne, and a couple of other women at now-defunct Banker‘s Note. We were each to pick out a casual and a dressy outfit for the church women‘s fashion show.

Joanne, a stunning woman of a certain age (meaning near mine), snatched two dresses off the racks, emerged a moment later wearing one, said “What do you think?“ to the rest of us. She did the same thing with the other outfit, and was done.

In five minutes, she was done. And she looked gorgeous in both choices.

I, on the other hand, took down dress after dress after dress, tried them on, felt like throwing up, and headed back to the floor for more. I spent two hours doing this. Subtract Joanne‘s five minutes, and that leaves 115 minutes for her to flit from one of us to the other, chirping, “Isn‘t this fun? Isn‘t this fun?“

It was not fun.

Not bad enough everything I tried on looked lumpy and frumpy, in the same dressing room were Wendy, an exquisite blonde who is a size 4 again, only five months after her baby was born; Mary, who is about six feet tall and 95 pounds of pure class; and the aforementioned Joanne, whose hair and make-up are always elegant.

Not bad enough I‘m hearing my mother‘s voice — “Nice girls don‘t wear red, and purple is for mourning“ — I‘m also hearing my daughters. “We shouldn‘t wear yellow, Mom. Go for bright, definite colors, none of that wishy-washy stuff you always buy.“

Not bad enough I couldn‘t think of one other thing I own, to plan coordination. I decided not to buy what I modeled, because even at discount, it was going to be more than I wanted to spend.

“I‘m not used to this,“ I said apologetically. “I make all my own clothes.“

“I know,“ replied the saleslady a bit too pointedly.


I finally picked out something, with the help of BN‘s really patient staff. Two somethings, one pants with a navy-blue tunic top that hides a multitude of sins, the other a celery-green two-piece swishy dress with a knock-out scarf.

The big evening arrived. I desperately needed a perm and cut, but put it off so the stylists would have something to work with.

After we had our makeup on (Jody smiled bravely when she found out I‘d put myself in a whole ‘nother color group by choosing celery green), the hair-people had their turn.

Having your hair “done“ with no mirror to monitor its progress is incredibly unnerving, especially with Joanne still chirping “Isn‘t this fun?“ But except for being a little poofier than I like, it looked all right.

The casual outfit was first, and I was going to be the second model to take the floor.

And that‘s when it happened — the fun kicked in.

About a hundred women — most of them friends, a few mere acquaintances, virtually none strangers — were looking at me open-mouthed and sighing, “Ooohh“ and “Aaahhh.“ I felt my head come up and my feet moving gracefully, the silky fabric swaying about me (except for the security device someone forgot to remove — it clunked about me). I was having fun.

“This beautiful long tunic hides a multitude of sins, ladies,“ the mistress of ceremonies confided to all 100 women. They laughed politely. I lost my smile, but only for an instant.

I had plenty of time to change, and the second outfit got even more heartfelt accolades, and I was really having fun. The announcer used the scarf to demonstrate different ways to tie it. And as I left the stage, several other women called me over to take a closer look.

Well, no one will be surprised to hear, the whole thing went to my head. Naturally, I bought both outfits, with help from Dave — my clothing budget was in tatters. These people know what they‘re doing.

I‘m still not sure if they expected me to be the “before“ subject, like in one of those make-over ads, but if so, the ploy failed. I was definitely an “after.“

All too soon, the clock struck 12, and I tripped from the ballroom, still without my missing gene. As soon as I could make an appointment, I went back to my short permed hairstyle — not gorgeous, but infinitely easier to live with. And my “facial cleanser“ is once more soap and water.

I hope someone got pictures. My daughters won‘t believe it without photos to prove it, but for one bright shining moment....

[Sallie Satterthwaite of Peachtree City has been writing for The Citizen since our first issue Feb. 10, 1993. Before that she had served as a city councilwoman and as a volunteer emergency medical technician. She is the only columnist we know who has a fire station named for her. Her email is]

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