Saturday, 1 November 2008

French fashion faux pas - a ripping yarn

Sometimes we all take what we write about far too seriously, and occasionally it's surely no bad thing to be able to laugh at ourselves and not be afraid to share with others some of the slightly more embarrassing events in everyday life.

So it's with that in mind that I'm man enough to admit the following and give everyone a jolly good belly laugh at my own expense.

First a little bit of background. Twice a year here in France there are the sales (les soldes) Once in January-February and again in July-August. They last for between four to six weeks and the exact dates vary according to each departement or locality.

It used to be a pretty rigid system, but there has been government talk of extending the periods and frequency to help boost "high street sales" and stretch the money of the average Monsieur et Madame Fran├žais(e) just a little bit further.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a fan of the sales - too many ill-behaved people in too small a space forgetting about manners (never a priority in the Paris, some would say) in the hunt for bargains.

But this year I thought why not? I needed (or rather wanted) a new pair of smart-casual trousers and I had a bit of spare time while the sales were on so I thought I would try my luck.

This was in mid-July towards the end of the sales period.

And it was in one of those enormous department stores in the centre of the capital, that I found what I was looking for: A charcoal grey, subtle needle-pinstriped pair - the last on the rack so it appeared and just......only just......the right size.

I checked with one of those rather fierce-looking, snooty assistants (aren't they always?) just in case there was a slightly larger pair lurking in the back somewhere, only to be told, "Sorry sir, those are the last available. This is a sale you know, and we don't carry extra stock."

Well that told me.

"But perhaps sir would like to try them on," he seemed to smirk ever so censoriously.

"Yes I would thank you," I replied, and headed to the changing room.

They were - well snug. But otherwise perfect. I mean the colour, the cut and the length. Plus the added bonus they were a snip, a steal, a bargain. There was a designer label (although thankfully not showing - call me a snob - yes, but not a show off) and exactly what I was looking for.

I threw back the curtains and asked, no challenged the assistant as to whether he thought they were a good fit.

"How do they look" I demanded. You see I was already having my doubts as to whether the material was a little on the "thin" side (unlike my figure).

He stared at me, probably trying to work out the most polite way of telling me that I maybe needed to have my eyes tested and a reality check on indeed how I really looked.

"Is sir absolutely sure he's comfortable in that size?" came the (I thought under the circumstances) rather diplomatic response. Always answer a question with a question. This fellow will go far if he ever decides to enter politics

"Well perhaps they're er.....a little close fitting, but I think I can get away with it," I replied.

"And besides they're exactly what I'm looking for, and you don't have them in another size."

It was probably at this point that Monsieur Snooty gave up on offering me any more advice as it was clear that I had already bought them, and besides he was more than likely working on commission.

"Very well sir. Is there anything else you would like to try on?"

There wasn't. I had found my trousers. I had found a bargain in the sales and that was enough for me. I changed, paid and headed home.

That was all a few months ago. I hadn't worn the trousers since buying them. I hadn't really had the opportunity as work doesn't require me to dress up too smartly and I can normally get away with jeans.

That was until this week when I had an important (Monday) morning meeting and was expected to "look the part".

So I took the trousers from where they had been hanging. Left leg, right leg hitched them up and......Isn't summer supposed to be the time when we eat a little less and lose some weight?

Clearly I hadn't been reading the instruction manual for August and September eating habits, and that previously cosy fit from the sales was now most definitely a "who-needs-a-belt-with-these-trousers?" moment.

All right maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but they definitely were tighter than I remembered. Either they had magically shrunk or I had - um - grown. But I looked - well all right. So I pulled on the rest of my clothes and rushed downstairs to grab my car keys and head out of the house.

And that's where it happened. One of those dreadful moments all of us of a certain age probably fear, but never think will happen.

The "Culprit"

Just as I was bending down to pat one of my dogs "goodbye" I heard one almighty "riiiiiiip" as my lovely trousers split in two, totally beyond repair.

Somehow I had managed to do what I had only seen happen to others in the movies.

The only saving grace (if there should be one) is that it happened before I had made it out of the door and into the world outside. For such small mercies, I should perhaps be grateful.

I was going to take a photograph of the trousers complete with Eurotunnel-style hole. But you probably don't need the picture, and besides 1001 words plus will have more than told the story.

So instead I'll include an accompanying photo' of the culprit (blame has to be laid somewhere, as I'm clearly not willing to accept it myself) - the dog to whom I was bidding farewell as the mighty tear occurred.

The trousers have since been recycled as dusters.

Bon weekend.

French fashion faux pas - a ripping yarn

November 1, 2008

Sometimes we all take what we write about far too seriously, and occasionally it's surely no bad thing to be able to laugh at ourselves and not be afraid to share with others some of the slightly more embarrassing events in everyday life.

So it's with that in mind that I'm man enough to admit the following and give everyone a jolly good belly laugh at my own expense.

First a little bit of background. Twice a year here in France there are the sales (les soldes) Once in January-February and again in July-August. They last for between four to six weeks and the exact dates vary according to each departement or locality.

It used to be a pretty rigid system, but there has been government talk of extending the periods and frequency to help boost "high street sales" and stretch the money of the average Monsieur et Madame Fran├žais(e) just a little bit further.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not much of a fan of the sales - too many ill-behaved people in too small a space forgetting about manners (never a priority in the Paris, some would say) in the hunt for bargains.

But this year I thought why not? I needed (or rather wanted) a new pair of smart-casual trousers and I had a bit of spare time while the sales were on so I thought I would try my luck.

This was in mid-July towards the end of the sales period.

And it was in one of those enormous department stores in the centre of the capital, that I found what I was looking for: A charcoal grey, subtle needle-pinstriped pair - the last on the rack so it appeared and just......only just......the right size.

I checked with one of those rather fierce-looking, snooty assistants (aren't they always?) just in case there was a slightly larger pair lurking in the back somewhere, only to be told, "Sorry sir, those are the last available. This is a sale you know, and we don't carry extra stock."

Well that told me.

"But perhaps sir would like to try them on," he seemed to smirk ever so censoriously.

"Yes I would thank you," I replied, and headed to the changing room.

They were - well snug. But otherwise perfect. I mean the colour, the cut and the length. Plus the added bonus they were a snip, a steal, a bargain. There was a designer label (although thankfully not showing - call me a snob - yes, but not a show off) and exactly what I was looking for.

I threw back the curtains and asked, no challenged the assistant as to whether he thought they were a good fit.

"How do they look" I demanded. You see I was already having my doubts as to whether the material was a little on the "thin" side (unlike my figure).

He stared at me, probably trying to work out the most polite way of telling me that I maybe needed to have my eyes tested and a reality check on indeed how I really looked.

"Is sir absolutely sure he's comfortable in that size?" came the (I thought under the circumstances) rather diplomatic response. Always answer a question with a question. This fellow will go far if he ever decides to enter politics

"Well perhaps they're er.....a little close fitting, but I think I can get away with it," I replied.

"And besides they're exactly what I'm looking for, and you don't have them in another size."

It was probably at this point that Monsieur Snooty gave up on offering me any more advice as it was clear that I had already bought them, and besides he was more than likely working on commission.

"Very well sir. Is there anything else you would like to try on?"

There wasn't. I had found my trousers. I had found a bargain in the sales and that was enough for me. I changed, paid and headed home.

That was all a few months ago. I hadn't worn the trousers since buying them. I hadn't really had the opportunity as work doesn't require me to dress up too smartly and I can normally get away with jeans.

That was until this week when I had an important (Monday) morning meeting and was expected to "look the part".

So I took the trousers from where they had been hanging. Left leg, right leg hitched them up and......Isn't summer supposed to be the time when we eat a little less and lose some weight?

Clearly I hadn't been reading the instruction manual for August and September eating habits, and that previously cosy fit from the sales was now most definitely a "who-needs-a-belt-with-these-trousers?" moment.

All right maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but they definitely were tighter than I remembered. Either they had magically shrunk or I had - um - grown. But I looked - well all right. So I pulled on the rest of my clothes and rushed downstairs to grab my car keys and head out of the house.

And that's where it happened. One of those dreadful moments all of us of a certain age probably fear, but never think will happen.

The "Culprit"

Just as I was bending down to pat one of my dogs "goodbye" I heard one almighty "riiiiiiip" as my lovely trousers split in two, totally beyond repair.

Somehow I had managed to do what I had only seen happen to others in the movies.

The only saving grace (if there should be one) is that it happened before I had made it out of the door and into the world outside. For such small mercies, I should perhaps be grateful.

I was going to take a photograph of the trousers complete with Eurotunnel-style hole. But you probably don't need the picture, and besides 1001 words plus will have more than told the story.

So instead I'll include an accompanying photo' of the culprit (blame has to be laid somewhere, as I'm clearly not willing to accept it myself) - the dog to whom I was bidding farewell as the mighty tear occurred.

The trousers have since been recycled as dusters.

Bon weekend.

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