Friday, October 23, 2009

Dangerous Buttons

The cardigan: friend to many, but foe to some. It's open placket makes it the most versatile piece of clothing for any season, yet that same placket can make it a minefield. The same way you might try desperately to stuff all your belongings into a suitcase, then sit on top and strain to zip it, only to have the items seep through the closure like overflowing laundry detergent, so it is with an ill-fitting cardigan. Not pretty.

Yesterday afternoon, I treated myself to a trip to J.Crew to browse the sale racks in the hopes of scoring a new fall sweater. About half way through a candy-colored pile of cashmere blend, a woman abruptly snatched a cardigan from the stack below my reach. Always able to sense desperation and determination in a fellow shopper, I kindly stepped back to give her space for her frenzy. I continued to sift through the display for options in my size, while keeping an eye on the woman to my right. Seeming to come across what she thought was her size, she threw her purse and other packages to the floor, and began draping a pale amethyst cardigan around her body. With much effort, the shopper stuffed her arms into the narrow sleeves, then began the perilous final step: closing the buttons. As each round, brown, shell disc was squeezed through its corresponding hole, the fabric placket below desperately pulled away from itself. By the time the final button was fastened, the woman's flesh fought through the space between like angry convicts trying to escape from jail. Positive the woman would see that this was clearly not the right size for her, I continued to mull through the remaining cardigans. Unfortunately, without an honest shopping companion (or sensation in her abdomen) the shopper seemed pleased with her find, took it off, and headed for the register. I winced, but kept quiet. Surely I know my boundaries.

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