Saturday, September 29, 2007

When Fashion and Histrionics Collide Come Together in a Perfect Ensemble

*Edit: March, 2008: After you read this post, please go here to read Clinton Kelly's email about it. What a day!

See Slide Show Below --Yeah, it's a really long post, but give me a break--I spoke with Clinton Kelly--I must milk this for all it's worth!

As I promised, here is the story of Clinton Kelly at Macy's--or put a little more eloquently, may I present: "The Way We Were--The Story of Absurdly Starstruck Female Fashionistas Who Boldly Shed Every Atom of Dignity when Clinton Kelly Came to 'The Big Town.'"

My daughters and I ascended the 2nd floor of Macy's in Castleton via the escalator, or perhaps it was upon the puffy happy clouds we were floating on all the way from Muncie to Indy. Who can really say.

We checked in.

Pretty Macy's PR Lady: "Your name?"

"Linda Crow. I have reservations for three."

Lovely PR Lady:"Oh, are you the one with the blog?"

[Insert 20 seconds of deafening silence as I try to figure out if God has just told her who I was, if the What Not To Wear CIA-type agents have blacklisted me because of my blog, or if I have gone up the "Twilight Zone" escalator.]

Half-scared that I would be escorted out by a perfectly-coiffed Macy's employee in a stylishly fitted black suit, I whispered, "Yes?"

And then she said something nice about the blog, like, "We've been reading about Clinton coming to Macy's and laughing a lot."

Relieved, I confessed my heart was pounding with anticipation. I began to explain how my daughters and I love the show when I turned to see both girls with their heads close together, giggling and cheeks glowing red. I quickly re-grouped and said, "I'm embarrassing them to death."

And then, the BEAUTIFUL PR Lady said, "Well, you shouldn't be; you're a celebrity!"

Macy's PR Lady, what would you like for Christmas? Because I feel moved to lavish love upon you. You complete me.

Then we were given the opportunity to write down a question for Clinton on an index card. I was still reeling from that last conversation, so my hand shook as I wrote. I knew what I wanted to say: "Do the producers of What Not to Wear hand-pick the stores that the participants shop in, or do the participants get to choose the stores themselves?"

But because of my week-long frenzied state and nervous palsy, I wrote something like, "What stores do the What Not to Wear producers of the What Not to Wear parcipitances participles partcypants choose for them or choose themselves, or do they choose for themselves individually in conjunction with the What Not to Wear producers and/or real What Not to Wear people?"

If there's one thing me can do good, writing under pressure be it.

We waited a long time because Clinton's flight had been delayed. But we didn't mind so much. In fact, that's when I made a new friend, Cheryl, who also has an October birthday, works in a church (well, her husband does) and whose favorite color is purple! Plus, we had both come to this show! Instant BFFs! Then I spotted my two friends from Muncie, Jackie and Leslie. They sat directly behind my girls and me. O happy day!

Did I mention that my husband drove us down? He did not sit in for the show. Here is the man to whom I'm married: He took The Brothers Karamazov and sat in the mall and read. You can see that in reference to intellectual and cultural pursuits, we are superbly matched.


Right off, my group and I noticed two bottles of water sitting on stage for Clinton. Not once, but twice someone twisted the caps to make sure they were ready for him. In other words, the task was done, and the someone actually came along and tested the openness of the caps. (My husband would have totally missed this detail and its significance. If I had pointed it out, he would have said, "Good joke. They're setting him up to soak himself." or "What? Is he too weak to open a bottle of water?" This is why my husband should just stick to Russians and let me shop.)

Finally, Clinton was introduced to his frenzied disciples. He graciously apologized for being late; both his driver and his flight had been late. This info, of course, endeared him to the crowd even more.

First impressions? Clinton is one tall drink-'o-watuh, 6'4" with cornflower blue eyes. He wore a navy pin-stripe jacket over a white shirt with a stripe through it, as well. Tucked into his pocket were two silk kerchiefs, one burgundy wine, one polka dot. He wore jeans that had a weathered look to them, particularly across the thigh or groin area where distress would show if these jeans had been worn for years. I'm sure this kind of distress cost hundreds of dollars and did not come from grandma beating them on a rock in a stream. He wore brown boot-type shoes that had an elastic piece for comfort/style, I guess. Oh, he also mentioned he was feeling a bit orange because he had used a self-tanner.

His hair had that purposefully disheveled look which Nick Arrojo, my other "pretend boyfriend" (Hi, Southern Girl!) also sports. Clinton's hair is wavy-curly and blondish. Nice teeth, long slender fingers. And as one of my girlfriends pointed out, he has hair on the backs of his hands.

(Wow. Someone was paying close attention.) (I think perhaps someone went a little fanatically overboard, Jackie.)

By the way, in my post before this, I mentioned I happened to get a great candid photo of Clinton's uvula. You will see it in the slide show. This keen observation served as photographic kitsch art, and so by nature is way more acceptable than Jackie's scary, obsessive noticing of the hair on his hands.

Clinton had volunteers from the audience come up on stage, and he played and prodded and poked them verbally and literally, as he arranged and rearranged what they wore.

When you think about it, it's pretty crazy that people jumped up and down and pumped their arms and said, "Ooh, Ooh" trying to be the "chosen ones" to go on stage and get their moment with Clinton. I mean really, he is a sophisticated New York celebrity. They should have waved their fully extended referee arms like I did, which allowed me to capture his undivided gaze for the longest time, which I'll get to later.

The first precious lady, bless her heart, wore a lime green top, capris and matching lime green shoes. Her pic is below. Clinton said, "Your electric lime green was all I could see when I came out here. Because this is boxy and shapeless, it's sort of a Sponge Bob-on-acid look." The crowd lost it, but the lady on stage laughed most of all, bless her heart. But her daughter, of course, laughed so hard she almost passed out. By the way, Clinton loved her hair (which her daughter cut because she's a hairstylist) and said she had a really pretty face, but all he could see was the green. Awww, Clinton!

Another volunteer had on a shirt style that has been popular for several years, the one with water-colored scenes sort of painted on. This was a "cityscape" as Clinton called it, "painted by a starving artist." Ouch. And he said her "girls" were riding too low. They needed to be lifted to the clouds, as it were, on her shirt.

A third woman DARED to wear a t-shirt that said, "Dump him," with the a dump truck dumping a guy graphic on the front. She also had on interesting shoes and carried a wee-small red mock-croc purse. He said, "You're just a little piece of work, aren't you?"

After working with a few women, he began a style show. He came off the stage and sat about two feet away from me. Really. I could have plucked a hair from his head. Just kidding. I would never do that. Especially if a hair was just lying there on his shoulder and one could stealthily snatch it without him ever being the wiser.

So yeah, there is a close-up of Clinton's head in my slide show. You're welcome.

Let's talk style trends for this year: An overall, monotone look is in, complete with opaque hose to maintain the monochromatic line all the way down. One shiny (metallic) accessory is good. Gray will be big. Modern graphics with a floral reference will emerge. These are not Laura Ashley florals. These are 21st Century New Bionic Woman florals. And that's about all I learned because mostly I just looked at Clinton and then shot looks at my girls and my friends conveying, "Can you believe this???"

Personal Clinton revelations: He was fixated on Olivia Newton John and saw Grease thousands of times; he was fixated on Judge Judy (DVR'd her shows) until his best friend insinuated that the Judge was just like Clinton's mother; he is currently fixated on the show Promises, Promises, esp. the song
"Turkey Lurkey Time,"
which he mentioned because one dress in the show, the green one in the slide show, reminds him of the costume for that number.

After the show, Clinton took questions from the crowd, many more than you would expect. I would guess 25. And yes, I asked a question ... sort of.

Remember this post? Basically, I started to say, "You do a great job of helping young women see that dressing modestly is a good thing" when the crowd began seconding my gratitude with applause. He said, "Thank you." And I said, "As a mom, I'm grateful that someone who is a fashion expert encourages them to cover up more than what has been popular, and you do it without coming across prudish. Thank you! What advice do you have for young women approaching adulthood?" He then spoke quite a bit about the tendency of late to show a lot of skin at school and the office. One thing specifically he said is, "No cleavage at school!" and "Do not dress for boys." Yay, Clinton! So, yes, readers, I shared a heartfelt, intimate (despite the crowd), mutually adoring (I admit humbly), savvy, fashion-forward moment with Clinton Kelly!

After the show, I purchased one item of clothing for each of my girls as souvenirs of "Clinton Kelly Day." Take away point of this post: Clinton liked my question best and therefore clearly liked me best. No, really, it would probably be: Trends such as leggings and platforms may come and go, but classic jeans and Clinton Kelly are forever!


Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts said...

Sounds like a fun time!

So funny about the Macy's ladies reading your blog! I'm sure they'll like this post as well.

I've only seen the show once. I thought it was kind of mean to have one's friends film fashion faux pas and "gang up" on you for all the world to see. Maybe just that one episode came off that way, I don't know. But it would be nice to have someone tell us what to wear for our particular body shape and lifestyle.

Linda said...

Barbara, what you have to remember about the show is that people can decline the whole thing. Most people who are ambushed know all about the show and know fully what to expect. If you watch again, notice how empathetic and kind Stacy and Clinton are and how they are truly on the side of, or for, that person. Dr. Phil says we teach people how to treat us. We do this in several ways, and one way is by how we present ourselves, with self-respect or the lack thereof. If I am a financial consultant who wears clothes to work with holes, do I really expect someone to trust me with investing their funds? If I hide myself in yards and yards of material, what am I saying? If I expose tons of flesh, what am I saying? This show is not deep, and yet it's not as shallow as you'd think, if you watch it regularly. But of course, that's just my opinion.

Melanie said...

Wow, Linda! I have been anticipating this post all weekend.

You ARE famous! Only you could combine a uvula, Spongebob, grandma beating someone's jeans on a rock and a string of Bless Your Hearts and make it work. (Those Bless Your Hearts cracked me up. You've been hanging out with us Southern gals too much.)


Susanne said...

Wow, sounds like it was great fun! I didn't realize he was that tall. Now wonder Stacey wears stilts, I mean, stilettos on the show. I don't know if I would have had the guts to wave my hand to go up on stage and be critiqued. Good for the ladies who did.

Cindy Swanson said...

This was awesome, Linda! You did a great job reporting on the event...and the back of Clinton's head looks great. I'm glad he came across as nice as he does on the show.

I'm off to mention this on my blog...

Ann said...

Thanks for all the juicy details, Linda!!! I'm so glad you had a fabulous time, and what a HUGE honor to meet Clinton!

Roxanne said...

Okay. . .you are crackin' me up. I hope the ladies at Macy's enjoy looking at Clinton's tonsils as much as they have enjoyed your other posts.

And I only WISH my 8th graders could hear him say, "No cleavage at school." Woot for Mr. Kelly.

I'm so glad you had fun!

tAnYeTTa said...

Fun times. I honestly wish someone would nominate me for this show. I am a fashion mishap. :(

Michelle said...

I just discovered your blog and was sucked in with your Clinton Kelly story! I'm a huge fan of the show and loved your blow by blow account! Thanks so much for sharing.

Susan said...

What a great recap, Linda! Sounds like you all had a great time.

:-) Susan

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said...

This was priceless...

I loved the tonsil shot of Rod ... I mean clinton...

and I would have died with Pride if someone said, oh aren't you the one with the blog... I would have poked my chest out...ha!

you really do a great job writing and making us live in your experience...


Roxanne said...

I assumed you took it as a compliment for your eyes only. . .when it was, indeed, intended for all the internets (as Boomama says) to see. I was complimenting you and your gal pals on the casual hipness and coiffures you donned for C-Kellypalooza.

You are some hip mommas.

Lisa writes... said...

You and your daughters are BEAUTIFUL!

Linda said...

I heart Roxanne.

Leigh Gray said...

oh i love it - you made me feel like i am right there in the store with you!! how fun. hopefully i can have that much fun with my 3 girls some day!! i love it and can hardly wait.

thanks for sharing! have a great day!


Lois E. Lane said...

How fun! Thanks for sharing your experience -- ALL of it :)

Debbie said...

What a recap! I loved it. So curiosity forces me to ask, how many times did you change clothes before you left for Indy? I'm guessing I'd have changed at lest five times. Sounds like a great time for you and the girls - a life long memory!

oh amanda said...

I love it! That was the most entertaining post I've read this week! I felt like I was there! :)

Missy said...

Oh, how jealous am I. How jealous jealous jealous am I.

must repent...must repent...

Jenny said...

That was a funny post! I will be back more often!

Yep I am going to have to watch the show.

Have a good day at work,

Erin said...

I understand why he loves you!! That was great. Loved the pictures...especially the close-ups of his head, lol : )

Fully Alive...Ready to Smile

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

I just met Clinton at Macy's this past week in May 2008. He was so approachable, adding humor to his expertise. It was a blast!