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No Fashion Guru

December 31, 2014

A few years ago I made a dreadful mistake, something absurd for one as cultured and capable as yours truly. Even before revealing what I did, I can imagine you ladies— and some of you guys—tsk..tsk…tsking me for my stupidity. I can almost hear you turning to loved ones and speaking of me as if I’d been picked up on the street in my underwear, not knowing who I was. “He seemed so smart,” you might say, “…and he knew all that crap about art.” With hope that some benefit will come from a full disclosure, here is a questionable and insincere acknowledgement of my failure as a fashion expert and cultural know-it-all.


Not long ago, Mrs. Chatterbox and I were making arrangements to visit Italy. When we plan these trips, I strive to avoid returning home with a suitcase full of baubles and trinkets, so I research the travel destination and focus on a few classy items to encapsulate our travel experience: amber from the Baltics, a Buddha figurine from Thailand, a carved chieftain from Rarotonga, etc.


That Christmas I’d given Mrs. C. a red leather jacket that looked stunning on her. Since we were soon to leave for Italy, a land famous for fashionable leather, I decided to buy my wife a high quality matching purse.


Problem: there are a million shades of red and I was determined to purchase a purse the exact shade as her jacket, which she wasn’t planning on packing for the trip. To resolve my problem, I extracted my art supplies from the garage and replicated the color exactly on a piece of cardboard.


Around the Italian peninsula we went, visiting Naples, Rome, Siena, Assisi, Milan, Verona and Venice, me with a red piece of cardboard in my hand as I pushed my way into every leather shop and boutique. Leather was no longer the bargain it had been on our last trip, but there was still a wide selection and every store had red purses, just not the right shade of red. Until we reached Florence. Mrs. Chatterbox and I walked into a small leather shop with a purse on a shelf just the color I was looking for. I even dragged it out into the sunlight to ensure a perfect color match.


I think the purse was a hundred Euros, but I didn’t care since I’d attained my quest. I was so excited you’d have thought it was for me, which I assure you it wasn’t. The purse was carefully wrapped and packed away in our luggage for the flight home.


A few weeks after our return when the jetlag had worn off, I invited my mother over to see our pictures and the souvenirs we’d lugged home. When Mrs. C. brought out the purse, my mother said to her, “That’s the same color as your leather jacket.”


I beamed that she’d noticed. “I bought it for her in Florence,” I said proudly.


“Why would you do such a thing?” she asked.


I couldn’t hide my confusion.


Mother continued, “Purses are selected to match shoes, not jackets.” She turned to my wife, “Isn’t that right?”


Mrs. C. nodded with a sheepish grin.


I tried to keep the edge from my voice while saying to my wife, “Why didn’t you tell me purses are supposed to match shoes, not jackets?”


She shrugged. “If you had your heart set on dragging me though every boutique and fashionable shop in Italy, what kind of wife would I be to deny you that pleasure? Besides, you never asked.”


So men, most of you are undoubtedly smarter than me and already know this, but for those of you who don’t, there’s no point trying to match purses and jackets. To date, Mrs. C. has accessorized many outfits with her red purse, but it’s never been worn with her red leather jacket.


In 2015 we’re heading to Germany. I wonder if I can find a cuckoo clock with a red cuckoo to match my wife’s purse and jacket.



*Note: Pictured above is the actual purse.



Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2015




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As they say, it is the thought that counts and the fact that your wife said nothing...well!
By: Tabor on December 31, 2014
So Nike makes purses? Who knew? ;)
By: Scott Park on December 31, 2014
Happy New Year! And you can know a lot about art and nothing about fashion, lots of artists i know are very creative fashion wise, in ways you would not expect.
By: mimi on December 31, 2014
oh you darling man.......
By: Oma Linda on December 31, 2014
Well, at least you didn't have to take her back to find the shoes.
By: Uncle Skip on December 31, 2014
well, i did sort of know that, but it didn't occur to me until you said it. i'm just not a fashionable person. :)
By: TexWisGirl on December 31, 2014
You're a thoughtful man, Stephen--Happy New Year!!
By: fishducky on December 31, 2014 could always go on another quest, this time for the perfect shoes. Frankly, I usually just carry the same purse all the time no matter what I'm wearing.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on December 31, 2014
Ha! I didn't even think of that :) It's a lovely bag nonetheless!
By: The Bug on December 31, 2014
Let's see.. here in the EST zone, there's just over 9 hours until the end of 2014. I'd say you made it just under the wire for Husband of the Year. You are a gem.
By: Hilary on December 31, 2014
I wouldn't have known that and I'm female!
By: Fran on December 31, 2014
Well, I think your wife is a sweetheart for not saying anything, and you are too, for going to all that trouble. Happy New Year!
By: Coloring Outside the Lines on December 31, 2014
Well your heart was in the right place and your wife was a keeper for never mentioning it until good old Mom blew the whistle!
By: Catalyst on December 31, 2014
Alas, it would have been better for you to have been picked up wandering the streets in your underwear. For no one could blame you for not wanting to remember who you are.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on December 31, 2014
Gee, I have never been one to match shoes and purses, general color was good enough. I learned something today. Of course as the others have said, you quest if you chose to accept it is to find shoes to match.
By: Akansas Patti on December 31, 2014
Gosh- I never knew purses and shoes were supposed to match? I only have one "purse" and it's a little back pack because I like my hands free and hate stuff hanging from my shoulders. I think it was a lovely gesture on your part. Happy New Year !!!
By: Kathe W. on December 31, 2014
I learned something new! I'd look for matching shoes.
By: Cranky on December 31, 2014
Purses are supposed to match shoes? Well, I learned something new today. Happy New Year!
By: Pixel Peeper on December 31, 2014
You've told me something I didn't know and that I'm probably going to forget this evening. However, I'm sure your wife has things that will go with the purse so all is not lost. Happy New Year.
By: red on December 31, 2014
I don't understand. I love the purse. I didn't know they're supposed to match shoes, not jackets. That's silly. You did awesome. If Ms. C. doesn't want the purse, kindly forward it. I'll then go to Italy to find matching shoes. Happy New Year's, Stephen!
By: Robyn Engel on December 31, 2014
Whew! For a minute there, I was afraid you'd bought her a BORDELLO purse!
By: Val on December 31, 2014
As the Scots poet Robert Burns said 'The best laid plans of mice and men......' I didn't have a clue about this so you are not alone! All the best to you and yours.
By: John on January 1, 2015
The purse is lovely. I always buy purses to match coats, otherwise you'd need 20 different purses for all the shoes, and who wants to transfer stuff from purse to purse? I just buy black purses now. Goes with everything. ;)
By: Lexa Cain on January 2, 2015
I think your bourgeois gesture was considerate and done with a pure heart. Now get her a spicy red number for the bedroom.
By: Daniel LaFrance on January 4, 2015
If Husband made that much effort, I would use the purse with the jacket! Bless you for trying, dear man! Cat
By: Cat on January 4, 2015
That is a funny, albeit, interesting scenario I never thought about, Stephen. The Monkees sang "Shades of Gray" and this reminded me of that song!
By: Michael Manning on January 5, 2015
Ow ow ow ... but then again, it's a beautiful purse and your wife enjoyed the looking ... so, well done!
By: jenny-o on January 6, 2015

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