In Search of Style
Two women undertake a modern odyssey to find the golden fleece of fashion in Dallas and San Antonio. Where do they find it?
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU’RE after your own unique fashion style, but have always preferred book stores to clothing stores, Levis to dresses, shorts to skirts, nudity to negligees? This was the situation of two women, Emily and Maria, who were tired of their mirror’s image, tired of being walking don’ts of fashion.
Both are in their aging twenties. Pug-nosed Emily is short and dark; Maria is tall and fair with a semi-Swedish nose. Emily wears a size 5 1/2 B shoe, Maria, a size 7, 7 1/2 or 8 (is actually not sure what size she wears and hence the problem). Emily is career-oriented with three solid years of government work in her dossier; Maria is disoriented, with a free-lance, part-time life.
In an effort to struggle out of their slob-prone image, they resolved to go on a shopping journey to gather wisdom from older, more experienced women and acquire a few clothes in the bargain. Optimistic and determined, these two friends set out for Dallas with a book of blank checks and a few platitudes: “Style does not necessarily take money; it takes a sense of individuality,” says Maria, chewing gum.
Once in Dallas, cowardliness overcame them, so they decided to go to the source, to return to the beginning of it all, to the mother who had first dressed Emily. The family’s pedigree was good. Emily’s great grandfather, a 19th-century department store magnate, had been the Merchant Prince of Waco. The family was comfortably rooted in Dallas now. At an early age she had been initiated into Elegance, “a book for the woman who wants to be well and properly dressed on all occasions.” Emily had read the book faithfully, like a Bible, till she was 18; from then on, she had been unlearning it.
That night there was the usual congregation of friends dropping by the family home. The girls nibbled almost perfect strawberries and listened to the rich remembrances of Mother:
“Once a year in September I was taken shopping by my own mother. We commandeered the bride’s fitting room at Titches and a career saleslady would fill the room with clothes.” It was an annual thing and they did it big.
She recalled that Dallas in the old days forgot what it was and who it was, taking its cues from New York: “Come the first of September, women stopped wearing summer clothes; they wore sweltering velvet dresses with fur trimming, even though the heat of summer was still on. In January when it finally became cold enough to support such clothing, they switched to the cruise clothes that the stores were beginning to harbor.” The advent of California as a fashion market saved the day.
Today Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring is dead. With heated cars in fall and air-conditioned ones in summer, the sharp edges of the seasons have been smoothed over. Mink coats are a throw back to the idea of firmly entrenched seasons. Emily’s mother said, “My generation might well be the last to have seasons.” She seemed to welcome the year round clothes, the new polyester freedom and timelessness. She laughed, “Why in Dallas you could tell the date by the color of clothes. Around the 15th of April, nearly everyone wore something navy with a touch of white and red.”
In past time etiquette had been integral to style. However, the fashion Vatican has loosened up; now, as social occasions dwindle and change, how many little tea dresses are slumped permanently in the closet, like damned souls in the Inferno? The schools, too, have softened their dress codes. Pants are in.
Emily’s mother while thinking about her environment said: “In a large city such as New York, you can wear one good dress and change your scene. In a small city you see the same people over and over again so you change your clothes.” A lot more then, than now, the Dallas of old was filled with foolishness and foppery. People had public and private clothes. Women would leave Highland Park, en route by train to the great cities of Chicago, Washington, New York, wearing a good suit, hat and gloves for embarkation. Once on the train, and having waved their gloved hands and smiled their red lips through the window, they would begin to dismantle themselves and change into something more comfortable. Comfort, then as now, is what travels well.
It seems that anything goes today. Clothes become costumes to fit life’s improvisations.
By your clothing you pledge allegiance to one group or another. The clothes Emily and Maria wore separated themselves from their parents’ generation, declared their independence from them, but not from each other. Maybe it was not their fault: there’s no “exclusiveness” left in clothes. Dresses are made in gross. Even designer originals filter down, their paper patterns sold in the market place—imitations and variations galore. The mother’s solution was to add accessories to find a difference, to create a unique style. The only accessory Maria could imagine was a strand of worry beads. The fashion terrain seemed so vast and foggy.
Emily’s mother retired about midnight, dropping some obsolete phrases on the up staircase. “You want to get up bright and early if you’re going to hit the stores. And don’t forget to fix yourselves up.” She added, “If you like, I’ll call some of my younger friends tomorrow and arrange for a little luncheon. No sense listening only to the words of your mother. You never have before.”
The next day the first store they headed for was Neiman’s—the store some once went to and no other.
With every good intention, they were on their way to the women’s department when a long slender dress, suspended on a glass mannequin without a head, stopped them. It was an exquisite print scattered with colors of the sea, clusters of anemonies, shells, shadows. (No navy, white or red for miles.) A word as bulky as fabric can not do it justice. It was 100 percent silk, incredibly fine. The girls stopped in their well-intentioned tracks.
It was a Missoni original. The girls did not know that yet. They had not been introduced. The area was called The Trophy Room, which was a bit of an exaggeration. Not a real room, it had but three racks and a few mannequins. But these few dresses were works of art, drawing admirers’ stares as magnetically as the Winged Victory drew crowds in the Louvre.
A young salesgirl, remarkably open and cheerful, walked up to the girls. “Isn’t it beautiful. It’s a Missoni,” she said smiling, and proceeded to educate the girls, introducing them to the couture dresses—Chloe originals, Tiktiner, Bessie, a protege of Pucci. All the dresses were non-seasonal and timeless. There was no generation gap here, only an income gap.
At that point, the girls should have bid adieu. Instead they let the saleslady, whose composure was perfect, escort them like an usher bound for the best box seats. They were beginning to feel reminiscent of Emily’s mother and grandmother shopping in splendor.
Emily tried on the vapory midnight-blue evening dress with flowing short sleeves. She looked like Isadora’s little niece. The saleslady, always enthusiastic and truthful, helped her into something else. Meanwhile Maria was trying on a three-piece Missoni which was like a Mondrian that had melted, such was the fusion of color and lines. She immediately took up a Samurai stance. The dress demanded greatness.
As the day wore on, however, the vision of the Missoni blurred and swept back into the misty archives of memory. Maria might as well have asked them to put Michelangelo’s ‘David” on hold for her.
Due at the S&S Tearoom at 12:30, the girls arrived 15 minutes late, stylishly late but not themselves too stylish. The mother had summoned several younger friends in their mid-thirties to discuss shopping and style and to give a generational sweep to the subject at hand.
After ordering the compulsory tea sandwiches and soup, the women, who were wonderful dressers and talkers, began. Ellen, who had a tanned, beautiful face and a style that seemed effortless and natural said, “I don’t buy designer clothes and I’ve yet to run into myself. . . .in fact the more money I spend, the more chance I’ll have of seeing my double.” The basically insecure women, she felt, would stick to designer clothes, hand picked, while a woman with absolute confidence went anywhere, be it Penney’s or Paris. (The girls decided not to relate their Missoni experience.)
Sally, who was nine months pregnant but could have stood in any fashion line looking like a fresh spring model, said, “I’ve always felt that the most important ingredient in finding your style is not a lot of money but a lot of time. Because individuality in style is pulling things together, here a skirt, there a blouse, here a pair of pants and then making them your own. But trying to match things up. . . .there lies the road to madness. You’ll be the most chic resident in the asylum. So get yourself a good saleslady.”
Emily’s mother confessed that the greatest impediment to finding style is the figure gap among women. “The average model looks like this [using her hands to illustrate a branch], while the average American woman looks like this [her hands outlined an eggplant].” Any woman who has a 30-pound handicap is going to have a hard time finding her style.
The girls wondered if women felt pressured to have anew look every year. They all agreed that women shouldn’t play the seasons. “I go after the fashion not the fad,” said Sally. “Besides after you get stuck with a few expensive things you learn your lesson.” Apparently there is planned obsolescence with clothes as well as with cars. Fenders crinkle, seams on dresses crack, hems fall. One of the women off on memory lane recalled the return of the twin sweater sets as “The happiest day of my life. . . .I took out my pearls. . . .” For her there had been too much gaminess recently. She even remembered being caught up in the happy gypsy look.
But the best way to find a style, they all agreed, was just a good three-way mirror, a third inner eye of style and some self-knowledge. And Sally gave testimonial to a good alterations lady who can save you a fortune by shaking her head behind a saleslady’s back. After all who needs rebuilt dresses?
Before leaving, Ellen and Sally, generous women, shared the names of three stores with the girls where they had consistent luck—Marie Leavells, Lou Lattimore and Colette Brezin.
With that good advice, in the afternoon the girls took on Marie Leavells and Lou Lattimore—two smaller Dallas stores that gave women a more intimate environment to shop in than Neiman’s and other large department stores. The older generation it seems had demanded boutiques even before the young. These stores were the outcome of that desire.
Salesladies dominate the smaller stores. You are walking into their lair. A good saleslady is like a good waiter. She is there to serve, but not to interfere. Like a waiter who introduces you to the good wines or the specialty of the restaurant, she should introduce you to the store’s merchandise and perhaps make suggestions, but not hover like a hawk.
At Marie Leavells there is a rich muzak playing, all the better to look at the superb separates—skirts, blouses, pants, all wonderful colors and fabrics. And a whole room of just dresses—the big names and small names. Plus costume Jewelry, shoes and accessories.
Unfortunately at Marie Leavells, Maria and Emily were invisible. It was as though a caste system prevailed, with the salesladies in black at the top of the ladder, and anyone not a regular or type-cast client, an untouchable. The girls did not look tacky; they did not even examine price tags. After their arms were filled with dresses and separates and they stood stranded, a saleslady from the pool of gossiping employees approached them gingerly. She showed them to a dressing room and vanished.
Because the price tags had their own hieroglyphics, they found they had a dressing room of misfits. Finally the saleslady returned, carrying a bunch of sale dresses that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. One, a brown taffeta number with a bouquet of autumn flowers and ribbons in the bodice, looked just right for a chic condolence call. The saleslady was either unacquainted with their type or was just trying to push anything. Emily however had found a wool suit with an Eisenhower jacket that looked smart, if not stunning. She stared at three reproductions of herself in the mirror, then stared some more. It was 90 degrees in Dallas and hard to get on the wool bandwagon.
She turned to the saleslady and said, “I want to think about this for an hour; will you please hold it.” “Oh gosh,” Said the saleslady, hissing (all her worst premonitions realized). She had wasted five minutes on these hussies. Sweeping the dresses out of the room, she disappeared without a word into the small unfathomable psychological void of the store. Neither Ellen nor Sally had prepared the girls for the cruelty of salesladies.
At the threshold of Lou Lattimore things looked more hopeful. The store not only caters to mature women, but has a good department for the younger set, with clothes clearly designed for those under 30, and a new shoe closet from Henri Bendel. The salesladies pride themselves on having call customers whom they nurture through new styles and notify when new clothes arrive. They also don’t appear to disdain a new customer. As one saleslady said, “Customers come in. They’re going to buy clothes somewhere. If not here, then somewhere else. So I’m nice to them.”
It is clearly the search and seizure method that works at Lou Lattimore. The girls put themselves in the hands of a young saleslady. She brought in beautiful pant outfits, and told Emily that an outfit she was then trying on was just too S S and G (sweet, simple and girlish). After trying on three thoroughly smart outfits, the girls got the feeling that if they could send in a second, an understudy, it would be the same experience. The clothes were there with or without you. There was no mystery, no space to play with. The clothes made a statement whether they were on a hanger or you tagged along. The girls reacted against this premeditated, successful look.
There were a few hours of store daylight left so they decided to follow the lead to Colette Brezin, a small boutique located in Old Town. Not only does Paris play a historic part in couture fashion, but stores now are starting to order French ready-to-wear fashions like Cacharel and Frank Olivier. This boutique was an extreme example, carrying only French imports.
The girls were filled with hopeful anticipation. Like many young people, they derived some of their style from movies. One could say that movies are manufacturing style. In the streets of Dallas they had seen weird Cabaret-looking characters in askew derby hats and green and red nails. Luckily for Maria and Emily, they had always been partial to the minor characters: the French walk-on who appears for three minutes behind Simone Signoret in some obscure movie; the woman who has the one-minute bit sipping coffee and smoking a Gauloise in a cafe.
There are many styles of French clothing, some casual and some strident. They all have in common a unique cut that traces the female body with beautiful colors and fabrics.
Maria disappeared into a dressing room with a pair of smashing black pants and an armful of blouses.
She casually looked down at the price tags—$34 for the pants, $34 for the silk blouse, and $30 less 30 percent for the short green sailor top with the revealing net that said Paris. Emily told her friend, “Stop your penny pinchin’ self and buy it.” The girls, with eyes much bigger than their purses, drove away with a green Cacharel shopping bag between them and $80 worth of French imports.
Remembering the wise words at the luncheon that a good alterations lady can save you a fortune, the girls hied themselves to one the next morning. Gussie, she was called, and she had both young, old, rich, and poor customers. And as luck would have it, she also had the gift of gab.
At her home they settled into a comfortable couch. The girls began probing. Do most of your women, they wondered, have style? “Oh my dears, I’ve seen the dowdiest ones that God ever let live. Their taste is all in their mouths. Some even will listen to anything their husbands say. And that’s a pity because all men are partially color blind, don’t you know. If daddy don’t like it, mommy takes it back. I had one woman come to me and say, ‘Gussie, my husband don’t like it.’ I told her, ‘Well tell him you wasn’t gonna let him wear it anyway.'”
Continuing on from this perspective, Gussie said that women like clothes that look as if they were made for them. Of course with the range of measurements and no two manufacturers using the same standard size, alterations are usually a necessity to make a dress yours. “I do a lot of work on Italian clothes. They allow for no bust and get tight little arm sizes.” Suddenly her eyes turned toward heaven: “And the clothes out of the Orient—the bane of my existence. Those Oriental women are the same size up and down. The clothes are cut so slight. Dallas women go over to Hong Kong, have dresses made in two days and Gussie spends two weeks trying to get them to fit em.”
Gussie talked about the rare l00-percent natural fabrics: wool, silks, cotton and flax (some of them endangered fabrics). However, she admitted the necessity of the new acrylics for people who cannot afford help anymore and who have no time for wrinkles. “I work on some of the weirdest conglomerations—the law forces manufacturers to print the contents—19 percent silk, 50 percent acetate, 9 percent nylon and whatever. The Japanese—bless their little enterprising souls—have cornered the natural fiber world.”
Gussie off on her own steam told of her customers’ experience with fashion: “I have one lady, I call her the Duchess, because like the Duchess of Windsor, if she finds a style she likes, she has it made in every shade of blue. If I didn’t call a halt, every dress would be exactly the same.”
The girls asked a question, though Gussie needed no stimulus—”Do women buy everything the manufacturers feed them?” She looked triumphant. “Three years ago with the midi, I didn’t have but three customers that bought them. That old ugly mid-calf length you can’t even shorten it, and it makes it look bobbed off. Women started wearing pants that year, cause of the midi, and big Mr. Fairchild nor no one else will ever get women out of pants. They’re just too comfortable. Yes, sir, the midi gave me faith in American women and a lot of manufacturers went broke that year,” she said with a glint in her eyes.
The girls wondered what gripes she as a dressmaker had about current clothes. “Why, the shoddy workmanship; even in designer clothes—it’s unreal! When Norell died last year, there went the last tailor in the world. The boutique lines are the worst. My ladies bring these $50, $100 dresses in and say, ‘Gussie, just take the Sears Roebuck look out of them.’ No one fastens facing down anymore; the seams will split on you the first time out. I have to reseam them all. I got one woman, a gal who’s 40 with a figure that wouldn’t quit: she spends her whole life made at New York.”
Upon leaving the girls asked for a last piece of advice. “Get something that does something for you, dears. Cause if it doesn’t do something for you, it does something to you.” Amen.
The girls realized that a lot of their generation, themselves included, were just wearing cut-offs, as though some fashion sense had been short-circuited. Thrift shops have recently come to the fore as the vogue place to shop for expensive rags. Like sea gulls you have to be at the right place at the right time to scavenge the perfect thing. In this way it may take two months to complete an outfit; a scrap found here, a scrap there, but once found that outfit might stay with you for years. Whenever Maria had ventured into thrift shops and tried on garments, she always came out worse in the bargain than the actual char lady who had originally abandoned the house dress or whatever—after all she had neither the robust nor frail measurements of the past.
The Gazebo, a relatively new boutique in Dallas, appreciates the past, but is unwilling to leave it to fate to find the perfect halter to go with the perfect old skirt. So, they have new revivals of the past and end up being a near-perfect thrift shop with Neiman’s prices.
The salesladies wear some of the combinations to show it can be done—high patent leather platform shoes, full skirts and satin shirts; little striped jackets with diamond buttons, tiny rehearsal shorts, take-offs of Busby Berkeley girls, Ship and Shore derivative blouses with grey pineapples and green palms, like you get by crossing Hong Kong with Hawaii. If you want to be a woman with a past come to the Gazebo. Emily remembered Ellen saying, “Some of those wild Gatsby clothes, why I don’t like the way they look even on people they look good on. They remind me of late night movies.”
Emily, who does not run with the trends, rummaged through the rack and found three dresses which all looked dumpy and plain, as though in 1950 a secretary had cleaned out her closet and decided to start again. She tried them on. One, a black and white polka dot wrap-around, fell inches below her knee and gave her a Dorothy Parker glow. And lo and behold, it looked good. A jade-green dress, simple skirt flowing away from the buttocks and a tight bodice, accented her body’s good point—a small waist. It was the kind of dress you could enhance with jewelry and scarfs. The third made her look like a cocktail waitress who has just lost her last job. She bought two out of three, $70 worth of dresses in approximately four minutes. Is shopping a game of chance?
There was still a glowing gap in their search. They had avoided the big department stores, with the exception of Neiman’s. So they cruised through the big familiar stores of Texas—Scarbrough’s, Frost’s, Sanger-Harris, Joske’s—finding a wide range of style and price, but basic similarities of mileu. The big stores were like the perfection of a working democracy-a lot of representation of all tastes and needs: housedresses to steep in while watching soap operas, play dresses, prom dresses, uniforms, back-to-school stock, maternity, everything and anything. In comparison, the Marie Leavells’, Lou Lattimore’s and Colette Brezin’s, were little aristocracies.
If you have initiative, adrenalin and time, you can use the department stores to superb advantage. If not, you risk getting lost in the maze of racks and floors. The girls tried not to get intimidated by the expansive atmosphere. In the big stores, it really was time (as Sally had said) and not money that was the most important factor in finding style. Hidden among the ready-to-wear could be some real treasures, particularly if you liked pulling separates together.
The girls felt like awkward novices as they made their way into Frost’s of San Antonio. Frost’s feels like a New York store the first tentative steps in—the glass counters, fixtures, display, the smell. On the elevators you can even coo, “Getting off please” like a real New York shopper.
In that big store, they fell into pitfalls and witnessed a few. The salesladies were attentive, though they often seemed tired from the quirks and whims of a roving clientele. One saleslady, hand up in the air, wailed, “I lost my customer. She was around here somewhere.” They overheard a woman say to her saleslady (who was subbing as a clothes horse, carrying three or four outfits about), “But I just want something real sharp—dress, pants, skirts, anything.” There was a tepid desperation to her voice. The girls sat on chairs and watched and empathized while the salesgirl and the customer went round and round a circular fixture of long skirts. It looked like the replay of the tigers-to-butter story in Little Sambo, only in real, real slow motion.
At the women’s department on the second floor they found a table heaped with sale blouses. The scene was reminiscent of a kid’s sloppy room. No hands were grabbing at the sale. Extra racks of dresses were lined up—sale days denoting summer even before it had really come. The racks gave it the appearance of a manufacturer’s back room.
Two dejected, frustrated girls staggered out of the store. Rack-shocked to death, they were wondering if merchandise might possibly be bad for you. (Maybe they were allergic.) After the smaller, more select stores, they were half-way to being spoiled, unable at this point to use the resources of a great department store. Their imaginations felt chiseled down after seeing roughly the same outfits over and over again. They had been inundated by fashion, by all these clothes telling you what you are rather than who you are. There was a strong overpowering impetus to get back into their blue jeans and nap.
However, someone had told them of a store named Svelte Veldt, also in San Antonio. Intrigued by the name, and always in search of the promised land, they journeyed forth.
Most stores have a cardboard ambience, a backdrop that sits stiffly around the merchandise. In Svelte Veldt, the ambience is vital. The flow of the store is about and around you before you ever know it. There is a guiding theme at Svelte Veldt that gives a continuity to space and clothes. Veldt—the open plains of Africa. Svelte, the ripples that animals make, their silhouette grazing, running. And in this store where nothing is static, you do feel more like a gazelle than a shopper. You walk into a spacious room, subtly broken into small environments with each comer feeling different. The weathered walls are salvaged from an old barn. Tall plants that seem transplanted from the plains extend out to the customer. The dresses are penned in small stalls. Original animal paintings hang on the walls.
While the girls were smiling in the doorway, a saleslady came up to them with a jigsaw blouse and hunting vest, “It’s lovely isn’t it,” she said as if she had just found it. This blouse is so nice to have on when you’re cleaning doves.”
The girls were soon greeted by Ann Clements, one of the owners and a woman vivid as Katherine Hepburn but tutored in fashion. She introduced them to the store by explaining that originally it had been stocked only with hunting clothes; it had been the creation of two women who saw a market for dressing women hunters. Bringing back the finest fabrics and designer pants from New York, they would redesign them into tailored and practical hunting outfits, adding style to function.
Ann has kept and played upon the original concept, but widened the vision to include more than lady hunters. The store went through a couture stage which has since been rejected. She explained that couture clothes wear the woman. The store has continued to evolve and at present it specializes in unique separates.
As Ann talked she began to move around. To the left of the store is a living room area with interrupted backgammon games on the desk; an open closet with hats for the hunt, hats for the sun and hunting suits. She calls this her conscience corner. It’s for men. Ann proudly showed off an old antique china cabinet which held a display of jewelry and accessories, her specialty. Each shelf gets progressively more adventuresome until at the bottom are necklaces great enough to swap Manhattan Island for—big copper and wood creations.
Ann took the girls to a room off the main one, groomed for privacy with wicker chairs and table and a wall of long dresses. This is, she explained, a sanctuary for the woman who may not want to indulge in the hunt for separates and prefers a more private showing. When they did come upon the area of separates Ann said, “The heart of the store is here.” Like a magician she quickly pulled out several separates and combined them in a way the girls would never have thought of. The store is stocked not just with what sells, but with what is right—Giorgini blouses, Blassport, Carol Horn, Norman Todd, Frank Olivier; names the girls had heard of, but prints they had never seen.
The area given over to dresses was very small indeed. Ann confirmed what the girls had been told at the luncheon: that dresses, with one or two exceptions, were not offering fashion. Of course, she had the one or two exceptions—Albert Nipon—unique flowered shirt-waist dresses.
In the back of the store is an area that looks like it houses posh army and navy surplus. This is where the hunting outfits are stored, as well as hunting aprons and luggage, the latter made for Svelte Veldt at the King Ranch. A mail order catalogue brings in orders from Alaska, Wyoming, Maine, Kansas and Long Island.
Beyond that, in a far room, a team of alterations ladies work, and next to them are several racks of sale clothes. Ann is a strong believer in getting rid of “the dogs.” If something isn’t right, she’s the first to admit it and marks it down completely, so you have items reduced 75 percent.
The merchandising is a strategy aimed at helping the saleswomen, customers, and the store keep up high energy and enthusiasm. From day to day the merchandise is often displayed differently so a customer will be surprised by a new combination. Also, Ann doesn’t allow her customers to have a one-dimensional view. Pointing to a dress, she said, “People don’t buy at this angle. And that’s why the racks are at a minimum and disguised. You can’t buy from a hanger.”
As the girls were listening, customers came in to have coffee and to chat with Ann and the saleswoman about the new fall market. As Ann explained, they try to look after their customers and share with them their ideas.
Even when she goes off to the clothing markets, Ann carries with her a clear sense of her clientele, remembering what people have bought so they can add-on to last season’s clothes. Most people, not to mention our two girls, want a style that brings continuity to their life and extends it. Ann and her crew offer these women new possibilities and help them to enhance their own style without modishly overpowering them.
The girls had talked to Ann long enough; and now they wanted to slip into something wonderful. The fatigue that they had been wearing the last few days fell away as they went into a cabana-size dressing room. Needless to say when they came out their vision was extended about $200 worth.
When the shopping spree was over, the girls, though partially wrecked, both financially and emotionally, tried to salvage a few cold facts and ideals from the experience. They felt certain that having a style is at the core having a sense of self and a willingness to play with and project it. Style is a slow process that cannot be mimicked. Rebounding from Vogue, you cannot buy a smashing skirt and expect that to work. A little dab wouldn’t do ya in fashion. It’s an entire world view from hair to toe, a commitment. And it probably takes years.
You could not even meditate on style and have it come to you like an inner special light. No, to find style you had to risk body and soul, hustling in the market place. And once you had found the perfect clothes, the girls wondered how you ever recapture the glow and health you had before you had gone through the ordeal of shopping?
To the question: Can a young woman in the heart of Texas find a style and happiness in a wild shopping spree, the answer is yes. . . .(Provided you give yourselves some time, and then Texas can hold its own).