I have a problem. In my head, I am Carrie Bradshaw. My fabulous, curly-haired alter ego shows up virtually every time I walk in to a store.  As I browse the most formal section, picking out amazing cocktail dresses and sequin jumpsuits, I imagine myself wearing them at a chic party, with a glass of champagne in one hand and a Judith Leiber clutch in the other. In my head, I am hailing a cab on any given Saturday night, in my newly acquired vintage Vivienne Westwood stunner to meet my fashionable girlfriends, in Manhattan (of course) where we will discuss the latest trends and our boy troubles – all while comparing our glamorous outfits. Why is this a problem? Too many times I will actually act on these delusions of fashion grandeur, only to be baffled a month later as I stand in my closet on a Sunday morning and wonder why there is a floor length gown hanging in front of me, trying to remember my plan for its fate. This is because, in my real life, I am a wife and working mom of a 21-month-old, living a somewhat (but very un-Carrie like) glamorous life in another city.

It feels like a fashion hangover, which I am quite certain is a real medical affliction. After a whirlwind of fitting room bliss and the high of acquiring that ‘perfect’ dress, I am awakened with the sad realization that the gown will most likely never see the light of day. That is, unless one of my friends decides to have a black tie wedding – in which case I will still run the risk of being that ‘overdressed’ friend again. I sigh as I dream of a life where dressing up means more than sporting a J Crew statement necklace. Unfortunately, in our all-too-real world of people wearing their pajamas to the grocery store, even my ‘dressed down’ look still gets some  “where do you think you’re going?” comments from co-workers and girlfriends alike.  

I blame Carrie for this. As I watched her every week in my best friend’s parents’ basement (to hide for all of those Samantha scenes), strutting around in Oscar dresses and Dolce booties and having a grand ole fashion time, I remember my 16-year-old self thinking: “that will be me someday.” A glamour girl in New York, wearing pencil skirts to brunch and daytime gloves and ridiculous vintage finds. But alas, my real world seems overrun with t-shirts and jeans, not Lanvin cocktail dresses. It has been a tough realization to have to understand that as fabulous as Carrie is, she is indeed a fictional character, and even glamorous, real-life New York column journalists don’t dress like her. Frankly, they can’t afford to! So as I get older, I have slowly learned to curb my imaginary ab-fab self a bit. Now, as I browse through the racks of “Decades of Fashion” on Haight in San Francisco, I imagine myself at a great trendy happy hour – not a gala – and try damn hard to shop accordingly. Of course like any fashion junkie, I still fall off the wagon now and then. (exibit A pictured here – a recent Monique Lhullier find) But as I look around my closet and see everything from JCrew and Zara to designer gowns and 7 inch stiletto booties with inch-long spikes I made myself, I smile.

These days Carrie and I are very happy in our friendship. She makes me buy an occasional sequin gown, and I make my friends come with me to events that require them to buy one – or at least (and most of the time) just raid my closet for one. I am not Carrie Bradshaw, but if I wish, I can hail a cab on a Saturday night, wearing a tulle skirt and strassed heels, and ride off to meet my girls for a cocktail – because, darn it, I’m fabulous…..and my husband offered to babysit.

Thanks for reading,

-V

Gown Monique Lhuillier Resort 2012 via Jeremy’s Dapartment Store SF // Necklace Nieman Marcus (older) // Earrings J Crew (older) //

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