When I was a little girl, I came home one day and announced that our family needed to have an emergency plan for our home. I sat with my parents and mapped out escape routes, a meeting place and different contingency plans based on horrifying variables (fire, earthquake, intruders etc.) that we prayed would never happen. As an adult, I’ve adopted this same practice, but instead of life threatening disasters, I’ve applied it to fashion emergencies. Before you write me off as completely crazy, let me explain:
In New York City, there’s an Ann Taylor or Gap or random clothing store on every corner. So if a (skinny) girl spills coffee down her white blouse an hour before an important meeting, she can zip over to one of those stores, find something in her size and be back to work in no time. But what if a PSP has a catastrophic fashion emergency? The nearest store that might actually carry her size could be 10, 20… or even 50 blocks away!
Because of this, every time I start a new job I develop a fashion emergency plan in case “something” goes wrong. When I worked near Grand Central I felt the safest. There was a Lane Bryant, Macy’s and an Old Navy within 10 minutes of my office (five minutes in a taxi) and there was also a random store called Strawberry on the same block as my office where I could usually find plus size basics.
When I moved to a new job in the Financial District I would casually explore different stores on my lunch break. There was a Dress Barn and a Strawberry but when I went in they informed me that I’d have to go further uptown to find a branches of their stores with a plus size department. With my apartment being a 45 minute train ride from my office, I began to wonder if I should put a spare outfit in my desk drawer just in case. Mind you, I have never had a fashion emergency that required me to buy something new during work hours and to be honest, I didn’t know what would qualify as such an emergency. But the fact that I didn’t have options made me nervous, so I kept looking.
A few weeks in, I remembered that Century 21 had a plus size department! I made my way over one day and was relieved to see a decent array of tops, dresses, jeans and slacks in my size. I didn’t buy anything, but I could breathe easier knowing that new, clean clothes were a five minute walk from where I worked.
My contingency plan was set.
Fast Forward a year later to… yesterday. I had on a black dress that hit just above the knee, a cardigan, pearls, knee-high boots and a pair of black tights. I went to the ladies room and when I pulled my tights up I realized that there was a huge gaping hole in the inner thigh. This hole was the size of a softball and it had snags and runs coming from all directions which meant it was only going to get bigger. If there was a time to flip into fashion emergency mode: this was it.
I grabbed my purse, threw on my coat and ran to Century 21 where my plan was to get a pair of leggings that I’d seen in the plus size section the last time I was there. I pushed my way through the tourists, up the escalator and just when I was about to turn towards the 3rd floor plus size department, I saw this:
See that long piece of tape? Underneath it are the words “Plus Sizes”. The plus size section at Century 21 is closed. My fashion emergency plan was ruined. My heart sank as I felt the snag in my tights creep a little farther down my thigh.
So much for being prepared!