Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Tale of Two Unicorns .......... and Carolina Herrera

This story was inspired by an old nursery rhyme that you all may know ...

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;

She gave them some broth without any bread;
She whipp'd all their bums, and sent them to bed.

                                                     from J. Ritson, 
                                                    Gammer Gurton's Garland,
                                                    or The Nursery Parnassus: a choice collection of pretty songs
                                                    and verses for the amusement of all little good children who
                                                    can neither read nor run
                                                                    (1794, rpt., Glasgow, 1866), p. 27.

                            (Or Mother Goose. Whichever.)                      

Once upon a time, in a backward little village, far, far away from anywhere of any consequence, there was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Classic Stiletto-Heeled Black Pump. (We'll just call her Old Woman because it's much easier. ) She had so many pets, she didn't know what to do, but that's another story for another time.      

One morning, Old Woman stirred her old bones early to go to market and resume her unending quest for the most magical and elusive of wardrobe pieces; the Perfect Crisp White Shirt. Late that afternoon, as Old Woman flipped wearily through the Women's Medium Long Sleeved Shirts rack at Ye Olde Discount Department Store, she was startled when ... POP! ... the great designer Carolina Herrera suddenly appeared at her side, as if out of nowhere!

"Old Woman," the great designer began. "I know of your sincere desire to find the fabled Unicorn of Fashion, the Perfect Crisp White Shirt, " she continued, in perfectly elegant, Spanish-accented English. "Why, Old Woman, do your eyes bug out so? You should see a doctor about that. And you may close your mouth, now. It looks very stupid."

"I'm sorry ... who are you? You look like Carolina Herrera, but you can't be," Old Woman stammered.

"That was fast. You're smarter than you look," the apparition murmured to her self. "Okay, so you found me out. I'm just a figment of your imagination. An illusion. The psychological manifestation of your anxiety caused by your foolish fixation on one, impossibly perfect item of clothing," she continued, her exotic accent turning abruptly into a Midwestern version of American English. "But illusory help is better than no help at all. And you need help, you know? Besides, you can't afford the real Carolina Herrera. "

"Hey ..." Old Woman began defensively.

"Here's the deal," the apparition interrupted sharply. "Rather than just granting your wish, all poof-and-there-it-is, I'm advising you to grab the very next white shirt that you come upon in this rack, and actually go and try it on. You'll be glad you did, I promise. But remember this; unicorns come in dark neutrals as well," she said, in a more kindly tone.

Then, as abruptly as she arrived ... Pop! ... the spitting image of Carolina Herrera disappeared. Only then did Old Woman notice other women near her giving her some seriously suspicious side-eye and pulling their children closer.

Old Woman decided, for once in her life, to do precisely what she'd been advised and sure enough, she soon came upon a lovely, tailored white shirt by Jones New York. The moment she touched it, the shirt whispered to her, " I am the shirt you desire. I am the White Unicorn of tailored shirts. Take me home with you. And while you're at it, take my sister ... the shirt right behind me on this rack. She is the fabled Black Unicorn, and just as rare and magical."

"Time to get my blood sugar checked," Old Woman decided as she carried both shirts to the fitting room. "Or maybe just skip that second glass of wine with lunch ..."

As all good stories do, Dear Reader, this one has a happy ending. Old Woman ended her quest with more than she dreamed of, and took both shirts home at significantly less than suggested retail price. She hung them in her closet, and the shirts chatted happily to one another about their new home and how inferior the rest of the clothes were, giggling about their escape from the Final Clearance rack. They chattered on, non-stop. Into the wee hours of the morning. And because they kept the Old Woman awake with their merriment, she got up from her bed, threw both shirts into the washing machine and laundered them in cold water with no chlorine bleach as the instructions advised, in Woolite and on the longest possible wash setting. In the morning she dried them thoroughly on the Permanent Press cycle and hung them back in the closet.

But now, they were silent and never, ever spoke to anyone again, because, as everyone knows, washing a new shirt takes all the magic out of it as well as the factory sizing.

But Old Woman was pretty sure she'd wear them Happily Ever After anyway.

Carolina Herrera (the real one)
in her signature white shirt

Me (AKA Old Woman) having my own 
budget-Carolina Herrera moment in
Jones New York.  Still ... not bad.

Of course, she does it in black, as well.

And so does Jones New York! 
So happy ..... 

Update (11/10)  I'm going over to Patti's Visible Monday ... come see what all the fuss is about!


  1. I LOVE YOU! This was an amazing read and I actually chortled out loud multiple times. I especially love the anthropomorphizing of the white and black unicorn shirts, as well as the side-eye. Priceless! But now, of course, you have to tell me where you got the faboo skirts. And egads, woman! You do that midi length so well!

    And as for my current thoughts on Who, lemme just copy/paste my comment in response to another Whovian reader: I’m a bit lukewarm about this week’s Who. I actually liked the kiddos
    (even though some review sites lambasted their acting), probably because
    I’m a teacher and a mom. And the idea of the Earth saving itself was
    very Princess Mononoke of it. But I’m getting a sense that Moffat et al
    are still trying to decide how to proceed with Jenna and Peter or
    perhaps they’re preparing for Jenna’s rumored departure? Regardless, I’m
    not liking this whole separate lives thing. Also, I think they’re
    handling Danny Pink oddly. I guess I just wanted him to hop on board the
    TARDIS and go on adventures the way Mickey and Rory did. His being all holier-than-thou is getting old and I wish for back story on his being a soldier already to flesh out his character. It would be interesting if he ends up being the next Companion. Has there ever been a lone male Companion?

  2. You have such a way with words Jan!! Great story and such a happy ending to find 2 great shirts that works for you and at a great price. Maybe I will find my unicorn white shirt one day too.


  3. Northern mum down SouthOctober 29, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Jan, what a fun post, I loved your story and your shirts are pretty darn special, great shape, fab collar, sleeve length is just right and you look wonderful in them both. Hope the old woman can find the time from all this clearance rack shopping to look for some soon to be out of date bread in the bargain bin to give her children with the broth . . . xx

  4. What an entertaining post! You had me laughing on this one, so very well written. Now as to your two shirts...bravo! You look smashing in both of them—so elegant—Carolina would approve, I'm sure.

  5. I would have you over Carolina Herrera any day
    Joy share-in-Style, my friend

  6. Your laundered shirts are still talking to me! They've decided they're too good for the likes of the closet, and are keeping their wonderfulness under wraps until they find a suitable audience in the Internet...aka ME! :-) Just so you know, they are telling me all about their lovely new home with a model who recognises their worth, even if she houses them with inferior stock. Perhaps a nice padded hangar might not go astray...;-D
    Looking lovely as usual, and as Maricel said, you can rock the midi length!
    Xo JJ

  7. Ha ha! Loved the story : )

    These both look great on you, although I do prefer the black. I'm not a fan of white on anyone that is white. LOL


  8. I am sadly immune to the unicorn delights of the classic crisp shirt, in any colour. I blame the boobs (and ensuing boob gape issue), and an education which involved a white shirt as part of the school uniform. I can fully appreciate how great shirts look on others (witness your fabulous two outfits, where you look chic and elegant and gorgeous) but they just aren't for me. But you never fail to entertain with your writing, Jan! xxx

  9. Oh I can so imagine you are happy with them. Ecstatic* is probably a better word. As I would be if I had found them. Crispy shirts with no gaps! And fitted! And at a reasonable price. What a treasures. They both look equally good on you in my opinion. Love them on these skirts. I have warmed up to the black skirt as well. I saw it here in Amsterdam on a woman, so I had a proper look and it is nice.
    Of course your writing is fabulous.. Such entertainment for us readers. Thank you.
    I have one white crispy shirt that does not gap, but it is a size too big. Tried it yesterday on a midi wide skirt.... Skirt didn't fit anymore. Gained weight around the waist. Bummer.ack on a diet again.

  10. I love a good fairy tale, and you are such a brilliant storyteller, Jan!! That was a treat! You look elegant in your new shirts, the fit is perfection. I, on the other hand, always have a gap. Perhaps Curtise is right, and we just have a bit too much of boobs. :) xxxx

  11. Another wonderful tale, told as only you can, so glad the Old Woman was the winner this time. The prize two great shirts, found their way home to be worn so well with your wonderful mid length skirts that you always wear so well. A good white shirt is one of the hardest pieces to find, fit, fabric and of course price, I am still looking. You have inspired me to try harder.

  12. I love your story telling Jan! And you've brought up an interesting (to me) question. Your voice? I read your posts with great pleasure, and easily imagine myself hanging out with you and the menagerie, but what do you sound like???? Hmmmm...we know you live in the mid west; I'm pretty sure your childhood roots are Californian, and you've spent quality time in the PNW, and maybe even Alaska (not sure on that last state), so you've got me pondering...I'm predicting you've maintained a bit of the Californian long 'a'.

    Great shirts, both! You can't go wrong with good wardrobe basics like each of these!

  13. Too many years in catering & a hatred for authority makes me run a mile from a white shirt. Yours both fit you brilliantly and work beautifully with the midi skirts and, of course, your storytelling is wonderful. x

  14. You are just so full of awesomeness and I would sit at your feet and listen to stories all day, mouth hanging open. LOVED IT!! The classic white shirt is not for me, no button down with a collar looks right on me, but I do understand its appeal and you look great in yours, both the black and the white! I'm glad you found your unicorns and that you washed them so well. Unicorns mumbling in the closet would definitely give me sleeping troubles!

  15. Hallo dear Jan,
    first of all thank you so much for visiting my blog and your lovely comment, I was very pleased about it! You look wonderful, in black but also in white blouse! Love the black skirt, looks wonderful with this lace detail.

    wish you a wonderful and sunny day
    see you soon
    Dana :)

  16. Story teller indeed! And now that I know you and have actually heard your wonderful voice, the story really came to life for me as I could actually hear you telling it. Your creative writing is beyond imagination, I even felt a bit sorry for the two shirts no longer chatting and giggling together, but they do look ever so wonderful on their knew friend.

  17. Can't go wrong with black or white. And both of your skirts are really cool, man. Along with the accompanying story. I'm going to be expecting clothes stories now at bedtime.

  18. LOVE this look. It's so amazingly classy.

  19. So sad the shirts stopped talking... But maybe they're just silently happy and content?

  20. Haha ... you crack me up! Love your humor and whimsy! Both shirts are chic classics and I'm glad you got them both!


    Dawn Lucy


  21. Dear Jan,
    not only you had a magic moment, me too! Reading your fairy tale my eyes grow wider, my mouth angles move up, my heart beats faster with expectation. And I don't get dissapointed. You found the perfect shirts. Although they lost their spell they don't loose their charm.
    Sabine xxx

  22. You are so funny Jan! Both shirts are classics and every woman needs a
    white shirt and a black shirt. You look lovely in both outfits as you
    always do!

    BTW - I learned a different version of this nursery rhyme as a child ...

    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

    She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.

    She gave them some broth without any bread.

    Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

    ♥ carmen

  23. Well done my friend! Both shirts are perfections and in my opinion you look just as fabulous as Caroline. And yes, alas it is true...washing an item takes away it's magic.

  24. Glad you had fun with it ... I aim for the funny-bone, whenever possible. I'm aware that the midi is not my best look, but I love it anyway. And I do think it works on some level, verified by you! Thank you. The black skirt with the sheer panel was from a mall shop called "Trinkets" ... it was the first full midi I'd seen here! Very nice value as well. The Chinese dragon skirt, I made myself. Ahem. I've worn this combo lately and heard all kinds of nice comments ... a happy styling choice, I think. For a change!
    Thank you for your Whovian take ... I'm guessing that some bits will be resolved after next weekends finale, but also know they'll leave us hanging about some big thing. Haven't yet seen Saturday's first of two, so I'm avoiding spoilers.

  25. Oh, yeah, I deliberately DVR-ed the first part and refuse to watch it until this Saturday when I can marathon them both. no spoilers from me.

  26. Hadn't thought of that ... good idea. We watch after we get home from work, which is sometimes very late, but have to wind down. Will remember some harmless late-night munchies. Thanks for the notion!

  27. Thank you! I'm getting lots of wear already ... nice change from Ts and sweaters! The will work hardest under cropped sweaters ... I'm sort of into popped collars these days even though they are avoided, but these hold their "pop" in a flattering way, I think! Here's to unicorns on the sale rack!

  28. Nah. Let the little buggers starve. Were thrilled empty-nesters, but the pets are another story entirely. They eat, then we eat!
    Glad you had fun with my silly story. Thank you for you very kind assessment ... they do really fit well. I wore the black one with blue and black houndstooth Pixie-Pants, just un-tucked, and had great reviews! That rarely happens in real life!

  29. Oh, thank you! Glad you had fun with it! Thanks, too, for liking my shirts ... they really fit better than any I've had over the years. Nice feeling!
    Been thinking about you this week ... Have you read "The Paper Magician" yet? Thought of you several times, given you art. Hope you take a look at it ... you might like it!

  30. High praise from you ... you are clearly the mistress of all things skirt-and-blouse, and you inspire so many of my outfits, Sacramento! Thank you so much ! I hope to get to Share in Style soon!

  31. Jack! Welcome back ... so glad you had fun with it. They should be feeling better as they're both getting out and about fairly often. The padded hangers are occupied, but they have nice velvety ones that allow me to fit more into the closet. Buwahahahaha! But, of course, NO WIRE HANGERS!!!! Ahem.
    Thank you for your very kind comment on the midi-length. I wear it against all the rules, and I just insist on thinking it works for me. In fact, I'm currently convincing myself that I can wear a pencil midi ... that's taking some fancy mental gymnastics, believe me.
    You are welcome always, and I'm happy you stopped by!

  32. Loved it, and was surprised by it. Looking forward to the next in the series which is coming out in Nov. I think. Let me know what you think!

  33. I'm happier with the black as well, but the fit on the white is so good that I'm more pleased with it than I have been of cool white blouses in the past. I've always liked cream better on me, but once again ... since I cut my locks ... things look different. Eye opening.
    So glad you had fun with the story, and very happy you stopped by!

  34. Yeah, I know. Boobage can be a bitch, can't it? It's been an issue for me, too, partially because of my very short torso and D cups ... they don't sit where the buttons demand that they reside! These shirts work though, so I'm tickled. Wore the black one with a pair of black and blue houndstooth check Pixies that I wore hear a week or so ago ... got great reviews. I like the look for a change. And I love a popped collar ... these work a treat with my short hair!
    Glad you liked the story! That's the most important part anyway.

  35. Darling Greetje! I really am pleased, and will take great care of them. They're now on clearance but none in my size or I'd buy more just to keep in folded in paper until needed. Glad you like the skirt now that you've seen it over there! Ha! Trust me, it really looks nice when I move... I know I'm short to wear them, but I'm short to wear everything.
    Happy you enjoyed the silly story. That was the important part.
    Surly you didn't gain weight ... the skirt must have shrunk!

  36. From you, high praise! Thank you so much, Natalia! I've found a minimizer bra really helps me, but they're only good for an inch or two. For me, it's also been my short torso ... my boobs never sit where the buttons work! These two are a great fit ... so happy!
    Your very romantic and elegant style doesn't really need a boring old white menswear shirt, anyway!

  37. Hello, Jilly! So happy you liked my silly story. I really am thrilled to have them ... I've never had a fit like these two! Keep up the search ... shirts are a pain to try on ... buttons up, buttons unbuttoned ... and so on and so on, if you try more than one shirt. But you gotta do it. Good luck on your quest, Jill. Every woman deserves a perfectly fitted shirt once in her life at least!

  38. Thanks, Sue the Adorable! Glad you had fun with it.
    Actually, the US has some very confusing regional labels. The MidWestern southern border is one state north of us, Missouri, and goes north to the Great Lakes. It's not even close to our western border, and is only west of the first colonies. If that makes sense. Even though there is a genuine middle of our west ... we just don't bother changing custom!
    Wait. What?
    I know.
    We live in the South Central region now. And yup. I did a decade in Alaska. But my "accent" is thoroughly Western, what I call think of as the California Flats. Or Long A, as you note.
    Thank you for liking my shirts ... I feel like I've crossed off a thing on a bucket list!

  39. I soooo know what you mean. I never, ever wear a white shirt and black slacks to work, unless they are very obviously non-waitressy. While I'm not completely a waitress at our place ... I wear lots of hats, but there is instant condescension from some customers when they think I'm "just the waitress". I came as near to wanting to slap the snot out of a customer as I ever did when she commented that I was too dressed up for "just a little ol' waitress." I didn't, but I get mad every time I think of it. I just love it when the rude ones demand to speak to the owner! Makes up for a lot of stupidity.
    I do like a sharp shirt with rolled up sleeves and a popped collar though. Always wanted on that fits like these, so I'm happy!
    Glad you liked my story, Vix. That's clearly the most important part of a post, after all!

  40. I've been off and on this style of shirt for as long as I've been a grown woman! They've been in, and out, and new and old. I do love a popped collar and rolled up sleeves ... these are a miracle of a fit for saggy old self. Nice to FINALLY get it right. I feel like I've accomplished something important!
    So happy you liked my story so much! High praise, and you're a doll to exaggerate so!
    Thank you so much for dropping by!

  41. Thank you so much, Dana! I appreciate your sweet remarks as well, and I'm glad you stopped by. I'm always happy to hear from you!

  42. Hello, darling Trina! You are way too kind, but I'm glad you had fun with the story! The shirts are silent and cooperative, as menswear inspired womenswear should be. Don't feel too sorry for them, 'cause they've been out and about quite a bit lately.
    I'm always delighted when you get by to say howdy!

  43. Thanks so much, Pao! But only very good girls get fashion fairy tales at bedtime. Have you been a good girl? Hmmmm?
    You've certainly said some very nice things!

  44. Well, thank you! Classy is certainly something I aspire to.
    Tickled you stopped by!

  45. Nope. They're just plain-old, perfectly fitting,well-behaved, non-magical shirts. We're all happier that way. I know I am!
    Glad to hear from you, Tiina!

  46. I'm happy when you're happy! Glad you liked my silly story, and I appreciate your kind wishes on the acquisition of my unicorn shirts.
    Hope the move is going well!

  47. Sabine! I'm so happy you enjoyed my silly story, and thank you for your sweet compliments on my unicorn-shirts!

  48. Yes, me too ... but the other version was funnier, I thought. Can't NOT laugh at the word "bum" in that context ... not funny at all in the other sense. Hmmm.
    Thank you, Carmen. Glad you had fun with my silly story, and that you liked my shirts. They are a rare find for me!
    I was by your place the other day, but I couldn't get my comments to "take" ... had the same problem at other sites, so it was on my end. Will be back soon though, as all seems resolved!

  49. Thank you, Debbie! Yes, sad but true. I did pick up a can of spray-sizing, though. Do you think they'll begin to speak again? Inquiring minds want to know...
    So happy you liked the looks, and I'm always so glad when you stop by!

  50. Ah bah, whilst I knew you were talking about yourself, the reference old woman generated an image of some lady in her 80ies. That's what I consider old. You aren't old, just advanced ;-) And looking fab!

    Alex - Funky Jungle

  51. You are not an old woman! You are a fantastic lady with a great smile and sparkling eyes... ( hope my bad English is ok ) and very stylish indeed!! Both shirts are perfect on you , as well as your skirts!

  52. Oh, thanks Alex! Kind of you to say , and I know what you mean. Old is one of those subjective concepts, and I'm trying to reclaim the meaning for myself. I'm "officially" old here in the US ... our social security net is about to kick in for me, and I have a full understanding that I'm not in much better health than my grandmother was at my age. I can't claim middle age unless I think I'll live to 128, so "old" it is 'cause that's what's next. Age is just a number, of course, but experience is much more than that. Just trying to exist as old, experienced and determine my own value. Wow! So, thanks for saying I still can look fab. Fun to know and glad you think so.

    By the way, you have the best haircut in the universe. Just thought you and your stylist should know!

  53. That's sweet, dear Dan! Your English is admirable, especially as long as you are saying such nice things to me! I'm okay with being old, just not okay with feeling bad about it and feeling like I shouldn't be allowed to try to look and do my best. So glad you like my shirts and skirts together ... I wish I'd bought more of them!


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