From the outside, the fanciest fashion stores often appear deserted. But don't be fooled by the apparent lack of customers. In the most elegant shops, the real action all takes place behind closed fitting-room doors.
Forget, for a moment, the cramped, curtained cubicle where you usually do your trying-on. Imagine, instead, a room about the size of a studio-apartment sitting room carpeted, wallpapered and mirrored, with soft, bright lights, comfortable chairs, a coffee table, music.
It is the fitting room of an upscale store or the designer salon in one of the big retail chains. You're about to savor the shopping experience usually reserved for its most elite clientele.
You don't just walk in off the street, of course. Uh-uh. You call for an appointment with your favorite sales associate, filling her in on your needs a spring wardrobe update, a few new pieces for a trip to Paris, a gown for a charity ball.
When you arrive, you are greeted by name and led into one of those commodious fitting rooms. Something to drink? Coffee, tea, soda? Something to nibble on?
Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. Now, here's a selection I think you'll like.
The sales associate has done her homework. She has pulled your file, familiarized herself with your sizes, colors and favorite designers, and checked on other purchases you have made in recent months.
With all this in mind, she has selected a collection of new spring pieces, or travel coordinates, or ball gowns for you to try on. She also has assembled an assortment of accessories bags, shoes and hosiery, jewelry and scarves, lingerie, luggage.
Here, let me help you on with that. Zip you up? Beautiful. Perhaps the hem could come up just a half-inch? Let's pin it. Now, what about these shoes?
You try it all on. Don't like something? It's whisked out the door. Need a different size? Be right back. Love it? You've got it plus the earrings, right? And how about the jacket? It's still cold in Paris this time of year.
More coffee? No? Well, thank you. It's been my pleasure. I'll call just as soon as those alterations are done and the shoes arrive. And someone will be right in to carry those packages.
Now, if you'll just sign here...