Of Going Out of Fashion



The thought of this, our fashion issue, took me right to our archives to dig up the little piece I wrote for greenwich magazine in 1995 — just after Richards told me they no longer carried garter socks.

I figured an era had ended. My husband would just have to get modern, get with it and buy socks that stayed up all by themselves. But in early December, Mr. Hickey somehow unearthed a batch in their basement—just the right kind. Imported from England, 100 percent cotton. Never mind there was no black left; charcoal gray would be fine. In fact, that’s the way black socks look after you run them through the washing machine a few times. What a wonderful surprise Christmas morning!

Then, since my husband’s garters were looking tired, God moved me to order a new pair. I used to get them at the Princeton Club—with little tigers on them; but he doesn’t belong there any more, so I called Brooks Brothers in New York. On December 5. Certainly, Madame, said Hosiery. Black or burgundy? Burgundy. I mean even garters have to have a little pizzazz, right? They were $25, plus $6 UPS.  I charged them to my MasterCard and waited for them to show up at my house.

For almost two weeks. I tried calling Customer Service, but either the lines were busy or, on a Friday afternoon, December 19, a machine told me they were closed for the weekend. Every call was, of course, long-distance. Once a very nice operator took my number for them to call me, but I never heard back. Finally, a giant package arrived—two feet square. Inside was a hat box and inside that, a lush velvet hat and inside that, gold initials—all belonging to a Mr. Bates in Virginia. I knew it was
Mr. Bates because his packing slip was in there, too. I also suspected Mr. Bates had received my husband’s garters and wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.

This time I lucked out and got through to Customer Service. Oh, they said thoughtfully, we see what happened here. UPS will pick it up in ten days. Ten days? Poor Mrs. Bates, if this was a Christmas present. Would you like me to bring it to my office? I offered, since UPS stops by there every day. Well, you’d have to put the pickup on your UPS account, said Brooks Brothers. No way, said I. Then it’s too complicated, they said. Just leave it in your garage. Poor Mrs. Bates.

So I waited. And waited. Christmas came and went. I’d had it. On Friday, January 13 (a better day than most for what I had in mind) I decided to find my garters, no matter what. I called New York. Another nice operator apologized. A lot of people are having trouble getting Customer Service, she volunteered. Then I’d write the president of the company, for heaven’s sake. What’s his name and address? She checked and came back on. It’s a Mr. Hanley. He’s our acting president. Acting president? Well, she explained, he’s acting like a president until we find a real one. Why don’t I give you our toll-free number in Omaha? Omaha? I gasped. You mean I’ve been calling New York all this time, and sitting around with the meter running while you’re forwarding my call to Omaha?

So I called Omaha—and got a robot. Dial one for this, two for that … but in order to get a live person I had to punch in my Brooks Brothers account number. Except I don’t have an account, so I don’t have a number. Three times the robot insisted I enter my number; three times I couldn’t. Finally the robot got impatient and hung up on me. A real first. I’d never had a robot hang up on me before.

I called back New York. Look, I said to the same nice operator, just put me through to Hosiery. So Hosiery listened as I told my tale for the tenth time, put me through to Paul in the management office, who put me through to Rosemary, head of credit services, who put me through to Dennis in customer credit. By now I was flushed from the heat of battle. Dennis, I said, I’ve got to tell you, as we speak I’m taking off my jacket because this whole thing has gotten me so overheated. But Paul and Rosemary were very understanding, and I bet you and I have a swell talk, too. I’m glad to hear that, said Dennis, because Paul is new and I’m glad he’s doing so well.

Now Dennis, I continued, I want you to know that I publish a magazine, and I’ve just decided to write up this little garter chase. I mean it’s taken hours out of my life and I might as well get a story out of it. What’s with Brooks Brothers, anyway?

So we talked. And philosophized. And laughed. And finally got back to business. Yes, I’d settle for either credit or garters. Who cares which anymore? But in order to credit my MasterCard, he said, I’d have to call Citibank and get them to write a letter to Brooks Brothers. You’ve got to be kidding, Dennis, I stammered in amazement. I’m not about to do that.

So garters it was. OK, said Dennis, now I’m going to turn you over to Diane in Hosiery. Don’t lose me, Dennis, I pleaded. Promise? He promised—and gave me his extension. You just tell her how many pairs you want, he said. How many? It was obvious they were buying me off. And we’ll send ’em right out today. But first, he added, I gotta tell you something: We’ve had such a good time. I think I’d like to work for you!

Well, Diane in Hosiery was all business and I got the garters the following Monday. One pair. Burgundy. My husband was appreciative, but wondered why I’d bothered since his old pair wasn’t really in too bad shape.

Incidentally, in case you noticed, he wouldn’t let me use his name in this piece. He finds his garters an embarrassment, ever since he climbed onstage in a little nightclub in Athens to be taught the belly dance a few years ago. The three gents who volunteered were asked to roll up their shirts, which was fine; but when they were asked to roll up their trouser legs, my husband knew he was in trouble. I think the audience is still laughing.

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...

  • AGAPANTHUS RISING

    2014.11.18
     @ Greenwich Water Club

    Like the Agapanthus flower, which starts as just a seed, we all have something to share with the world.  Sadly, we don't always nurture...

  • The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Junior League of Greenwich presents 2014 Enchanted Forest! Holiday Boutiques Gingerbeard Workshops Santa's Breakfast...

  • Junior League of Greenwich The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Junior League of Greenwich

    The Junior League of Greenwich (JLG) will host its annual holiday fundraiser, The Enchanted Forest on Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November...


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