Life in a Banana Republic

014020015010I’m an Anglophile, a monarchist and, although I like to look stylish, cannot put together a co-ordinated outfit to save my life. Because of this shortcoming I often look to well-dressed famous people for inspiration. One of my favourite fashion muses is Kate Middleton. She always looks amazing, probably because she has model good looks and a willowy athletic figure. She also has the money to wear beautiful clothes that are unfortunately unattainable to the likes of me. My budget is more J.Crew final sale rack and Banana Republic, both of whom offer teacher discounts (yay for supporting educators!) and military discounts.

It was with great anticipation I awaited the unveiling of Banana Republic’s limited Issa Collection. Issa designed the gorgeous royal blue dress Kate wore when her engagement was announced a couple of years ago. Although anything would look fabulous on the Duchess, the wrap style of the engagement dress flatters most women. Those wide ties cinch in the waist better than a Spanx power panty.

Banana Republic’s collection didn’t disappoint. The wrap dresses aren’t in the luxurious silk fabric of Kate’s, but they are way cheaper than hers. The faux-engagement dress is $160 in Canada, but yesterday special customers like me got 25% off. (Yes, Banana Republic knows just how to enable a borderline shopaholic like me!)

I tried on a number of pieces. In addition to being flattering and feminine, they are all amazingly comfortable. The soft jersey knits drape beautifully and they don’t constrict or bind. The wrap ties snug in the waist, giving a lovely girlish figure.

All in all, the Issa reveal turned into an all day event for me. First thing in the morning, I went to the mall for an initial look. Then after coffee and a texting session with D, who is away on holiday and couldn’t visit a Banana Republic herself, I went back and tried on a few more items before deciding on the ones I couldn’t live without. That evening, after a winey dinner with my friend B, I went back to Banana Republic to pick up a dress for D who had finally decided on one after spending hours online checking out the collection and reading reviews.

I had a hard time limiting myself to only two pieces (a dress and a wrap top), but my sailor thinks his deployment pay is going towards a boat. I didn’t want to tell him I blew it on a new Banana Republic Issa wardrobe instead!

It’s a Boy!

026For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been compulsively googling Kate Middleton. I’m not obsessed with the Royal Family, but I like babies and I’m really curious. I’m the ultimate Christmas present peaker becuase it drives me crazy not knowing what’s in those pretty packages under the tree. If they’d revealed the infant’s gender prior to the birth, I may not have been so interested.

Because I have a boy myself, today’s announcement reminded me of our own crazy, we’ve-just-had-a-baby time. Remembering that first summer (my boy is a July baby, too) is like recalling a fairy tale filled with wonder and awe. Those tender, vague memories are likely caused by sleep deprivation, but that doesn’t make them any less special.

My sailor and I were living in Nova Scotia, far away from our families in BC so we had no one to help when the boy arrived. Neither of us knew much about babies prior to his birth. I’d seen them on TV and at the grocery store and my sailor could recognize a photo of one in a book. We were equally clueless. I still can’t believe the hospital let us take him home. What were they thinking?

It was tough and we may have made some odd parenting choices (surely we aren’t the only new parents to record every poo, including size and consistency in a special journal for the first year). I realize now our challenges were a blessing. We learned to take care of our precious boy together and in the process grew closer to each other.

Except for the fabulous wealth, Will and Kate seem like normal people who will try to do their best for their bundle of joy.

My wish for them is the gift of time alone to muddle through and get to know their new son before the staff and the grandparents take over.