We went to a Hancock Fabric outlet this last weekend – my daughter wanted to take advantage of the going-out-of-business bargains. She has developed an interest in needlework and embroidery of all sorts, and since we try to live rather frugally – well, sales prices do have their appeal at all times. But it is with sorrow that we visit the Hancock Fabric outlet within our neighborhood. We have both worked in a going-out-of-business-enterprise, so we can comprehend the absolute sorrow and shock of the employees. Upon my retirement from the military, I took on a temporary sales job in the Marshall Field’s outlet in San Antonio, which was closing – and part of that was that a fur-coat concession took up a small part of the retail outlet. Which experience gave me no end of insight into the whole ambiance of high-end department store retail sales… and yes, I sold fur coats, for a basic wage plus a small commission on sales. Which did mount up, as the months wore on, towards closing of the Marshall Field’s store. We lived on the paychecks from that job for simply months, as Blondie joined me on the fur salon sales force … but never mind. I can wholly and deeply sympathize with the employees of the Hancock Fabrics store, even past the point of merely apologizing as a customer for their situation. No, I do not want to say anything about how the sales floor will contract and contract again, the shelves will empty out, as the discounts grow deeper and deeper. The store will become a bare husk of what it was – and at the end, locked doors with a pile of pathetic and picked-over goods. So sad, so sad … since I do not have to put on the whole office-work skirt suit and all, every day, I have kind of gotten away from the sewing and tailoring that I used to do for myself then, and with my nieces both well beyond the age of wanting cute little dress-up outfits … but I will miss Hancock Fabrics anyway.

In grey, with a black velveteen collar...

In grey, with a black velveteen collar…

The only time I really have to make an effort these days is for author events, where one simply has to make a splash, especially if there are other authors there. And depending on the genre or book, some authors do dress to impress and attract the eye. Another member of the on-line author circle I belonged to early on had a couple of books set in 19th century China. He had a full set of Mandarin robes with suitable accessories and that always made a bit of a splash at signings. On his advice, I have tried to do something with a sort of movie cowgirl look for book events. Lately I’ve been thinking that straight period 19th century might work better. But since we usually have to set up, and haul heavy boxes of books back and forth, the full crinoline, bonnet, bustle and trained gown is absolutely out. But there was a possibility in the Butterick Patterns costume section; an Edwardian walking suit; slim skirt, tailored jacket over a high-necked blouse. So, I bought the pattern, and there was some grey polyester suiting going for practically nothing – not that I am a fan of polyester, or that it will be in the least period-accurate. It will look nice and wrinkle-free without a lot of pressing and steaming.

I have some high-laced shoes already, a wide-brimmed hat which can be dressed up with lace, netting, plumes and whatever to match, and a replica ladies’ pocket watch on a fob; voila – new look for me on the very busy author scene for the rest of the year. Since I am going to try and bring out the second Luna City Chronicle, another Lone Star Sons book, and finish The Golden Road all in time for Christmas, I will simply have to have something smashing to wear …

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