Thursday, April 10, 2008

A long tall drink of water.

A long tall drink of water always tastes better out of a monogrammed glass, especially a glass from Anthropologie, and especially a glass from Anthropologie that your husband insisted you buy. I mean, how often does a husband insist a wife purchase something at Anthropologie? Most frequently husbands stand around Anthropologie trying to coerce their wives into buying less. At least, that is what my husband does. Sometimes, on days when I cannot be coerced to stop, he sits down in defeat on the large, brightly patterned, pseudo-vintage couch to thumb through books on Parisian cafe style or the etiquette of hosting tea parties. Rarely, if ever, has he actively encouraged me to purchase goods at the store.

But not this time. This time Sam had to coerce me to PURCHASE this set of drinking glasses. I argued they were frivolous, he argued they were fun. His argument won. I think he fell victim to the magic that is Anthropologie.

The store does possess a magical aura. Anthropologie stores shine out from the rows of chain stores at upscale shopping malls like a treasure chest of fantasy and possibilities, waiting to be opened. They are little jewels of excitement in a world of homogenized shopping.

The shop nestles itself into the shopping mall like a prize tucked into a cereal box. The rustic, wooden entrance is simultaneously purposefully artistic yet casually rustic, and it feels warmer and more inviting than the Bebe and Forever 21 shops flanking either side. Window displays of lavishly layered mannequins lure me in with promises of a dramatic life, augmented by blouses with lacy voile ruffles and kitchen aprons embellished with quaint teapot appliqu├ęs. I am not entirely sure how the magic of the store manifests itself into purchasing behavior, but I believe that the magic stems from the idea that the items for sale function as the physical embodiment of a fantasy life I frequently daydream of...

...In my dream life, I see myself and my best friends riding old cruiser bicycles down a dirt path to a cold-fried-chicken-picnic arranged on a wooden plank table, under a huge tree, which naturally has 10,000 colorful paper lanterns hanging from the lower branches. The afternoon light streaming through the leaves is dappled with mystery and promise, and it dances patterns on our minimally coordinated but ultimately matching summer frocks. Without question, our picnic is served on mismatched vintage china, and we follow the feast with an afternoon spent lounging on a picturesque blanket, alternating between reading great English authors aloud and filling a wicker basket full of fresh picked wildflowers. We laugh and smile and giggle, and our white skirts never get dirty, even when we walk barefoot through the dew...

This is the Anthropologie life, made almost tangible through fanciful products, clever window displays, and of course brilliant marketing. The fantasy life is always almost in my grasp, if only I could own one more dress with ribbon piping and a full, frilly skirt. When Sam saw our new green glasses sitting on the shelf, I am certain they whispered sweet promises of adventure, luxury, and romance in his unsuspecting ear, just as every item in the store whispers to me when I walk into the storefront.

Thus far our new monogrammed water glasses have not transported me and Sam to the Italian Riviera to sip mineral water and feed each other marinated olives, but it has added a little extra spark - a little extra whimsy - to our everyday dinners and our weekend lunches at the kitchen table, and for that, Anthropologie has lived up to much of its promise.

S for Sam and K for Kate!

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