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Monday, June 26, 2017

I've Been Shepped!

I’ve been working in Center City Philadelphia for over a decade, and I’m a fashion-lover...but I never stepped into Joan Shepp until last week. For those of you who know about Joan Shepp, I’m sure you just let out an audible gasp. For years, people have talked to me about the legendary Joan Shepp and urged me to pay a visit. A colleague even noted that you shouldn’t even step into the store if your fashion game wasn’t on point. I steered clear! Not that my fashion game isn't up to par, but I knew there were some hidden dangers associated with me entering "The World of Shepp." 

Growing up in Sheepshead Brooklyn, I lived close to a number of European boutiques and shoe stores. In most cases, the price points were waaaaaaay out of reach for a girl who was working in fast food restaurants and supermarkets. Despite that, I would somehow wind up in the stores periodically, just to look around, and every once in a while, splurge on the unique and exquisite merchandise. I remember how I felt each and every time I shopped in one those stores. Thoughts like: “I shouldn’t be in here” and “I can’t afford this stuff!” would enter my mind, but my love of style and fashion would make me suppress my doubts and fears.

Fast forward to 2017. I started following Joan Shepp on Instagram several months ago, and I would marvel at the works of art that were showcased in their feed. I heard about their Summer Solstice Garden Party on June 21st, and I said to myself – “Lauren, you need to just man up and go see what Joan Shepp is all about.” So I did.

As June 21st approached, my colleague’s words haunted me, and I knew that I would have to "get cute" when I showed up. I gave some thought to my outfit, but there has been so much going on lately that I never came up with a final game plan. Initially, I was going to wear my “work outfit” during the day, and change into something avant-garde and fabulous for the Joan Shepp event, but I never got my act together. On the “morning of” I said to myself, "I’m just going to throw on a little black dress. You can’t go wrong with that." My black Calvin Klein number with the asymmetrical ruching is a great “go-to” piece and fits me well. I topped it off with simple jewelry and a pair of statement pumps.

The LBD to the rescue...

I went to work, and it was just another day at the office. At the end of the day, just before I began to head over to the event, it started POURING! I thought to myself, “Oh, good! The rain would be the perfect excuse to not attend.” The things that were swirling through my head were:
  • “I know the items in this store are not "wallet-friendly."
  • “Although I do like to treat myself to an extravagant piece every once in a while, I don’t really ‘have it’ right now”
  • “Will I feel pressured to buy something?”
  • “Will I feel like I even belong in the store?”  I started thinking about all the horror stories I’ve heard over the years about people of color not be treated well when they enter high end stores, and wondered if that would be my experience...
The rain subsided. I composed myself and headed over to Joan Shepp. (Of course I had my flip flops on because I did NOT want to risk damaging my shoes.) Shortly before I approached the store, I did a quick change of shoes, took a deep breath, and held my high up high. 

A closer look at the shoes...

I walked into the store and it was absolutely beautiful. I had no idea how expansive it was. I slowly browsed through the racks, pretending that this wasn’t new to me, and eventually I was approached by a lovely sales associate who asked if I’d like a drink of champagne or white wine, while I browsed. “Yes, I’ll have a glass of chardonnay.” I replied. I got my glass of chardonnay and walked around. Some of these fashions were truly works of art – Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, etc. It was really almost overwhelming.

Phew, my outfit was a hit! - I breathed a sigh of relief as I got compliments on my dress, shoes, and necklace. I was thankful that I was able to say, "Calvin Klein" when asked which designer I was wearing. (Ha! My dress retails for only $89.98.)

I continued to browse through the racks. The pieces were so unique, and I could see myself in so many of them. I felt a wave of excitement come over me as I took it all in. There were designers who were launching and showcasing their lines, and I got the chance to chat with a few. This was artistry at its finest.

Then, I saw a jumpsuit. It was black, and it was flowy and cool and so fun. I tried it on. I could wear it with a belt, I could wear it without a belt, over a bathing suit, with a pair of strappy sexy heels...and best of all, it wasn't out of reach from a financial standpoint.

You know how this story ends, right?

Here's a selfie of me trying it on. You can't get the full affect though...

This is a piece I could (and will) wear for years...

I got my happy ending. I survived the trip. I looked AND felt like I belonged there, and I didn't blow my budget. The only bad thing about my trip, is that now that I've been "Shepped," I will likely not be able to keep myself away.

I'll post some pix when I wear the jumpsuit.

Thank you for reading, and please visit me again soon.

Be Fearless. Stay Fashionable. Have Fun!