A corsetiere knows all your secrets,” Magda had often said to

Lacey with a wink. “The secrets you keep and the secrets you give away, all the secrets you hide beneath your clothes.

. Her

short curly brown hair, shot through with gray, perpetually resisted

all her attempts at taming it and was now sticking straight up.

Oddly, Magda looked at peace, the jumble of jewels and all.

Magda was probably between sixty and seventy, but looked

older. It isn’t the years, it’s the mileage, Lacey thought. Magda’s

upturned cat eyes had always sparkled with a bit of humor, as they did even now.

The heaviness of death settled on her shoulders, leaving her with a melancholy that bore into her bones. She knew she would cry later, in private.

FASHION BITES
I
Bored With Dress for Success?
Try for Adventuress Instead
You dressed for success, but where has it gotten you? Your
own cubicle next to someone dressed just like you in a cubicle
just like yours? You’ve got the same safe suit, the same knock-
off bag, the same pair of pumps you both snagged at Filene’s
Basement at the same sale. You call that success?
The working world is not exactly the fantasy we dreamed
of in college, is it? Once upon a time we thought life would
be an adventure, exciting, stimulating, fulfilling. Don’t forget
fulfilling. Possibly even fun. Well, it can be, if you approach
it the right way. As an adventure.
But perhaps you feel invisible. Your clothes are fading
away and taking you with them. No one can see you, you’re
so well hidden in your dress-for-success camouflage. Your
shoes match the carpet, your skirt blends into the chair, your
blouse copies the curtains. Where’s the real you concealed
behind the corporate camo? Unless your secret ambition is to
star in a remake of The Invisible Woman, you and your
wardrobe need a shot of pure adrenaline.
Need a little adventure? My advice: Dress like an adven-
turess. An adventuress knows that the right clothes can
change your attitude faster than your attitude can change
your clothes. To find the adventure in life, sometimes all you
need to do is dress for adventure and let it find you. Let’s look
at three basics in every adventuress’s rolling suitcase.
•  A trench coat, of course. Well-worn and rakishly scruffy
or brand-new, it should fit perfectly, whether you’re built
like Ingrid Bergman or Sydney Greenstreet. These days
it even comes in daring postmodern pinks and blues
78  Ellen Byerrum
and greens, not just the traditional World War I khaki.
Long or short, the trench coat is dashing, versatile, and
ready for a trip to the office or around the world. Even
to Casablanca. (“For the waters,” of course.)
•  Sunglasses. Every adventure calls for a sleek pair of
sunglasses. They protect your eyes and keep your se-
crets. No secrets to keep? They’ll even keep that secret,
too. Slip on your shades and voilà! A woman of mys-
tery. Think Thelma and Louise or Kathleen Turner on the
beach in Body Heat. Just try to stay out of trouble this
time.
•  A scarf. A sophisticated adventuress needs a bright
and colorful scarf, and she actually knows how to tie it
cleverly. (Or she fakes it.) Not only does it liven up that
same old suit, it blows in the wind as you speed away
in your convertible up the hills of Monte Carlo like
Grace Kelly with that handsome jewel thief Cary Grant
at your side. Don’t have a Cary Grant type handy? Let
your beautiful scarf fly; he may find you.
Adventure is, of course, whatever you want it to be. Liv-
ing your life on your own terms and with your own style can
be the biggest adventure of all. Just imagine looking the way
you’ve always dreamed you’d look when you open the door
to that big moment and say, “Come on in, I’m ready.” And
imagine a confident, self-possessed woman striding down
the street to meet that big moment, so intriguing that heads
turn as she passes by. Who is that adventurous woman? It’s
you!

And you will not leave me alone until you get your way. Like all Americans. Americans must always get their way. Why? Because they are Americans!” Lacey decided to simply stand there like an American who was about to get her way.

Lacey and Brooke followed, ducking on their way down out of the pale Normandy November sunlight.

The restaurant that Vic had chosen, La Something or Other on  the Boulevard du Montparnasse—Lacey missed the name in the  excitement—was very ooh la la in that dazzling French art deco way, from the huge glass dome over the dining room to its tall painted pillars, their murals painted by artists like Chagall in the Twenties, Vic said, in exchange for drinks. Mosaic tiles covered the floor in intricate patterns. The aroma of fresh bread filled the air. After that amazing afternoon with Vic and a nap in his arms, it
seemed to her like a dream, as if they had walked into a French movie set where Cary Grant was about to romance Audrey Hepburn over an elegant dinner.

You don’t want to miss anything, do you? Especially if we have to meet those two at two thirty at Père-Lachaise.”

”

Attitude, mon cher, attitude.” Lacey wrote a few more notes on her theme that the Frenchwoman had the style war won over the American woman in only one key attribute: attitude. They believe they look great, and this gives them the confidence to look their best, so everyone else believes it too.

Lacey sat on a bench in the darkened circular hall of the Cluny Museum. She was reveling in the exquisite artistry of the brilliant unknown weavers who had created these six vibrant tapestries.