Women’s chat at a coffee store in College, Alaska
The air is heavy from the smell of fresh coffee and vanilla waffles. Two midlife women walk from the counter to a table with three lattes and two snacks. They pick up some sugar on their way to the table with view on campus, they sit at every week ever since the coffee store opened its door in this suburban mall.
They both wear Fairbanks casual meaning skinny jeans, a thermal with a quilted vest, X-tra Tuffs and a Coach bag. “What have you been up to lately?” asks one of them while sipping at her latte. “Nothing,” answers the other “what about you?” “I brought my cross country skis to the store for waxing the other day to be ready for cross country skiing once the snow comes. On my way, I saw they are building a new store in the Bentley Trust Mall.” “What kind of store?” asks the other looking excited and interested while the door opens with a loud squeaking noise and interrupts them.
They turn their heads to the door. A 40+ woman in high heels with dark jeans, a black turtleneck, blazer and one of the current It bags of style metropolis down east and west enters. In the store, her outfit looks misplaced like as if Scotty by accident beamed a fashionista from New York fashion week to College instead of to London fashion week.
The fashionista stirs towards the table. Hugging the women she says “Hi, guys, sorry for being late.” After sitting down, she asks “what were you gals taking about?” “The new store they are building behind Sports Authority” one of the women responds and the other continues “Have you seen that?”
The stylish woman answers “Yep.” “We were wondering what kind of store that will be.” “I heard they are building a Sephora store for the soldiers’ wives” the stylish woman answers. The two other women roll their eyes and one shouts out laughing “OMG, they really don’t know how to shop when living in Fairbanks.”
The facts about shopping in Fairbanks
There is no department store where you could try out the color of a lipstick or foundation or test-smell a perfume.
Long-term Fairbanksan women buy their cosmetics when they are on business, vacation or family visits out of state or in the duty-free shop in the Seattle Tacoma airport on their flight home.
Many female students earn some of they money for college by selling Mary Kay or other brands’ products. Thus, many women in their 40s and beyond feel obligated to buy cosmetics from their friends’ and/or neighbors daughters to support their education.
Facts about Fairbanks’ fashion
In Fairbanks, the It bag is a Coach logo fabric bag. The insider vest is a quilted Northface bought online. And everyone loves skinnies.
In Interior Alaska, the It rubber boots are X-Tra Tuffs (see post here) and Bunny boots.
You turn heads when you can walk in heels in Fairbanks. Tweet this.
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Photos: G. Kramm (2015)
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