Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of twenty books for adults and children. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times (including four years as the Sunday New York Times Magazine beauty columnist), and a home design columnist for Long Island Newsday. Learn more about Deborah and her books at her website.
I look through my closet filled with designer clothes. The question is what to put on: The grass-green Chanel jacket with the worn jeans, sky-high heels and the navy Birkin bag? The black cashmere Valentino sweater with the skinny white wool Prada pants and the black Louboutins with the blood red soles?
In my dreams.
Sage Parker may have a wardrobe like that, but I don’t. I’m more J. Crew mixed with Uniglo, and a designer splurge here and there. But a girl can dream.
Sage Parker, the heroine of Someone Else’s Love Letter, knows how to dress—for any and every occasion. And she’s a dogged shopper—except for the time she spends searching for the man who wrote the love letter she found on the floor of a taxi on her way home from a closet assessment. The man who seduced her with his words, the quality of the paper, and the color of the ink in his fountain pen.
But I’ll get back to that.
So shopping is what Sage does for a living. She sorts through her clients’ closets and puts together outfits that help them look and feel their best, even when they’re not at the top of their game.
Sage can pair that perfect black pencil skirt with a classic white shirt, and then shake things up with a killer jacket, or a handful of fun necklaces. She has a wardrobe of high-quality staples, but she takes them up a few notches with quirky finds, some designer quality, others from vintage shops. And then there are all the high-end shoes and handbags she owns that go the distance in terms of completing her chic outfits.
Not all Sage’s clients have the budgets to buy couture clothes, but no matter. Sage mixes investment pieces with cheap chic. She knows where to shop and when. Best of all, she has fun doing it and doesn’t take any of it too seriously.
Wear your old clothes like they’re new, and new clothes like they’re old, as the French say.
What am I leading up to?
I created Sage Parker. But I’m no Sage Parker. While it’s easy and fun to talk about dressing well, doing it is something else.
I remember my six-year-old daughter turning to me one day and saying, “I know how to swim, I just can’t do it.”
That sort of sums it up. I know great fashion when I see it, but I can’t exactly shop for it or put it together. Especially on my own body.
So what do I do?
I work at channeling Sage Parker. What would she do? How would she dress me if she were standing here? If I told her I was going to a book signing, say, what would she tell me to wear?
The fun of writing is pretending. You’re the best-dressed woman in the room. You have that yellow diamond ring from Graff and a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park in New York, not to mention a retreat on the Amalfi coast. You always know what to say, or what not to say. You have the perfect men in your life and the most giving, compassionate friends. Yes, it’s all fiction, but the more you write about that life, the more it becomes real to you. And crazy as it may sound, you sometimes would rather spend time with your fictional friends in your made-up world than the real one.
And when you’ve created characters you enjoy spending time with, chances are your readers will feel the same way.
So I give you Sage Parker, wardrobe consultant extraordinaire. While you follow her on her journey of finding the writer of the love letter that captivated her from the moment she read it, may she inspire you to wear clothes that make you look and feel fabulous.
Or to quote Virginia Woolf: Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us.
Someone Else’s Love Letter
Sage Parker has the perfect job — she helps people discover the powers of dressing well. Her sense of fashion is impeccable, her connections are unsurpassed, and her eye misses not a single well-made stitch.
So when she discovers a love note left on the floor of a cab, Sage admires the card stock and the ink, but also the heartfelt words. She sets out on a mission to find out who the love note was intended for―and who wrote it.
What she finds will change her life, introducing her to an extraordinary woman who is revamping her entire world midway through life, a dashing Brit with a hive of secrets, and a free-spirited painter, whose brush captures the light in everything he paints, including Sage.