October 30, 2010 Leave a comment
The Ritz-Carlton Chicago.
I remember the birth of the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago in 1975. I was 21, a senior in college.
The Ritz was not a place I would frequent. We were middle class but just barely and the Ritz was…well The Ritz. For wealthy people.
I was there a few short weeks ago. For a business meeting. I was dressed in a suit. On some level the distance between The Ritz and me did not seem as great as before. Yet in some ways…
The lobby of the Ritz is 12 floors up from street level. You come off the elevator into this great room. As you enter the restaurant, very chic, is on your left. In front of you on the other side of the room is a series of floor to ceiling windows looking north over the Loop. There are chairs and couches near the window. A great vastness separates you from the other side of the room.
Slowly cross the room and what do you see.
Besides the kind of well-appointed, yes stylish, room you expect from the Ritz, what I noticed most were the people. These were not necessarily beautiful people but they were definitely stylish people. And lets put the other business people aside, those like me who were well dressed but in costumes there only for a performance. I refer to the people who seemed to be staying at the hotel or were visiting or were there for lunch.
Each one was nicely dressed. Nicely appointed. Without being ostentatious.
Those who know me know that I am fashioned challenged. To some degree more accurately I am fashion ambivalent. Yet I appreciate clean lines, unwrinkled and color coordinated outfits.
In these outfits were women and men who moved with quiet confidence. I admire that even more.
Sure, maybe these are the privileged. Maybe they come from money and clothes and confidence comes easy. Maybe… maybe not. I did not sense an air of privilege.
It was cool. On this day, at this moment I stood in a large, airy, sun filled room and took in nothing more than style.