Saling through the seasons


No, I didn’t mean to type “Sailing”, and yes, that is a word – I just made it up, but it’s still a word. Because it was all about the Sales. Department store Sales, New Year Sales, January Sales – whatever you want to call them. They were up in my face, and I wasn’t happy about it.

I’m a really “with it” type of person when it comes to fashion, and when I say with it, I pretty much mean totally without. I like what I like, and I don’t notice what is going on around me. Being in fashion is either an accident produced by dressing in dark, or retro fashions that I am still wearing rolling around for a second coming.

Early on this winter I did notice however, a trend amongst the chavvy set for the wearing of massive puffer jackets with fake fur trip on the hoods. Several years ago it was bomber length puffer jackets, which is terribly irresponsible to your kidneys – you must keep them warm for your health, but this season it was past mid thigh.

It wasn’t until half way through this season – and by that I mean now – that I noticed that there were actually some quite nice looking coats walking about as well. And then with my trip to New York in winter coming up, a down filled parka would actually be quite suitable.

Of course – I said to myself somewhat deludedly – I’ll buy one in New York!

Off we went to New York, to fill a long weekend with touristy wonders – and it really was fabulous – but this isn’t about that. It’s about the nightmare that was shopping.

As it was February, I assumed that the sales would be over, but they weren’t. The biggest trouble however was that as far as the fashion world is concerned, winter IS over. Their spring lines are bursting forth bright and bubbly from the racks. And there in the back, on overcrowded rails, are what’s left over from winter.

Firstly – I abhore sales. I feel physically ill if I walk into Next several days after christmas. It looks like someone fed all their stock to a giant hungry robot, which gagged on the harem pants and threw up the lot – right back onto the racks. Everything is everywhere, sizes are mixed up, and you can’t find a single thing. I won’t do it.

But with my potential jacket in mind, I braved several well known New York department stores, and still came out empty handed. Macy’s had nothing coming close, Bloomingdales left me cold and was overpriced, and Century 21 was just one scary bottomless pit into which everything had been tossed. They did have jackets, and plenty of them, but they didn’t have anything in my size or even close. (Mr Boxer Shorts did find a good pair of swimming shorts though!)

We also went into Abercrombie and Fitch. I love their clothes, but have to admit that I have majorly grown out of that store. It was black inside, music pumping, and ceiling mounted boxes were spraying their brand of scent all over the place, like a tomcat marking its territory. The moment I walked in I felt like a spike was driven up my nose and into my left eye, as I am very sensitive to smell. There were no jackets, but I picked up a few items to try on, and after asking three people for directions to the fitting rooms (or a head lamp to wear) saw the queue of 12 people waiting, so I dropped the clothes back on their relevant tables (nearly) and left.

Not far from the A&F shop was a tourist shop selling everything from NY keyrings to the exact coat I wanted. It was a brand I’d seen in other shops, but this one was less than a quarter of the price. Alarm bells tinkled lightly as I felt it and looked at the tags. 100% and real fur. I probed down through the fur until I got to the fabric mounting. Erm… coyotes don’t wear vests do they? I found the same coat again in a boutique later – the tag on this one said it was 100% down and faux fur. The price was back in the hundreds. I’d gone off it though. I wouldn’t have worn real coyote fur in the first place, and yet now I was poo pooing it because it wasn’t!

So I came home NY coatless and ordered one online. I found a perfectly gorgeous Abercrombie one for a fraction of the cost, and shipping from dozens of “outlet” stores in China (so in other words, total fakes), and then I ordered one from a store that is demographically the opposite to Abercrombie – Lands End.

By the time it arrives I am sure it will be spring and the coat won’t even get worn until next year. But that’s fine – it keeps me constant with my total lack of fashionability! And besides – I’ve now noticed that over 50% of the mums in the playground are wearing them now. By next year I’ll be unique. Out dated – but still unique.

Photo: Antwerpen