Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It Depends On What The Definition of Is Is

Make of this what you will.

The most salient memories I have of spending time with my father as a child (and mother and brother - so I guess I should say the memories I have of time our family spent together) involve one of three places: Bloomingdale's, Sak's, Macy's.

While other families presumably picnicked in the park, learned to ski, went to the movies, volunteered at soup kitchens, our family hunted. For sales. On things we may or may not have needed. These were frequently Bataan Death March kinds of afternoons. We had to go to everyone's department and we had to try on many things and watch others try on things. While my memory might be exaggerating, it isn't exaggerating by much. We spent more time in department stores than we did almost anywhere other than school. Sometimes there would be a snack, a reward for the hours of shopping and the fact that we were probably walking home to the Upper East Side. Other times there was barely a bathroom break.

This childhood trauma has manifested itself in my adult life in two ways: I hate shopping in stores and I turn my nose up at most "sales."

A sale is only worth something if it's worth something. 20% off is not a sale. In the lifecycle of a season the clothing is only really at full price for maybe three weeks - then come the holiday sales, the three-day weekend sales, the secret mid-week sales, and finally the it's-time-to-stock-next-season's-clothing sales. Since a clothing season only lasts about 10 weeks, the chances of the item you just had to have being gone before it gets to 50% off are slim. Take my favorite, Manolo Blahnik. His New York store runs sales twice a year, in January and July. For the first two weeks of the sale the shoes are 30% off; for the second two weeks of the sale, the shoes are 50% off. Ever since I was able to snag a pair of knee-high black leather boots in my size that I promised myself I would only buy if they made it to 50% off, I haven't even considered walking into the store during the 30% off weeks. Because, in honesty, it's not as though I NEED another pair of shoes.

For many years, I've been a lazy online shopper, hanging out on and and occasionally until big sale season. Then I buy pretty much everything I can find in my size, try it on at home, and send back what I don't like. This has resulted in my owning a lot of dresses made from t-shirts and little else. But a couple of months ago, Amy introduced me to an online destination that is essentially the clearinghouse for brands' old shit that is crowding the warehouses. And some of this shit is really really cheap. Cheap enough that if it gets to the house and doesn't fit or looks awful, I'm only slightly disappointed. I have been stocking up on sub-$50 dresses in an attempt to be prettier on a regular basis (see also hair washing, mascara application, and flossing). Now my closet looks more like the closet of an adult woman (though still with far less items than one would imagine - I told you, I dislike shopping). Sure, some of the stuff is still dreadfully overpriced, and expensive enough that I wouldn't want to make a mistake; and some of it is, in my opinion, ugly. But overall, between the two clearinghouse sites I have joined, I have netted 10 dresses, also known as more than enough to be able to throw everything else in my be-Gapped closet out.

And since I know one or two women read this, and perhaps have not already checked these meccas of saledom out, I invite you to take a peak:

Later on, please feel free to blame me for the fallout from these introductions.

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