Yesterday, I spent 90 heavenly minutes in Ann Taylor Loft shopping for new clothes. The older kids were in school, the baby napped in her stroller, my travel mug was filled with steaming Sumatra with hazelnut cream. I may have floated a little as I browsed through the sweater selection. It was glorious.
I’m not a clothes horse by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been wearing maternity clothes or oversized t-shirts for the better part of two years now. So it was time. Past time, really. I’m ready to have some style again, to wear clothes that make me feel like me.
Of course, this being the year of the ‘80s revival, clothes shopping has been, shall we say, an experience. I started yesterday’s shopping excursion at Target. Pegged jeans? Blouses with bows? Sweater vests? Neon lettering? Been there, done that, gave the t-shirt to Goodwill. Last year, I believe. I'm ready to move on.
Thankfully, I was able to find some outfits at the Loft that are a good blend of practical and hip, without straying into trendy territory. I still need to sort through my purchases -- a combination of jersey shirts and lightweight sweaters and jeans and cargo pants. -- and decide what to keep. (I tend to buy everything I like and then return half of it a week later, after I’ve had time to think. Stores love me.) But overall, I’m looking forward to a fall where I don’t feel frumpy.
Of course, nothing I bought yesterday would be considered high-end fashion. I'm a stay-at-home Mom and a Midwesterner. I love to add some funk into my wardrobe, but I can't stomach the thought of forking over $745 for a shirt just because it bears the Versace name. It just can't be that good.
And that reminded me of a fabulous article I read in the August issue of "Good Housekeeping." It was written by blogger Kyran Pittman at Notes to Self who was given the opportunity to test fashion editors claims about must-have items that cost a small fortune.
A quick excerpt:
Classic pumps: $495... Classic diamond studs: $5,000... Classic trench coat: $1,395. I could afford the $24 classic tank top, but it would have to wait until my husband got paid again. I added up the list. Ten grand. More than twice our monthly income.
Remember the scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Anne Hathaway, playing the ingenue assistant at a high-fashion magazine, smirks over an intense editorial discussion about couture? That's not me. I am not above fashion. I recognize that real artistry goes into the design and manufacture of fine clothing, and that there is a market for it.
But it mystifies me when it is marketed to moms like me. If the editors of these lists were to leave Manhattan and come to Little Rock, AR, to stand behind me in the supermarket line, coupon book in hand, would they tap me on the shoulder and tell me that a $2,000 designer handbag was an "essential"?
I've read the arguments. That bag, those shoes, that dress will last a lifetime if properly cared for. They will never go out of style. They are an investment.
Go read the whole article for yourself. I promise you won't regret it. And I won't give away the ending, except to say I think Kyran would have loved my shopping trip yesterday.
Clothes are just clothes. But every once in a while, it takes something special on the outside to let the beauty on the inside shine through.
Find Kelly also blogging at Love Well.