Wednesday, August 12, 2009

057. The gathering gloom

I tend to do almost all my shopping exclusively through the internet. As a result, shopping in physical boutiques is a treat for me. I enjoy walking through boutiques because the layout of the stores are often as artistic as the clothing they sell. And I like checking out to boutiques who host promising websites online. In the past, they have almost always exceeded my expectations.

But I went to Philly to go shopping recently, and then NYC, to the lower East Side. Don't get me wrong, the shops were so fun to walk through and the people were great too. I also had a marvelous time with my fellow companion-shoppers. But very few things caught my attention, and I had to excuse some flaws in order to justify trying them on. An enormous, poofy cream blouse with a bird print that was utterly unwearable except as part of a clown costume, or a skirt with a petticoat (worn while on a stroll in the English country, alongside Elizabeth Bennett). A beautiful bright red t-shirt top with some quirky art print on it, completely, overly voluminous and an obscene $88. These things could look good on, and the red top did look good on, but I was not so delighted by it as to be persuaded to spend such a ridiculous chunk of cash on it. I would wear these things, but this is the time I should be investing in sensible pieces, not adding to my costume wardrobe. I shall not mention the endless pieces of blah that littered the rest of the hangers. Should I be investing in socks this year?*

Boutique shopping is supposed to be the cream of the crop. These little niche stores, for me, are my opportunity to browse hand-picked items. The boutiques are so tiny that they should only be carrying the most palatable wares. Why then has the experience been such a disaster this summer?

Well, I blame the ongoing 80's trend which seems not to be willing to lay down and die, even though it's been hanging on for a good three years. The cropped shirt, the oversized shoulder pads, and the boyfriend jean are all styles that push at the peripheries of fashion without becoming big enough to swallow themselves up and disappear into the void again. Sometimes things need to get big so they can then go out with a bang, not to return for another two or three decades. But it seems people have the sense not to produce these trends in huge volume. So they are never getting that opportunity to rise up, then fall down. What to do, what to do?

The best bet right now, for myself, is not to buy. I am, however, an insatiable shopper. I try not to buy, but the more I try not to, the more I fail. Instead I end up resorting to culling the best from the worst and finding beauty in it. A few considably "decent" things:

Hellz BellzThe Agent Bellz Jacket, $33.95

Not sure if the asymmetrical zip is doing anyone any favors (this comes into conflict with boobage, have you noticed), but you can't beat an 82% off sale.
Heimstone Coral Randy Dress, £175.00

I respect Heimstone. Primarily because Heimstone hates me. And anyone else who does not have a perfect body. Heimstone says, "Unless you are awesome, you cannot wear me. And even if you are awesome, you probably cannot afford me. So, I'm going to be hanging out, just to make you feel bad. And if you don't like that, you can suck it." Heimstone also says, "And just in an effort to make you feel even worse about yourself, I am going to go the other extreme and do the opposite of vanity sizing so you are too big to fit into your real size. Enjoy!" Heimstone has the classic popular-girl-holier-than-thou complex, and does not pretend not to, and I like Heimstone for that honesty, and feel cowed by it. I have a masochistic streak.

LITTERSF Crypt Walk, $80

Here's a fun little gem. Notice that it's not the shoe that's $80, which would be a real steal, but instead, the strap around the angle. Yeah, that studded black piece of leather with the chain. That piece of leather with some metal on it is $80. The shoe is probably about four times that much. But if you want to get into credit card debt, I recommend buying the set. Now, if only the website would provide a link to the shoes. This site is most annoying.

* NOTE: I would mention that my biggest beef with Anthropologie right now, besides their completely unnecessary site redesign, is the fact that they keep advertising multiple outfits with this one particular pair of knee socks. The socks are adorable. In fact the socks are even more adorable than anything else on the site. But is there a link, anywhere, so that I might purchase these socks? No, there is not. For this reason, Anthropologie, you should be ashamed of yourself, for you have lost a considerable amount of business.