Thursday, October 27, 2011

Browsing: You know you should buy it when...

My mother (the slim, glamorous maven in the above picture) befriends people the way Coco Chanel defined a world of women's wear: often and with style. She has lived in the Boston area for about forty years now, and has probably more friends than anyone I know. But the wonderful thing about her friendships is how she befriends people she connects with no matter who they are or what they do. This includes, but is not limited to, her buddies at the gym, doormen who valet park her car at various hotels throughout Boston even though she isn't staying at them, artists of great fame, writers of debatable fame, waiters at her favorite restaurants, the UPS name it. She has a wonderful way of making her friends feel respected and appreciated. She is genuine.

I would argue, though, that some of her most fun friendships come in the form of sales associates at stores. I should also add that my mother has impeccable taste. And the sales people she loves love her back, because unlike many women who shop at the stores, my mother really cares about her friends who work there. It follows naturally then, that I basically grew up at Alan Bilzerian, in Newton and Boston, MA. I got my first nice purse there, my prom shoes, etc. All the big moments. My mother's friend Gretchen calls her when new stuff comes in, and in we go to the city. We don't always buy things, either. Gretchen just lets us know so we can come bask in the beauty of the objects (which really do resemble fine art). These are real friendships, not interactions designed only for transaction.

So anyways, we recently went in, and if the Lust List was online clothes porn, this was like watching clothes mate with each other in person (in fabric, if you will). I tried on a Rick Owens jacket that made me want to sell drugs on the street corner to afford it. Speaking of selling drugs on street corners, Gretchen, my mother and I decided that's how you know if you should invest in a piece of clothing: it should make you want to do terrible things in order to buy it. My friend Hilary and I were just discussing the other day how it can make more sense to buy really nice pieces of clothing less often rather than buying cheap clothes all the time. Even on a working girl's modest budget, if you plan right, you can buy things from your own Lust List. It just means valuing quality over quantity. Unfortunately, no amounts of planning would get me this Rick Owens jacket, but that's why I took a picture. So that I can pretend.

And if I thought the Rick was good, when I got to the Isabel Marant rack I nearly died. Remember that Navajo Print Tunic I posted about a few days ago? Well here it is. In white AND in black. Ugh, I'm drooling.

As if that weren't bad enough, I got my paws on these two sweaters:

Talk about the perfect chunky white sweater. And the fringe up top seems so silly and yet SO fantastic to me--a sort of "screw you" to anyone who thinks it's too much.

And then, the Repetto flats and boots. So delicate, so elegant. Perfect, really.

This boot below is an Alberto Fasciani. The embossing...sigh.

So as you can see, the store is a Mecca for those who love beautiful things. Even though most of the stuff there would take me months to save for, it's still wonderful to go in and browse. I believe that fashion can be just as much fun to look at and imagine owning than to actually own. Except when you find the piece that you'd sell crack for--then you know you should probably take out your wallet.


  1. :) take two. Anyway, two things: 1. this is EXACTLY how I feel about fashion. It's art - wearable, beautiful art. And it's so much fun to try on clothes and just appreciate them (funnily enough, the super expensive clothes always seem to fit perfectly.) 2. Fashion that would make you want to a) sell drugs or b) sell body parts is *goood*: perfectly fitting McQueen jacket made me consider selling eggs, a kidney or something else!

  2. Miriam-
    It's absolutely maddening that the more expensive, the better it fits, the better it looks. There's something to be said for outrageous prices. But we mortals must make due, or do, as we agree, terrible things. Thanks so much for the comments and for reading--I loved your happy hour train post ;)


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