Shopping always brings this out in me…

Last Monday I went to Lord & Taylor (never a good idea) to see if I could use the 20% off coupon I’d found online, along with the credit card I rarely use.  My intent was to find a nice pair of pants or some kind of statement piece to assuage my need to acquire.  I figured, “Hey, I don’t have any money, but I’ve got credit!”  This is a shameful way of thinking, and I knew that going into it, but Lordy, sometimes a girl just needs some retail therapy!!

Well, I went to every floor, concentrating mostly on the BCBG, Nanette Lepore, and Lauren by Ralph Lauren areas… BCBG was beautiful but unpractical, Ralph Lauren had no pants with inseams longer than 33″ (WTH, I always used to be able to count on him for long pants!!), and Nanette Lepore didn’t seem to have anything left that I actually wanted in anything close to my size–which is very good, because it saved me about $500 for one particularly cheeky riding number.  I wanted it so badly I would’ve bought it a size too small, if they’d had it.  Thank God for unanswered prayers, eh? Um… yeah.

Leopard Belt Included...

Leopard Belt Included...

So, here’s that hot little number to the right.  The fabric was a fabulous nonwoven wool, done in a plaid that was distressed so that there were patches of nothingness (think motheaten or mangy–don’t turn your nose up, it was HOT!!).  The back has asymmetrical pleating to fall over the derriere just. so.  This picture doesn’t do it justice!  The problem is, the model doesn’t have enough ba-donk-a-donk.  However, there has never been a question (nor will there ever be) that I most certainly do.  I was literally, genetically made to wear riding habits.  If only I could wear victorian fashions everyday, I could feel like the sexiest thing this side of the Mississippi.

After a failed mission of last-resort through the gloves section,  I gave up and stalked off for home.  I would like to take a moment to say, what the hell are all of the models wearing for gloves?!  I mean, these girls are as tall as I am.  These girls have giant feet, too!  Big feet means big hands–size 9.5 for gloves, at least!!  So WHY, pray tell, WHY is an 8 considered an XL?!!  And just what, exactly, are the models wearing?  Because there is nothing to represent the taller percentage of the female population when it comes to buying gloves at Lord & Taylor. Nay, there is nothing to represent the taller women in any glove department anywhere!  Why should we be forced to slink around the internet on drag-queen websites for beautiful, albeit limited, accessories?!  Thank God for drag-queens!  Without their retail sites, I’d have never found a sexy pair of 6-inch platforms or elbow-length leather gloves.  I learned this secret early on, when I was around 18 years old and desperate for a pair of beautiful heels that didn’t look like they belonged to Frankenstein’s monster.  It has only been within the last couple of years that retailers had begun to realize that amazons around the globe were a cogent market.  And then the stock market crash happened last September and guess what?  Forget that, chaps–we need to concentrate on the masses!

No longer does H&M carry a plus-size selection.  No longer do many footwear companies produce 11’s or 12’s.  Say goodbye to longer inseams at Ralph Lauren.  “Why?” You say?  Simple.  Because companies feel that it is simply not cost-effective.  And sadly, they may be right.  My argument has always been that taller and larger women are so grateful when they find brands that fit, that they are instantly loyal, and often don’t bother shopping anywhere else.  However, this is the age when women are making sacrifices to extend their wardrobes… sending shoes out to be fixed (excellent!), and learning to sew buttons back on when they fall off just to get another season out of that blouse.  Ladies, this is wonderful.  No one was willing to put forth the effort to save their clothes for more than just one season, but now, the smart people are starting to look at clothing as an investment again, not simply a throw-away commodity.

There will always be the “cheaper, better, faster” Wal-mart-mongering a-holes looking to save a buck at the expense of the earth and the poorest-of-the-poor living on it, but I see this market crash as maybe just the redeeming event we all needed to learn that fashion doesn’t have to be disposable.  50 years ago, quality was paramount in clothing.  Even the discount clothing proudly boasted “Union Made” labels.  Most everything was produced domestically, the money stayed within the country, and families put food on the table by working in shirt factories, textile mills and tanneries.  Now we only have the ghosts of these once-great industries.  The equipment, strong, hundred-year-old behemoths that never broke down and remained dependable all those years, that same equipment, has been sold overseas.  That same equipment!  But you’ll never find the quality we once had, the skilled labor that came from a lifetime of pride in one’s work!  I have no ill will toward China.  They saw the potential where we dropped the ball.  And now, they are killing us with our own greed.

So the next time you walk into a Wal-mart, or a Zara , or a Forever 21, please just think of the true cost that you’re paying.  How many wearings before that seam rips and the shirt falls apart?  Divide that number into the price (this gives you cost-per-wearing), and you may start to think differently about fast fashion.


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