Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 6: For the Love of Coach

I cannot lie...some of us in my family are a bit on the whore-for-a-name-brand side of things. Exhibit A would be my cousin, whom we shall call Mr. Darcy (not for his dashing good looks or easy charm, but for his unexplainable mood swings brought on by random events). Mr. Darcy LOVES Ralph Lauren. Well, at least he did. I think after college he graduated to BMW and Barney's, but in his youth, he was a slut for a man on a horse wielding a polo stick. For his mother, it did make Christmas shopping for him easier - only one gift to buy because he only wanted Polo...and buying Polo meant only buying one Polo item.

For my other cousin, formerly referred to as Miss was Abercrombie and Fitch. As she somehow inherited the one skinny gene in our pool, she got to flaunt it in sweaters that ended at her belly button and skirts that I once mistook for halter tops. She also made Christmas shopping easy - one stop at the A&F store and we were on our way to the caramel corn kiosk (which could also have something to do with why we did not have Fitch-friendly hips).

My mother, on the other hand, has always preferred the luxury of Lands' End. She says that their clothing lasts forever and is worth the price...which is probably true. I have Lands' End fleeces from high school that still hold a place amongst the temporary clothing of Rue 21 and Lerner. (When I was in college, I bought my sorority girl clubbing uniform...short black skirts and strappy tank tops...from Rue 21 because it was just cheap enough to be "disposable" should something unsightly happen in the back of a Honda.) So, I can appreciate Lands' End for their down vests that keep everything warm in the early days of November and their geeky red plaid-lined jeans that knock the chill off in the middle of February. But still, Mom has become a victim to the tag.

As for me, I have worn question marks on my butt and embroidered jockeys on my chest. My alphabet is not "A, B, C" but "DKNY" and "NYC"...all made worse by the arrival of outlet malls and the frequenting of consignment stores, the Goodwill in Hartland and TJ Maxx. Now, I can have what I crave most at a fraction of the cost. My most fond memories of high school include road trips to the Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy outlet (yes, you may refer to it as the holy trinity if the spirit moves you) for basement bargains on slightly irregular shirts, jeans, and dresses. I may have had seams running askew and uneven sleeves, but my tag said "Gap" and nobody can take that away from me. All of the irregular clothes have now gone by the wayside, schlepped off to Goodwill for some other college freshman to stumble across in victory. These days, I sit and wait for Lexington's upper eschelon to tire of their Ann Taylor Loft cardigans and Tommy jeans. I wait for them to pop up in my favorite little consignment store with a single-digit price tag attached. And I anticipate trips to the beach where, inevitably, there is an outlet mall erected for those who prefer not to worship the sun gods.

There is just such one of these outlet malls in Destin. Silver Sands outlet mall has stores like Polo who mark an item 10% off and call it a "blowout sale" and then there are stores like Coach, where a purse that was originally priced at over $400 can now be yours for just ONE crisp Ben Franklin. And that is how the Coach madness began. Miss Scarlett brought us the news of a clearance rack at Coach that sent us all scurrying for our mastercards and car keys. In total, we as a family now own 5 new Coach purses, of varying sizes and colors. In a deal I made with the devil (AKA my mother) I will have to wait until Christmas eve to "unwrap" my hot pink pleasure...but it is so worth the wait. While everyone else will be lamenting over the stain they can't clean or the new crack in the leather strap, mine will be shiny and new and in sublime condition to make its debut. And I have a perfect, new American Eagle sweater with which to pair it!

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