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An Epic Sale's Siren Call

The irresistibility of January sales.

Oh yes I did. I saved $226 on a fabulous wool coat. And if they’d had those boots I wanted in size 11, I could have saved even more. Did you see how cute they were?

If you’ve watched TV, looked at a newspaper, glanced at the internet, or wandered into a bricks and mortar store, you know what I’m talking about:  Epic January Sales.

Finally, I understand why Odysseus had to be tied to the mast of his ship in order to resist the alluring songs of the Sirens. What Homer failed to include in his little epic is that those Sirens were singing about the low, low prices and the great, great deals that beckon us all as the calendar pages indicate the New Year. Go ahead. Try to resist the “final mark downs” without being lashed to a chair just out of reach of your wallet, your keyboard or your smart phone. It’s impossible.

What about Penelope? You really think that super rich, ersatz widow stayed home all day weaving and unweaving the same old blanket while her husband was away “on business?” Baloney. She was out, shopping the racks, doing her best to keep Ithaca’s economy robust. A gal has to look good if and when her man does come home…

…which was precisely what I was thinking about as I found myself, pivoting in front of a three-way mirror at the mall, answering the Siren call of the winter coat sales.

Before I continue, I feel I must remind skeptical readers (men) what all enlightened readers (women) know: There is always room in the closet for one more coat. And, as long as I’m sharing truths we hold to be self-evident, there’s room for more boots, more black shoes and more purses. 

But right now, all I want to do is talk about my new coat. Or really, I want to say thank you to Calvin Klein for designing such a lovely coat. I can’t help wondering, however, if he really had me in mind, in my polar fleece pullover and my sensible shoes, when he added the toggle closures to what is otherwise my dream coat. 

That’s what I kept thinking, anyway, as I pivoted in front of the mirror and questioned the prudence of purchasing a black coat adorned with shiny gold hardware.  After all, shiny gold hardware signals a fashion statement. Fashion statements signal style. Style signals effort. Effort means look at me. Look at me represents the exact antithesis of every wardrobe choice I’ve made since I stepped out of my wedding dress twenty-one years ago. And for the first five years of my working life, I wore a pleated skirt and a turtleneck, the Catholic schoolgirl version of khakis and a blue blazer. Give me a uniform and I’m happy. I can blend-in. A black coat blends. Shiny gold toggles do not. And therein is my problem.

“FB” has been my motto for as long as I decided I needed a motto. The “B” stands for blend. Whatever the event, I like to make sure nothing I wear is attention-drawing.  Don’t look the worst, but don’t look the best. Check the dress code and follow it enough to be acceptable. 

If you’re wondering about the “F” in my motto, suffice it to say that it suggests the vernacular use of a verb, often used as an adjective, which, when thus employed, implies emphasis. If I wrote it out, I’d have to wash my fingers out with soap.  

The point is, if Mr. Klein really had my best interest in mind when he designed the coat now, he would have made the hardware black and I could rest assured that I could wear it and be well within my FB comfort range.

It fits perfectly. (Sirens hum.) It’s got divine pockets. (Sirens chant.) It’s got plenty of room for a sweater, yet doesn’t look oversized. (Sirens harmonize.) It’s sporty, yet sophisticated. (Sirens add back-up dancers.) It’s marked down so much I can’t afford to leave it in the store. (Sirens at full Gospel throttle.) It’s mine, to hell with the gold hardware. (Sirens laugh.)

Okay. I admit it. The Sirens called out, and I obeyed, too weak to resist. 

But isn’t that the story for most of us at this time of year? Sure, we might crash, lured to our demise by the dizzying seduction of a song, or a sale, or a coat. But hey, at least this year I’ll look great as I get smashed to smithereens on the rocky shores of fashion. I might not have saved myself, but I did save 60 percent of the retail price.

May my children live to tell my epic tale.

Karen January 21, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I am totally with you on thinking you don't want toggles but in this case you do! That coat demands toggles! Without them FB becomes F D(Iull). To quote my late mother in law, an epic bargain shopper, wear it in good health.
Karen January 21, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Whoops i meant F D(ull).
Beth Olderman January 21, 2012 at 06:12 PM
F with "B"lending -- the coat works on you and you are working the coat!
Sally Higginson January 22, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Coat update: I hate the shiny hardware. I'm beginning to think that Homer used Penelope's weaving and unweaving as a metaphor for purchasing and returning. That means, of course, I may have to unweave... in common parlance, return... the coat. Damn.
Jennifer Fisher January 23, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Wait, what happened to "there's always room for more coats?" I support the toggles.

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