May 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Sorties

Historically dear friends, I have been good at saving for the future, but not spending for it. Buying things off-season for events far away on the horizon implies that one plans on being there at that time. Life is not so certain in my view, and so I try not tempt the fates. I do make some exceptions. I buy bananas while they are still green, and I do lay down a case or 2 of wine every year that I may not touch for five or 10, but that is it really. I am just (again, historically) not a strategic consumer.

Things change, yes, when we allow things to.

As I have allowed myself more free access to my feminine sensibilities I am finding an increasing capacity for planning ahead in matters of shopping. Perhaps, in part, my behavior is tilting from male hunter mode to female gatherer mode as a result of the long leash that Petra is operating on. There is more to it than that of course.

learly, when I shop, I am making up for lost time and real gaps in a wardrobe. I consider that I am still very much an apprentice in shopping for non-guy things, and so feel quite happy to put real time into the effort. With practice, I am finding this sort of consumerism to be really enjoyable. Economical too, which is a very real requirement. Spending wisely is a responsibility to the home and future that I share with Mrs. B after all.

So, yes, I have been shopping even though I have no expectation of dressing and enjoying life en femme until September. This post is a little dispatch on a couple of recent sorties.

Macy’s has been on a fairly serious clearance binge these last couple of weeks, and prices on remnants of Winter 09 and early Spring/Summer ’10 have been gutted to a delightful, even shocking degree.

Let us agree that the contemporary women needs a leather jacket. I have had a picture of this item in the back of my mind for some time. Nicely cropped to a high waist, and clean of line. Less biker-chick and more lounge-chic. The found item has just the impact I was looking for. One’s first leather jacket is a meaningful wardrobe commitment. The Cross Dresser is fortunate: we can get that moment twice in one life. $180.00 retail, picked up for $31.00, an 83% discount.

Tucked beneath it (picture above, click to enlarge) was a piece that I have been lusting after for some time. Like the jacket, this clingy stretchy bandage skirt is from I.N.C. International Concepts. Colors graduate from a pale grey, through blue and into black at the mid-thigh hem. Comfy and current, versatile and a huge value. This is a really nice knock-off a BCBG piece that was haunting my day dreams and threatening my wallet at more than double the Macy’s list price of $79.00 earlier this year. Patience paid off as I picked mine up for $22 and change, 72% off list.

Cozy beside the bandage skirt in the chaotic clearance rack was a sleek short number that caught my eye. I need another black skirt like I need a poke in the eye from a mascara wand, but I had to look twice. Always did love the look of a faux-wrap skirt. I believe that this one will go from day to evening without offending any style gods. Measured by % discount, at 85 points off this is my all-time greatest heist and a mere $11.85. At this price, so what if I already have two others that are more or less twins?

I have a hard time leaving casinos on a winning streak, and that foolhardy strain surfaced again later that same day. I had a meeting soon after Round 1 that brought me near to another Macy’s where 2 more items were added. One does get caught up in the fever after all and so I found myself at the finish of the work day back in the I.N.C. racks at Perimeter Mall. I felt that, at worst, by idling for an hour or so I would miss full crush of evening commute traffic home. I did better than worst.

I was able to add a lightweight, 3 season, cropped cutaway, fully lined flannel jacket with a pretty ruffled collar, smartly nipped at the waist, flaring nicely to hip height at side and back. Lots of interesting pleating details at the back of the jacket too. Again, I.N.C, again, super versatile and a wonderful fit. A mere $22.70 down from an even $100.00. Score. Here now, for your benefit, a couple of bonus shopping tips.

First, the clearance racks are typically organized by size, but organized is a relative term. You should always graze up and downstream. Nothing is where it belongs, and the further the garment is from its proper size bracket, the greater the likelihood that it has been missed by your competition. My charming little jacket was found lost amongst the X-Larges.

Advanced bargain hunter Tip #2 has to do with gravity and the savagery of busy shoppers: Really nice things actually fall off of hangers. I kid you not, friends, look and see what has dropped to the carpet. There are diamonds at your feet. Case in point, my last find of the day, a shimmering grey silk blouse with full yards of tuxedo-shirt pleating, a demure Mandarin collar and very full and feminine sleeves that finish at nicely tailored cuffs. Bits of it are pictured above. You are not gauche enough to ask the price, but I am evidently gauche enough to tell you: $20.00 down from $70.00.

A total outlay of ~ $ 110 for just over $500 worth of goods that fit well, are well made, and won’t look dated by the time a chill returns to the air, when the pink tides rolls back in, and I stroll out again in the Autumn.

Can’t wait. You should not wait either. Go plan ahead. Spend on your future. You will be happy you did.


Treacle said...

There is nothing like the lure of a sale. Congratulations on your adventures in predatory shopping...I really dig your outfits.

Petra Bellejambes said...

I dig yours too Treacle. Thanks for the visit and the note m'dear!

Couture Carrie said...

Love your tips and your bandage skirt, darling Petra! So hot!


Anonymous said...

You always pick out the best skirts! you have such amazing legs to show them off with!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the shopping tips. I too have found "end of the season" bargins that allow me to add to my wardrobe without feeling like I'm ruining the family budget. And, they often occur early enough to allow you to get in some use in the current year ... I just love to wear something new.


Leah said...

Good work my dear... I do shop for coats and jackets during off season too. But sometimes, I tend to go overboard so I need to stop. Hahaha! xoxo

Tights Lover said...

That bandage skirt is gorgeous. You make me wanna go shopping (as if I need more encouragement)!

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