As summer sales dwindle down, my living room is starting to look like a makeshift boutique, divided in two by an imaginary line for things that have to go back to the stores and things that will be added to my Chanel collection. And then there’s a tiny section for things that have to be cleared out of the closet to make room for new purchases. It is a vicious cycle that I go through twice a year. The only difference this time around is that I actually found almost everything on my wish list in my size. I don’t know if that means it was a very unpopular season so things lasted till sales, or the pieces I liked were really off the radar, or maybe I just got to my network a bit more effectively this time around. It’s half science, half luck, this sale shopping thing.
A few years before–maybe 3 to 5 years ago, I would get a call from the boutiques to come in and peruse things privately. Very civilly I would go through racks and pull a few items. Then with economic and corporate policy changes in recent times, inventory became decidedly more finite and I was left to fend for myself against the now very public pre-sales chaos. Now, I’m as competitive as the next person looking for a deal and I do enjoy a good chase, but time is not on my side and it’s the one commodity that I can’t leverage in the battles of the sales. As such, I learned to become more organized; I’d build an excel spreadsheet to remind myself of what/where/how much each item is very early on in the season, giving myself plenty of time to edit and revise the list down to a tighter wish list as time went on. Then when the time came, I’d submit my list to my network of sales associates and the hunt goes into full swing. Ladies and gentlemen, pre-sales is no longer a quiet perk for loyal customers. It is now both a marathon and a sprint for die-hard fashionistas: you have to have a lot of stamina to keep up with the texts/emails/calls from stores around the country/world as well as the speed to grab the items in that small window of opportunity. Texting becomes your best friend, but a fast yes is what gets the job done.
About three years ago I decided that sales are both a blessing and a curse. The whole mentality of the chase can make you buy more things than you need, and the stress that comes with it distracts you from rational decision making. That’s the down side. The up side is that you do get a substantial saving in many instances, at least 40% off–here in the US anyway. But for the sake of what’s left of my sanity, I decided that I had to take a completely unemotional approach to sale shopping. This is where photos come in very handy. As you can tell, I take lots of selfies trying on my wish list items. I study these photos pretty much the whole season (along with any photos of the items as they are featured in magazines, blogs, etc.), so by the time sales come, I feel like I’ve lived in them for months already and the nervous excitement is almost all gone. Unfiltered comments from friends and family also help me make my final cut. Just because I am in love with a particular tweed does not mean all of my trusted advisers will greenlight the item. They may point out that the fit is unflattering when I’m too blinded by the buttons to notice anything else.
I certainly can’t persuade any sane person to live through this, just for shopping. And I fear that today’s entry sounds like a confession of a mad shopper, but if you are an avid Chanel collector like myself, you might get me!
The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 7: Please disregard everything you’ve just read , because today’s episode is about a “demi-couture” jacket from the recent 14C season that was nowhere on my wish list. Never saw it the entire season. Not in Paris, not anywhere. I’d wandered into my local boutique last week to pick up a dress a few weeks after sales broke, and while waiting for it, I took a peek at what was left. And there it was, hanging nonchalantly amidst a sea of other shimmery jackets (the ones that apparently were left because they were too formal/expensive for the practical consumers, even here in glitzy Beverly Hills). In my size, no less.
The frothy fabric was what drew me to it, even from the hanger. When I touched it, I knew it belonged with me. And when I put it on, I was half way out the door with the darn confection on my back! But my lovely sales associate reappeared with my dress and we did a reality check. He confirmed that, for once, I would require no alterations for this jacket. Yes, the silhouette is quite modern even if the Lesage fabric is very classic, which is a perfect combination in my book. But, but, but, he said….the silk fabric is super high-maintenance and delicate, so it will take the patience of a saint to put up with it. Beware of common things like jewelry, chairs, table corners, seat belts, and other humans who may bump into me/it and snag the heck out of the jacket. And then there is the hefty price tag. So in spite of the anaphylactic convulsions I was going into while he took the jacket from me, he counseled me to take a chill pill, sleep on it, then come back if I decided that I could not live without it. Is he not the most refreshing salesperson out there?