Whoever said Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year was lying.
If you’re a shopper (and I know you are) the end of January is the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s not the bone-chilling cold, the chapped lips or the dead batteries that we hold close to our hearts. It’s the sales, the ubiquitous clearance signs, the rock-bottom prices.
Remember those yoga pants I wrote about last week? On Saturday, I found a pair by Perry Ellis at T.J. Maxx for $12, so I scrapped my Victoria’s Secret order. In fact, it seemed like the whole store was on clearance. ShopGuy picked up a Timberland jacket for $20. A steal.
On the one rack of full-price merchandise, I spotted a cute tweed jacket for spring that was a dead ringer for the Chanel model I saw in Glamour this month. The magazine declared it perfect for ladies who lunch – at their desk. I’m a lady. I lunch at my desk. Sometimes I dinner there, too. But spring seemed awfully far off, so I decided to wait.
It’s a good thing. I saw a similar jacket on the clearance rack at Marshalls. But, like everything else there that I wanted, it didn’t fit. Too big. Then there were the Earl jeans, on clearance, no less, which I couldn’t take my eyes off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit my thighs into them.
I tromped off to the shoe department, where, surprise, everything was also on clearance. I could’ve walked out with everything there. The brown Nine West boots. The Kenneth Cole Reaction red pumps. The Nicole pointy-toe boots in black and brown. Everything was gorgeous. Everything was cheap. Everything fit funny.
In the handbag department, I was tempted by a Liz Claiborne purse for $12.99, but I resisted. It wasn’t exactly what I needed at the time, so I headed off to Filene’s for their legendary clearance sale.
A colleague came in last Friday breathlessly describing the Nine West high boots that her friend had bought at Filene’s for $30. Either I missed them or everyone else snatched them up, because I couldn’t find any boots in the $30 neighborhood. I did see a pair of high-heeled flip-flops that I liked, but I’ll hold off on those, too.
I had equally dismal luck with clothing. When it comes to clearance, she who hesitates has lost. What was left was too big, too small, too old, or too young. Ugh. Feeling defeated, I shuffled off to the Gap. Surely, they’d have what I was looking for – huge racks of stuff for under $9.99.
They didn’t. Instead of sweaters and jeans, I found myself lusting after a pale green trench coat that resembled a grasshopper – the drink, not the insect. It cost $78.
I left, empty-handed, but not empty-hearted, because I knew that somewhere, someone would be the right size to pick up those miniature Earl jeans, and they’d be happy. Someone will go to the Gap and grab those great size-16 gray pants on the sale rack and look fabulous at work the next day.
I’m cool with my own jeans and gray pants. Besides, I’m going to Old Navy tomorrow. Maybe there will be a huge clearance rack there, with everything in my size. Now that would be the most wonderful deal of the year.
. The mail keeps coming in about shops for plus-size clothing (or, if you prefer, clothing for the mature woman). One reader who is in her late 50s swears by Macy’s in Portland – she writes, “I was a professional woman who needed to dress and I have always liked clothes. … Even in my leisure, have never just put on anything!” Her daughter, who is 30, also loves the selection and prices there.
An anonymous reader suggested Women of Substance on Upper Main Street in Damariscotta: “Please tell your plus-size writers about this wonderful specialty store – they will love it!” For information or hours, call 563-6809.
. An elderly woman in Brewer called last week in search of lightweight wool socks. I suggested SmartWool, but she tried them and hers shrunk. If you have any ideas, please send them to the address at the end of the column. As always, happy shopping!
ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, by U.S. mail to: Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402-1329, or by fax to: 941-9476.