I popped into my local mall this past weekend, for a quick five hour jaunt to look for new shoes. What kind of shoes, you ask? Well, I don’t KNOW what kind of shoes, that’s why I have to LOOK, but I know they must be semi-flat, kind of neutral, and vaguely pointy. Which is what I told the sales associates at Neiman Marcus, because it’s their job. And what did I get in return? Several confused looks, a handful of follow-up questions that I obviously could not answer, and one recommendation to go to the outlet mall. Pssshhhh, you wear spaghetti-stained yoga pants and an unwashed Ed Hardy tee shirt to Neimans ONCE, and suddenly you’re relegated to sifting through irregular jeans at the Gap factory store alongside all the other department store pariahs and over-eager tourists.
Anyway, while I was running away from Neimans with tears clouding my vision sauntering confidently up to one of the many soft pretzel kiosks, I happened to walk past J. Crew. Now, I get J. Crew. I get its whole thing. J. Crew’s appeal lies solely their styling. You likely already own something similar to every piece of merchandise offered in a J. Crew store on a day-to-day basis, but their outfits are so well-put together, so delightfully styled that you can’t help spending $248 on your thirty-third black blazer because this one has wooden buttons. Frankly, you have to respect a store that makes its living selling you pants that your grandmother would refer to as “slacks” and genuinely doesn’t give a shit. J. Crew is the honey badger of retailers. But back to my gripping tale – I was strolling casually past J. Crew, admiring the selection of navy ballet flats and pencil skirts mournfully displayed at the mouth of the store, and there it was. A mannequin, front and center in the display window, wearing a white cotton button down and black pants. That’s it. No kicky vest or jazzy belt or spunky statement necklace. Not even a fun pair of printed heels sitting to the side for good measure. A white cotton button down and plain black pants. Now, before you jump down my throat (because I know all of you are VERY emotionally invested in this already), I get that that’s a classic, chic look. Mia Wallace and whatnot. But, come on – every knucklehead with at least four items of clothing to their name can put that look together and has. Also, before you scream at me for not doing my due diligence (Jesus, what is WITH you people???), I did go into the store and examine the mannequin. The pants were basic, and the shirt was ordinary – neither was backless or anything, but OH MY GOD I JUST INVENTED BACKLESS PANTS I’M A GENIUS!
Quick trip to the patent office, and now I’m back to the matter at hand. Look, I’m not saying that it’s a dumb idea or that it didn’t work – in fact, there was a part of me that wanted to be wearing that outfit in that moment, and despite the fact that I have approximately 56 versions of both items in my closet back home, the thought of purchasing these items (or at least trying them on) did brush past my mind. I mean, those 56 versions were all the way at home, and these two were here right now. But then I remembered that I forgot to send in the presents to the children’s Christmas charity I committed to and felt like a total dickhead. And if I bought the clothes, that would make me a selfish dickhead with a slight instant gratification problem, and selfish dickheads with slight instant gratification problems don’t get into heaven, so I refrained. By the way, that part about the dickheads is definitely in the bible. Don’t try to look it up, just trust me.
J. Crew, how dare you. You sell your customers the same clothes over and over again, at increasingly expensive prices, and all you have to do is put together a cute outfit that we dum-dum’s wouldn’t have thought of. You’re already living the dream! Half-assing that last part is just full on laughing in our faces. And we won’t take your mockery, J. Crew!*
*We actually definitely will – can’t wait to see the new Spring line of khaki trench coats and blue chambray shirts!!!