Trench Coat Mafia
I have been known, on occasion, to take my clothing obsession too far.
When I lived in New York, I saw a Gwen Stefani ‘Lamb’ trench coat in a magazine and got a little obsessed with it. The mag said it was sold at Bloomingdale’s, so I went down there immediately, ready to swoon over it. See, when I see something in a magazine or a store and I decide that I like it, I get a very giddy feeling. When I decide that I want that item to be part of my clothing entourage, I cannot shake that feeling and it’s only satisfied when I’m strolling down the street with that item in a shopping bag and a smug look on my face.
I get to Bloomie’s and look for the coat. I can’t find it anywhere. I ask the staff and they said they had never had that coat in stock. I was pissed. Devastated, even. In the thirty minutes it had taken me to get from my house to Bloomie’s, I had set my heart on making this purchase.
I scrambled back home and got on the internet, desperately trying to track down the new love of my life. I was calling stores all over the place. Eventually, I got hold of a little boutique somewhere in the heart of Brooklyn. They had it. ‘Do you have it in a 10?’ I asked, crossing my fingers. They did. ‘OK. I’m coming to get it,’ I told them. ‘But I’m coming from Harlem, so it might take me a while. Don’t you dare sell that jacket!’
It seemed to take forever to get there. I tried it on and it was a perfect fit. No question, it had to be mine. But here’s the kicker and I can’t believe I’m actually about to admit this: I spent my rent money on that coat.
*hangs head in shame*
Furthermore, I had to split it over two cards.
*buries face in hands*
I couldn’t help it. It was just too fly. And I looked too good in it. The next day I was telling my mum about it on the phone and I tried to lie about the cost of my new favourite jacket. Well, not so much lie, as just avoid the question altogether. But mama is no fool. She went online, looked it up and chewed me out about it later.
Another time in New York, another jacket obsession. I came across this delightful Pringle mac in a little boutique in Soho. When I tried it on, everyone was saying I should get it. And not just the staff, people who were just browsing around the store were telling me that! Again, I fell in love with it. But this was not long after the purchase of the Lamb trench coat and I was still figuring out how the hell I was going to pay my rent, so I didn’t really have a spare $500 to drop on this Pringle number.
Reluctantly, I put it back on the hanger and wiped a tear as I bid it farewell. A couple of months later, I moved back to England. The niggling thought of that Pringle mac would not leave me. One day, while out shopping with my mama, we went into a dress exchange (a place where rich women drop off their designer duds and they’re sold for delightful prices that bring me joy). I walked into the shop and my eyes were instantly drawn to the right hand corner of the room. That familiar pattern, those colours, that silhouette. It was the Pringle jacket! I let out a screech as I ran and ripped it off the hanger. It was my size! And it was only £100! Are you frikkin’ kidding me? Who has this kind of luck?
I wrapped myself in it like it was a hug from a long lost boyfriend. I told my mother and the shop owner the story of how I had seen this jacket in a store in New York and lusted after it. Everyone agreed – it was like I was destined to own it.
That is one of my favourite purchases ever. I still have both the Lamb and Pringle jackets and whenever I wear them, people always stop me and ask me where I got them.
Money (or rent money, as the case may be) well spent.