The $4,000 Cape Coat I Tried On


Two weeks ago, I found myself in the Beverly Center, a high-end shopping mall near restaurant row in Beverly Hills. Though I hate shopping, I went there to kill some time (three hours to be exact), since my acting class wasn’t starting until the evening, and I didn’t want to brave L.A. traffic to drive home, only to turn back around and sit through two hours of traffic to go back over the hill again.

Memories of shopping trips I had taken with my mom back when I was a teenager flooded back as I walked through the mall. We used to go into the swanky stores, try on beautiful designs, and wish we had the money to buy them. As usual, the Beverly Center was filled with designer boutiques which displayed beautiful items with hefty price tags. Since I had no intention of shopping, I simply strolled by the stores to familiarize myself with them. Fendi. Louis Vuitton. Gucci. Prada. Dolce & Gabbana. Tiffany & Co. Versace. Burberry. Henri Bendel. It was an impressive display of ostentatious style.


I settled onto a bench in the middle of level six of the mall with a cup of coffee and relaxed for a bit. Then as I was sipping my coffee, my eyes alighted upon THE COAT. There it was, just beyond the entrance of Traffic Los Angeles, a cape coat like none I had ever seen before. It was Goth, vampire-ish, Sith Lord-ish, high fashion, and utterly exquisite. It completely took my breath away. I averted my eyes as if I had been caught staring at a human object of lust. I drank my coffee, but was so compelled to stare at the coat that I finally allowed myself to do so, unabashedly. I stared at the lines of the coat, the fall of the cape, the leather piping, and was in love.

I finished my coffee, then walked into Traffic, straight up to the coat. I fingered the asymmetric neckline, then the looped belt, then the cape. A saleswoman approached me. “Would you like to try this on?”, she said with a smile. “You’re damned right I would!” was what I was thinking, but instead, I just said “Yes.”

As soon as I felt the heft of the coat sliding across my shoulders, I knew I would love it on me. It was INCREDIBLE. It fit me perfectly too.

I looked at the price tag: $4,078.


I realize full well that it is a designer cape coat, by Gareth Pugh. Incidentally, the saleswoman wrote down the designer’s name as Garrett Pugli, which meant that I went through a maddening search to find anything on him online. That seems very odd, coming from a high end boutique where the salespeople should be very aware of the designers, especially if they boldly throw the snobby high-pressure sales pitch on potential customers. But, let’s get back to the price of the coat. I am not even in the vicinity of being able to afford such a thing, so my heart broke. Despite my disappointment, I tried it on a few times, even after walking around the mall for an hour and a half and returning to try it on again. The salespeople there told me they could give me a 45% discount on the coat, as if that made it somehow affordable for me. At $2,242, it was still about $2,000 out of my budget. Oh well.

My love, the Gareth Pugh cape coat, is most likely still hanging in Traffic, waiting for someone with wads of cash to give it a home. Alas, I will not be the person to grant it a forever home.

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