The $4,000 Cape Coat I Tried On

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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.

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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.

SERIOUSLY????

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.

It’s All Just Stuff: Decluttering Your Home

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Despite the fact (or perhaps BECAUSE of the fact) that my mother’s family is full of pack rats, I cannot stand the idea of accumulating tons of items which just take up space. Since my mom and I had different philosophies about objects and belongings, the subject of decluttering was a point of contention between us.  My mom sequestered all kinds of things in boxes and tissue paper for decades, never to be worn or used, frozen in a static, pristine state and kept hidden. After dealing with tremendous guilt over my mother’s attachment to things which I had somehow held myself responsible for, I let it go, and was able to purge items which only collected dust in closets and the garage. I just had a garage sale last weekend and it felt GREAT to finally let go of large, bulky items such as two very traditional oil paintings which simply were never my style to begin with, and which sat in museum boxes in my garage for nine years. I also got rid of a bunch of hot little mini-dresses which I had worn during trophy presentations at bodybuilding contests from 2010 through 2013. I must have pulled about 40 dresses from my collection, all of which were only worn once or twice. It was like shedding old skin, and it felt fantastic.

One of my friends had asked me if I had ever gotten rid of something and later regretted it. There have been a few instances in which this occurred, even as recently as last weekend when I realized that a re-seller who had purchased several groups of items had gotten a few gems which I had foolishly forgotten to remove when I was organizing and displaying items for the garage sale. Though I had a moment of sadness, I let it go since there wasn’t a single thing I could do about retrieving those things. Oh well, I thought, it truly is all just stuff. There are some items I will NEVER get rid of, things which hold huge sentimental value. But for the most part, just about anything which is damaged or worn down or sitting on a shelf unused in my residence will eventually find its way into a garage sale.

If you haven’t used something in a while and it is collecting dust, get rid of it. There is probably someone out there who will use it and will appreciate it. If there is something you haven’t used or worn because you are waiting for the right occasion, either USE IT or let it go!