Janet Urquhart: Joining Aspen’s fashionably poor | AspenTimes.com
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Janet Urquhart: Joining Aspen’s fashionably poor

Chanel is leaving Aspen.

I read that bit of news with what can only be described as complete indifference. Actually, that’s a lie. I believe my first reaction was, “There’s a Chanel here?”

I honestly have no idea what Chanel sells, unless it’s Chanel No. 5, but I can’t imagine an entire store devoted to bottles of perfume, even in Aspen.



The truth is, I’ve lived in Aspen for nearly eight years and I’ve never set foot in three-quarters of the stores here. I can pass by the handbag museums as I round the corner from Hopkins onto Galena without ever really noticing what’s inside, let alone contemplate venturing inside one of them. I’d look as out of place as cellulite on a Victoria’s Secret model.

I’ve never dined at half of Aspen’s restaurants, either, even though I swear every year that I’m going to try the three-course, locals-appreciation deals I see advertised at our finer establishments every off-season. But, I know a couple of glasses of wine and a tip later, the real bill for a $30 dinner will be at least $50.




Instead, I climb the stairs to New York Pizza, where I know I won’t have to pay for dinner on an installment plan.

And yet, all my money is always gone. How expensive is it to live in Aspen? It’s so expensive, cash spends itself spontaneously. Through the miracle of direct deposit, payroll deductions and automatic bill paying, you can deposit a paycheck on Friday afternoon and be in debt by Monday morning without leaving the house.

One of these days, I expect my employer to tell me, “It’s payday, you owe us money. Fork it over.”

Where else in the world does a paycheck stub note payroll withholdings for a gym membership and a ski pass?

But, alas, I digress.

Just because I’m not shopping at Polo Ralph Lauren doesn’t mean I’m not a slave to couture. Patagonia’s new fall line can turn me around faster than Imelda Marcos catching sight of a sale sign in the window at Kenneth Cole.

True Aspenites are measured not by the cashmere in their closet, but rather by their fleece collection.

We spend every spare dime on outdoor gear and clothing, giving us the luxury of ignoring every downward plunge in the stock market. It’s not like we manage to sock any money away in an IRA or something. It’s all invested in mountain bikes, multiple pairs of skis, daypacks, backpacks, CamelBaks and an assortment of trail-worthy boots and shoes.

Those pointy-toed, lace-up, stiletto boots in the window at BloomingBirds don’t interest me at all, but I’d drool over a new pair of Sorrels.

You couldn’t drag me, kicking and screaming, into Fendi, but you can’t get me out of the Ute Mountaineer ” unless REI is having a sale.

[Janet Urquhart is doing her part to bolster consumer spending. Her column appears on Fridays]


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