Princess: My wardrobe is right on, Target | AspenTimes.com
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Princess: My wardrobe is right on, Target

Alison Berkley Margo

So I bought a bunch of clothes at Target, and I really like them. What does that mean?

There was a time in the thick of my Aspenhood that I would meander into designer boutiques I had no business being in and then try on half the inventory when the salesgirl didn’t try to kick me out. It always amazed me when the well-coiffed employees at these high-end retailers actually seemed to enjoy having me there, even if I waddled in wearing dirty yoga clothes that did little to hide my so-not-size-2 bod. They’d treat me like I actually could afford this stuff and deserved to touch it and try it on and admire myself in it, even though I probably could have used a shower.

And then the craziest thing would happen — I’d begin to believe them.

As a true purveyor of fashion, I found these experiences extremely gratifying, the clothes truly transformative. There is nothing like beautifully crafted clothes that are tailored well that alter your silhouette — and, therefore, your state of mind — in ways you never imagined.

Suddenly you find yourself doing calculations in your head, trying to recall credit-card balances and perhaps money you spent on other things. Like, you might go, “That speeding ticket cost me twice as much as this shirt, and I didn’t even have anything to show for it in the end.”

Or you might consider the cost per use, as in, “If this bag costs a thousand bucks, that’s roughly 10 bucks a day for the first three months. Hell, I spend that at Peach’s just having my morning latte and a gluten-free scone!”

Yes, there was a time when I’d close my eyes when it came time to sign the little digital-screen thing because I didn’t want to see how much it came to with tax. There was a time when I’d put one item on three different credit cards because somehow that made it seem like it cost less.

I can’t say I regret any of those purchases. More often than not, I enjoyed them for years as someone might a painting or some other piece of priceless art. It didn’t matter that I had to sort of starve myself for at least a week to fit into them or that by the time I was done paying off my credit-card bill, they ended up costing twice as much as the originally inflated designer-boutique retail price. I felt good and sophisticated and refined and pretty, and that seemed worth it.

That’s not what I was thinking when I walked into Target thinking I was there to buy laundry detergent and a flashlight or maybe plant food or some other random item I could no longer recall by the time I’d gotten lost in the clothing section.

“Oh, my God — this is so cute!” I said as I perused the messy racks of cotton striped this and that under the florescent lights that give everything, including your skin, a tinge of sickly green. I mean, who knew Mossimo was such an amazing designer?

I grabbed like 10 different things, suddenly finding myself in a frenzied state, as if there wasn’t a Target at virtually every exit off Interstate 25 in Denver that didn’t have the exact same thing.

“You can only bring six items into the dressing room,” the attendant told me as she hunched over a grocery cart (I’m not kidding — a grocery cart) filled with fitting-room castoffs. She started counting my hangers. “You have 12. You’ll have to leave these out here,” she said in a snotty tone that suggested I was being too greedy. She grabbed half my stack from out of my arms with no feeling whatsoever, like she didn’t care if I was holding a puppy or a baby or a pair of floral-print cutoff shorts.

“Oh, OK,” I said, wishing she’d at least given me the option of what to take in.

I took my stash into the bathroom-stall-like dressing room, where the harsh lighting and three-way mirror startled me at first. Had it been so long since I’d had my roots done? Was that cellulite or a mark from the toilet seat? Note to self: Invest in some better makeup.

But then the craziest thing happened. Everything I tried on fit perfectly, and I loved it all. The long striped maxiskirt with black, gray and white stripes that doubled as a dress; the striped gray sundress with the high-low hem that’s trending right now; a peplum T-shirt I’d grabbed off the clearance rack that was $8 and super-flattering; and yoga capris with pastel stripes around the waist that were (hello) 10 times more flattering and comfortable than anything I’ve ever bought at Lululemon at quadruple the price. Plus, I could fit into a size small. Do those yoga snobs have any idea how demoralizing it is to have to go two sizes up and have everything hemmed? I mean, rethink your strategy here, people. Your store does not put me in a peaceful, yogic frame of mind — it makes me want to reconsider those techniques my bulimic friends used to make themselves puke.

The best part was when I went to the cash register with my arms full of clothes and it cost less than a hundred bucks. Who cares if the hostess had the exact same skirt on when we went out to dinner? Why should I be embarrassed that the woman standing behind me waiting for a latte was wearing that same gray-striped dress I was? My shoes were better, and I paired it with a really cute cropped jacket. So what if that one lace top was a little itchy?

What does this all mean? Has my princess tiara tarnished, or am I just getting wiser with age?

On second thought, maybe I’ve just been in Denver for too long.

The Princess will be home soon. Email your love alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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