Friday, September 14, 2012

How Not to Spend Money While Shopping

Too tight.
I went out to the stores today, looking for a long top that would cover my behind in these pants, which are nice pants but too tight through the middle for someone of my particular shape and size. With a long, baggy top, they look great. Naturally anything I bought to wear with them would have to harmonize in color and texture. Right? And be long. Tunic-length.

First thing I did was to buy a pair of chinos that fit better than these pants, so that I have something to wear with my normal shirts. These pants are made to resemble leggings. You've seen them on the young girls, no doubt. On the young girls they look fine. You've also seen them on the not so young girls, and you may have thought, why is she wearing that? She looks as if she waded in paint up to her waist and then forgot to get dressed, and furthermore she ought to lose twenty pounds. Not a flattering look. But, as I say, if one wears a long top one can sort of rock it.

I went into a small store that looked as if it might have something that would work and described my requirements to the store owner, who was sitting behind the cash register wishing somebody would come in and actually buy something.

"We haven't any tunics," he said. "Tunics are for spring."

A rack of long knitted tops caught my eye. "These are nice," I said.

"They're all cotton."

"I like cotton." I held the greeny-gray one up to these pants, and the color was wrong – that is, almost the same, neither matching nor contrasting in a good way.

The storekeeper chuckled. "I had a woman come in here last week," he said. "She was your age. Or, no, she was probably older than you. She had a book her mother had made up for her, divided in four, three months for each section. Every section had samples of material in the colors for that season. In the spring you wear this. In the fall you wear that. She hadn't updated it in sixty years. Some of those colors don't even exist anymore."

Pantone Colors for Fall 2012

As I stood there wondering how a color could cease to exist, he decribed how some faceless dictator at Pantone issued yearly edicts three years in advance – this is what color the cars will be, this is what color the clothing will be, these are the colors that will no longer exist. I was reminded of the editor in The Devil Wears Prada, who had the incredible hubris to insist that Vogue Magazine (or whatever they called it) had invented the color blue.

I liked the idea of that old lady's book. Maybe I'll make one myself and take it with me shopping. I reject the notion of obsolete colors (except, perhaps, for harvest gold refrigerators and avocado stoves). Fall is the season for brown clan plaids! When I walk into a store looking for a nice fall outfit and some clerk tells me that brown clan plaids are so last-century, I'll walk right out again, waving my little book. Think of the money I'll save.

Kate Gallison


  1. Kate, this gives a good laugh with which to start the weekend! tjs

  2. Kate, When I told my best friend that I hated shopping, she said, "That can't be. I LOVE shopping!!" Will you be my new best friend?

  3. I'll be your new best friend, Annamaria, but the fact is I sort of like shopping. What I'm wondering is, if we wear colors that no longer exist, will we be invisible?