I read, on the blog Rock the Silver, a post distinguishing between Hunter and Gatherer shoppers. Hunting means searching for a certain item, with focus. Gathering, means, well, gathering. Whatever you happen to find. How about you? I find that some things I hunt, other things I gather. Take, for example, shopping and hair days.
I got to the city. Turns out the salon had moved to a larger space. Noisier. I could have let that wreck my day too. But why? So someone else cut my hair. In the noisy space. It was fine. I was elated, with swingy hair. I recommend glazes, by the way, for a little extra shine.
Then I ate lunch. At a place where you pay huge sums of money to get exactly what you want. That’s their menu above. Just taking a breath costs $6.50. Eating is more. I had swiss chard with roast tomato aoli.
And mussels in cream.
Oh my god.
I ate them in the kind of reverent hurry that good food deserves. Sat back, wiped my mouth with the cloth napkin, almost humming with happiness. Then I went shopping. Sort of. I browsed Gump’s pearls. They are so gorgeous that just looking satisfies my cravings. I don’t need more pearls in my life. Then I asked a saleswoman about the Murano glass doves. They don’t carry them in the store. I could have let that wreck my day. But why?
Back out on the streets of San Francisco, hunting for khaki. Gap has abandoned their heritage. And besides, the store in downtown smells of retail death. I skedaddled. Banana Republic, despite their signs that say, “Live In Chinos,” has stretch khakis only.
I do not want my khakis to stretch. Dress pants, good jeans, yes, please stretch, for optimum fitting and corralling of various body parts. For casual clothes I want the obdurate fit of woven cotton. Unmoving around my hips and baggy on the legs. In fact, I want to channel Katherine Hepburn, in disciplined khakis and a white shirt. Confidence, insouciance. Stretch pants are perfect when perfect, but terrifying in failure. They optimize, but they also shift, anxiously, they crawl into places they don’t belong. One could not fight off crocodiles in stretch pants.
I happened, finally, upon the Chanel boutique. Oh my god.
A gorgeous navy tweed jacket in the window. Classic shape, minimal fringe. (I’d show it to you, but apparently it was too special to have its picture taken.) I’ve been wanting to replace my old black and white houndstooth for ages. So I girded my loins and reapplied my lipstick. Even High WASPs have to reapply lipstick when entering a Chanel boutique. Especially if we know we probably won’t buy anything. (Remember, you just have to look as though you could, even if it’s only a look in your eyes.) The saleswoman informed me, with a certain glee, that my size was sold out. All across America, apparently. The gray version of the same jacket was lovely, and could be mine for approximately $5500. I say approximately, because after the number 5 I heard no more.
Were I still a visible executive, I’d have bought it. I’m a big believer in spending for beauty and impact. But this would have hung in my closet for decades, worn 3 times/year. Beauty, no impact.
I walked back to my car, drove home. Beautiful day. No rain. The sun shone on San Francisco bay in that way we almost take for granted. So much twinkling, so much slate blue. I walked in my front door, opened my laptop, got online, ordered the Murano doves. They remind me of a gold glass bird we had when I was growing up. I’m in the mood for whimsy. Researched Eddie Bauer (at Mrs. Lynch’s recommendation, thank you) and L.L. Bean khakis. Bean’s are stretchless. Ordered a pair for $39.50. Save money where you can, spend where it matters, abstain altogether from unnecessary purchases. Isn’t the Internet a great shopping safety net?
It was a good outing. Hunting for clothes, gathering time, seizing the day. I’ll let you know how the khakis turn out. What looks like Katherine Hepburn in one’s mind can turn out dowdy in person. Then you have to don your pith helmet and head back out.