Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

The Shop Girl Who Is No More ………..

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There are so many stores and shops that are no more in Bangor since we moved here 6 years ago. I think this is probably happening everywhere while we all listen to how the economy is growing. We’re not seeing it or feeling it. But supposedly it is growing.

One of the things I miss most is Shop Girl. This was a weekly column in The Bangor Daily News written by Kristen Andresen. She would have wondrous stories about new stores, where to get the best clothes, make up, hair cuts – you name it – if it was shopping she was your girl.

She published her last column back in February of 2009. I don’t know what BDN thought they were doing, I don’t read the paper any more. Why would I? The only interesting column is gone ………….

Luckily we can all be our own shop girls. I can’t actually tolerate getting in the car and going shopping though. I can’t take it. The selection is so poor out there. I’ve gone to Macy’s at Bangor Mall a few times in 6 years and their clothing is such low quality I thought I was back at Huey’s in Urbana, Illinois. Huey’s big line was – if we don’t have it, you don’t need it. It was kind of a Marden’s on steroids. If you don’t know Marden’s – guess you don’t live in Maine! Our governor was general manager for Marden’s before he became governor.

But we can all troll the web for deals. We can find decent clothes and for me, fabric, which means clothes – and shoes and make up and underwear and clothes and make up and fabric ……….. You get the idea.

A word about cheap. If you want cheap you can always shop Walmart. If you want things to last, you won’t. Not that maybe some of the stuff might last – but who would want it to? As broke as broke I have yet to wear an outfit bought at Walmart. Not even a tee shirt.

I’ve been known to shop at the best stores I can find. For instance Jacobson’s in Grosse Pointe Village, MI. It was a nice store with high quality clothing. They left in late 2000 when they shut down all of their department stores. Since I left in July 2000 I don’t know what they’ve done – but I’ve heard it’s good. Jacobson’s was the only place that had a couture clothing section. I once spent $350 on a three piece outfit by Nicole Miller. It was a long black pleated skirt, a beige shirt with a polka dot tie and a gorgeous jacket in a black/cream geometric print lined in black. The shop assistant was shocked when I asked to try it on. She didn’t think I had the money and probably because I was wearing jeans and a tee shirt. I don’t always wear jeans and a tee shirt, but if I have to shop I do.

That outfit was originally $1,100. I got a steal. I wore it for years and I would wear the jacket with everything. I didn’t care for the blouse so I found a silk sweater with a great assymetrical draped collar that looked awesome under it. The jacket was plain – no lapels – but so wonderful. Wish I still had it although no way I could fit into it now. I think it was a 10. Sigh.

Now the clothes I don’t make usually come from Eddie Bauer. Super couture Eddie Bauer. They fit – they last – and I can wear them to work or out for dinner. I am comfortable.

Alas the 3.5″ heels are gone too. I have no idea how you all walk in those new even higher heels. I cringe at the thought. I dream of once again buying sandals with a 3′ wedge. I might do that this year – Born has some knock down pink ones I love.

The clothes I make I make with good fine fabrics and I pay attention to every detail. I need to be able to wear those clothes and just like I won’t wear Walmart clothes I won’t sew with cheap fabric. It is not worth it. I shop where I find exquisite fabrics. I do try to keep the cost down, but if it’s less than $30 a yard I’m okay. Over that I have to think if I want to take scissors to it.

Some current fabric in the stash

Artisan Stripe  Emma One Sock Dot Com

Artisan Stripe
Emma One Sock Dot Com

Oscar Cotton Twill Emma One Sock Dot Com

Oscar Cotton Twill
Emma One Sock Dot Com

And on the WISH list

Cotton Silk Voile  Elliott Berman Textiles NY

Cotton Silk Voile
Elliott Berman Textiles NY

Silk with Roses Elliott Berman Textiles NY

Silk with Roses
Elliott Berman Textiles NY

There’s more –

But for tonight – just heave a sigh for Shop Girl – she’s turning from a young thirties something into MOI and you can read all about the adventure here ……………………

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Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

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