Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Outfits - a quest

     It's that time of year again, when there are plenty of social occasions (too many, it seems sometimes) and nothing to wear. Every year I have fantasies of a Christmas social season that resembles the lovely gatherings depicted in magazines and store flyers. You know the ones - women in fabulous cocktail dresses, men in tuxedos, and children in their finest. Champagne is flowing, conversation is witty, and the children are behaving. 
     The kids in Childrens' Place ads are so well-dressed and none of them have food down their fronts nor smeared on their faces. The women in the Vogue holiday editorial spreads are a bit surly looking, perhaps in need of a drink, and their dates are very attentive and not even hammered. Not that I'd wear a $3,000 couture gown to a holiday event. Heck, I wouldn't even shell out for fancy children's clothes for my kids, because I know the realities of how little wear the clothes would get and how destroyed they'd be in one wearing.
     At any rate, the reality is that the events I will attend are more GAP/Old Navy holiday parties than even the ones in the Sears catalogue. I'm not saying we'll have a Griswold Christmas, but I don't foresee strapless gowns, champagne flutes, and Cameron in a tux. I'll be amazed if he even has a suit in his closet that's wearable.
    With visions of holiday insanity kicking off next week, I started thinking about what I'll wear to my company's holiday lunch and Cam's company's Christmas dinner/dance. Keeping in mind they're both corporate events, I rifled my closet and ruled out pretty much everything. Too much skin. Too dressy. Wore it already. And, most importantly, I am at that wacky post-partum stage of "I hate my clothes, nothing fits, and I don't want to buy anything new until the baby-weight is all gone."
     The only solution was to head out to retail. Not wanting to spend a fortune, I figured my best bet was to find something lovely, designer, and second-hand at a consignment store. Stopped in to Consignorita, a local consignment store which I'd not visited yet. Surprisingly, there was very little in terms of consignment items (one rack), and everything else was brand new. It struck me as an odd business plan, to market the store as consignment but try to sell new stuff, especially as the new stuff was high-end and fairly casual. Also, it's a bit of a shock to expect consignment prices and be presented with full-priced designer gear. Maybe a margarita before shopping at Consignorita would reduce sticker shock.
     The sales person was super nice, very helpful and did find me a lovely-yet-funky v-neck, wrap, purple and leopard print  Frank Lyman dress, which looked great on, but I wasn't keen on spending close to $200 for a dress that I probably wouldn't wear very much. Call me cheap, but I was looking more for a dressy blouse or top to get some wear out of.
     I knew it was time to hit up my favourite haunt for treasure hunting. Armed with a sense of humour, a bit of determination, and Lauren as my co-shopper, we headed out.

Ajax Value Village

     Value Village isn't just for kids' clothes, although we warmed up our shopping muscles by looking for dress-pants for Austin,. Scored some for him for $4.99. I decided to rifle through the dresses but only found strapless, summer, outdated, or downright hilarious frocks. I moved on to the blouses and yes! I found a gorgeous sheer black, ruffled, FMX Design Studio blouse which I'll wear with a fabulous micro-fibre camisole I found for $4.99. I can wear these with black pants or a skirt, and a nice pair of heels. And the blouse was only $7.99. Awesome. 

Blouse with cami layered underneath.

     So let's do the math. I could have spent around $200 for the Frank Lyman, but spent only $13.00 plus tax on myself instead. I'm thinking with the savings, I could go nuts and get my hair done, mani/pedi, etc. Or, of course, get some nice bottles of wine and some steaks. I think, however, this time, I'll mentally file the savings for when I get my post-Xmas Visa bill, and be glad I didn't spend the money this time. Of course there are always the January sales to look forward to...

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