My Unicorn At The End Of A Rainbow

Anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I don’t spend much money on my wardrobe. I shop second-hand first, scour the internet for the best deals on the pricey shoes my feet require nowadays, and never buy anything (except perhaps socks) that isn’t on sale. Being frugal is in my blood.

I’ve been on a quest for a long time – years, actually – to find a trucker style denim jacket that fits me well. Denim jackets fit great on people with broad shoulders, long arms, and slim hips. My puny shoulders, teradactyl arms, and baby-carrying-shelf hips have made my search a big challenge. I’ve found several blazer style denim jackets that fit well over the years…but that’s not what I want. I want a trucker style jacket! And of course, being Mrs. Frugal, I want to find this mystical jacket for a buck at a yard sale. Heck, I’d settle for finding one on the clearance rack at a department store.

Alas, what few denim jackets I’ve run across at yard sales fit me just like the ones on the clearance racks:  too big on top and too tight at the bottom. If I’m lucky enough to get one that fits one area, the other area is all wrong. Petite sizing would offer the best fit for me, but in my area, few stores offer petites; those that do have a very limited stock. Shopping online doesn’t work very well for something that really must be tried on.

Recently, I received a $10 coupon for JC Penney’s, and my heart was set on using it to buy myself a trucker jacket. JCP featured one in their sale ad, so I had high hopes. Indeed, there were several sizing options available in store – misses, plus, juniors, even petites! I tried on jackets from each department (except plus)… but not a single one fit properly, or even close.

Was I chasing an impossible dream? Am I the only woman shaped in such a way that there isn’t a jean jacket on this planet that can be worn fully buttoned, without drooping off the shoulders and requiring the sleeves to be rolled? Would I be forced to sew my own? (It’ll never happen; I’m not that good a seamstress.)

All that disappointment made me hungry, so I left JCP behind and headed to the food court. A fluffy Mrs. Powell’s cinnamon roll would be quite comforting. Normally, because I don’t like eating out alone, I’d take my roll out to my car to enjoy, but it’s simply too unbearably hot for that in August. So I sat at a table in the food court, all by myself, and ate half the ginourmous cinnamon roll. It was delicious! As I tucked the remaining half of the roll into a take-home container, I noticed the shop across from where I sat had a sign advertising a sale:  Denim ~ buy one, get one for $10! Christopher & Banks…not a place I frequent, primarily due to their prices being rather high. I do like finding C&B pieces at thrift stores, however. Well…what the hey, it’s worth a look at least, right?

I crammed the styrofoam container into my purse and entered Christopher & Banks. There was a small sign near the front of the store stating that they now offer petite sizes. I found the petite section near the back of the shop, and BEHOLD ~ a (very high) rack of denim trucker jackets!!! (Side note:  why do they put petite sized clothing on high racks? We’re SHORT; we can’t reach the stuff on the top!) I managed to pull down a PL jacket to try on, purposely not looking at the price tag.

Guess what?

All of the buttons fastened and there was even wiggle room at the bottom. What?! I trotted to the mirror to check the fit at the top. Drat – it was too big across the shoulders, baggy under the arms, and the sleeves would need to be rolled. A friend of mine from church happened to be in the store shopping. She suggested I try sizing down to a medium, but I was skeptical that it would button at the bottom. The sales clerk brought me a PM and I put it on.

Guess what?

IT FIT PERFECTLY ALL OVER!!!!!

(Cue the heavenly trumpets here!)

Doesn’t hang over my shoulders: check!

Doesn’t bag under the arms:  check!

Sleeves stop at the end of my arms, not over my hands:  check!

All the buttons fasten, even the bottom one:  check!

Oh my goodness gracious! I have FOUND the elusive denim trucker jacket of my dreams! Le sigh…

The only drawback to this jacket was the price tag. I did, in fact, have to look at it, and it shouted $44.95. Whew! That’s not a Walmart price. Then again, it’s not a Walmart jacket. I told myself I’d only buy it if I could find a pair of jeans that fit perfectly, too. After all, the sale was “buy one, get one for $10”. Gotta buy two pieces to get the deal.

C&B offered three styles of jeans for the petite lady; I chose a 12P and a 14P from the “modern fit” and the “almost boot cut” (skipping the skinnies) and went to the dressing room. The 12P in the modern fit were fine in the hip and thighs, but way too big in the waist. If I sized down to a 10P, they’d be too tight in the thighs, and probably still too big in the waist. Not for me. The 12P in the almost boot cut fit so well, my heart went pitty-patter! Perfect at waist, hip, thigh, and length. Wonderful!

Now the inner debate began…the jeans were $54.95, and I’d get the jacket for $10, but my total would be $65 plus tax. Could I justify spending that much money on only two articles of clothing? After bouncing back and forth for several minutes in the dressing room, I finally decided to buy them. I took the lovely denim pieces to the counter and handed my credit card to the sales clerk. Then I walked out of the mall with a white and blue shopping bag in my hand, half a cinnamon roll in my purse, and a smile on my face.

We live about 12 miles from town, which is about a 20 minute drive. Not even half way home, I began having anxiety about spending $70 on jeans and a jacket. By the time I rounded the last curve before our house, my hands were gripping the steering wheel so hard my knuckles were white and I had the AC cranked up to Arctic to combat my sweating brow. What was I thinking?! I don’t spend that kind of money on clothes! I don’t spend that kind of money on anything! GAH!!

After I unloaded the car and put away the groceries, I set the C&B bag on the bed but didn’t take out the contents. Surely if I saw those price tags again, I’d have a heart attack. It would be an hour or two before Some Postman returned home from work, but when he did, I planned to show him the evidence of what I’d done. If he fell over from sticker shock, I’d stop at the mall first to return the items the next time I went to town. I was certain he’d have a cow. After all, *I* was having one!

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Once my husband got home and had settled down with his after-work snack of peanuts, I confessed my Huge Shopping Spree. I showed him the Very Expensive jeans and jacket. Cringing, I held out the receipt for him to read the Enormous Grand Total for himself, because it caused me far too much anxiety to say the number out loud.

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Do you know what that man said?

“Will you get a lot of use out of these things?” Well, yes. Denim totally fits into my everyday wardrobe. “So keep them.” Are you sure? Didn’t I spend too much? That’s a LOT of money for jeans and a jacket! “Well, if you can find the exact same thing for less online, return those things to the store and get the stuff online.” I searched. Nope. Can’t even find the stuff online, except at C&B’s website for the same price. “So keep ’em. It’s fine.”

Well. OK. Yay!

But the anxiety still lingered almost a week later, when I met my friend Cassie for coffee. In the process of catching up on each others’ lives, the entire sordid tale of The Jacket poured out. Cassie pointed her cup of coffee at me and told me that I’d found my unicorn at the end of a rainbox, and if I returned those jeans and jacket, she’d be very upset with me and something quite unpleasant would occur! (Not sure what she’d do, but she’d think of something memorable! ha ha!) Sometimes, Cassie said, when that thing for which you’ve searched finally shows up in all its perfection, you just whip out your credit card and buy the thing. And then wear it and enjoy every aspect of its awesomeness.

So I haven’t returned the jeans and jacket. Neither have I worn them, though. Mostly because it’s still too bloody hot for wearing such things. I did remove from my closet the denim blazer jacket that’s been hanging languidly, unworn, since I bought it at a second hand store several years ago. (It wasn’t what I really wanted, but it was supposed to “do”. It didn’t.) And I took pictures of that blazer, listing it for sale on eBay. (Hopefully it will be right for someone else.)

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For sale here.

Just seeing that C&B trucker jacket snuggled up in my closet with my other jackets made me happy. It made me even happier putting it on for a quick mirror-selfie:

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My “unicorn at the end of a rainbow”!

But…the tags are still attached. As are the tags on the jeans. I’m going to keep both pieces, truly. It’s just going to be a really big deal to cut the tags off. Maybe Cassie will come over to assist me in a Cutting Off of the Tags Ceremony…

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