My Saturday
I take dance classes at a studio way downtown, so on Saturday, I decided to stop by Century 21 afterward for kicks. I hadn't been there in ages and I really had nothing else to do, so I figured why not? I had forgotten that they separated the shoe department into a separate store, so I stopped there first. Right away, I spotted a pair of quilted Marc by Marc Jacobs ballet flats from last fall that I had wanted to buy but never got around to. Score! However, when I saw the price, I was a bit confused: They were on "clearance" for $280, with the "original" Century 21 price of $500. Um, way to mark up, Century 21--as I remember, the shoes were originally $360 last fall at Saks. Woe to the poor soul who spent $500 on those. Slightly disgusted, I headed over to the regular store and up to the designer floor, where I found...nothing. I feel like Century 21 usually has a nice selection of European designer stuff, like Marni, Gucci, John Galliano, Costume National, etc., but the most exciting stuff I saw on Saturday was some old Clements Ribiero and Plein Sud. Whoopee. The designer section seems to have shrunk, too, with even more space devoted to secondary lines like Michael Michael Kors and Lauren Ralph Lauren. Even the contemporary section, where I used to be able to find cute T-shirts and jeans, was filled with boring stuff. Of course, in spite of all this, there were like 30 women in line for the fitting rooms. So I went back down to the 2nd floor, where I usually have at least some success in the lingerie department. But aside from the two pairs of $6 DKNY opaque tights I ended up buying, no such luck. Now, I realize that I went on a Saturday afternoon, which is never the best time to shop anywhere in Manhattan, but aside from the junky quality of everything in the store, I was kind of shocked at all of the tourists. Century 21 has long been a tourist destination, of course, and now that NYC's biggest draw is right across the street from it, I'm sure that magnifies everything. But I'm wondering if the situation in Lower Manhattan has become so dire--that even Century 21 is struggling to survive--that the store has to pander totally to tourists. Do New Yorkers even shop at Century 21 anymore? If the state of the store on Saturday is any indication, you can count me out.

So Saturday afternoon, I came home and switched my closet from spring/summer to fall/winter, a very involved process that takes several hours. I love switching my closet, because it gets me really excited about the upcoming seasons, and it gives me a clearer picture of how I need to shop to round out my wardrobe. For example, I discovered I own way too many 1) pleated skirts, 2) cardigan sweaters, and 3) black pants. Hello, clothing rut. I need to shop for 1) dresses, 2) non-pleated (and non-mini) skirts, and 3) blazers. I made a big bag of stuff for Housing Works (where I donate all my old stuff), a small bag to give away to friends, and an even smaller bag of sentimental stuff to keep in storage. And I made a new shopping list, which is the most exciting part. The other thing I realized is that I buy too much crap. I'm still a firm believer in buying designer "classic" pieces (for example, I have a pair of black wool Ann Demeulemeester trousers that I bought six years ago at Barneys and will probably have for another 20 years) and mixing them with trendier stuff (from, say H&M)--I just need redirect my money toward more long-term purchases and fewer disposable items. It's a very French way of thinking, so maybe I'll re-read French Women Don't Get Fat (or whatever it's called) for inspiration! In the meantime, of course, I'll be reporting on my progress here.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,
The stock at C21 can rock or it can suck. That is the thrill of discount shopping. I have been there when there was seriously nothing, and times when my head almost exploded. So try it again a bit later. You never know.