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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Frugal Fashion: St John Jacket

My St John Jacket
November 2008

There was a fashion essay in a recent Wall Street Journal about the “value” of a St John suit. St John, in case you don’t know, is a super-expensive, conservative knitwear line, sold at Saks, Nordstrom and the like. On the practical side, they are wrinkle free, at least if you get the signature Santana knit. I always thought the clothes looked like what I call “rich lady clothes.” Certainly too old for me (yet I’m 54!).

According to the WSJ writer, the St John suit will elicit great tables in expensive restaurants, immediate help from sales associates. The author even had her picture snapped while wearing her suit.

I was determined to put this to the test. So I checked out ebay (too expensive), Nordstrom (those babies cost over $1000!). Yes, expensive. I read a while back that many women in congress wear St John; one even said that she bought suits on ebay or in consignment stores.

I decided I would devote a year to checking thrifts (sporadically, not obsessively) before I thought about buying one in more expensive venues. That was on Wednesday. On Saturday, I headed out to my therapeutic thrifts. Habitat for Humanity (donated all my plastic bags to them, no purchase). Food Bank Thrift (right across the street; I walked, saving gas). There I bought 5 books for $1, including Harold Bloom’s study of Wallace Stevens. The other 4 will probably go to

Since I hadn’t wasted much time, I decided to drive the mile or so to Goodwill. I had to go to the grocery next door to mail a package (they have a little post office) and I wanted to buy some satsumas. These are a citrus fruit, kind of like tangerines (maybe they ARE tangerines). Anyway, these are locally grown and are only 79 cents a lb at the grocery.

Goodwill. Checked books first. Rien. Then I kind of casually walked through. Corner of eye—spotted a knit jacket. YES! A St John, and of recent vintage…and my size. The only flaw was a stuck zipper. I bought it anyway ($3.80 with tax) and took it home to show dh. He couldn’t unstick the zipper.

Checked out stuff on internet and discovered St John will repair items for minimal charge. So I call Saks (with my rich lady voice—I only slipped a few times) and asked. YES! Bring it in. Their alteration dept will fix for free. If the seamstresses can’t do it, the jacket can be sent to St John for repair.

Who knows when I will leave my pastoral town for the big city? I realize that to bring the jacket into Saks will require my getting dressed a bit.

The great New Orleans Aquarium is near Saks. We used to park there and walk through en route to the Aquarium. Believe me, my scruffy family stood out!

To be continued…

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