Monday, December 6, 2010

Fashion (Almost) Beyond One's Reach

I suppose I'd best admit it now rather than waiting. You see, um, well, there's this thing. Er, you might call it, uh, a kinda defect or something I have. It's, it's, it's.... [Draws deep breath, closes eyes, forces himself to uncross fingers]

I love certain brands of clothing that I can't really afford nor rationally justify buying.

My wife is the same way. Maybe you are too: most people have weaknesses, after all.

In my case it used to be sweaters, jeans and jackets from the Danish firm Blue Willi's. But Blue Willi's scaled back sales operations in the USA a couple of years ago and that source of temptation faded accordingly.

Even before that happened, a greater source of temptation began its emergence: Paul & Shark. Despite its name, Paul & Shark is an Italian company whose sweaters and other garments sell for at least twice the price of a comparable Blue Willi's item.

"Affordable" is a relative concept. When I was a private in the Army, I could afford only the cheapest civilian clothing. And there are people at the higher extreme. Nevertheless, a decent men's sweater such as a Pendleton crew-neck woolen can be had for around $70. Given that benchmark (and setting aside matters such as quality of materials and workmanship), a Blue Willi's sweater was five times too expensive and a Paul& Shark is around ten times so.

No way can I afford a $700 Paul & Shark, and even $350 for a Blue Willi's was more than I could really justify. Solution: buy only sale items. Unfortunately, a Paul & Shark on sale is about the same price (or more!) than was a non-sale Blue Willi's.

That was enough to allow me to do no more than drool on the shop's rug when looking at Paul & Shark clothing. But around a year ago I broke down and bought one on sale. Now I have four.

It's beginning to look like I'd better check myself in for rehab.

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