Friday, December 30, 2005

New Outfits

There is this mad rush to hit the stores before year's end. Post-holiday sales, year-end markdowns, coupons encouraging the power of owning.

It becomes a real life game of Monopoly as one goes from store to store...trying to figure out when each store's sales become the true deal. For some stores, it's the post-holiday week. For others, the excellent deals won't be found until mid-January when prices are ruthlessly slashed to meet quarterly predictions and to welcome in the spring fashions.

Yet, for some stores, their sales seem to start earlier and earlier. Like my all-time favorite Bath and Body Works. Their semi-annual sale has semi-started already. In the stores, it's a rather pitiful shopping spree as most holiday gifts sets are either at 40% or 50% off. However, it's been reported that several high-ticket items online have been marked down to 75%, thus spurring an incredible, yet frustrating, buying frenzy on the recently unveiled online store site. What makes it more confusing is that apparently the 75% off is only available through a link found in the emails sent; otherwise, one is doomed only to find gift baskets marked for 40% off. However, the thrill of finding a good deal is somewhat pessimistically altered by the fact that many of the orders are backordered and ultimately end up being cancelled. Apparently Scrooge hasn't completely left the building.

My new favorite store, however, is Ann Taylor Loft. Less expensive than Ann Taylor and a lot more contemporary and classic than its older sibling which caters to the career woman. Their dressing rooms are spacious, and the lighting does not attempt to cut you in a favorable light. All they need is to serve brownies and wine in them like they do in the Bliss Spa. But I digress. Ann Taylor Loft is in the middle of their post-holiday sale, and bargains are truly to be found. Dress shirts for $24.99. Pants for $29.99 and up. Fleece jackets for $19.99. Suit jackets for $54.99. And many more. My score for the day was a cream tank and shell for a mere $30, reduced from $80. With my extra $20 off coupon should I use my Ann Taylor credit card, it became a $10 purchase.

Sometimes, braving the crowds is absolutely worth it.

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