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The Out Of Towners

I bought two pairs of shoes yesterday at DSW. The total cost was $129.00. They weren't even a flirty little pair of heels. No, folks, these were boring slip on loafers. Business shoes. And I was freaking the fook out. Paris Hilton probably spends that much on her way to buy shoes. If I suddenly became rich I wonder if I'd ever lose my blue collar girl sensibility. Would I still gasp/shriek at a $400.00 price tag on a T-shirt? I have a hard enough time paying over $10.00 for one. There is line from "Working Girl" that my sisters and I often quote. It is from a scene where Melanie Griffith and her pal ( played brilliantly by Joan Cusack), are just a couple of girls from Staten Island, NY, playing dress up in the fairytale world of Melanie's well-heeled bosses' ( Sigourney Weaver) closet. "$6,000 and it's not even leath-ah (leather)" We laugh because that is so us. The utter insanity of $6,000.00 cocktail dress. Why would you pay over $500 for something that wasn't leather? What an alien concept. Even more alien would be actually attending an event that would require us to wear such a dress. An event where money is no object. The problem with us is that it is an object. And we'd notice and mentally tally...everything. That caviar, those Swarovski crystal centerpieces, The Grey Goose. A hypothetical conversation, at a swelligant party, between my sister and I: "Did you see those Jimmy Choo's on that blonde over there?" "What? Where?" "Don't stare!" ( and my sister would say that to me in that tight lipped ventriloquist way) "Those are like $800" "How do you know? There are no Jimmy Choo's at Target!" "I know from Sex and The City" "So you haven't seen them in real life." "No, but, probably I could have" And I give her the you're full of beans crazy eyes complete with pursed lips. "How do you know they're not knockoffs" "These people don't buy knockoffs, they can afford the real thing." "I wonder why when the knockoff is probably $600 less." "What? Why would they need to save?" "Why wouldn't they?" And she'd shake me off in that "you just don't get this" way... See, our thought process is even blue collar. If we saw the actual total of everything, we'd end up hyperventilating in a closet just like Melanie Griffith did in that scene from Working Girl. It's just a world we don't know and can't even begin to fathom. A nice place to visit but really we couldn't afford to live there. We'll gladly take the swag bag, though. Ahemmm... Peace - Rene 2009


  1. I'm the queen of thrift... I can't stand paying full price for anything.
    Last week, my SIL and I had to take the guys from her group home shopping to spend their semi annual clothing allowance. We had SUCH a hard time. Client 1 had $1500 to spend. It was horrifying, throwing things into the cart without worrying about the price, or the fact that we could have gotten TEN pairs of jeans for what we just paid for that ONE. Seriously? We don't know how to shop besides clearance!!! Client 2 had $700. All he wanted was a Phillies shirt.

    But... the thriftyness in us came in handy. Then there's client 5, whose budget doesn't allow for more than $100 a year in clothing allowance. That's tight, when you figure in socks, underwear, shoes, everything like that. So we did all the other guys' shopping at Kohls during their Kohls Cash sale - after spending a good portion of THEIR budgets, we had about $500 in Kohls Cash to do a surprise shopping for client 5.

    I couldn't do it - the thoughtless spending of money like that. Why buy a Prada purse when you can get an amazing knockoff for $50???

    And I'm originally a Staten Island, NY girl, so when you quoted that line, I could hear it SOOO clearly :)

  2. Full price, what's that? My kids automatically go to the sale rack at any store they're in.

    Clothing is not worth the $$ for how hard my kids are on their clothes.

  3. Working Girl..a classic! Didn't we all vacumn in underwear and heels after!
    And remember the back-alley purchase of knock-off bags scene in Sex and City!
    About your new can still work it! It's all in the attitude...and hips! But maybe not in a classroom.
    The video clip is hilarious!

  4. I'm with you. I paid $20 for a pair of slip ons that I thought was too much.

  5. I tell my wife, "buy whatever you want" and then I secretly hope she won't. She never does. Always gets good deals at TJ Maxx and Target. It doesn't matter how much you have, in our world. Paying too much is paying too much.

  6. When I was a kid, I lived in that world, Mizz Rene, and it's not worth it. All those beautiful gowns, expensive shoes, makeup, perfumes, all that money spent on often hid rot.

    These days, I balk at paying thirty dollars for a pair of Tevas that will last me two years because I won't replace them until I've worn through the soles. I make my own shirts, take in my pants when they get (thankfully) too big, and shop at thrift stores for my son's clothing...but I'm better off now than I was then.

    Really, who on earth needs a handbag that costs a middle-class mortgage payment??

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who has nothing against wealth - it's the sense of entitlement that so often comes with wealth that she minds)

  7. when i read stuff like this and think about what women endure... fashion, standards, costs, i think:

    how long will you put up with this! take back the streets!

    it's not about the shoes - it's how you sing when you walk!

    it's not the dress that makes you strong and beautiful - it's that smile! that bicep!

    flat shoes, sandals, and hikers OWN heels! (who told you that you had to walk like a show poodle?)
    ask yourself: can i run to catch my bus in these? (heels are a cruel joke. refuse 'em.)

    i know... clothes are fun! God knows i'm ecstatic when i replace my penny loafers every 6 years!
    "Oh, i'll be wearin' these home!"

    it's okay to be a slave, but choose a worthy master.

  8. Thanks for all of your comments guys, Yes I am a thrifty girl, and I live in a thrifty world... but to escape to that decadent world, just for a moment... bliss. But it does come with a price tag both literally and figuratively. And quite frankly I could barely walk the walk in those Jimmy Choos and as far as talking the talk? I'd need a translator.

    And Chuck? I'm singing, I'm owning and I am rocking my bargain basement world 24/7.
    And I cannot chase a Kindergartener bolting for the door, while juggling finger paint pots, wearing heels! :)
    Well maybe I could if I wanted to ;)

    Peace - Rene

  9. One of my brothers makes an obscene amount of money as an executive for a large financial firm (which I will not name, as that might be considered swearing these days).

    Anyway, he belongs to a country club and regularly hangs out with the "upper class" types (yet he's still a pretty down to earth kind of guy). Once in awhile he invites me to "the club" to play racquetball with him and his rich buddies. I always enjoy the looks I get when I pull into the valet parking lane in my muddy, beat up old Jeep.

    I just don't understand the world of $90,000 cars.

  10. I would make a HORRIBLE rich person. I don't even know Jimmy Choo's when I see them. I had to ask my BOYFRIEND for the name of some designer shoes because he once dated a woman who was all into that. She had those red-bottomed shoes Oprah wears.

  11. Jeff, my little sis belongs to that world as well, she and her husband are both as down to earth as it gets... but by just being in that world with them, for a day,I got treated differently. I was suddenly a little more worthy of the finest of service, respect etc... I think that is the aspect of their world that I most desire.

    Stephanie, I honestly can't tell a Jimmy Choo from a Manolo. I have help. But I do love pretty shoes, I can't lie. I am also bad with knowing which expensive car is which.

    Peace - Rene

  12. "Working Girl" was a really fun flick, & Melanie Griffith was really good in it; so was Harrison Ford & Joan Cusak & Sogourney Weaver. Hadn't thought of that one for a while!

  13. I think I ordered the Jimmy Choo last time I ate was spicy, had lots of garlic and little green things in it!

    Shade and Sweetwater,

  14. The line I remember from that movie is, "If you want to be taken seriously, you have to have serious hair." And then she got rid of her mall bangs....

  15. You cracked me up with your chasing kid down the hall comment, because that is how I judge a new pair of shoes - if I can chase kids in 'em, they are keepers.

    Love this post. Very very thrifty here, but also fun to be on the outside looking in...


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