I am happy to admit that I am a born shopper!
Because I have champagne taste on a beer pocketbook, shopping for me is more about the paradox of stimulation and relaxation than it is about spending. I can dream big in department stores. I can search for the perfect dress or necklace and maybe find a fun bauble along the way that doesn’t break the bank. But as a visually stimulated person I just love looking! To me it is a satisfying energy of observing art.
Being a committed Nordstrom girl I was always dragging my heels about really getting into the Lord & Taylor territory. The stores seemed over large to me and I just didn’t know the layout. But two of my friends drew me into the L&T world and after that I couldn’t thank them enough. The operative word was … COUPONS!
Sometimes after work in New York City I would make the drive back to Connecticut with a detour to the L&T in Stamford. It was a little top off of delight to myself before going home. I started to develop relationships with some of the saleswomen in the store and had my personal favorites who I looked forward to seeing and whose advice I would trust. There were items there that you couldn’t find readily anywhere else so a search could sometimes yield a delightful surprise purchase. The handbag and shoe sections were superb with a cross section of prices that made for some approachable buys. But it was the evening dress selection that was the knockout. And if you were lucky enough with a coupon in the right sale you could walk away with an evening dress for a shockingly small sum. The adventure of shopping at L&T carried the added dynamic of playing my own personal game of the price is right.
One weekend the Stamford L&T offered one of their crazy special evenings. The store was open until 11PM with live music.
I was shopping with my friend, Starr, who is a totally committed L&T shopper. We walked into that store and literally spent hours shopping until we dropped. The shoe section was on fire that night with markdowns that were unreal. The staff were enjoying themselves even though every woman was driving them crazy with requests. It was difficult to walk through the shoe section because of all the boxes and shoes that littered the floor. But it seemed to only enhance the experience.
Starr and I were the two people laughing the most in the store. We would literally draw people to us with our own sense of abandon. We loved to give unsolicited advice to other women who looked puzzled and undecided about purchases. We forged acquaintances out of those moments. And I loved the tangible bonds that were felt between women when they reach out to each other in support.
Crazy moments, music, beverages being served, shopping camaraderie…what dizzying joy.
So today, as I read that L&T will be liquidating their inventory when the danger of Covid 19 is reduced and the stores open again, it is a real and genuine sorrow to me. It’s not about the “stuff.” It’s about the experiences that will be lost…of seeing clothing art, touching fabrics, finding a surprise gift for a relative and reveling in your discovery and of calling a dear friend and sharing the little treasures you may have nabbed in the sale.