High Style. Low Prices. Zara’s Rules

I love walking Manhattan streets. I love talking to fellow streetwalkers.   Of course black men are the best to look at–style and carriage or just oomph.  But I usually talk to women–our encounters are glancing, upbeat, and informative.

For example,I often sing out, “Great-looking dog”. Partly because I know when somebody compliments my Maltese dog Tootsie while we’re running a red light, I’m tickled.

So it has come to pass that I share that little tickle. And I frequently learn bits and pieces of city lore–and even lore about myself.

Another example: four times now I’ve noted a superior looking garment on a dazzling young woman, complimented her, and discovered that her couture-looking treasure came from Zara’s.

Yes, each time the woman revealed she’d bought said great garment at Zara’s, a surprisingly inexpensive store that I now know rivals catwalks for flattering panache.

Today on Broadway, for instance, a leggy twenty something girl was taking fast wide strides in front of me.   I could almost hear upbeat background music that kept us stepping in street rhythm. I half expected her to burst into high kicks.

Her legs flashed in amazing ways.  Her transparent black skirt was cut into panels– so first passersby saw her bare legs, and then her legs were teasingly covered by transparent black panels.  Like a Busby Berkeley chorus girl.

We paused at the traffic light where I impulsively blurted, “Great skirt”.  She thanked me.  “Where’s it from?”  I asked.

Zara’s, she answered.

“I’m not surprised”, I said.

Then she asked me how she could get to Bergdorf Goodman’s–the most expensive store in the vicinity.  I told her.

But for a few seconds I was perplexed.  Zara’s is the anti-Bergdorf’s.   I bought a scrumptious silky floral scarf at Zara’s for $25.00,  while remembering a very very similar scarf just inside the 57th St. entrance to Bergdorf’s weighed down by a humongous $600.00 price tag.

But then it hit me–I share a shopping strategy with the young woman on her way to Bergdorf’s.

Mine isn’t planned. It just happens over and over again. It’s city instinct.  I start by impulsively veering into Bergdorf Goodman’s.   I check out the first floor with its  $30,000! Buccelatti rings and $500 Etro paisley scarves and superb vintage jewelry behind  Kentshire’s beckoning counters.

I now realize my Bergdorf jaunt is about training my eye.  I am, after all, a transplant here and have only in the last decade or so developed a personal clothing style. (And I bet that’s why the girl in the leg-flashing skirt was on her way to Bergdorf’s too.)

After checking out Bergdorf’s I walk to a consignment store or to Century 21, where I sometimes buy something like what I saw at Bergdorf-Goodman–for 1/10 the price.

I rarely buy anything at Bergdorf’s except the not inexpensive antique costume jewelry at Kentshire.  Their jewelry is perfect and I only buy pieces that I know I can sleep in and which are really simple. Thus I can wear them day after day after day–and thus each piece winds up costing a mere $.50 a day (or so I rationalize).

Do you have a shopping pattern?  Please share them in the comments.

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