Monday, January 12, 2009

Breakfast at Anthropologie

The store Anthropologie is to Shopping Golightly as Tiffany’s is to Holly Golightly.

Like Truman Capote’s Holly, I cannot afford the vast majority of Anthropologie’s merchandise but it doesn’t stop me from wandering the Cherry Creek store in Denver to rid myself of –as Holly would say- “the mean reds” and suck in opulence. I was there the other day in search of my simple luxury, scented candles. I buy them on sale. My favorite truly smelled of fresh cut grass, which is great to burn in the winter when that smell is six months off in the waiting. I find a lot of comfort in the faint glow of a candle battling the darkness, a comfort much in need with today’s troubled times.

As I was making convoluted trek to the sale section at the back of the store, a sales associate asked that rhetorical retail question, “Are you finding everything okay?” My polite, programmed response was, “Yes, thank you.” This usually throws them off my trail. That sounds rude, but when I have a question, I’ll seek out an associate. Besides, they often interrupt my thoughts when they ask that rhetorical retail question.

At that very moment, a new voice shouted in my head with Seinfeld's Elaine Benes urgency, “No, I’m not okay. Your prices! Well! They’re hurting me!” And they were. Here I stood in this beautiful store wearing one of its brand sweaters purchased for $5 at Goodwill while all the sweaters around me were well over $200. One on sale was $148! That is not okay! I kept the voice to my head and moved on hoping that the rest of the store didn’t hear it because it was painfully loud.

Why was I doing this to myself? Hurting my head with these prices? Because a little luxury from time to time helps.

In the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak forwent the purchase of the sterling sliver telephone dialer and felt satisfaction in leaving their Cracker Jack ring to be engraved by the experts at Tiffany’s. I felt satisfaction in forgoing the purchase of a $148 sweater and leaving Anthropologie with an Aunt Sadie’s Red Delicious Apple Premium Scented Candle wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. I will reuse that tissue as wrapping paper.

However frugal or resourceful we may be, we all receive added joy from a simple luxury from time to time. I think this is healthy as long as we keep it “simple” and “from time to time.” Anything thing else might be obscene.It’s like the difference of savoring one specially picked Godiva truffle versus a 20lb box.

The gentleman at the Tiffany’s counter in the movie offered a genuine word regarding prizes in Cracker Jack boxes. He said, “Gives one the feeling of solidarity, continuity with the past, that sort of thing.” I think he could have just as much been referring to thrift stores. It’s not just the savings, it’s the solidarity.

What is your simple luxury?


Teria Rogers said...

I work part-time at "Anthro" and right now we have big sales, good buys. But, you're basically right the prices are crazay!!

Shopping Golightly said...


You're very right about the prices, so out of my league. But, oh, the vintage inspiration in the clothes! It's my Tiffany's. I even like what the store designers do and have copied some of their creations in my home. But, I can afford a scented candle every now and then and that is enough.

Songbirdtiff said...

For me, luxury comes in the form of time. Time spent doing something just for me that no one will ever see or benefit from. Sometimes it is sitting in total silence drinking tea, sometimes it's sleeping. :)

Anonymous said...

My only consumer weakness (apart from books) is wonderful smelling candles, usually the Henri Bendel ones from Bath and Body Works esp the one called Firewood. Smells just like a fire going in the living room but no mess.

$28, but to me, it's worth it so I totally understand your desire for a special candle. It's also only a winter thing for me, for some reason. Do you burn candles year round?

Erin Brumleve MA, LPC, ATR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin Brumleve MA, LPC, ATR said...

I love Anthropolgie as well. There was an article in Fast Company about them a few months ago - they are one of the few major retailers that have experienced growth in the past few years. In the article it says that part of the demographic they are targeting are smart worldly women that enjoy farmer's markets or thrift stores! The experience of shopping in the store is suppose to feel very similar to a thirft store/bizarre.

And just like with thrift stores - its all about timing. I once angered a sales lady there b/c I bought the dress I wore to my wedding rehersal on sale for $10!

Shopping Golightly said...

Dear Anonymous,

I love Henri Bendel's and as long as there are dark moments, I will burn candles to provide light. Season makes no difference too me. And, books are my second weakness.


Shopping Golightly said...

Dear Erin,

You've just explained why I want to clutch the fixtures at Anthropolie, wickedly race out of the store to squeal off in a getaway car. They had a bottle drying rack that I still think about. Perhaps I could pretend to work there so I could gain access to the display stock room. Hmm. Interesting. Very interesting.

Oh, brilliant score on a $10 dress. I thought I'd done well with a $10 blouse.


Ms. A said...

This has happened to be a J. Crew. Their jeans fit me best, but I can only afford them at the thrifts. I hit their outlet stores for flip-flops and tee's... 99 cents is my limit.

Shopping Golightly said...

Since I've been thrifting, unless it's groceries, I really have to think something over it the price is over $5. Quality for $0.99 really happens in America and it's not a Dollar Store thing.

Robin and Jamie said...

Hello, I found your blog about the "Red Delicious Apple" candle from Anthropologie. I was wondering if you know where we can buy it now? I have that candle and it's almost gone, and I love the scent. Anthro doesn't sell it anymore, or at least not on their web site. If you have any info on where to find another one, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks, Jamie

Anonymous said...

I have been a longtime champion of thrifting & have even managed to "convert" many friends & family into hardcore scavengers of thrifting treasure as well. Anthropologie has always been my own personal promise land. (Seriously. God has shown me the light)! I love to wander through & familiarize myself with the labels they carry. In honing my "snake eyes", I am now the proud owner of 13 Anthropologie pieces--2 of which still had tags!