Discounting the Days

By Caralyn Green
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 20, 2009

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Things I've given up: light beer (like drinking sewer water), girl-cut concert Ts (for chestless chicks only, and I'm not one), high heels (I curse a lot, then fall over) and cheap clothes (the fits and lifespans suck).

That's why Loehmann's was the best. Three floors of fashionable, well-cut and well-made designer (or at least designer imposter) goods even a broke grad student could afford.

Note the past tense. Loehmann's was the best. The Center City location at 16th and Chestnut is closing. After two years of attiring half of Rittenhouse Square and most of the Jersey commuters who work nearby, Loehmann's registers are scheduled to ring their final sales June 1, though due to the lack of clearance merch, last call may come earlier. And that leaves me and every single one of my girlfriends devastated.

Where are we supposed to find majorly discounted French Connection blazers and Michael Kors shades? Where are we supposed to find officewear and "going out" outfits we can actually afford?

Don't even try to comfort me with the reminder that Center City is rich in H&Ms, that Target's just a bike ride away, that TopShop is only a click away, and that the Zara on Walnut and Wet Seal at the Gallery at Market East offer plenty of dirt-cheap designer knockoffs.

I want nothing to do with that tomfoolery. Those brands are crap. Their garments fall apart after one swirl through the washing machine, and--I swear--are not only made by 12-year-old Thai boys, but cut for them as well. (My hips have never fit properly into a pair of H&M pants.)

But alas, it's supposed to be this way. These clothes are disposable, meant for fickle teenagers and a couple twirls around the dance floor or water cooler. They're meant to last just as long as the trend lasts and not a second longer.

I want clothes that last longer than a second, though. I want clothes that make me feel beautiful. And Loehmann's was my--our--way of achieving that. Our way of cheating, of passing as smart and sophisticated professionals in Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses and J Brand skinny jeans instead of some unlined, poly-blend atrocity or pancake-bum pants that warp after one wash.

Loehmann's was how we lived above our means, how we felt successful, how we felt hot, how we fit in with the rest of the office clackers in their tailored suits and shirts with buttons and collars instead of band names and tour dates. Loehmann's was like snagging a fine Burgundy on Chairman's Selection for the price of a white zin.

Now, due to high rent and tough business, that's been taken away. We still have Daffy's at 17th and Chestnut, but Daffy's is more Nine West, Guess and some never-heard-of Italian brand than Marc by Marc Jacobs, Juicy Couture and Missoni. And yeah, there's the promise of discount department stores in the faraway 'burbs, but I haven't got the cab fare, the PhillyCarShare membership or, most important, the time to schlep an hour (each way!) via SEPTA for a shirt-dress and pair of ankle boots.

I don't fill my apartment with IKEA's self-assembled styrofoam furniture (it's ugly, less than comfy and falls apart after one too many hours in front of the tube), so I certainly don't want to fill my closet with IKEA's clothing kin of cheap, disposable styles.

A wardrobe is something you should build, not something to be thrown away when it falls apart. And without Loehmann's, we're left with one less building block.

Chelsea Handler's collection of personal essays is everything Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake is not.
In other news ...
Lindsay Lohan will guest star in the May 22 season finale of Ugly Betty, along with Naomi Campbell, who's got no business on TV unless it's as part of a Vanilla Ice music video. How much would I pay to see LiLo and Amanda go tit-for-tat for title of "hottest skinny bitch to grace the Mode office"? Well, I'd pay a lot. Sometimes Becki Newton's quips and poses are the only reason to tune in. Who else refrained from tuning in to Oprah's interview with Tom Cruise? So over even caring about him and his brainwashed brood. Previews for late-summer chick flicks Mamma Mia! and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 have started to surface. If you've missed 'em in the theaters and on TV, check 'em out online, if only for the so-blue cinematography of the Greek isles, which makes me even more jealous of that fact that my big sis is honeymooning there in September. The best-selling hardcover nonfiction in this country is currently Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by current E! personality and former Girls Behaving Badly funnylady Chelsea Handler. This collection of personal essays is definitely entertaining, and everything I Was Told There'd Be Cake is not. Despite the post-writers'-strike eps of all our faves, TV is so goshdarn boring right now (with the exception of MTV's The Paper, that is). Go to www.hulu.com and watch the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a worthy antidote. What else is making me yawn? Coldplay. As stated by my favorite Internet cartoonist Natalie Dee, "I thought all their fans died of boredom years ago." Not so boring: jelly sandals. All the regulars seem to be going see-through and candy-colored rubber this summer (ALDO, MIA, Penny Loves Kenny, Bandolino, Unlisted by Kenneth Cole). Finding jelly mules, ballet flats, gladiators and flip-flops should be no problem, but if you're on the prowl for a real runt in the rough, Stuart Weitzman is doing a jelly skimmer with crystal accents for $125. Yeah, $125 for cheesy plastic shoes that'll give you the worst blisters of your life. What is the world coming to? Even crazier than the return of jellies is the fact that hipster supermodel Agyness Deyn has provided vocals and cheekbones for "Who," a rock song with N.Y.'s Five O'Clock Heroes. She croons and preens-in-a-fedora for the accompanying video. The song is beyond boring. I had higher expectations for Agy than this.

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