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A Silk Blouse of Desire

A Silk Blouse of Desire 


I like to shop– which puts me in a conundrum. How does one shop without wasting money? For some, shopping is a sporting activity. And I get that. But, it takes seconds to spend what has often taken hours to earn . . .  especially, if there’s a comma in the amount of that purchase. I like nice things and, with today’s prices, there are seldom single digit purchases.

So I try to shop wisely.

I’m a lobster and Dungeness crab-kind of gal. So I wait until Costco has their seafood weekends and splurge then. Why pay $20 – $30 a pound at one store, when you can buy it there for $10- $12 there? I bought a box of frozen lobster tails for $105. When I returned home and counted them, there were 15 tails. That’s $7 a tail. I can have lobster for the price of a Big Mac meal!

And styles change. So, I try to buy classic that won’t quickly go out of style. I’ve learned that what’s a must-have today, probably won’t be tomorrow. I’ll spend more for classic, and less for fads.

When I was about 25 years old, I saw a silk charmeuse, tuxedo-styled blouse at Rich’s, a department store in Atlanta (where I grew up). Thirty-two rows of half-inch lace down the front, long sleeved with laced French cuffs, and buttery cream with a little black bow tie. I fell in love. It cost $60. This was 1980, which would put it at about $200 in today’s market. Since I was earning $6 an hour in 1980, totally out of my budget.

I thought of all the ways I could make it a practical purchase —

I could wear it out to dinner. It was sophisticated.

It was cream, a practical color. I could wear it to church. It became spiritual.

I coveted that blouse. So, I watched and waited. I pushed my size to the back of the rack so no one would get my blouse. Then . . .  it was gone! The whole rack.

Disconsolate at my loss, I wondered aimlessly about until I found myself on the third floor. Their last chance department. Finale on Five.

There were only three floors in this particular branch, but their main store downtown had about eight floors. Think of Macy’s in Miracle on 34th Street. Large and elegant.

I remember as a small child going to see Santa Claus at their downtown store where they had real, live reindeer in glass stalls you could see as you waited in line. And they had the Pink Pig. Two little monorail trains that hung from the ceiling and ran around the perimeter of the children’s department for the kids to ride. Priscilla and Percival. This is Priscilla today at Macy’s and the real, live Priscilla behind her. Precisely the one we rode.


Pink Pig then and now

                                       (Bailey, Matthew. New Georgia Encyclopedia.)

I’ve sat in the seat of the belly of a pig that’s now in a museum.

And by we, I mean myself and my sister, Triathlon Girl. I’ve not mentioned her much out of respect for her privacy, but she’s quite the athlete. And when we were little, each Christmas we climbed in that little caged pig belly you see above and careened around the ceiling of Rich’s peering down at all the shoppers hoping for a glimpse of our parents.

The engine was shaped like a pig’s head with his front legs and the kids sat in his multiple belly sections. The caboose was his butt and back legs. And it was pink– a pale, fleshy-peachy pink. A three minute ride for a quarter. All of this was very modern in the 60’s. We were cosmo before there was a cosmo.

I’m getting off track here. Finale on Five was located on the fifth floor in the downtown store and was the place they put everything not selling, marked way down, until they were sure they’d never unload it, before getting rid of it permanently. In my suburban mall with only three floors, they located Finale on Five on the third floor.

AND ???!!!! I saw it on a sale rack for $25. IT WAS MINE!

It looked every bit as lovely on as I’d dreamed. If I didn’t sweat, move or eat, that is– it looked perfect. 

It had to be dry cleaned every time I wore it. Even with that, deodorant made an unsightly yellow stain under the arms. I spilled a drop of coffee on the hem. Stains that never fully came out at the cleaners. That $25 blouse ended up costing me more trouble than it was worth. I didn’t wear it a tenth of what I’d imagined.

I’d love to live a lifestyle of elegant clothes, fancy dinners, and endless shopping. But, we don’t and probably won’t ever. Which is fine. Because there’s another side of me, that likes to work in the yard and make things for myself. Elegant people order things done. I like to do certain things myself. Sometimes. Mostly. But, not house cleaning. So, it works out in the end. Sometimes. Mostly.

Until next time. Be sweet.



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One Response to A Silk Blouse of Desire

  • Guess it holds true…!?! Beauty is Only skin deep…! That Blouse in all it’s glory, was actually a “thorn in the flesh”…! 🙂

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