Savers and LOFT are totally screwing with me right now…
Yesterday, I took the day off from work for a midday dentist appointment. I decided to make a trip to Savers after my teeth had been cleaned in order to drop off 5 bags of clothes that I had recently purged from my closet (most of them had been hanging around since the early part of the last decade, but there were a few items that predate the year 2000, and it was time to say goodbye to my high school cheerleading uniform, the ugly bridesmaids dress from my sister’s 1995 wedding, and the too large leather 1970s vintage trench jacket that I bought at the Salvation Army when I was in college in 1997).
I had no need to buy anything at Savers, but I figured that since I was there, I would take a swing through and see if I could find anything. Nothing really caught my eye, but then I saw The Perfect Blouse. It was a size small, with long sleeves, a ruffled button front placket, ruffled mandarin collar, and ruffled cuffs (but not big ruffles…small, subtle ruffles). The color was a neutral taupe with the slightest hint of amber to it, giving it a warm fall tone. The buttons on the shirt were fabric covered, and the shirt itself was made of two layers of opaque chiffon. It fit really well, and had that nice drapey quality that I am seeing everywhere in stores, as opposed to a more stiff, fitted woven material of a traditional button down shirt. It was, essentially, the Perfect Fall 2011 Blouse, something that would work really nicely tucked into a pencil skirt, but would also look cute with jeans or a long skirt (not that I own any long skirts, but maybe someday I will venture into midi skirt territory). Better still, the shirt was a virtually unknown brand (Stitches, which appears to be a Canadian equivalent to Forever21, only with about 1/10th the total amount of merchandise), which means that the price was only $3.99. (I have noticed that anything Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, LOFT or J.Crew at Savers is now automatically priced at least at $7.99, which is an increase of about $3 since I started shopping at Savers 18 months ago).
I tried it on in the dressing room and the fit was great – it could have used the tiniest bit of slimming since the fit was boxy, but that was something that I could live with. I wandered around the store a bit more then proceeded to the checkout. And that was when tragedy struck – the cashier told me that the shirt had no price tag on it (it had fallen off somewhere in my travels around the store) and that they could not sell me anything without a price tag. I understand where they are coming from – they donate their proceeds to charity and they are a for profit store based on donations, so I am sure it’s a nightmare with inventory and things like that. But I really needed this shirt. The cashier took it away and told me that it had to go back into the To Be Priced stock but that if I came back tomorrow morning, I could buy it then. Except, you know, I usually work on weekday mornings.
I was disappointed, but I decided that it was a simple enough design that I could easily knock it off in a day, that the fabric was just a basic opaque chiffon available anywhere and that the pattern itself was something that I already had in my collection. The fact that the fabric is not a stiff woven meant that sewing it would be easy, no need for tailored details or interfacing…worst case scenario is I go the to the fabric store later in the week.
But then I decided that for the price of the fabric and buttons combined with my time (or lack thereof), I might as well just buy a shirt like this new, from a retail store. It’s not exactly an unusual shirt, and it’s on trend right now, so I figured between LOFT, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Gap, and Forever21, I could find a reasonable facsimile online.
I went home and started searching. And wouldn’t you know, that the only place I could find anything similar to The Perfect Blouse was either Yesstyle or some off shore manufacturer in Hong Kong via eBay. So frustrating. I did not want to buy from either, because shipping charges are high when things are coming from a Chinese or Korean distributor, and the transit times can be upwards of a month.
I then decided to reconsider the style of the blouse, and instead of looking for an exact replica, look for something in a similar color and fit. And despite my relaxed criteria, I was still struggling, but then on the LOFT website I saw this photo and I thought “that’s it…that will suffice.” And yay, it comes in Petite sizes.
Except, it doesn’t.
LOFT featured this blouse in their Petite’s home page, but the actual blouse pictured does not come in Petite sizes. WTF, LOFT? Why must you tempt me so?