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Sunday, December 2, 2012

As a lifelong feminist, it pains me to admit it, but there is one thing that men are often* better at than women …


Surprise! But it’s true. And I’m not talking about how men are hunters and women are gatherers when it comes to trips to the mall. I’m more interested in the guilt trips. Women are more likely to have those than men. (I pointed this out in a 2007 post, “Why Does Buyer’s Guilt Focus on Fashion?“) It could be tickets to a game, electronics or clothes — if the average Joe wants it and can afford it, he buys it. No regrets. The end. Women tend to agonize. We can be madly in love with something that’s in our budget, but we have to consider a multitude of issues. If it’s a fashion item, how will it fit into our wardrobe? Can we wear it every day? Every week? Will it look good ten years from now? Is it too much money after all? Wait, what is our budget again? Is it appropriate for our age, height, weight, complexion, job, status as wife/mother? Do we need it? Do we deserve it?

I feel like that last question is what it’s all about. A lot of us women do have trouble saying, “I want it; that’s why I should have it.” (It’s not just a shopping issue. You can see it in the workplace too, where men tend to be more assertive about asking for new jobs and raises and promotions.) We wimmins have to prove to ourselves that not only have we earned something, but that we need it. Mere want isn’t enough. Now that I have my jewelry business, I’ve been on the selling side and I’ve walked a lot of women through their complicated justification process. Not always successfully, of course. I feel like it’s the karmic revenge of every sales associate who spent quality time with me (on her feet, too) only to see her longed-for commission wither away as I countered awesome-shopper MrB’s comments of, “That looks great on you! Let’s get it! Let’s get TWO!” with “But I don’t need it.” In fact, the one time I walked into a store, picked up a purse, paid for it and walked out in a matter of minutes without expressing any more than one or two doubts was so remarkable that MrB still tells the story to people, five years after the fact. And, to this day, he sounds as amazed as if he had seen a rainbow-maned unicorn prancing through the Prada store instead of me.

Now that I’ve experienced the agony of selling, I try to avoid inflicting my neuroses on other salespeople. I try to make a quick and easy decision. In other words, I try to think like a man. But old habits die hard. I was recently in Bergdorf Goodman — one of the best stores in the world — with designer/blogger/wardrobe therapist Stacy Lomman for some totally guilt-free shopping. As I’ve reported, Stacy discovered a strange lack of tops in my closet, which has prevented me from getting the best use out of the jackets, bottoms and skirts that I do have. She convinced me that I need tops. Yay! “Need” is the magic word. But, while Stacy searched for a top to complete a business-casual look for a conference I was attending, I spied a jacket.

Now, I wasn’t looking for a jacket. I’ve got a lot of jackets. I don’t need any more jackets. I definitely don’t need another motorcycle jacket. Sure, I’ve wanted a turquoise-leather motorcycle jacket since the early ’80s, when I begged my high-school friend Jim to give me his …

Me in Jim’s jacket in the ’80s. Click for original post.

… but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to get one when I see it, right? I pointed out the jacket to Stacy and explained why I wasn’t going to get it. She pretended to understand and went back to studying the fabric and stitching of various tops. I moped after her for a few minutes until it struck me: What man would covet something for nearly THIRTY YEARS and then walk away from it when he found it? I thought, “That’s fucking crazy.” So … voilà!

My own turquoise jacket over Thanksgiving weekend.

I was ecstatic! I emailed Jim (who still has his original turquoise jacket) as soon as I got home. I couldn’t wait to wear the jacket and get an outfit picture, then share my shopping theories as well as the satisfactory denouement of a 30-year-long fashion search. But I forgot about Murphy’s Law until I wore the jacket for the first time and saw it in outside lighting.

DAFUQ is wrong with these sleeves?

I wound up emailing with a manager at Bergdorf’s who suggested that, since he saw this discoloration on multiple jackets, the leather was most likely deliberately “distressed.” Hmmm. I’ve worn plenty of distressed materials and I’ve never had the “big, old, yeller stripe down each sleeve but everything else is pristine” version. I’m also a designer who knows other designers and I’m very, very familiar with folks trying to pass off production problems as intentional design elements. (In fact, one of my manufacturers attempted to do that to me this week. Didn’t work. I always admire the effort though.) But maybe the manager is right. Maybe the jacket is an unappealing type of deliberately distressed leather. I don’t know about that; I do know that I’m distressed! There is no other jacket in my size and the designer** isn’t making any more in turquoise. I can return the jacket for a refund, but there goes my 30-year fashion dream. Help! What would a man do?***

* Not always. “Often.” If you declare that you are an exception, I believe you.
** Not identified out of the kindness of my heart.
*** MrB — while laughing his damn ass off — has answered that question but I’m posing it anyway.

And here’s what I had on the blog this week, in case you missed something juicy:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

39 Responses to “Distressed About Leather, Plus the Week in Review”

  1. Megan Mae says:

    Take that sucker back. It may mean delaying your dream, but I say hit ebay, comb the internet – heck try etsy! I think it’s a gorgeous jacket, but consider how you’d feel in a couple of years – is that weird ‘distressing’ going to still distress YOU? Are you going to wish you had returned it in the future? Is it going to sit unworn because of the condition?

    I had a great theory leather jacket in grey, but any time it got remotely wet it ‘stained’… I rarely wore it because we have flash rain showers, I like seeing sad movies, I’m a messy eater! I sold it on ebay with the disclosure about the leather’s sensitive nature.

    • WendyB says:

      Oh yeah, I’ve been combing the Internet! Came close a couple of times but it was always sold out by the time I found it. Maybe it’s not meant to be??

      • Chesh says:

        I have a motorcycle jacket I love from RubyLeather on Etsy. He does custom orders–I bet he could hook you up with a turquoise version!

  2. Melanie says:

    A man would probably buy a jacket because he was cold…

    Personally, I would keep the jacket and this story behind it as a way of reminding myself to buy something when I see it because I want it – no second-guessing – like the handbag. If you feel particularly bold, you could do a DIY distressing on the rest of the jacket too. The distressing is at least symmetrical, one stripe down each sleeve, so even if the designer knew the leather was flawed, there was an effort to make it look like it was completely planned. It IS an awesome jacket. Keep and sell it when you find ANOTHER one.

  3. lisa says:

    Have you taken it to a leather goods/suede repair place to see if they can do anything? It seems a shame to get rid of the jacket after a 30-year search!

  4. Marla says:

    Love that turquoise jacket-even with the yellow stripe.

  5. Poochie says:

    Well if you can take it back, do so. Wait for perfection (alrhough it does look amazing at first glance). If you can’t, keep it while still looking and then sell it.

    I totally get you about “need” based shopping. Sadly I don’t think I have that gene when it comes to shoes (much to my financial detriment). If I really want it I will plot and scheme and justify things until I get it. I’m actually getting to the point where I need to get rid of some and it’s going to break my heart.

  6. That is a great jacket an love those pointy wedges as well!
    Sheree xxx

  7. Priscilla says:

    So true about the shopping. I’ll buy basic boring stuff, but when it comes to the special things I go through the dance you described above and usually walk away. That jacket looks so good on you! But you should return it. My guess is that “design element” will always bother you, and every time you wear it you’ll have to talk yourself through all the reasons you kept it.

  8. GeorgeB says:

    Give it back. You’ll look at that “stain” forever. Borrow Jim’s jacket

  9. K-Line says:

    It’s gotta go back, Wendy. You won’t be able to stand looking at the discolouration. And I’m sure it wasn’t inexpensive. Expensive things must be flawless.

  10. Jess says:

    good grief it looks so so so gorgeous on you – the color and fit are stunning… what if you kept it and continued hunting for a non striped version? you could probably resell the striped one at a consignment store for some cash…

  11. ali says:

    damn it looks so good on you though! Which principle is more important to you? the excellence of quality, or the excellence of your shopping practices?


    p.s. I’ve wondered for a long time, what plugin do you use for such snappy anti-spam passwords?!!!

    mine is boleyn this time around! It always makes me happy 🙂

  12. Christine says:

    I feel your pain like a stab in the heart! So close…can a leather specialist dye over the wrong colour bits?

    It looks fantastic on you and you’ve been waiting for so long. If it was inexpensive I’d say keep it but if you feel it’s flawed you’ll be sad. Wait for the perfect one. The universe will provide.


  13. My anti-spam word was “sucker”! And that’s what you’ll feel like if you keep it. Unless the so-called distressing is actually an improvement, you’ll always feel icky about it – and when you find the one you actually want, you’ll have a voice in your head that says “but I already have one like it”

  14. Lynnski says:

    Take it back. Continue the search.

    But I am VERY curious. Did you discover the stain before you modeled it on Thanksgiving weekend? Because although your body looks fantastic in that shot, your face looks sad and kind of resigned. Am I imagining this… or was the distressed leather distressing you already?

  15. Tina says:

    Take it back, Wendy! It will bug you. It’s too expensive to mess with! THere is a company out of Portland that will custom make a motocycle jacket for you. I had one made 15 years ago. It is Langlitz leathers. I thonk they will work with different colored leathers.

  16. Sheila says:

    It looks like a rack of jackets on the hanger were exposed to the elements or some other caustic substance. It definitely does not look deliberate, despite what they told you.

    Can you have the jacket re-dyed by a leather specialist? Go for a slightly darker turquoise to see if it will help mask that awful stripe.

  17. Queenzelda says:

    What I’m busting to know is – what did Mr B say?

    The suspense is killing me. Will it be revealed in a future post?

    (PS Take it back – you’ll only hate it and feel sad everytime you see it. Plus now you know the mark is there, your own attention to perfection will mean you’ll never actually wear the thing. Plus I’ve found you a hilarious alternative – http://shop.charliebrown.com.a.....er-jacket/ – which I may now have to get… gee I’m glad I popped “turquoise biker jacket into poodle.)

    • WendyB says:

      I’m a little disappointed that the alternative isn’t something that Charlie Brown the cartoon boy would actually be wearing…I was like “?!” when I saw the URL, imagining all kinds of things!

  18. Lee says:

    I’ve been lurking, and now it’s time to come out of the proverbial closet and say return! The right jacket will find you, when you are aren’t looking for it…(just like a man, right?) And, when it does, it will not have discolored sleeves!

    PS Love your blog!

  19. mystyle says:

    Hi my dear! Hmm a dilemma indeed, the fit and cut is perfect on you but will the imperfection stop you wearing it? If you think it will, then it must go back but if you can get over it and know you’ll wear it, then keep it-you can always think of a mini customisation or your lovely lady who does your alterations may be able to come up with a great idea to re-invent for you xxx

  20. The jacket is fantastic, shame about the sleeves – the distressed excuse doesn’t wash with me, looks like a fault, or something. Agree with Tina, take it back.

  21. Kristin says:

    It’s so gorgeous! I have no good advice for you because I tend to obsess over things like that. I would probably take it back as painful as it would be. Ugh.

  22. stacy says:

    What a complete letdown. I don’t really have much else to say on this matter. Totally disappointed for you and in the quality of the merchandise.

  23. stacy says:

    wait… i have more to say (suprise surpise)… can you even imagine a guy today in a turquoise leather jacket? god, you could get away with anything in the 80’s!!

  24. Faux Fuchsia says:

    luff it when you show an Old skool snap.

    Nice work with the thin legs xxx

    PS do you luff Blondie as much as I do?

  25. lawyerdoll says:

    I feel your pain… unless that “distressing” is all over the jacket… that manager is full of it, and should exchange it for a better one!

  26. Marti says:

    It looks like the sun faded the material when on the hanger, maybe? Not sure but take it back.
    There has to be something similar somewhere for you.
    I know this doesn’t help your destressed dilemma but since you ask what would a man do: He would have purchased one a long time ago.
    Just being honest.

  27. Carolyn says:

    Ask Alicia Keys where she got hers: http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/2.....orsum.html

  28. I love everything about this post (and the original colourful biker jacket post is a gem!) except for the terrible disappointment and the crappy discolouration and the “customer service.” This quest is approaching legendary status!