“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.”
This week my friend Brianne and I go to an expensive, designer store to try on some clothes. I’m sure some of you might think this is no big deal, and I suppose you’re right; except that I NEVER go into these kind of stores. I just don’t belong there.
After breakfast we head over to Granville street. Brianne points out that she’s worn one of her classier mumu & legging combos today in an effort not to get us kicked out. I appreciate the effort she’s put in and admit that I too have purposefully chosen my dark jeans and tall leather boots in hopes of fitting in.
We decide to warm up with a few boutiques along the way and eventually find ourselves in the familiar safety of Joe Fresh before heading across the street to the glistening, white palace known as Holt Renfrew. We literally stop cold in front of the store, both waiting for the other to open the door. I take a deep breath and pull the heavy door open.
Stepping into the store, we find ourselves in the purse section. Each designer has their own little room with an attendant. We wander through Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Kate Spade, Alexander McQueen and so on, starring in stunned silence at the beautiful and the obscene. It’s not surprising to either of us when I am drawn to the sedate purses while Brianne makes a B-line for the bling. We play at guessing prices and find ourselves righteously indignant when many purses come in well over $1,000. I reach out to touch the soft, supple leather of one bag and am relieved when no alarms go off.
Having made a round of the ground level we take the escalator up to the clothing on the second floor. As we ride up the escalator a sales clerk climbs on behind us and conspiratorially confides: “You know, I saw you guys in Joe Fresh earlier. I was shopping there myself; although I really shouldn’t!” He appears invigorated by his foray into pleb culture – I guess I can relate, it is fun to go where you don’t belong.
The escalator delivers us to the second floor, where we wander through the clothing racks, running our fingers over the silk, leather and satin garments. Brianne thinks it’s awesome when I start smelling the clothes. We really are the classiest girls in this place.
I decide we need to take it a step further and try a few things on.
I am drawn to the upscale version of my beloved Old Navy tee shirts, which are $150 instead of $15, so I grab a few of those. I also select some really bold animal print pieces, which is what I imagine rich people wear. Brianne is similarly drawn to her usual outfit (mumu over leggings) but picks out the $500 version. We disappear into our respective change rooms but not before I whisper crazily “take pictures!”
While I’m less than impressed with my outfits and cannot understand why anyone would pay this insane price, I can’t help but notice Brianne’s eyes are starting to glaze over as she models her $500 outfit and is inexorably seduced by the luxurious feel of the expensive fabric against her skin. I begin to doubt the ethics of bringing her here.
Everywhere we go the attendants are polite and helpful and I’m vaguely disappointed that no one snubs us. We resolve to return another day, inebriated and in sweat pants, to see if we can get a different reaction. We wander over into the shoe section and find some amazing shoes that are little pieces of art; though nothing I want to put on my feet. The perfume section is headache inducing, encouraging us to make our exit.
As we head down Granville street to the skytrain, I decide it’s been an interesting experience. I expected that about half of what I saw would be ridiculous but was a little surprised that a good 90% of the store had me shaking my head in disbelief. I suppose if you follow one of the featured designers I can see why you might shop here, but it’s not for me. Not even a little bit.