Clearing the Cobwebs

As we endure the interminable wait for the ending of Mad Men, I think of Peggy and Don and all the things she has learned from him. Personally, the only finale I will be satisfied with is his complete subjugation to her. But, of the many tricks she’s learned, my favorite is that they go to the movies when they need to clear their heads. Me? I prefer to go to Bergdorf Goodman.

My affinity for the store dates back to the late 70’s when my finances were in such shambles no store in their right mind would issue me credit. Bergdorf’s did and I accepted their card as a cosmic sign that I belonged.

Shopping there leaves me with a feeling of exhilaration. Most stores hit you at the door with displays that say “you don’t know what you want but THIS IS IT!!!” Bergdorf’s approach is more “we got it, you figure it out.” It’s this process of discovery I enjoy. Plus the quality is so good it’s pretty hard to make a mistake.

Department stores usually capitalize on trends when a designer spots something new or fresh on the street. Corporate meetings are held and studies are conducted. Tiny, pre-teen Laotian hands are then lined up to do the delicate stitching. After several months preparing the marketing campaign, the shipping of mass quantities begins. The item hits the store to the fanfare of “Look What’s New!” The arty kids see it and think, “oh yeah, we did that a year ago.”

Bergdorf’s feels different. Their production schedule may be just as lengthy but their merchandise always appears unique and challenging. Maybe they are more nimble because they aren’t a chain.

They are also not afraid to take chances (see above re: my credit). The store’s reputation for excellent taste makes them easy to trust. Do I really need a pair of crotchless ski pants? If Bergdorf is carrying them maybe I do.

The Halston note
The Halston note

Whenever I visit I’m exposed to new designers I’ve never heard of. Bergdorf’s knows talent. After all, Halston got his start here. And Jackie was a customer for decades. What’s not to love?

Still it’s hard to justify cross-country shopping when Manhattan is so expensive. If you are willing to travel at certain times of year, however, it can be affordable. Those times would be any of the days in mid to late January.

These two-day trips are completely dependent on the weather and the airlines cooperating. Day 1 is consumed by flying time and zone changes. You no more finish your breakfast sandwich than, theoretically, it’s time for dinner. I often end up ordering the over-priced room service burger at 10:00 pm to conserve energy and fool the body clock.

That energy is needed for Day 2 when you force yourself up at 7 am (4 am California time) to find coffee, shower, and walk over for the 10:00 opening. There’s a five hour window before you need to return to the airport. You can sleep on the way home (maybe).

So, having secured cheap airfare and a very cheap rate at the Westin, I’m going cobweb clearing.



The Jackie Obsession


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