This week I paid my respects to a dying friend. I had to go and at least say goodbye. I’ve enjoyed regular visits to this 93-year-old entity for at least a decade-and-a-half (probably longer) and I will miss her.
Ahhhhh, yes, I’m talking about Loehmann’s. They are closing for good and I’m bummed. It certainly isn’t the best shopping experience out there– it isn’t nearly as pleasant a place to shop as your local Macy’s– but it is a place to find bargains, particularly on designer apparel. I discovered Loehmann’s while I was a single, a career girl who loved nice clothes but couldn’t afford to buy the labels that I really wanted at full retail. I was not born into a wealthy family. In fact, as my brother has put it, “the Herron gene” drives us to get as much value as possible out of our money. My dad is great at finding deals, and my grandmother was downright thrifty. Since I majored in Fashion Design in college, I have a real appreciation of quality fabrics and garment construction (or lack thereof), and Loehmann’s has enabled me to buy higher quality than I would be able to afford otherwise.
After I married, I continued to shop there, not just for myself, but for Manly Guy as well. Although Loehmann’s stopped carrying children’s clothing last year, at one point I was able to get a smattering of fashion-forward items for the whole family. I’ve had friends who tried to shop there but didn’t like it. It isn’t the kind of store that you can go in with a list of things that you are looking for. They get some pieces from good labels, but they usually don’t get the cream of the crop, the best-selling pieces, because those sell at full-price generally. The store has always been a jumble of stuff, and there have been plenty of trips there where I found nothing that I wanted to buy. But I’ve also had shopping trips where I’ve come home with two big bags of stuff, and everything was 60-90% off retail. (This week, despite the fact that the store closing was announced more than a week before I got down there and the store was pretty picked-over, I found a dozen items, including a cool BCBG blouse for $18 that was originally $240 and a Ben Sherman shirt for Manly Guy for $15.)
Since I have plenty of clothes and don’t really need anything, the rule for myself has been to only shop the clearance racks and I could only buy an item if it was at least 75% off. I made out like a bandit on more than one occasion, and I have several Moschino cocktail dresses in my closet, all because of Loehmann’s. It would be hard to justify spending $1000 or more on a dress these days; with four kids I’m always needing to get stuff for them. Loehmann’s gave me an easy way to buy lovely things for myself without too much guilt about the cost. Now I don’t know where I’m going to get my next Moschino cocktail dress . . .
Here is my new BCBG blouse that I picked up this week for $18.