I am a reasonably nice person with a strong inner bitch—and if you've ever done a little "me appreciation" when you're supposed to be shopping for others, then she might lurk inside you, too. Luckily, I've found the foolproof plan for getting your consumer lust under control this holiday season.
My inner bitch made her first seasonal cameo this year on a well-intended mission downtown to do some early shopping for my brother's girlfriend, who could almost be a Candace Bushnell character. Thus was I led into temptation, and I buckled under the pressure (but the boots were screaming "Buy me!"). And that was when I had my moment of clarity. The truth is, splurging is the only way to satisfy the inner bitch. Splurging. Damn straight.
On Your Mark: Before you release your inner bitch, keep this in mind: Seattle is not a town that encourages bitchy behavior. Too many people adhere to inclusive politics and good moral values. More to the point, there's too much fleece. This means that you have to work harder and look badder to make people realize that all the sweetness and light just won't cut it anymore.
Get Set: The inner bitch hates to budget. Appeasing her for under $100 won't happen—you have to whip out the credit card and throw caution to the wind. Libations will help, the more expensive the better. In fact, you might want to flex your Cruella Maximus muscle by heading to the W Hotel and ordering several rounds of their Emerald Drops (yummy green stuff in a wide-lipped martini glass, $8.50). I don't know about you, but spending excessively on drinks puts me in a great mood to financially self-destruct. Note: Bringing a companion who is well acquainted with their own inner bitch is crucial for emergency emotional and financial backup.
Go! As Manolo Blahnik said, "My shoes are not fashion. They are gestures; objects that happen to be fashion." Take this lofty quote as inspiration—what you are doing is not ridiculously self-indulgent, it just seems like it. If this seems confusing, stop thinking: Just Do It. (Are you getting a frisson of irony?)
The first thing you should do is beat a path to Fast Forward on Pine, the only place in Seattle where my personal inner bitch could ever be satisfied. First to get whipped off the rack were a pair of scrumptious Chompol Serrimont boot-cut leather trousers ($645 for men, $599 for women), with the red faux fur cropped Ardeche jacket ($239) a close second. Last but not least came a knee-length, sexy-as-hell blue Vivienne Westwood skirt ($398). Ahhhh.
Next I headed down to Ped, the best place in town for big-city-worthy boots and bags. This is where I found the silver Sigerson Morrison slide ($244)—along the lines of suit-of-armor meets festive evening wear—not to mention the red leather boots ($321). And the Gap thinks they know "holiday." If we're talking bags, I have one thing to say: Mapuche leather purses ($200-$300). What more could you want than '70s Stevie Nicks crossbred with Shaft?
When it comes to holiday party attire, my advice is to try a seamstress. Nothing will drive the inner bitch more insane than seeing someone else in that "but it was made for me" sequined top from Bebe. Especially if they look better in it. Quel horreur! However, barring the seamstress, you should head across the street from Ped and browse at Ardour, where I found some love in the form of a shimmering magenta silk dress by Dosa ($270). Ardour's display racks, arranged by color in almost every color, are totally dishy.
If, for some nefarious reason, your personal inner bitch can't find satisfaction in a badass boutique, Barneys is the best place to go. When you get there, it's all about the fabulously vintage-looking but gorgeously new pea green Marni fur ($5,640). Reminder: It's not time to get righteous about the bunnies unless you live the life of a vegan—and if that's the case, you're excused to get a second-hand pea coat instead. My non-bitch recycling self wears and loves one every day. And such items are, of course, easier on the pocketbook as well. Not that the inner bitch is worried. Ahem. Moving on.
If you're going to support big department stores, do me a favor: Stay away from those ubiquitous black nylon Prada bags. If I see one more on the street, I might pass out from boredom. Let's face it: You have to drop cash for label cache, so you're better off going for the tough-girl Prada leather baseball-collar jacket ($1,390)—at least then you'll know the ship sank from a meteor instead of a mouse.
I celebrated my spree over cocktails back at the W Hotel, surrounded by boxes and bags—okay, just one bag, but I paid dearly for it—toasting myself and my best inner-bitch friend. It's so easy, and even environmental! Once people stop being such goddamn martyrs and start splurging on themselves, we can stop the circle of lies ("I love the snowflake applique sweater!") and make more room in the landfills. One last point: More photographs are taken around the holidays than almost any other time of year. Is it really the best time to skimp?
Kate Chynoweth is a freelance writer and editor in Seattle.
The Urge to Splurge
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