On Saturday, Tay Jackie and Dave and I piled into the car and made the short trip across the border to spend the day shopping in Buffalo before heading back and stopping at our favorite winery in the Niagara region where we bought two cases of wine and two jars of hot red pepper chardonnay jelly which, come the warm weather, I am obsessed with because it is so damn good when you pile it on some miniature toast with some brie. It’s all Jackie and I wanted when we were in Bala last summer, that and fresh snow peas that we ate by cracking the pods open and eating the peas one by one while sitting on the dock and watching the sun bounce off the water.
Tay still insists that the winery was our main reason for heading out on our miniature road trip on such a rainy Saturday but he’s so wrong because if the winery was our top priority, we wouldn’t have arrived there 10 minutes before they closed with just enough time for me to swallow my chewing gum and then down a couple of tastings before we said a case of this and 6 of that and 6 of those and where’s the jelly before we were out the door and back into the car so that they could close.
If you were to ask Dave he might tell you that we only went so that we could have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory during which Jackie and I would guzzle long island iced teas that rivaled Marge’s beloved iced teas on that episode of the Simpsons and we each ordered the hottest food we could find on the menu and then would get big wedges of cheesecake and chocolate truffle cake that we’d bring back across the border with us because we were just too full from the iced teas. And that might be true except that they didn’t know there was a Cheesecake Factory until we were there picking them up and I told them while they were putting on their shoes.
While those were certainly wonderful perks to the day, the REAL reason we went to Buffalo for the day was the names Steve and Barry and their girlfriend Sarah Jessica Parker who’s launched an affordable clothing line exclusive to S&B because, according to her, “Fashion is not a luxury, it’s a right.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve been wanting to shop the Bitten line since I saw a challenge related to it on Project Runway, and was even more intrigued when I did a bit of research and found that every piece of clothes in her clothing line was priced at $19.98 or less. It led me to wonder if the fashion rule of thumb quality over quantity was being thrown off the runway – or was SJP onto something in that it didn’t have to be either or? Could a girl wanting to look her best be able to buy quality pieces of clothing in mass quantities? The answer seemed to lie in Bitten and I went to Buffalo, dragging my husband and our favorite couple with us to find out.
We got to Steve and Barry’s at 11am and we quickly disbanded as the boys headed for the men’s section while Jackie and I made a beeline for Bitten. I started pulling articles of clothing off the racks while Jackie asked, how much, how much and I replied, does it matter, it’s less than $20 bucks and she laughed. But then she looked up and gasped and said Tawny and I said, not now Jackie, too busy shopping and then she said, but look and I looked up and over our heads was a massively huge sign that said that everything in the store was $8.98. We looked at each other as if wondering what the catch was but there was no ‘And up’ that is always the fine print nor was there anything that said buy one and get the second $8.98. It was EVERYTHING. I put a hand to my face in disbelief as I very quickly calculated how many things I could buy at $8.98 each and Jackie went to get a cart for us to load up half the store.
We finally pushed our cart over to the fitting rooms and Jackie and I went back and forth from the cart to the changing room and eventually Dave and Tay took turns sitting on a bench guarding my stacks that I labelled yes, no and maybe. One woman saw me sorting through my cart of clothes, possibly looking like I worked there and asked if all the fitting rooms were taken. I looked up briefly, with my hand possessively on a pair of $9 jeans and said that I didn’t know, these were my clothes and that changing room over there was occupied by me. She left quickly, and I’m thinking it was because she was a bit scared by my bared teeth.
We left Steve and Barry’s two hours later after two trips to the change rooms and made a second trip after we finished lunch so I could do one last run through. During the first round, from the Bitten line I bought 3 black summer dresses (all lined and beautifully finished), a pair of jeans, a ruffled blouse, a pale pink dress shirt, 2 tshirts, a pair of pajama pants, a white cotton night gown and a piece of jewellery. I also grabbed a Steve and Barry t-shirt and two of their dress shirts. On my second trip (on the way back to the car), I swung back through and bought a pair of sunglasses and a pair of Starburry sneakers.
My total bill? $131.74 on the first trip, $18.81 on the second. They weren’t lying, everything was $8.98.
Sarah Jessica Parker doesn’t lie – Fashion is not a luxury.
My girlfriends that know about my trip to Bitten were not pleased with me when they heard the news, and I expect that their resentment will only deepen when they see me wearing one of my chic summer dresses that cost me $9 but my only defense is that I now know where the store is, I have a car that seats 5 (me included) and on my next trip? If they are talking to me, I’ll make sure I have room in the car for them.