The January Sales are notorious for being a hellish experience. The shops are infinitely busier than they were at Christmas, disappointment is rife because nothing is left in your size and what is left represents the financial straw that will break the already poverty-stricken camel’s back. Taking all this into consideration, as well as my New Year’s resolution being (amongst many ill-conceived ideas) to not spend like a crazy person, I was going to give them a miss altogether.
But with a few days off work, I felt that Thursday was a good opportunity to have a gentle browse. If it was horrific, I’d just head on home, watch a few episodes of the West Wing and feel smug about the money I’d saved for, you know, food and stuff. To my surprise, it was as blissful a shopping experience as you could hope for. A few people here and there, couple of buskers, and the sales in all their glory for the taking. Even Primark had stuff still on the hangers.
I found myself in French Connection, not a shop I usually frequent (too many pastels and clean lines for me). By this point I had already bought three shirts from Topshop and a pair of ankle boots, and I was acutely aware I had an electricity bill and a Pilates instructor to pay. But, there it was: The Coat, and, honestly, it was PERFECT. Classic speckled grey, oversized, heavy and down to about my mid calves with an enormous tie belt, like the most stylish dressing gown in the world. And it was HALF PRICE in the sale. The Lana Speckled Belted Coat could be mine all mine for just £97 and 50 toally worthwhile pence instead of the usual wince-inducing £195.
I tried it on, loved it, and took it to the queue, trying determinedly not to think about the financial implications. Calf-length coats had been on my wish list since…it felt like forever and I was all, 2014 needs a good coat! All good years need coats!. But then I discovered the petrifying no returns policy and I panicked and ducked out of the queue. Then I joined it again. Then ducked out. There was a genuine danger I might cry so I muttered something to the already terrified assistant about putting it on hold and went for a walk.
I actually do not remember the subsequent shops I went into. I ended up in M&S holding a pastry and I decided that even if it was through emptying my savings onto the counter, that coat was worth it. I went back, pastry in hand, and I bought it. And now I swoosh around in it (in my room, it won’t stop ruddy raining long enough to wear it outside) and I know I’ll keep it until it literally falls apart.
Thank you, January sales, for giving me the opportunity to have The Coat. You are the last Christmas gift of the season.
Here are a few of the other discounted delights I found (but managed to resist):