Tuesday, July 22, 2014

RIP, J.Crew Flip Flop

You know what's worse than breaking your flip flop as you are entering the Denver International Airport, late for your flight, pushing your preschooler in an unwieldy umbrella stroller with a car seat balanced precariously on top, a tired baby strapped to your chest whilst you are simultaneously struggling to, unsuccessfully, pull two suitcases behind you?

Breaking your J.Crew flip flop as you are entering the Denver International Airport, late for your flight, pushing your preschooler in an unwieldy umbrella stroller with a car seat balanced precariously on top, a tired baby strapped to your chest whilst you are simultaneously struggling to, unsuccessfully, pull two suitcases behind you.

Why was this such a crushing blow to my mother-ego? Because now I have been thrust back to that corduroy-lined circle of fashion hell: the place where mothers who own nothing from J.Crew sit around in synthetic-blend Walmart sweatpants and snotted-on t-shirts. There are no tailored blouses. Everyone still uses a flip phone. There is no Chick-fil-A there.

I've only ever owned three items from J.Crew, that mecca of stylish moms who can pull off wearing weird chambray jumpsuits or anything ever made out of linen. The first two items were a gift: a matching flip flop/headscarf combo. I promptly lost the headscarf thingy in the abyss that is my "hair things that aren't elastics that I think I'll use someday but who am I kidding?" bag/pile/bin.

Pair your sequined J.Crew mother-onesie with satin pumps for the perfect park look! #ootd #headedtomommyandmeceramicpaintingclassnext

But the flip flops--oh, the flip flops! They were the most comfortable flip flops to ever grace my feet (original Old Navy style included--gasp!). Soft cotton straps and foamy soles made me feel like I was walking through an Asian spa paradise. I wore them for three glorious years until a hole appeared in one of the soles ... and another in my own soul as I threw them away sent them to flip flop paradise aboard a flaming pyre set adrift in the Gulf of Mexico.

I was determined to replace them with an identical pair. I scoured J.Crew's website with no success, then turned to ebay with the hope that the old model still existed somewhere besides my dreams. No luck.

My destiny thwarted, I went on with my nearly-purposeless existence, walking the sad path of footwear-mediocrity in my ill-fitting, faux-leather Target sandals. (No disrespect, Target.)

Then one day I found myself at the mall, outside J.Crew. I hesitantly crossed the store's threshold. It smelled expensive, delicious, impractical. Would I find my Holy Grail flip flops? Perfectly-coiffed women perused the displays around me, neatly sidestepping my stroller ... the stroller that held the only child in the store. I spotted a jacket I loved ... I checked the price tag and almost shriveled into a raisin ... the kind of raisin you might find on the floor of the almost-expired specialty foods aisle at Ross.

Then I spotted a bin of ... flip flops. Clearance flip flops. There weren't any with the foamy soles I preferred, but there were plenty of the typical variety, marked down from $28 (!?!?) to $5. Huzzah! Cheap enough for me to look past the limited and weird color options. I snatched a dark gray pair with two-toned straps (gray on top, white underneath), and tried them on. Not as good as my foamy dream-pair, but way better than Old Navy.

Loved.

I bought them. Because $5 J.Crew (chanted to the cadence of $5 footlong, please ... which reminds me of the leftover white chocolate macadamia nut cookie I have in my bag ... from a week ago. Nooooo!!!).


I will admit, the mere fact that they were J.Crew influenced my purchase. They weren't labeled "J.Crew" in any way, but in my style-crippled heart I knew that wearing elitist-brand footwear, however weirdly two-toned and clearance-pocked, would add at least a smidgen of fashion happiness to my poser's heart. I could be wearing the worst stretchy pants and pit-stained high school t-shirt, but if I was wearing those flip flops, I was wearing J.Crew. They were my secret weapon against complete surrender to frumpiness and the oblivion of my stretch-knit-plagued closet.

"We'll always have J.Crew."

Then they broke. My J.Crew horcrux destroyed, a part of my soul was lost as well, the part responsible for style ambition and caring what I look like. 


There are no words.
This happened three weeks ago, and it's only now that I feel like I'm in a place where I can feel safe writing about it. Now that I'm a J.Crew-less lump, I only have the filters on my VSCO Cam app to make me presentable. Before and after below.



Treasure your J.Crew while you still can. Or else donate it to the Goodwill on 20th street in the Heights and give me a heads up so I can go buy it for cheap.
 

3 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about all the stores that I can only afford at the outlet mall. Like I'm entering fashion paradise through the back door and I'd better buy something quick before they catch me.

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    1. I know! I always feel like such an imposter. On a related note, one time I went to Whole Foods right after a relief society activity where I had to dress up like a hippy, and the Whole Foods employees treated me like a queen. It was hilarious.

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  2. That was the most heartbreaking thing to see you trying to get into the airport with all that stuff. Love the photo of the squirrel. And your tongue...

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