New York is very very cold, but I haven't even noticed because I've been walking around in a raccoon fur coat. That might sound disgusting to some people, but it's actually pretty cute. I found the coat last Saturday as I visited one of my favorite stores for perhaps the last time. Beggars and Choosers has been a Pittsboro, North Carolina, institution for over 30 years. I used to drive out there all the time to find all of my most unique vintage clothes and jewelry, and the owner, Pam Smith, is a doll. She lights up a room with her energy and enthusiasm for anything glitzy and glamorous. But back in October her store was robbed badly, and Pam has been shaken by the experience. She's getting older and not sure if she has the wherewithal to carry on after such a setback, so she is closing for the time being (nobody will say its forever, and I certainly do hope its not) and happened to have her final blowout sale on the last Saturday that I was in North Carolina.
So my mom and E and I bundled up (it was a frigid and windy morning) and made the trek out to Pittsboro early Saturday morning to be among the first to enter the store for the sale, because we knew there would be large crowds. Pam let us in early because she couldn't stand to see us waiting out in the cold wind, but we weren't allowed to start shopping until the stroke of 10:30 because that was the official opening time. So we chatted with fellow earlybirds, among with was a tall woman dressed as a 1950s nurse, and a very flamboyant man in a woman's fur coat. Then, at the proper moment, we each scattered to the place we considered most important for treasure-hunting, whether it was upstairs to the clothes and jewelry, downstairs to the bargain basement of odds and ends, to the side room where linens and lace are kept, or to the main room of incredible antiques of all sorts. I went first to the clothing, of course, with E on my heels urging me to just grab whatever I saw. So I saw the fur coat, grabbed it, and went along grabbing many other things until my arms were so full I had to take a break and try things on.
My budget, the space in my suitcase, and practicality in general caused me to narrow my selections down considerably, and I still think maybe I should have bought the navy blue dotted swiss dress with the ruffle collar, but my only goal was to find one thing I loved, and there I succeeded.
The fur coat was the first thing I grabbed--the first thing I noticed. It was displayed gorgeously on a mannequin, its raccoon tail sashes tied jauntily around the neck. When I tried it on it fit perfectly, and it wasn't too long at the waist or too short at the arms. The gray-brown color looked excellent on me. And the price was ridiculously affordable, even before the 50% off! As I modeled it for my mom, the aforementioned flamboyant man came up to me and expressed much jealousy over the fact that I'd grabbed the coat first. He demonstrated the different ways I could tie the neck sashes, and clucked at how well the color suited me. "You'll be so hot in New York!" he said, and I knew it wasn't just warmth he was talking about.
I wore it to church the next morning, and I wore it to the airport that afternoon with a wide-brimmed felt hat and tall boots and felt kind of like a movie star. Then I wore it in the door of my apartment and found Peter and Ryan watching South Park in my living room. "You've come home from the South in a coonskin coat!" said Peter, dousing my attempts at glamour, but I just twirled the raccoon tails in his face and pranced away. So it's not mink--it has so much more personality. It's not the most rich looking thing, but it's darling, quirky, and SO warm.