The Coat, the Shoes, the Failures to Launch

posted in: Fashion 33
Italian mannequins. Photo: Bert Kauffmann via Wikipedia, 2012.


Remember the patchwork coat? That was in November. Remember the patchwork Pucci shoes just the other day?

Me, I remember both of those wardrobe selections. How could I forget? When I found those items I screamed with delight, fell on the floor, got back up, did furious/idiotic math in my head so to convince myself I could afford to buy such frivolous fripperies (!) and clicked “BUY” and dreamed about being fabulous in this specific, If-Anna Wintour-Were-A-Quilter kind of way.

And the items did arrive.

Both were carefully boxed by the merchant. Both the coat and the shoes arrived safely via UPS to my receiving room where I picked them up after school/work/school/work/school. I signed out my packages and carried both boxes up to my unit where they lasted exactly .02 seconds before I tore them open with the bad scissors* and tried on the contents. And I realized that I never told you what happened after that. And it’s time.

Both items were unqualified disasters.

Question: Do you ever eat something so good you laugh?

I had strawberry soup in Paris once and it was so remarkable, so stupidly fresh and pretty, the moment I put a spoonful into my mouth, I burst out laughing. This was years ago. I hadn’t ever eaten a dessert like that. The dish — fresh strawberries in simple syrup, with mint, in a shallow bowl — was so surprising in its deliciousness, I just dissolved into laughter. How could something be that good?

When I tried on the Isabel Marant velvet Log Cabin [description mine] coat, I burst out laughing in the same kind of way, but not because it was just that purely good; I laughed with total delight in that it was so very, very bad.

To begin with, the coat was not pieced in any way. The Log Cabin pattern was printed and it was printed on material which was basically luxe polar fleece? Sort of? I’m not sure about the voodoo they-do with digital printing these days with the laser beams and whatnot, but the designers somehow figured out how to print a patchwork-y pattern on foofy, minky-like material and make a coat out of it. This could be a great thing, but the coat that these particular folks made seemed to be inspired by a Hefty 20-gallon garbage bag. I have never tried on a Hefty 20-gallon garbage bag, but I don’t need to. Because I tried on that coat.

I looked like a sad, sad, deranged lady. I looked like someone who … I looked like someone who needed a friend. Badly. So I returned it.

As for the shoes … I have never clad my foot in a more horrifying shoe. I may have screamed when I looked in the mirror. Those horrifying monstrosities got sent back the day they arrived. Truly, I say unto thee there hath never been a more hideous piece of footwear in all the land.

I have a lot to learn. But I know bad fashion when I order it.


*the good scissors are for fabric/thread, OBVIOUSLY

33 Responses

  1. Judy Hart
    | Reply

    Just too funny Mary.

  2. Jo Chalk
    | Reply

    Mary, at least you won’t always wonder “why didn’t I buy the shoes or the coat.” You did, it was good for a giggle and sent them back, no regrets.

  3. Jeanne
    | Reply

    What a good column for a Monday morning!

  4. Annie
    | Reply

    When I stop laughing, I’ll think of something smart to say!!
    Sometimes it’s about giving yourself Permission to splurge on the Really Big Thing!

  5. Kathleen BeBeau
    | Reply

    Funny. Some times there are those things that we just have to have because they’d be perfect and when they arrive it’s what the h*ll what I thinking.

  6. susan
    | Reply

    Disappointing in so many ways but I have put a made-by-me pieced article of clothing on my bucket list. I’m thinking of a jumper, something very simple. You are always inspiring!

  7. Kerry
    | Reply

    Oh dear! Your descriptions are hilarious!

  8. Ann Bailey
    | Reply

    I’m so glad you got them out of your system and now the money will be put back in your checking account. That’s a good thing. Didn’t that coat cost like two thousand dollars or something?? Ho ho – Mary – your next calling is calling you – designer quilted – REAL quilted – clothes and shoes! 🙂

  9. OHSue
    | Reply

    Now you know.

  10. Melinda Seegers
    | Reply

    I hope you at least took a selfie to remember these fashion disasters by. Sometimes things like this happen. But like Jo Chalk said, at least you know, and they made you laugh. And laughing is something that we do not do often enough.

    Just got the new issue of Quiltfolk—another patchwork hit! Love each issue!

  11. Chris
    | Reply

    What–no photos ?!?!

  12. Suzanne Brown
    | Reply

    Good for you, now you know…

  13. Nadine Donovan
    | Reply

    Ha! This brought a smile to my face. I have something similar before. At least you tried them- saw them in person and then had the strength and wisdom to send them back!

  14. Melanie
    | Reply

    Sometimes the fantasies are better than the realities. But they could also be regrets. Don’t know which I would prefer.

  15. Georgia O'Neal
    | Reply

    Oh Mary Mary – where are the pictures??? Not to worry – we’ve all done it E

  16. Jeanann
    | Reply

    Thank you for the update. Happy to hear that both were returned. I loved the comment about your experience with the strawberry soup.

  17. Robin Gabriel
    | Reply

    And now is the time for you to get the sewing machine out and sew up a REAL patchwork coat, my dear! That, would be glorious in the size, cut and colors you so adore! I say, go for it girl and show those dumb old designers how to do real patchwork!

  18. Michele Leonard
    | Reply

    Oh my goodness ! Thank goodness that they were able to be returned ! the coat obviously sounds like a bait and switch. Funny that there was no description of how it was manufactured. You knew the shoes were not for you before you bought them. You were right ! Next time trust your gut. Enjoy the $$ and that you got it back.

  19. Tami Von Zalez
    | Reply

    Why oh why didn’t you model those disasters? Together. For posterity. You’ve let me down Mary. *sighs*

  20. Sue Roork
    | Reply

    Dear Mary, I could have told you that since you know what clothing you like and you feel good in. You gave us that list, and no where does it say a boldly, gauldily even, printed coat or shoes!
    Haha. I have done things like this. Why just recently I bought something I thought was just what I needed to go with leggings I’d yet to try on. My look would be complete and up to date! Ha, never mind, leggings are not for me!
    You are a delight, Mary, in that you show us ourselves in you.

  21. Sally Nesser
    | Reply

    Hi Mary,
    So happy and relieved to here the end of the story. I wanted to write and comment on the coat but refrained. I sensed it wasn’t perfect and also wanted to say some day you should make yourself a quilted coat or maybe have one made. I think you would look fab in a quilted coat or jacket but it needs to be killer!
    I have made two Joseph coats for the Amazing Technicolor Dream
    Coat and a quilted jacket for myself. All were very satisfying projects.
    I was thinking of you and your family as I recently made a detour through Winterset on my trip to Southwest Iowa. I want to return when the leaves are out. Also made it to the Ken Burns exhibit! The IQSC and Museum is such a treasure for We who Quilt.

  22. Diana L Kiley
    | Reply

    the exact reason that I no longer order without having seen in person first. Oh if I had half the money spent on such items, I could make at least 3 more quilts!

  23. Susan
    | Reply

    Hi Mary, I am currently trying to help some people suffering serious illnesses trying to figure out comfortable clothing. Tall order for sure. Add to the mix the inconsistency of manufacturing. I am ready to rant. If men had so many issues getting underwear to fit I am certain they would stop all things and fix the problems. But no. Arg.

    Then I opened your blog, laughing and thinking there’s got to be a very funny story. Seriously!

  24. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    Congratulations! You now know they were a disaster and you have no regrets,

  25. Brenda King
    | Reply

    Hi Mary- Glad you got the shoes and coat out of your system! AND, got your money back! I’ve been infatuated with things that glimmered like gold, only to find they were made of rust! So glad it had a happy ending, and a laugh, for you! Love, Brenda

  26. Sue
    | Reply

    Wish you had pictures for us. At least you don’t have to worry about the one that got away!

  27. Becky Garten
    | Reply

    I laughed out loud reading about the coat. Thanks, I needed that.

  28. Joey
    | Reply

    Oh good, now you have money for your new car.

  29. Debbie Fink
    | Reply

    The best laugh I’ve had in a very long time!

  30. Kate
    | Reply

    Thank you for the smile. Your e xperience matchs mine for ordering clothes online. The product never meets my expectations.

  31. Linda Duff`
    | Reply

    WAY TOO FUNNY, even though the 2 (well 3, since a pair of shoes is 2) patchwork items were something we knew you REALLY wanted. I’m still smiling!

  32. Jan C.
    | Reply

    I’m the one who is going to say, “I told you so”.
    Not really, I just said they were ugly and don’t do it.
    And I join the group that is glad you did get to hold them, try them on, and see how you look and feel in them.
    Now you can stop obsessing about them and get back to work!

  33. Virginia Davis
    | Reply


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