POSTED ON MARCH 5, 2008:
Stimulus to Indulge
We're talking money not well-earned, but definitely well spent
High Fashion. Shoppers at Abersons can expect to find high quality pieces for work, certainly. Higher fashion brands have a level of tailoring that makes exquisite suits.
During some point in your life, you've probably contemplated what you would do if you received a large sum of money. While watching a game show, you've probably spent some time telling the contestant what to do. You then imagined what you, the winner, would do with all that money. The winnings are always larger than $100,000 and the answer probably consists of practical financial intentions: paying bills, college tuitions, buying a house and/or car. And there is always that person who says he'll save or invest. Nerd. However responsible the answer may be, each person also desires a lavish gift: a trip somewhere exotic, a sports car, a high priced name brand item.
People never get too excited about random money unless it's a number followed by several zeros. Well they do a little, but they don't go crazy. Case in point, we are getting free money. As cnn.com has informed me, our government has approved an economic stimulus package that will treat tax-paying Americans with a tax refund check between the amounts of $300 to $1200, including an additional $300 for each child produced. For more than 100 million Americans, this means free cash. And if you're already fortunate enough to have the government pay you back rather than give them more, it's a good chunk of change. Maybe not as much as you'd win on a reality television show, but you could buy something relatively fancy.
And by no means should people be entirely irresponsible with their newfound earnings, but those capable of sparing a little should treat themselves. And rather than half-assing it with random purchases here and there, why not go full force with a super lux item? Now you're thinking, hey it's a little early to be thinking about what to buy with the checks we won't receive until the summer; so yeah, it's a ways off. But the thing about buying luxury items is that if you aren't exceedingly wealthy and do it regularly then it takes some time. Some time to justify the purchase, to work up enough gumption to do more than just continually browse at it, hold in your hands, try it on. It's like any other high priced item in that you need to do your research. In terms of making purchases in the fashion department(of course), why not research two places in Tulsa that offer well-known branded items at costs within the refund check range: Miss Jackson's and Abersons. But what does an extra few hundred dollars on a regular item get you?
Well, it depends on whom you're asking really. Some analysts think the cost is in the name, that 80 percent of the mark up is for the brand. But a higher price can also equate to a higher quality item. It lies somewhere in between, like cars. You could buy a Honda and know you are driving a reliable, long lasting machine. Or you could an Acura. Made by Honda, the same build, but added luxury behind a stylish brand. Chanel is a good example. Great quality fashion and a logo for status. Take jeans, for example. Jeans can be divided into 3 distinct groups. Group A are jeans $20-100, which will get you a pretty nice pair of jeans. Not the highest quality in denim, not the most accurately fitting shape and probably not everlasting. Group B jeans will be $100-400 and will be made of nicer denim that fit more contoured to the body and will wear longer than Group A; they may also feature more expensive embellishments. Group C is jeans costing more than $400; they are probably undistinguishable from Group B, but have a high fashion name attached.
Yes, the names may be what initially draw you to a fashionable piece but besides being a status indicator, it's also an investment piece. Your wealth management firm may agree with that statement, but if you've purchased 10 trendy bags in the last five years, the total cost may equal one great bag that you'll continually use for the next ten years. It's a stretch, but the right expensive purchase will save you money because you'll be less inclined to buy crap.
Start at Tulsa's oldest department store, Miss Jackson's. Chances are you've seen it from the outside. But, have you been inside before? I experienced it for the first time only recently. I assumed it to be hoighty toighty. But this isn't just your rich grandmother's department store--just take a look at the well designed inviting store windows.
And while you might be tempted, don't feel that you need to be sashaying around in a ball gown to go into the store, though you could definitely buy a ball gown while you're there. Or a Burberry purse, Stuart Weitzman heels, outfits by Missoni or Seven for all Mankind jeans. The two floors of designer goods (the third floor is the salon) can fulfill whatever fashionable luxury you're requiring. You could start small (in size and cost) with something like a Jonathan Adler coin purse or a bottle of perfume from Creed.
Let your imagination run wild when trying to determine what degree of luxury you need. If you feel the need to bite the bullet on your Miss Jackson's fancy purchase, it is open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm.
Classic and Discreet
Much younger than Miss Jackson's, Abersons has had wonderful longevity on Brookside, 3509 South Peoria. The store seems be the originator of the Brookside and Center 1 architectural aesthetic: clean, modern space with a glass wall overlooking Brookside. Drive by anytime and you'll see a simple, minimalist window display of the latest fashions.
Classic might be the right word for the fashions at Abersons. The buyers have assembled a roster of designers that choose fine fabrics and stylish cuts as their bells and whistles. With these designers, you aren't paying to be logo overloaded; these choices aren't screaming to the world who you're wearing. Often, just knowing you're rocking a fabulous Chloe top is enough.
Shoppers at Abersons can expect to find high quality pieces for work, certainly. Higher fashion brands have a level of tailoring that makes exquisite suits. But, as work is not everything, Abersons also carries a range of fashion denims by Rag and Bone, Goldsign and Acne and above basic t-shirts for weekend wear, too. Gush over the looks and names you've read about in fashion magazines: Michael Kors, Chloe, Proenza Schouler, Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander. Sander is also available for men's wear, as is Theory, Armani Collezione and John Varvatos. These names are by no means the extent of the designer collections available at Abersons.
The sleek looks extend into the accessories also sold. The jewelry case features delicate gold and gem pieces that compliment the clothing's color palette and overall styling. Shoes are also available, from summer sandals to round-toed flats and high heels, but don't expect to find terribly trendy footwear. As with all of the labels throughout Abersons, the pieces tend to look more timeless, a great advantage when purchasing higher priced items. And don't forget about every fashionista's signature pieces: killer sunglasses and an eye-catching purse. Leather bags from the likes of Balenciaga are sure to grab the attention of other gals. Abersons' store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5:30pm. They also offer shopping by appointment, another luxury you may want to extend to yourself.
If it were money you spent hour after hour earning, you might feel bad buying something lavish. But you didn't earn it. It was given to you. It was meant for spending.
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