New Game: Secret Heiress

I spent the day in Chicago with family, but after some scheduling shenanigans I found myself on Michigan Avenue with some time to kill. I was headed for the legendary 3-story Michigan Avenue Forever 21 — an amazing place, to be sure — when I spotted a more intriguing destination.

Oh, Burberry. How much would I love to own something — even a basic scarf! — in that iconic plaid. I love all things British, and Burberry is so quintessentially British. I’ve seen the store before, but I’ve never gone in, because I assume everything in there is wayyy out of my price range.

But today I thought to myself, you know what? You’ve been reading about designer brands for months now, and you have yet to see any of this stuff in real life. Go look! See them in their natural habitat. It’ll be like a safari.

So I did it. I went through the super-heavy door and walked in.

I felt out-of-place, to be sure. The greeter didn’t “greet” me very well, and I worried, “Can she somehow tell that I can’t afford any of this? Do they have some kind of money-detecting instinct?” But when a saleswoman asked me if she could help me find something, I went for it — I said, “I don’t really get the layout of this store, can you show me where everything is?” And she did it! She basically gave me a tour. Basic collection. Upscale. Runway. The Trench Coat room, with those famous trenches, none under $2,000. (I vowed today, someday I will own a Burberry trench. It will happen.) I wandered for a few minutes, looking around and falling over upon seeing some of the price tags, before walking out (and saying good-bye to my fabulous saleswoman!).

I couldn’t stop grinning, because I realized: No, silly, they can’t detect how much money you have. Walk in there like you know what you’re doing and they’ll assume that you do. They have to be nice to you in case you’re a secret heiress. For all they knew, I could have been.

After Burberry, I went into Tiffany’s. You might have noted by now that I have a love for jewelry with a lock-and-key theme, and that’s basically what Tiffany’s most recent collection is. I’ve been extremely tempted to buy their tiny heart-shaped lock necklace, because it’s so very much me and only costs $100. The saleswoman caught me looking at in gold, and when she asked if I had any questions, my instinct was to say, ‘Just looking!’ and scurry off. But I thought, ‘What the hell?’ I asked her if they had it in silver, and she directed me upstairs to the rest of the collection, where another woman offered to let me try some on. I didn’t — I thought that might have been taking it too far — but I loved being asked. On my way out, a man in a suit told me to have a nice day, and I said he had a beautiful store. Seriously.

I know it’s a silly thing to do, going into fancypants stores and acting like you can actually afford things, but I lived it up. I got measured for expensive jeans at the Levi’s store. I inquired about a pair of shoes at United Colors of Benetton. I finally saw, in real life, the Christian Louboutin red soles Nina Garcia loves to talk about. I wasn’t wasting anyone’s time, because those stores were pretty much dead anyway, and I definitely wasn’t wasting any of my money — you can’t make stupid purchases when nothing is cheaper than $200. I had a ton of fun, and if you get the chance, I encourage you to do the same. It’s nice to have people treat you like you’re special.

But… in the end I did run for the Forever 21. How could you not? Like I said, 3 stories. Legendary. Worth a trip if you’re ever in the city.

I even found the Sweetheart Chambray Dress (S)  I had fallen in love with on the website.

It’s not a million-dollar Prada masterpiece, to be sure. But for now it’ll do me just fine.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sheyla
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 19:25:37

    What a great post and love the secret heiress strategy. lol


    • MG
      Apr 05, 2011 @ 17:08:35

      Thanks, Sheyla! Also, I don’t know if you saw the earlier post, but I took your advice and read Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred, and I loved it! Thanks for the tip!


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