In an earlier post I described my efforts to order and receive a flowered Liberty print shirt from J.Crew. After months of stalking it, pouncing, then losing it, I wound up with six or seven confirmed orders in a variety of sizes. Every single order was wait-listed, although all of the orders were marked "releasable." From this I deduce the meaning of "released" and "releasable" in Crewlish. These words describe phases of the credit verification that takes place before an order is processed. Or even looked at.
In a dimly-remembered but better economy (in a galaxy far, far away), there were lunches and dinners given by banks, large corporations, and civic or charitable organizations, and an inevitable feature of these was the Door Prizes. You were given a numbered ticket when you arrived, or you found it under your plate or on a program insert. At some point during the festivities, there would be drawings. If your number was called, you'd leave with anything from a bottle of wine to a car. Somehow, I would know when my seat number or ticket number was going to be called, although my winnings were never as astounding as a car. I did win things like these: small crystal ice bucket, carry-on suitcase, upholstered footstool, silver pen, another suitcase, gift certificate for one large pizza... well, I'm going on about this to let you know that there have been a number of times in my life when I've just sensed that I was going to receive something. I did not have that feeling about any of the shirt orders.
Of course there came a point when the stalking and ordering had to stop, for many reasons. I was afraid that I might actually receive more than one, I felt that I was out of shirt karma, I was afraid I'd be out of the country and miss an email asking me if I wanted to keep waiting... and it was just getting too complicated to keep track of these orders. Plus I felt embarrassed.
The "wait-listed until" date was April 6. The day came. The day went. No shirt(s). On April 8 I received two email shipping notifications. Did I mention that I'd wound up ordering a random selection of sizes? The ones that were on their way - well, would be on their way in 3 or 4 days since "Your order has been shipped" is Crewlish for "We have printed a label, and at some point it will be put on a package and picked up by UPS, probably not immediately." Anyway, the ones that were on their way were the two smallest sizes, but that was something I planned to deal with upon arrival. As we know, size tag and actual size are not necessarily the same thing. I figured 7 shirts gave me at least 21 chances of finding one that fit, and one was all I needed. I made a vow that anything that didn't fit would go back immediately, no neurotic holding on, I'd rush to let some other deserving soul pounce on it... but, I must admit, I gave myself an "out" for items that fit but not perfectly.
Another two notifications arrived, then two more. Then the UPS tracking thing showed that they were actually underway, and then the first shirt arrived! The print was just as clear and lovely as I had hoped, the shirt itself was way too small. Now come the part where I explain that on my way to or from - well, almost anything, I pass one J.Crew store or another, sometimes two or three, and so I can return items in person, meaning no shipping charges on returns and the money goes back on the card almost immediately. The young man at the register was pleased to see the shirt and offered sympathy on the fit. "You know," he said, "a lot of people are looking for this shirt." I looked sad. "I know," I said.
Three or four shirts later, I had one that fit very well, and one that fit but was snugger. I opted to keep the one with the looser fit. I returned one to a store near my apartment, and the other two to the Soho store. It occurred to me that I should try to cancel the other orders. This was not possible. Two more arrived. Well, since they're here anyhow, I reasoned, I tried them on. Naturally, one fit even better than the one I had planned to keep. It was a matter of shoulder seam placement and a minimal difference in the location of buttons. The fashionista in me thinks this is a result of mass production computerized cutting, the same reason why in a stack of hats produced offshore that are supposed to be "one size," there will be smaller hats at the bottom and larger hats at the top. Or vice versa. Anyway, in a stack of fabric lengths that are going to be cut by a cutting tool into the pieces for, say, a size 6, the slightest tilt in the stack will result in minimal differences on the edges of each piece. So add 1/64 of an inch on each side of the back and on both sides of each front piece... I learned this from a woman in the fitting room who was making her daughter try on four different size 2s of the same dress.
I stealthily returned the rest of the shirts to different stores, keeping the one that fit best. Loves: the little collar (club collar? I think there's a name for it), the placket, the cuffs, the fabric - nice texture. And of course, the print. Did I mention the fitting in the back? Love it.
The folding and re-wrapping of shirts and coming and going of packages attracted some unwanted attention. "It's spring, I'm getting a flowered shirt," I said.
"Oh," said he. "I thought you had one."
Right, top to bottom: from the Target collaboration; from the Liberty store in London; from Ralph Lauren; and a vintage (late 70's) Cacharel.
Left, the J.Crew Margaret Annie. They're growing like weeds!