It’s final clearance sale time. It may be the middle of summer according to the calendar, but in retail, summer’s over. Time to clear out and make room for the new fall fashions. Which is why I’m wearing my new orange dress from J. Jill.

Given my druthers, my entire wardrobe would be neutral. Dark, preferably black. Orange makes me feel as if I’m wearing a neon sign, though Garry thinks it looks cute. Not that he would ever wear this color. He’s even more New York than I am. His favorite color is (wait for it) … gray.

When I said I can’t go out in public in anything this bright, Garry said “This is Uxbridge.”

Uxbridge. On the way to the grocery store, we spotted her. A lovely, plump young thing. Wearing very short, tight, purple spandex shorts. With an over-sized bright yellow tee-shirt. Large bouncing breasts and obviously, no bra. But the thing that brought it all together, that made her larger than life, was her long, electric-blue hair.

She was walking while texting, the epitome of fashion in Our Town. Garry and I discussed the possibility she didn’t own a mirror, but decided she probably thought she looked really cool. I suppose that’s why Garry thinks an orange tee dress is no big deal.

The two colors you can always get at clearance sales are orange and purple.

purple and orange sweaters

End of the season shopping provides a limited choice of colors. Purple, orange. Beige. Ghostly white and unhealthy green. Also special colors which were supposed to be hot but weren’t. Named after food, you’ll find cantaloupe, mango, kiwi, aubergine, honeydew, sugarplum, pumpkin, mocha, and vanilla bean. In other words, purple, beige, and orange. Renaming does not a fashion trend make.

I shopped final sales and closeouts long before I was strapped for cash. It’s tradition. My mother raised me to hold fast to one unyielding principle: “Never pay full price.

You aren’t supposed to brag about how much you pay. You’re supposed to brag about how much you didn’t pay. The less you pay, the greater your bragging rights. I was astonished to discover some people are proud of paying a lot when they could have gotten for half off if they’d waited a couple of days. They might have had to get it in purple or orange, but think of the money they’d save!

Would I have different attitude towards shopping if I were richer? I don’t think so. To put it in perspective, in the early 1990s, I got into a tug of war with Carly Simon for possession of a 70% off final clearance silk blouse in a chi-chi shop in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. Neither of us was poor. It was principal. It was orange. I won. It was a fantastic blouse.

Bargain hunting is not just for people on a tight budget. For some of us, it’s a contact sport. Somewhere in the ether, Mom is smiling proudly.

19 thoughts on “CLEARANCE TIME AGAIN

  1. I wait until the local popular thrift store has their clearance sale. All sweaters, seasonal shirts, pants, kids clothes (don’t go to that one), or whatever they’re trying to get rid of for 99 cents — usually for three days (Fri thru Sun). How can you beat that? Better get there early though because that store is gonna be packed! And you never know what you can find there, they usually have some good quality stuff if you’re willing to pick through it.


    • I had a ton of Salvation Army stuff. I eventually got rid of most of it because I had more clothing than I would ever wear. When I worked, I needed stuff. Now, I really don’t so I’m gradually weeding out stuff I don’t wear, won’t wear, used to wear. And of course, all the stuff that’s too small!!


  2. Then there was my tug of war with Garson Kanin over a pair of jeans until Ruth Gordon intervened. Good lookin’ jeans, nice price.


  3. THis was a fun post Marilyn. Your comment about Garry’s favorite color being gray brought out a chuckle. My favorite color is……… clean. 🙂


  4. This is lovely, Marilyn, funny and touching. I hope you are going to post a photo of you in the orange number! Know what you mean about bargain hunting. When Simon and I used to go to car boot sales (started when he was a toddler, and we still go occasionally), some of the undignified tussles, often between veritable housewifely behemoths, used to make the ground shake and people dive for cover; personal comments, of a most defamatory nature, were bandied about with homicidal abandon – and hair-pulling/handbags at dawn were not unusual activities!
    Having said that, we found many of Si’s favourite childhood toys at various Booters – and even had our own Car Booting Song (made up by Mummy and sung by Mummy and Small Son!).


    • Instead of boot sales, we have yard sales I suppose because we have yards. Same difference. In the warm months, yard sales take the place of organized religion.

      Down town, final clearance sales in high end stores are special. My mother and I were devotees of the final markdown period. You’d cast your eye on something you really wanted that was way outside anything you could ever pay … and then wait. Like hawk circling as the price dropped — and dropped again. Praying they’d continue to have your size and a color you could live with. Then, when you figured it would go no lower (and you’d be amazed at how cheap something that starts out very pricey can go … I once got Garry a Bill Blass cashmere suit for $40 reduced from $600, got me a pair of Ralph Lauren leather pants for $48 reduced from $1200) … you pounce. Garry’s suit was a sensible manly color — they don’t make suits in orange and purple — but my leather pants were yes, very dark purple. But they were, until I outgrew them, the sexiest, most luxurious garment I ever owned. Sometimes I would just pet them and I would purr.

      Not feeling well enough for selfies this week. Got some issues with wire and skin and scars that are taking the bloom off my rose. Back at you 🙂


      • Oh, I am so sorry to hear this, Marilyn – poor you, how horrible. I do hope it all gets better soon.
        Loved your comments on Garry’s suit and your purple leather pants, especially the pet them and purr bit! I bet you looked great in them! xxx


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