I so dig the humanity of so-called ‘Black Friday’! All the people out on the streets with their needs, their scarcity, their adrenaline pumping, the scrim of shame over the whole thing because really, of all days why go to buy your parents a toaster today, the only day of the year when one risks death by Walmart Stampede to buy a toaster over. Well, for the same reason people smoke cigarettes, jump off bridges and wear Uggs – because everybody else is doing it! I think there are certain moments when going along with the crowd can be fun! So I got together with some shopping comrades and together we braved Union Square in San Francisco.

This is Tamara, who always has excellent style. At Thanksgiving she was sporting these Loeffler Randall rain boots. I’ll show you in a second, but first I would like to draw attention to the wonderful layers piling up around Tamara’s neck region – the giant olive coat, the rugged denim, the fancy little knotted scarf. Tamara is a Libra and was counseled by the astrologer Susan Miller to not buy anything on this day of days, so she’s just along for the ride. Here’s those boots I was talking about:

Love them! So, our first stop was the mall. I did dash into H+M and ask the cutest, tiniest, gayest employee ever if they had any Lanvin returns stashed away, and they did! He brought them out, and, like a scene from a horror movie where the undead serial killer won’t die, what he held in his hands were the same fucking dresses I tried on last week, in a the same too-big size! Okay, I get it Universe, or whatever ghostly power rules my life and laughs at me. I’m so over that line! Jeez!

Hanging around outside J. Crew, looking for people with cute style to ambush. I saw one girl with a crazy ankle-length African print skirt and some wild giant necklace and asked if I could take her picture for my blog. “I’m shy,” she said. For reals, with that outfit?! Hard to believe. Also hard to believe how dully dressed everyone shopping at the mall was, especially when it’s so cheap and easy to be fashionable right now! Why, even this month’s Vogue has admitted most all the current looks for ladies can be thrifted! I myself can’t stop picking up high-waisted lady pants, oversized sweaters and clingy turtlenecks at Goodwill. Anyway, I was thrilled to see this casually stylish gent strolling past, and even more thrilled to learn it was my long-lost friend Kevin! We used to be so punk together, working in the same bookstore in the Castro where he was always organizing Books for Prisoners because he is an awesome do-gooder punk! Kevin would like to point out that he is still punk. Me, too!

Ya’ll wish you had this sweater! And keep wishing, because who knows where this lucky lady got it! It sure did make me smile to see this silly cat coming at me down Market Street.

After surviving the mosh pit that was the Gap, and being sort of tossed around by the mayhem inside Macy’s, we retreated to the safe, serene bubble of calm and beauty that is Barney’s. Shopping Comrade Beth wanted to smell exquisite scents in the basement, so that’s what we did. The lovely gay men at the perfume counter brought us glasses of water. Our blood pressure settled and our faith in the power of loveliness was restored. Just knowing Barney’s exists makes the rest of the world feel like Ross Dress for Less. But sometimes you can just pretend it is a sort of art installation, and you can let go of all the things you want but can’t have and just luxuriate in the good vibes. Also, everyone who works at Barney’s looks amazing. Check it out:

Hello, Eyebrows! Fantastique!

You know how people say a color pops? The entirety of this lady pops. Check out her boots:

They looked so good clicking across the marbleized floor. Her boyfriend painted them!

Classic high-nerd. He looks smart and rich.

Oh my god, look who I stumble upon glamorously shopping for glamorous sunglasses – performance artist/filmmaker/blogger Wu Tsang! Bumping into someone you know at Barney’s feels like randomly running into someone you know in, say Rome, or perhaps in the afterlife after you die. Wu looks so good in those Proenza Schoulers!

Know what else is in the sunglasses case at Barney’s? Eyewear by Albert Maysles! You’re like – wait, isn’t that the dude who made GREY GARDENS????!!!! Why, yes, it is. Now he makes eyewear, in collab with Barton Perreira and Barney’s. More than any other, these sunglasses have the coolest backstory ever. It makes sense that the man who familiarized the world with one of our number one fashion icons would be invited to make some fashion. Let’s take a peek at our beloved Little Edie right now:


Okay, back to the salespeople at Barney’s.

Here is a lass that knows how to get her photo taken! She got right into this darling, pigeon-toed pose, hands clasped behind her back, as if last week she was in the bottom two and she knows she’s got to take a good picture today to remain in the running for America’s Next Top Model! I would root for her. She’s smizing and smirking and her style is pretty damn impeccable. Let’s get some close-ups:

Rodarte for Repetto. Who knew?

Leopard manicure + frilly sleeves.

Awesome, Blossom! This is Alex, she works up on the Co-Op floor and is torn between which marked-down Alexander Wang purse to get, the slouchy one or the ladylike one? I’m glad I can’t afford to have such a tormenting dilemma. Alex has the best, most cheerful vibes ever. I basically wanted to hang around waiting for her to go on break so we could find a barn to chew pieces of hay in together and I could make her tell me romantic stories about Italy, where I believe her accent is from.

The world felt harsh, ugly and unforgiving outside of Barney’s. And that’s because it is. We BARTed back to the Mission, where no Black Friday madness was happening but I couldn’t stop bumping into stylish people, per usual. Here are a couple to end the post:

I asked this shy boy where he got his excellent sweater. “Thrift Town.” As it should be.

Know what you can’t get at Barney’s? This delightful airplane bolo tie. Our girl got it on the street, man!




About Michelle Tea

I chanted "I am a fashion magnet" in the shower and subsequently found a Gianni Versace - era Versace skirt at Buffalo Exchange for $17. Once I got a beyond-my-means Fendi purse for free and sat staring at it, crying. Also cried at Olivier Theyskens' last show for Nina Ricci in Paris. Other things that make me cry: a good lip synch; my emotions. I have stolen two Jeremy Scott swag items from two Jeremy Scott events I was not quite invited to. Sometimes I want to age into Patti Smith, sometimes Baby Jane Hudson. I frequently dream I am in a magic thrift store where I can have whatever I want. I regret not buying the Alexander Wang purse when it was half price at Barney's. Like a delusional guy at a strip club, I feel special when the people who work at Barney's remember me. Having a Leo rising gives me big hair and a need for attention. My favorite designers right now are Alexander Wang, Philip Lim, Proenza Schouler, Vivienne Westwood, Viktor Rolf, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Helmut Lang and Surface to Air. I was once shamed by an employee of a high-end department store for pronouncing 'Rodarte' incorrectly.

One comment

  1. pagemcbee

    I am so with you on Barney’s. I just go there to relax sometimes. Sigh.

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