Some people say I used to have a shopping problem, but I tend to think of it as more of an appreciation for beautiful things. At various times, I have been obsessed with buying up lots of Pucci scarves, Saint James striped t-shirts and pea coats. A few years back, I even had a special California Closet made to house everything. (In the last year or so though, when I walk in there, I do ask myself WHO the lunatic was who bought all this stuff.)
Thought I was finally over all that obsessing and hoarding until I walked into the gift shop at the Ocean House in Watch Hill yesterday. Initially, I went right past a stack of striped Saint James tees without a tinge of shopaholic excitement or euphoria. Bet I already have all of those I told myself. There were the woman peering into the glass case of estate jewelry. My sister picked up a box of OH stationary. That would make a great gift for someone I said nonchalantly.
That was when I first saw it.
While everyone else was ooh'ing and aah'ing over a glass case of estate jewelry (prices available upon request) and gift-y items, I found it. Hanging discreetly in a back corner.
The Saint James Pea Coat.
Honestly, I've always loved pea coats more than jewelry - I was ooh'ing and aah'ing over the silver buttons and striped lining of this coat. I didn't even know that Saint James made pea coats.
You see nothing says bohemian left bank perfect Parisian style more than a pea coat made by a French company. It tells the world that you subscribe to that same understated 'cool aesthetic' as the Rive Gauche writers and artists from an earlier era. That you're a fan of Colette, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Rimbaud and Satre. Or that you at least saw Philip Kaufman's Henry and June when it first came out in theaters back in 1990, which I did.
French peacoats whisper all this while other items, like say the Hermes Birkin bag, scream that you are label conscious and need desperately to keep up with the Kardashians. Sorry, but once Kim K. started carrying that garishly painted Birkin, it was over for me. I have officially moved on.
Clearly, the estate jewelry fans did not realize the significance of this coat. They cast a dismissive glance my way and made their way out to the main lobby. Neither did my sister who left me in the dust as she headed toward the spa to check out the selection of skin care, robes and spa packages. This was the Holy Grail of modern, polished bohemian style. Hello ladies? Didn't they know what a find this was? Guess not.
In the end, I had say au revoir Saint James Pea Coat and walk away (a big step for me!), but I do hope that whoever snaps it up will love it the way I did and wear it without any estate jewelry. Or a Birkin.
Photo Courtesy: The Saint James Pea Coat photo, Pinterest