So after that email from ModCloth about their Stylish Surprise mystery packages, I received an almost-duplicate offer from Unique Vintage. Except they call it “Catch of the Day,” which you have to admit isn’t quite as…catchy.
Anyway, I like to take my Targeted Marketing with an alliteration shooter.
This time though, I was quicker on the draw. There were still almost-full options from UV’s grab bags of tops, bottoms, shoes, dresses and accessories. Since I knew Dress of the Month would be on its way shortly, I opted for a $15 bottom, $20 pair of shoes, and $5 accessory. Forty dollars for an almost-complete outfit.
Moments after I got my order confirmation, I was second-guessing myself. What if the shoes didn’t fit? I have wide feet that hate flats. Or worse, what if by “accessories” they meant earrings?
I don’t have pierced ears.
I mean, actually I did, almost 30 years ago. My mom took me to Claire’s Accessories and, despite my protests, convinced me that it would be fine and she’d buy me whichever green-turning fool’s gold studs I wanted. I’m sure she thought I’d grow up to be a normal girl who wanted to wear earrings every day, and it would be much easier for all parties to get this messy business done and over with early on.
But I grew up into an outfit-obsessed eccentric who can’t stand the thought of poking foreign objects through her skin and dangling them from her appendages to potentially tear out at any given inopportune moment. By the time I was 12 I was working hard to grow them shut.
That’s the shitty part of Mystery Box, though. You’re not shopping with a full catalog of your eccentricities and preferences. You’re letting Jesus take the wheel and potentially throw you over a $5 grab bag cliff.
The Mystery Box was waiting outside my door, and was about the same size as the ModCloth coat box. A little disappointing, given that I was expecting three exciting items versus just one. Probably not a full-on circle skirt or pair of knee-high boots.
The box may have been small, but the shoebox inside of it was microscopic.
“You’re going to be flats, aren’t you?” I prophesied to the black box perfectly packed next to a tissue-wrapped swath of black floral print. Black floral print is always a favorite. I can get on board that express train.
Oh WAIT! Shoe box cried. Look, it’s not earrings!
And momentarily I was distracted by sweet heart-shaped sunglasses, which will be perfect friends with my pair of Pabst Blue Ribbon bar giveaway sunglasses from two summers back, a.k.a. my “I left my nice sunglasses on the kitchen counter” summer lifesavers. They’ll live together in my car console and share a simple, fulfilling life.
But despite their non-earringness and welcome hint at sunny days to come, they could not forever distract me from the truth lurking under the tissue.
Those are some flat-ass shoes. And not only are they flats, but they’re those weird flats with the Gladiator-style string things you’re supposed to somehow wind up your ankles, which is disheartening because I can barely tie a bathrobe let alone complicated shoelaces.
I just checked out the picture on the website and I still have no clue how I’m supposed to wear them.
“I can’t even deal with you right now,” I told them, and shoved them into my summer sandal and open-toe box.
The black, red floral print pencil skirt is a much more welcome addition, especially since it’s a work-appropriate skirt with an elastic waist. Not because I want to go to the Indian buffet for lunch tomorrow (which I really, really do), but because sitting in a stiff skirt at a desk for 8 hours a day is miserable no matter how well-fitting it is.
The shoes are available on the website for the sale price of $24, and the skirt and sunglasses are not listed. Similar items were $18 and $32, respectively. The skirt seems like the caliber I routinely find at Nordstrom Rack in the $20 range, while the shoes remind me of pairs I find with the rare 80% Off sticker on the DSW Clearance Rack and buy just so I can say they cost me $4. Like my pair of blue Fergie (yes, THE DUTCHESS) platforms I’ve only worn once.
Dear Reader, I got greedy. I doubled down. I expected another Coat-level wonderbox, and I got served a heaping pile of “Mehh.” This is the exquisite pain of the fashion grab bag. The hand plucks from the treasure trove, and the hand plucks from the loading bin on its way out to a TJ Maxx.
I don’t know what kind of magical voodoo-enchanted fabric this skirt is made of, but it gave me an ass. An actual ass.
I don’t know how I can describe how ass-deficient I am. I’m a woman of German and Danish descent. We don’t have butts, we have legs and torsos and somehow we are able to poop between them. I can’t tell you how many times I have glanced back in the mirror while stepping into the shower and thought “why? How can someone be curvy everywhere but behind? What kind of terrible engineering flaw in my DNA is this?”
Catching an actual shape reflected in the grocery store windows on Friday made me practically trip and fall into oncoming traffic. It was like seeing a unicorn chasing my shadow.
I would like to apologize to any dismissive tone previously detected in this post and wholeheartedly endorse the Spring mystery box.
(Except for those funky strap flats. Those remain an enigma.)