3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
Dress, 3.1 Phillip Lim; blazer, J. Crew; shoes, Stuart Weitzman; bag, Mulberry (via consignment)

OK, you guys: this one is special. I spied this 3.1 Phillip Lim dress on the (non-sale) rack at Holt Renfrew sometime last year, and immediately came down with a case of googly-eyes over it. You know what I’m talking about. I ooh-ed and ah-ed (internally), and thought about how much cooler I would be if only I got to wear something so chic. This is, of course, nonsense, but some clothes have that magic of making you believe that it is possible to be a cooler, prettier, more sophisticated, fill-in-the-blank you. But I digress. I looked at the price tag, and it was all, like, “LOL, nope. Move along, peasant!” And I did, because while I like pretty things a lot, I like my retirement account more.

3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
love at first sight

Cut to late January, and I’m back strolling through Holt on a coffee break with a co-worker. (Which happens more often than it should but … ah, let’s get back to the story.) I spot the dress again, this time on the sale rack, and pull it out to show it to my friend, who agrees that it is quite lovely. I get ready for more wistful oohs and ahhs, when … do my eyes deceive me? Is that … can that be the sale price? $157, down from $815?

Yes, yes it is.

Chanel dragon
manicure, Chanel Dragon

Now, $157 (plus tax) is still a lot of money. I routinely spend that much and more in any given month on clothes, but very rarely in one go. And almost never on a piece of clothing. (It’s usually a bag.) It’s above my psychological price threshold for impulse buys, so to speak. This story might have had a different ending than these photos suggest, were it not for a little deus ex machina action in the form of my annual Christmas gift card from work. Gotta love a happy ending, cliched narrative devices aside.

3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
so pretty!
3.1 Phillip Lim silk pleated dress
prettiest thing I own? may well be …

Have you ever fallen (hopelessly) in love with a piece of clothing or accessory outside of your budget, only to later end up being able to buy after all?

11 Comments on Going Out On a Lim

  1. I did a few years ago. J Crew had this gorgeous jacket, I think it was called a “lady jacket”. Very Chanel-esque. Hot pink with navy trim. Shiny gold buttons. It was gorgeous. But it was so expensive! I can’t remeber the original price. It was hundreds. Maybe 3 ish? Anyway, the J Crew store was in the bottom of my office building and I stalked that jacket. Until one day, it went on sale, J Crew had their sale on sale at an additional 40% and I had a gift card. All in all I ended up paying like $40 for it. So magical. I still adore the jacket. I hardly wear it since I shortly after buying it switched to freelance work which I do from home. It’s not a very practical jacket. But I do frequently gaze at it and stroke its sleeves when I see it in my closet haha.

    • Ah, don’t you love when that happens! I love a good deal … but especially one I didn’t think I’d get. I’d hold on to that J. Crew jacket – it sounds fabulous.

  2. It’s a gorgeous dress & your hair looks lovely at the moment! I spend too much on full price Anthro dresses years ago, I only have one full price one left that I wear. At least the others were on sale…!!

    • Thank you! Oof, I’m glad that the Anthro store is really far away from my house, and a pain to get to … otherwise I’d probably be in a world of trouble.

  3. Aw, I love a happy ending! I don’t have any similar stories to share (as I usually buy stuff full-price – horrors!) but I know that feeling of this item will make me cooler, prettier, more sophisticated…..that’s how a lot of items end up in my closet.