A week or so ago, the Sartorialist posted a photo of two women in Milan walking arm in arm, wearing head to toe black, donning full-skirted coats. The photo was composed beautifully, (as one can expect from this now-iconic street style blog), and amidst an otherwise stark urban landscape, the whimsical coats offered a frilly, yet unfussy solution to the drudgery of winter.
Finding the coat was bittersweet, as it occurred during the closing sale of a local boutique, Karma Fashion. As the economy struggles, small business retailers face fierce competition with the deep discounts of luxury department stores. Boutiques like Karma and the premium services they often provide are becoming an unfortunate casualty of the recession, as more and more people eliminate unnecessary purchases (unless they succumb to seductive epic sales, like me).
The always-friendly and attentive owner of Karma was just profiled in the Post-Gazette so I was especially shocked to hear that their doors were shutting and she was heading over to competing local boutique and national etailer, Chickdowntown, to handle some component of their online sales. I hope that the new staff addition will help turn around Chick Downtown's variable customer service and I wish the former owner of Karma good luck in her future retail endeavors! She has fantastic taste and (from our admittedly limited interactions) a great attitude so she will bring a lot to the table for Chick.
But I digress. Although my full-skirted winter coat is not the solid black of my inspiration, and I certainly lack the long, lithe limbs of the women in the original photo, I sated this coat craving and filled a hole in my closet with what will hopefully be a statement piece I can keep for years to come!