I'm sure I mentioned it before, but one of my absolute favorite jobs was the 3 years I spent as a Store Manager for Oilily. Colorful, creative and fun, it introduced me to a side of myself that I hadn't known existed - one that I thoroughly enjoyed, one that fueled a new, inspired passion for the simple joys of childhood, expression of individuality, eye for quality, and a love of life in all its vibrant hues.
Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I did not have a child at the time that I worked there. While they did have beautifully-crafted women's clothes, the children's line was unparalleled in its attention to detail, its visible ability to draw people in, and its obvious function to let kids look like kids. The color black was nowhere to be seen. The clothing was as fascinating to look at from the outside as it was to turn inside out and inspect from the inside, its layers, seams and linings flawlessly-finished. Everything told a story, taking you to a magical time and place where childhood reigns eternal.
And then there is the price tag.
While you expect to pay for quality merchandise, I can safely say I would have been incapable of surviving there if I had a child, even with the generous employee discount. I enjoyed each day of living vicariously through the wealthy patrons, dressing their children as if they were my own, and ensuring the smiles of happy customers as they departed, bags in hand.
That's why, on my last visit to the consignment shop where I take Sammi's old clothes and purchase "new" ones from the outgrown pieces of other children, I was entirely taken aback by the Oilily jumper that called to me, like a siren from the deep, from out of a rack of dresses.
Taking a look at the price, I began to jump up and down with joy.
$11.00. In perfect condition.
Taking a look at the size, my heart sank.
A size 6.
Remembering that Oilily often runs big, and holding up the magical golden cloth, inspecting it with high hopes, I thought it was worth the chance I would take, and certainly worth the $11.00. And I still had 7 days to return it if it didn't fit.
Miraculously, it did fit, and, while I know its days on my child's body are numbered, we'll get what we can out of it until that sad day when it's just too small.
The armholes fit just right without another sleeve in them, so I put a pink tank top underneath. Once the weather gets colder, I may have to just have her wear it like this with a sweater or denim jacket over the top.
Believe it or not, most Oilily clothing is wash and wear. Dry cleaning is discouraged, as the chemicals used can break down the cloth and cause wear and tear more quickly. The items are designed to be worn well for dress or play, and then handed down over the years.
Last year I found an amazing deal on Zulily for $5.00 tights from Jefferies Socks (available only in quantities of 3 of the same style/color through their website, but available individually through retailers such as Zappos or Zulily), with styles and colors so similar to Oilily's whimsical designs. I snatched up a few pairs, but haven't had opportunity for Samantha to wear them yet. When I held the dress up to the tights squirreled away in her drawer, I was excited to find that this pair of footless tights matched perfectly! They're a little big (size 9-11), but hey, they're footless, right?!
I can safely speak from experience that you just never know what you might find if you look hard enough.