Here is how we know fall has officially arrived:
We are standing outside the Fashion Week tents, on one of September's first crispy, cool days, when we run into an aquaintance who is wearing the skirt of the season: a poufy printed Prada affair, made incongruously of nylon and retailing for around $1,700. She has paired this extravagance with a black cashmere twinset, and she appears to be enormously proud of her ensemble.
What she doesn't realize is that one of her sweaters is sporting a tiny but nevertheless unmistakable hole just over the place where her belly would be if she didn't weigh 85 pounds.
And that little hole, we are more than sure, was caused by a little moth.
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Manhattan, and Lower Manhattan in particular, as you may or may not know, has a serious moth infestation problem. From the most squalid tenement to the most overpriced coops, there is one great leveler: Your sweaters, the cashmere ones especially, whether they hail from a thrift shop on Avenue B or from Bergdorf Goodman, are catnip, so to speak, to winged gray monsters. (Odd but true fun fact: Moths have the same taste in clothes that you do! They do not, as a rule, like the rough orange lambswool-blend cardigan your mom bought for you at the Gap last Christmas; they adore the beaded cashmere shell you found buried at the bottom of a bin at Alice Underground.)
Years ago, when we encountered our very first hole, we were lucky enough to make the acquaintance of the French-American Reweaver at 119 West 57th Street, a guy who can magically repair your holes, as long as you're willing to spend around $45 per. (Your neighborhood dry cleaner can also just sew them up, a cruder method, for around $5.)
The fellow at French American suggested that we immediately put up some barriers, making it harder for these venal creatures to detroy our wardrobes, so we dutifully trotted off to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought a pretty wedgewood-blue garment bag that required some home assembly, which left us with a bleeding hand (but that's another story.) After we finally set it up, we threw in some lavender moth sachets, zipped it up, and forgot all about it.
So why, oh why, a couple of weeks ago, when we opened that garment bag to fetch a favorite cashmere cardigan, did we find a dime-size hole mocking us from its shoulder?
No time for tears. We trudged up to 57th Street, and asked Mr. Reweaver what was wrong with our garment-bag system. "Oh, Miss Yaeger," he cried. "They can get right through those garment bag zippers! What you need is to put your sweaters in Ziploc bags, and not the kind that just squeeze closedthe ones with zippers. And then put the Ziplocs in a plastic box!"
We promise to purchase the Ziplocs, and hand over another $45. As we leave our friend calls out, "See you soon!"
We certainly hope not, we think, though in truth we doubt that we've see the last of Mr. Reweaver.
If, as our mother once pointed out, there is no such thing as one mouse, we likewise suspect there is no such thing as one moth. And surely there is, out there, one wily enough to figure out how to penetrate a ziploc bag?
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