By Mary N. DiZazzo

Filene's Basement-A Beauty of a Bargain

Ciao bella,

"I Just Got A Bargain at Filene's Basement!"
Everyone I know misses the Downtown Crossing Filene's Basement! What in the (bleep) happened there? It was supposed to come back in 2 years, all bright, shiny and New! I usually have excellent intuition. When I heard about and then photographed the tearing down of the old Filene's I knew deep down it wasn't coming back! Truly a loss! I purchased makeup from Japan and perfume from France at prices I could afford! I can remember my first bargain at 18 years old the first time my fellow Cosmetology classmates walked me down into the Basement. I found a fabulous pair of designer Charles Jordan shoes! I couldn't believe the discounted price.

Upon return visits as the down escalator delivered me to shop heaven my head would bounce up to the ceiling scouring for the huge Automatic Markdown Signs! Four square dates to glare upon defined your bargain of the day. Has anyone ever hid an item knowing that the very next day is 50 % off? I found my $200 Emanuel sweater (paid $50) in a petite section. The day I purchased it was a bargain price of 75% off! After purchase the sales ladies were all pointing at me and congratulating me on my bargain!

Recently at Brookline's Public Library there was a documentary "Voices From The Basement." The room was packed full of salesladies that had worked 60 years, 30 years etc. and all their wonderful stories as well as all of us ex-Basement shoppers. Many of us wore the clothes and jewelry we purchased from the Basement identified with hand-written labels. I wore my Emanuel sweater with my earrings and matching scarf, both Salvatore Ferragamo and my first Cameo! One lady shopper even wore her moth eaten sweater! My husband David wore Filene's Basement from hose to bow tie!

The documentary was brilliant filming through the years. The running of the Brides sale, the lines of shoppers rushing the rope, the pulling and tugging of items and the closing of the Basement breakfast were a few memorable moments captured on video! The film-makers, Susan D. Edbril and Michael Bavaro, made this memory thinking that Filene's Basement would be returning! Their insight has brought us back in time when the "date" was the most important part of our day! Bravo!

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!

--Mary N. DiZazzo-Trumbull

Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns at Mary is a third-generation cosmetologist and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183 or