Your loss, not mine
Well, we all knew it would happen.
Finally our economic woes caught
up with mediocre fashion. Apparel
retailers in malls across America
are starting or have finished going
out of business sales - Deb, Delias,
Wet Seal, Kate Spade Saturday, and
Cache to name a few. Most attribute
their failure to on-line competition
yet Piperlime.com, Fashionista.com,
and others are shutting down. Could
it possibly be that said shops are no
longer relevant? Does anybody care?
Yesterday a fashion industry pundit
asked for my thoughts on fashion
retail's struggles. My answer was
simple - we have too many clothes.
Do me a favor - walk into what I'm
certain is your walk-in closet and
take a quick inventory. After you
assess your abundance, I'll bet you'll
be embarrassed at best. After years
of shopping ever dropping prices,
we all have too much of good and
bad things. Yet why do we hold on
to said vestments of the times past?
Fashion hasn't changed enough to
force us to feel an urge to purge
or purchase. Honestly, how many
pairs of black slacks do you need?
Our culture of bohemian excess
means anything goes. So whether
said bottoms are palazzo, pleated,
flat front, stove pipe, bell bottom,
or skinny - one can opt to wear
whatever they want. Just look at
the runway, magazines, or internet
and I'm sure you'll find whatever is
hanging in your closet somewhere.
Cheaper by the dozen
In my Mother's day, quality togs
came at a high price. However you
got something that was worth it.
When a pretty young thing walks
by can you discern whether she's
wearing Ballenciaga or Zara? Now
that apparel is so cheap, we've all
filled our coffers beyond capacity.
With a Uniqlo seemingly on every
corner - why spend $1,500 on a
Cucinelli cashmere sweater? Buy
a dozen in every color for under
$500! Everybody is doing it...
I rather miss the style edicts of my
youth. One word from true doyens
like Madame Vreeland and we all
went from mini or maxi (for those
too young I'm talking hemlines...
not pads). Fashion has gotten so
complex, so fussy, so diverse that
the bulk of us have no idea what to
wear. Hence we keep things simple.
I'll resist expounding on "casual"
or "comfort" given said phenomena
fill our airports with yoga pants and
sweats. No wonder we're befuddled.
When confronted by mediocrity,
price is king. If one can't tell the
difference between the options -
why not opt for the lowest of the
common denominators? Given
we're all digitally savvy, it's hard
to resist surfing the web in order
to order a better deal on-line while
still wearing a frock in the dressing
room. There's no need to worry
given most retailers have cut staff.
Feel free to cyber shop as sadly,
I highly doubt you'll be bothered.
Does she or doesn't she?
The problem with fashion is that
nothing is special. Mass produced
means that everything looks and
feels the same. Gone are fabulous
fabrics you couldn't find elsewhere.
When one can buy a pretty damned
perfect faux orange ostrich Birken
on a street corner, why not use the
difference to pay off your mortgage
rather than buy the real thing? Plus
one may get better service down an
alley in Chinatown than at Bergdorf
Goodman. That's how bad it's gotten.
A whole new world
The good news is we're spending.
The bad news is that it's not on
fashion. Rather than saving for a
new frock, we grab one for a dime
then dine out at a decadent eatery.
Somehow most of us have figured
out that experiences are much more
life-changing than a new handbag.
So unless somebody gives us a
reason to clean out our closets, we
will continue to travel, dine, and
indulge our senses. Eating, sipping,
and exploring our way to happiness.