Tag Archives: Men’s Clothing Boston

Although it’s a Season of Black and White, Here is a Word About Color

Three Cheers for Color and Pattern

So I can tell you right now by the time the collections are complete in the stores for Spring/Summer everything will look black and white. After two springs of “color, color, color” EVERYONE went back to black and white. But by April the stores will look so boring and unappealing consumers will be begging for some color.  As a buyer you choose from what is in front of you. But as I have been telling you for many years there has been this consensus before the shows even start and the media and stores are forced into a storyline. “These are the TRENDS”. If you are not careful as a buyer you might fall into this trap. But I find these trends leave little to the imagination of the consumers, making the consumers feel like mindless idots who can’t dress themselves without a STAR in a magazine showing them the way.

I am so excited about the merchandise in the store right now. It’s design at its’ best; modern, fresh and yes colorful. We will have our share of black and white, but why does everything have to be all or nothing? Here are some examples….

The Mix of Colors in this Dress are So Special!

Though the “trend ” for printed trousers started a few seasons ago, I think some designers are mastering the art of partnering patterns with high tech fabrics.

The Print on these Trousers Really Need to Be Seen in Person

Mix and Match is Half the Fun

One last photo of a cute little dress from Suno…nothing loud or on TREND just a cute little dress from Suno that you would love to wear all summer.

Stretch Silk and So Easy to Wear

How Did We Get Here?

Every day I keep hearing the question “how did we get here?”. The only answer I can come up with is; “because we don’t want to pay for anything”. How did we manage to ship all our jobs overseas?….because we didn’t want to pay for anything. “How did we get into this healthcare mess?” ….because we didn’t want to pay for it (and then some of us ended paying too much for it)…. How is it you can’t go into a store anymore to see TV screens and only a few manufacturers still make them?…Because no one wanted to pay for them…so you can only choose from 3 adaquate manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong we WANT all these things….even though most people can’t distinguish the difference between good and bad quality….we just don’t want to pay a lot for anything. We want the big DISCOUNT of life….no matter what. That’s what drives the American consumer and it’s no secret that everyone takes advantage of that fact to give us what we want…one big DISCOUNT…because somehow we feel entilted to it!

Please read this article I ran across the other day.

The new dynamic: Off-price is not for the faint of heart

May 1, 2012 By Karen Alberg Grossman

 “What’s an off-price store anyway?” asks David Lapidos, EVP of the OffPrice Show, alluding to the extent of discounting and promotional activity in conventional stores. “Off-price stores come here to do the bulk of their buying; regular stores come to improve their margins.”

According to Lapidos, the show’s exhibitor base these days is half manufacturers and importers, half jobbers. “Jobbers can no longer exist on just clearance merchandise since few manufacturers are overcutting or taking risks. Consequently, several have developed their own lines for department stores that they also show here; others have goods made specifically for this show.”

Tom Joyce of Building 19 is a retail expert in off-price. His stores, based inMassachusetts, are famous for value product and wonderfully quirky advertising. As he explains, “It takes expertise and finesse to get good brands at good prices, especially in a tight market. There are no longer large quantities available domestically, so jobbers are going overseas. What’s more, it’s a gentleman’s business: if a jobber’s stuck with something, you help him out and then next time around, he’ll help you. With the right relationships, you can lock up exclusives, especially from department store shelf pulls. So I can sell a gorgeous designer name sweater at $9.99—maybe it’s Pantone 423 vs. 422, but who cares? Having last year’s goods is less of a factor in men’s.”

According to Joyce, great offerings are finite. “There are only limited amounts of most off-price product; when it’s gone; it’s gone. And the biggest change over the last few years is that as stores and manufacturers reduce inventories to accelerate turn, availability of the most desirable goods has diminished.”

Another issue, he explains, are the growing middle classes inChina,Indiaand other Asian countries. “Many opportunities of the past are staying in local markets overseas. If factories can sell goods in their own country, they don’t have to use quota or pay duty.”

Joyce cites another issue: chains (Bealls, National Stores, etc.) using larger quantities so that one call from a vendor could be 12,000 units—the end of that style if the chain buys it. “Several of my key vendors sold out of half their offerings by the end of the second day of the show,” he explains.

As regular-price department and specialty stores look to increase margins, off-price buys are an increasingly important part of their strategy. Concludes Joyce, “If they buy a $40 MSRP item for $5 (which means out the door at $17.99 to $19.99), they can special sale these goods at $14.99 and still triple their money. So while it’s hard to forecast and there are many frustrating variables, off-price remains a dynamic and viable business.”

Well there you have it….a whole industry built on the idea that it really doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s cheap and you can take advantage of the cheap consumer it’s on the shelves of your local stores and internet sights…..Be careful what you wish for, you’ll destroy the value of what you already have. (I sound like a fortune cookie)

 

 

What Do The Working Women Wear?

I’m in the middle of buying “Pre-Fall”…whatever that means…and I’m looking at some pretty nice things when it occurs to me that I keep say the same thing to these brands, “What is she going to wear “that” with to the office?” You would think I was asking the most ridiculous question. The answer is always the same “oh they can throw “that” over black pants or a skirt”. Really? So I ask “who do you think is wearing these $1500 tailored jackets?” The answer is women who work.

This kills me. I come from a time when women were lucky just to be able to be in the same office as men, never mind having the same job. We have gone through several incarnations of workwear for women and we finally have the freedom to express ourselves (granted with some limitations) and we still have to explain to manufacturers that all these expensive clothes are worn by women who have somewhere to go in them…they actually serve a purpose. it’s not just fashion.

Look at the Cut (which is outstanding,) the Fabric Brings in the Freshness

As you can see we are just getting in some great suits for spring that I think show there is creativity in this category…..which means someone is thinking about the customer,  not pandering to the unrealistic pages of fashion magazines. This next suit is from Jason Wu. He’s part of the new generation of great creative and technical designers that move the needle forward for womens wear.

His use of lace, technical fabric and zipper closure freshen up this spring staple

So Simple but is it Really?

Last but not least (at all) is what looks like a simple black suit from The Row, but upon closer inspection the delicious fabric, the hip structure that make you look skinny (believe it or not ) and the skinny pant makes this suit a head turner. These are just a few examples of the new work wear. This is also a reminder that when you come to Louis you are NOT just looking at “fashion” that a designer puts out there, you are looking at an edited collection of clothing that has a purpose for your lifestyle….and isn’t that why you buy clothes?

“That Shit Cray”

My 19 year old daughter took me to see Kanye West and Jay-Z last night. This is the truth. At the dinner we had before the concert she gave me a tutorial on some of the language and what it means and a small history of old school rap i.e. Jay-Z and how Kanye changed rap from  the streets to popular poetry. As she was talking to me I was looking at her remembering her first concert. She was 6 and I took HER to see the “Spice Girls” (indulgent but historical at the same time). I also took her to see Britney Spears twice, Janet Jackson, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and several Summer Jams. She went to see the Back Street Boys and Shakira with other parents; all by the age of 13. Now she was taking her mother to a concert ….this concept blew my mind. I would never have taken my mother to a concert at 19, and here she was taking pictures with me on her I Phone.

I kept thinking about all the times in the car when she was younger, she would turn up the volume (and the bass) when a rap song came on the radio.  I thought the songs were completely inappropriate (especially the messages about women).  She would yell back “it’s poetry Mom”. I shook my head and thought she’ll figure it out. I would say “every song sounds the same and has the same beat”, and she would say “it’s about the words Mom”.

Kanye and Sam

Let’s go back to how we got the tickets to this show (which by the way she saw in DC a few weeks ago when she was at school). I was early when I was on my way topic her up at the airport  on Sunday, so I stopped by the store to check in on things. While standing there in walks Kanye West and entourage. He was pleasant and introduced himself to me and complimented the store. All I could do was think about how I could get my daughter and get back so she could meet one of her favorite ….favorite…rappers? I jumped in the car and in a flash brought her back. With all the confidence in the world I watched her stick out her hand and introduce herself to him. Taking her lead I too started a discussion about his first attempt at  fashion with a show in Paris this past October. Though the show was an OK first try,  I thought his media response was dead on…”it was just his first attempt and fashion is about trying and learning from your mistakes”. He then picked up the conversation and went on about how nothing was going to stop him and he learnt so much, and his next go around would be better. I commented on his confidence and then he challenged me to come to a concert to see how much he changed rap music. I went and it did change my view of rap music. But another surprise was my daughter’s expression of satisfaction that  she had introduced me to an experience,  as I had done when she was young. As they always say, you are never too young to learn.

You Can't Miss His Presence

Here’s what I discovered. There must be thousands of words in every rap song. When the music started (the floor was shaking) the audience was shouting back the words to the performers. They knew every word, every nuance to every line. There were no musicians , no dancers, no strong melodies, just two people manning the synthesizers and  the performers with their words. So THIS was the poetry she was talking about. This was what moved this generation into memorizing hundreds of songs… it was exhilarating . These two performers had to be in the best shape to go on like this for 2 1/2 hours…. no stimulants here or they couldn’t get the words out…their energy was pure and real, and the audience was the same way.

Armed with Only Their Words

Here they are just sitting while the crowd was standing and completely motivated by their words. The encore was a process of the two of them singing the same song over and over, to beat the fact that they repeated it 5 times in Miami…Boston can claim that they repeated it 6 times, a record, and the audience shouted each time, like it was the first. The name of the song “Paris” the hook is “That Shit Cray”….i.e. That Shit’s Crazy…..it really was.

That Shit Cray

9/11, 9 Years and 8 Months Later

Samantha Greenberg (right in the middle) Outside the White House May 1, 2011

This is my daughter outside the White House last night drinking in the excitement from the news of the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden for  the 9/11 catastrophe that happened 9 years and 8 months ago. She was 9 at the time….. I was, in fact, in New York at the time, it was “Fashion Week”.  I was walking back to my hotel from the gym with a Starbucks in my hand when I witnessed the first plane fly into the World Trade Center. I could see papers flying everywhere, I was ten blocks away in Soho. I ran into my hotel lobby shouting that “a plane just went into the World Trade center Building” and people just looked at me like I was crazy…I probably would have done the same thing. I ran up to my room called my husband and described what I had just seen. I had the television on and “The Today” show was on and Katie Couric was just announcing the same story. My husband and I discussed how we were going to tell Samantha, my daughter that her mother was OK and that he would pick her up from school so that no one else would say anything to her. When I got out of the shower my husband called me back to say (to my disbelief) that a second plane had also crashed into the World Trade Center and again made a plan to make sure that Sam talked to me on the phone when she got out of school so she wouldn’t worry.

After watching the remaining disaster unfold (in real time only seen on New York television) I got dressed and walked outside to see if I could help, only to witness ash covered people, hundreds of them, walking up the street towards uptown in a zombie like state. There was a smell in the air even though the smoke and smog didn’t actually infiltrate Soho until the next day. I tried to go to the site but the police had already restricted the area. I remember standing in the street thinking life as we know it will never be the same in America, that safe “we’ll never be attacked in this country” feeling was gone.

I went back into the hotel and called my husband and Sam. She got on the phone to tell me about some incident in school where a girl fell off a swing and had to be taken to the hospital…she really couldn’t understand the scope of what happened. Our worries, we thought, were overblown

The next day I went and stood in line at St Vincent’s Hospital to give blood. It was there that I saw all the photographs being posted. People had already made posters of their friends and family members to circulate near the hospital hoping that their loved ones made it out in time. It was heartbreaking, There will always be a hole in my heart from the experience.

Yet there was something unexpectedly rejuvenating about seeing my daughter celebrating in these pictures last night. I realized that although she wasn’t immediately affected by the trauma of my experience, her life was TOTALLY affected by it everyday thereafter.  9/11 is a noun to her. Every time she travels on a plane, everyday in the newspapers, on TV or online, she is exposed to the resulting wars and acts of terrorism. Hers is a life void of the secure feelings we USED to have. And with Bin Laden’s death comes a fresh sense of hope for her that life might one day return to a world at rest instead of full of unrest.

Here’s Sam at the gate of the White House

Celebrating for the Cameras

With all that has happened in this world,  three wars being fought and financial instability a constant in our future, it has been reassuring watching the youth all around the world  trying to change the status quo, pushing the boundaries to make a more peaceful and caring world. It’s light at the end of the tunnel.

We Are Getting Older….So What I Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way

I remember my grandmother at my age. As a matter of fact, I think she died three years ahead of the age I am now. My mother died seven years ahead of the age I am now. These facts help me put my life into perspective…. make everyday count, whether loving the people you love or accomplishing the visions you dream….don’t be afraid to grab all that life has to offer it won’t be there, (as well as you) forever.

From what I can remember of my grandmother she wore chunky tie shoes with a low heel, black dresses with thick nude hose (not pantyhose either) and a charm bracelet with a charm for each grandchild (it had our birthstone on the front and the date of our name and birthdate on the back).  That’s what was suitable for a “Woman her Age”. I’m sure she worked very hard to keep the family fed, clothed and clean along with the house and had plenty of time after her two daughters were married and out of the house to slow her life down and take things in stride.

I am just starting to understand this time in my life…. I had children later and I’m still working (harder than ever) and slowing down doesn’t seem like an option I want to have. I find my friends are living at the same pace as well. The goal to retire….well isn’t the goal anymore. Sure financial security would be a gift but I don’t think that would slow us down.

I also find beauty in the faces and bodies of my peers, as well as myself….(not to be conceited) All the rhetoric about looking younger….plastic looking women using product that couldn’t possibly make you look younger…who is anybody fooling ….you are not younger,  you are who you are and why can’t that be beautiful? What a waste of time searching for a fountain of youth which is not there. What you should really be searching for is the fountain of contentment.

There is No Replacing That Look of Contentment (or it could be the wine)

I love the fact that I can dress the way that best suits my body, with that freedom I can take advantage of the new and innovative designs that we discover season after season.  This renewal or reinvention of ourselves keeps our role as older, modern women open and experimental instead of closed and repetitive. Again an opportunity to keep moving forward. The “AT EVERY AGE” issue from Bazaar Magazine  makes me laugh as they try to define what’s right for a women of 30 to a women of 70…they both look the same! The answer is we can be, and look whatever we are. We are blazing trails for future generations of women who can define themselves not by their limitations but by all the choices that are available to them. They can also help to redefine beauty as something that gets better with age…..Just ask Maria!!!!