Tag Archives: women’s fashion retail

WBUR’s Cognoscenti

Sorry it’s been a while since I have blogged but I was traveling, buying actually, for Spring/Summer 2013 (can you believe it’s 2013 already?). But in the meantime I was fortunate enough to participate in WBUR’s cognoscenti page on their website. Here’s the link, I think it came out well.

Cognoscenti

Meanwhile thanks for reading!

Women Now Outshine the Men at Work…Is That Acceptable? Really?

Donald Trump Bad Hair Day

Here is the supposed KING of Business. So are we (I mean the work force of America) saying that it is OK for a man to parade around like this just as long as he makes a lot of money?  Would that be acceptable for women? Funny, every time a women runs for office, all the press and opponents talk about is her dress and her hair, but we don’t even speak about a man (well ok we are finally making fun of “The Donald”).

Is this Best We Can Do?

Here you go…here is the perfect illustration of our illustrious young male workforce, badly dress and groomed. Why aren’t the women of the world screaming for a revolution….Would you really look at these guys and think they are the best you could hire for your company?  How can you tell them apart?  They all think they look the part, and what they really look like is that they have white man’s disease, you can tell they can’t dance either. Maybe one of them could have worn a dark trouser that possibly would fit them without having a saggy ass. Maybe one of them could have worn a patterned shirt or dare I say a tie. We all know they were wearing blue blazers (without a spec of a design element anywhere). Somewhere there is a secret code that informs these men that it’s the only acceptable uniform to wear; khakis, a blue or white plain shirt and a navy blazer and you are all set for the business world. Get an $8 hair cut while you are at it.

Well guess what men of the secret code…your competition isn’t each other any more. it’s women. And I can say for certain, because many of them are my customers, women are grooming themselves to look more modern for business to beat the competition in their saggy assed suits from Joseph A. Banks. Get ready… So when you walk out of an interview all wrinkled (or unwrinkled in your stay pressed shirt and pants) that the women (or male) interviewer is going to respond better to a candidate with an aura of a well dressed and groomed person, not someone in the secret code uniform.

Now I know that I’m a woman, and women aren’t part of the CLUB…. But this code has gone on for way too long. It was cool to see men stop being so buttoned up, but of course we had to go to extremes and soon they are wearing pajamas around because they are comfortable. If that’s the case why wear clothes at all?

Is this Really Sexy? I Guess if You Have Money You Shouldn't Care..I Think You Should

Whether men like it or not, to compete in this business climate they are going to have to put more time and effort into their appearance or be left behind. There are leaders in this endeavor. The look may not scream out (which is the point) but check out the grooming and the variety of dress.

He Looks Modern Without Looking Stuffy

Look a Different Colored Shirt?

Now There's a Man Who Knows How To Tie aTie

See my point? Please….

I Forgot How Much Fun We Had in The 70’s

 

I usually poo-poo the fashion worn in the 70’s…it definitely was the worst time for men…it ruined the industry, Men have never trusted Men’s Fashion media and manufacturers/retailers since.  Separates dominated Women’s fashion during the 70’s and were the vehicle for individual expression. After the 70’s, the fashion mantra became EVERYONE wears black or EVERYONE wears denim and EVERYONE carries the “it” bag. Actually Women’s dressing during the first 50 of the 20th century were dresses, dresses, and dresses with a nod to jeans during the 50’s and a bigger nod to them during the 60’s. The 70’s gave the newly liberated woman a fashion choice with separates…separate tops, jackets, sweaters, pants, skirts and yes dresses. We had lots of fun in the dressing room the other day channeling the 70’s and here are some of the results. 

 

Check Out The Bag and Boots

 

This picture was taken with my IPhone and the Hipstamatic App. The film was “Float” and the lens was “Jimmy”. I love this App. Finally after eliminating the creativity of photography with digital cameras, there is an app that can change your photograph before you take the shot. It allows you to change the mood or the color or brightness….the possibilities are endless…what fun. Here’s another outfit created by “separates”.

Here's a Long Dress with a Knitted Fur Jacket

This again was shot with “Float” film and a “Jimmy” lens. Just as the word indicates the designers of these items are all separate as well. That’s the beauty of “separates” you can create new outfits everyday. This may change the way you shop, suddenly items have more merit by their flexibility, what you can put them with, instead of its’ designer.  It’s like the photograph you can mix films and lens and have multiple possibilities. Here’s another possibility:

 

Don't you just love Corduroy?

“Jimmy” again was the lens but the film was “Ina’s 1969” , doesn’t it look like it ….it matches exactly with the outfit. The color of the film looked like it came from a Kodak Brownie. Candice looks so cute and fresh with a vintage twist….so individual….Corduroy…. I don’t think I have worn that fabric since the 70’s. I forgot that it makes noise when you walk, and that it’s soft and comfy.

It is fun looking back….it’s fun teaching the next generation a look we created 40 years ago…..they look just as cute as we did…maybe.

 

Is It Relevant?

 

Who Are They Talking To?

In today’s style section of the New York Times, Cathy Horn wrote an article about the five things you need for Fall. The article starts off with her version of how the ads in all the “Big” September Issues of the major Fashion magazines have nothing to do with the modern working women…she then proceeds to ask all the editors from these magazines and others, what are the five top items that they are really lusting for  (meaning the items that they really WILL buy) this Fall Season.

The way that the fashion magazine world works is that if a brand advertises, then their clothes will be prominent in the editorial sections in the back of the book. A certain major editor set up that paradigm many years ago and now the integrity of fashion journalism has been tainted and the magazines are completely IRRELEVANT.

So much money, time and energy are wasted on advertising and editorials that the true American consumer of these kind of clothes wouldn’t buy. As always I ask…What’s wrong with this picture?…..In a time when the economy is forcing everyone in this industry to be as sharp and clever and as economical as possible, how can these people be wasting so much money on bad fashion and bad fashion advertising?

The joke of the NYTimes article is that after reporting on these fashion shows last spring as if they were the gospel, they dismiss all their efforts in one article that gets to the heart of the matter….what is it that the consumer WANTS to buy instead of what “god(the magazines)” tells them to buy. I remember one vendor saying to me that it doesn’t matter what you buy for your store it’s more important what the magazines TELL you to buy….really???? We never bought into that.

These paradigms are fading…slowly. When something become too obvious it’s time to move on. Another one of these is the combination of a “Famous Person” in association with  “DESIGNING” clothes and other products. First they are not designers….they sell their name to promote clothes that are copies of other peoples work, in Chinese Factories. I don’t fault the people who make these clothes they make lots of money doing this….the fault lies with the consumer for buying into this falsehood. Madonna’s daughter is 13, I’m sure she’s creative, but you can’t put her in the same category as Proenza Schouler who have , I think, reached 30. Jessica Simpson is probably going to meetings and saying “I like this I like that” but she hasn’t had the training to know how to construct a garment. But it seems everywhere you turn this formula is appearing…..make-up, bed linens, QVC…..Are the top requirements for purchasing items; 1. They have a “famous” name attached to them  2. That they appear in magazines (maybe worn by Stars), 3. That there is a fake discount (or flash sale) attached to the purchase? Is it that formulaic? Are we not capable of judging  a product on it’s own merits anymore?…I don’t know you tell me….We’re betting that you can….and we are  betting that you will prefer it that way.

 

 

 

Sorry I Haven’t Written But I Was Busy!

Sorry My Blog Has Been Like This Empty Room Waiting To Be Filled

So I know it’s been awhile since I posted, but this was women’s (category) buying season and I was traveling non-stop for eight weeks. It was such an interesting season … the clothes were varied at best but the mood and the turmoil in the industry were evident in every city.

Usually the fashion industry is one of the first industries to embrace change, but in this economic downturn it seems like the whole fashion food chain has been stuck in the mud and spinning its wheels. The mantra was more extreme fashion, more seasons, more discounts, and more big fashion shows to get the penny pinching consumer to spend money. And everyone claimed that these tools were working….but it seems that they (these tools) only stressed these luxury brands to a point where their seams started to split.

Let’s start with New York. We had several designers with similar, “commercial” shows that made us think all we had to do next season was to buy a flowy printed silk chiffon dress and add a hooded fur trimmed anorak on top and you’ll be set for Autumn/Winter 2011. How is that possible that this looked appeared three or four times in different shows? Thank God for Proenza Schouler and Jason Wu or New York would have been a complete miss. I’m not saying that other designers didn’t show innovative stuff (sometimes it was OK) but most of it was “innovative for the sake of being innovative”. Did they really think women were going to wear it?

I love when WWD  at the end of each city fashion week has a feature story of what the store buyers think are the strongest looks of the season. They usually rave about the designers in their roster and never talk about designers that they don’t carry (hence Proenza and Jason). Hey, some designers have good seasons and some have bad ones. My rule of thumb usually is that if the pre-collection is good then the collection will be weak and visa versa. Which gets to my point,  I believe a designer can have only one vision per season and pushing them to make two collections for one season is like saying “more is more”.  Usually the only reason to have two collections in a season is so that department stores can put one on sale when the other one comes in….and what is the point of that?  So that the merchandise is depreciating by the minute?  Why not just price it lower to begin with….Hence you have stressed out designers, wholesale sellers, factories, and buyers!…..the customer will probably spend the same amount no matter what. For me, traveling to a showroom once per season is enough thank you, just spread out the deliveries.

OK point two…then comes Italy. Over the last several years Italy had been scrambling to design women’s clothing that will stand out. And they have succeeded. These shows are sooooo outrageous that I am in awe of how much time and money is spent to exaggerate every detail….why don’t they just bonk us on the head and scream “COLOR” is the point of the season like the Gucci show. We get it! and there is no subtlety in any of it. Do women want to walk around looking like advertisements for the latest trends….I don’t think so or maybe that is not my experience. Wake up.

And then there was Paris……. Galiano’s “unfortunate accident” ? Someone used that same term when describing what the minister called the death of a 20 year old  at a funeral last month. Really? Alcohol and prescription drugs causing bad behavior and suicide is not new news…..and not an excuse !!!! but a cry for help to treat people who are burdened with life’s’ problems. Paris shows were a push towards…..I don’t know…. but I felt that the designers were pushing all over the place and the results were unwearable. It was like you could see the stress all over the clothes.

So where does that leave the buyer (and the consumer)….well for me, I found great work in smaller more personal lines that had designers plugging along like the rest of us, pushing ourselves to be the best we can be, but realistically beautiful at the same time. I was really tired at the end of this trip, but I was really satisfied with my buy. I will get into that in future blogs but I felt it was important to talk about the obvious, since no one else will.