Fashion Reality Check!
Fashion For The Rest Of Us, The Style Bloodhound Is On It!
I’m not a big writer, nor do I claim to be. I love fashion and art, and have recently started writing about both. Just opinions mind you, nothing serious here. But it’s time for a fashion reality check…
I love fashion, style and shopping, and live for it honestly, but I have an issue that has been brewing in my mind forever and each year becomes even more apparent. It deepens as I begin reading my many September issues that have been pleasantly filling my mail box. (The September issues are the premier issues that set the tone and focus on the designer’s collections for the fall and winter season, and beyond, which is the most prominent in the fashion industry. Think “The September Issue” movie with Anna Wintour. I attended the premier in NYC, director’s cut presentation, and it was heaven.)
My issue is that as a normal person, so to speak with a normal salary, (or usually earning a normal salary), I get deeply frustrated how 90% of items show, worn and displayed in the mags are beyond expensive and unless you are filthy rich, you probably can’t buy them. Go on, admit it. I know you have been thinking the same thing if you read these as I do. I’ve been a fashion person for a very long time, usually work in high end retail and I get the designer quality, I get the romanticism of it all, and I get the allure of the high ticket am I really supposed to be able to afford a $1,340 Hermes cuff, or a $980 Calvin Klein knit top? And if I cannot, why do I feel alone in this, although I’m sure I’m NOT alone.
Most of the fashion bloggers, fashion people, and so on will nudge me to think this is normal, and I should be able to afford any and all of it. Why “don’t” I have a $3,300 Chanel bag? (Because I have a $240 Donna Karan bag.) I follow ALL of the trends and re-introduced classics from the runway and yes, I deeply want my favorite polka dot, black on black polka dot, pencil skirt from Marc Jacobs’s collection. It’s around $1,250. Yes, for a skirt. That is currently more than my rent. Don’t get me wrong, the quality is stunning; Marc Jacobs is the man, and soon to be designing for Dior, if rumor is correct. I get it, but really, $1250 for a skirt? One skirt? All of the pages on the magazines are typically like this, unattainable, even in Lucky Magazine. Great to see that but how about some alternatives that rock as well?
I do not come from money. I didn’t grow up with wealthy parents on the Upper East Side, I don’t have a rich boyfriend, or a husband who made it big in hedge funds. I work most of the time at normal modest sales positions with an average, or lately below average salary (think security sales, tech, personal shopping- high end retail, relying on the nice discounts. Thanks, Mr. Economy.)
I feel I should be able to shell out any amount of money for the items I want for quality pieces. But it’s impossible, instead I find my very similar quality pieces, and do a great deal of personal shopping for others at the alternatives, Club Monaco, Zara, Bloomingdales, even the Mad Men Collection at Banana Republic, which is amazing. But most of these are not featured in the magazines, ever. Why? Why not feature more of the items that “we normal people can afford?” Not just ads, but real fashion editorials with attainable pieces? Is a magazine full of thousand dollar skirts really the only way to go? Why only show a Mad Men advertisement, instead incorporate them in some of the editorials, please. And more of it!
Now the solution; instead of complaining, as I have done throughout the years, I now seriously embark on a mission to find the most similar items for a better price. Like a bloodhound! I have been doing that but now and for years also as a personal shopper but now it’s simply time to step it up, go full force, and helping others find their dream garments for a normal price as well. I’m not talking H&M or Forever 21, (I am over 35!) I want serious quality pieces, like Kate Spade which are still a bit pricy, or yes, the Kenneth Cole’s the Ann Taylors’, Top Shop and so on. Designers are often out of touch with pricing, think Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen’s “The Row.” I love the looks, styling and the pieces but $900 t-shirts? Really? That won’t change, but …