Fashion Reality Check!

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 can’t the editors do more for the rest of us?

Yes, I will write to the fashion and style editors, as I know who most are without even looking up their names), and ask them, beg them, to feature MORE of affordable pieces. Will I have any luck? We’ll see. Why are editorials full of ONLY expensive items and can’t they do at least some with items a normal stylish, chic person can buy without a second mortgage?

I will also simply seriously launch my own initiative here full force and blog about it with information for the “rest of us from the style bloodhound.” I have extreme “fashion” education that I have keenly acquired over the years, it will be my goal to find the designers that I cannot, and most of you reading this, cannot afford — but instead sniff out the closest replacements WITH the quality. And, beg the editors for a bit of change! That is the goal.

Last case in point; recently, in the September issue of Bazaar (Bazaar being my most favorite), I saw a beautiful Jil Sander printed cape. It was a “call for price” – you know what that means. But, it advertised “if you like the print you can buy this make up pouch to have something similar.” Great I thought, until I looked closer and that was, *gasp* $424. Yes, that much for a makeup bag. Seriously?? I rest my case. Who spends that on a makeup case that is not an ultra rich, spoiled celebrity? Why do they do this to us? Lottery money would not make me spend $424 on a makeup case. Ever.

I love the styles, the items, and the magazines, but I’m guessing my emails won’t change much inside Conde Nast or Hearst. I vow to try, but “if you can’t beat them, join them” but in a different way. Again, think style hound. It comes down to strategically finding the pieces I, we, love – or as close as possible, with smaller names and really hunting through the boutiques, department stores and like, really getting in there and finding the pieces – in the stores or on-line, like a full time job, a fun one.

To the magazines, it’s simple. Tons of us are looking for alternative to the pricey piece anyway, why not GIVE US SOME. Feature more designer collaborations, more affordable alternative pieces, more designer that sell at normal prices – they are out there, and more “Splurge vs. Bargain” type features. Show the expensive ones and then give us a REAL alternative, not a $420 makeup bag option. Show us where to buy the featured items, and if you don’t I’m going to find them anyway and shout it from the fashion mountain top, come hell or high water. The frustration ends here, the style hound is on it, starting now!