Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

At the sales


I went to the hairdressers' today at Sloane Square which is a brisk, ten-minute calorie-burning walk to Harvey Nichols so I dropped in to look at the final reductions in the sales. Since my resolution to stop buying cheap clothes my spending has dropped away to almost nothing, so with signs in the window saying up to 70 per cent off, I was well within my rights to see if they had anything I liked.

I tried on an Armani Collezioni jacket, at 60 per cent off, but it wasn't special enough to win a place next to all my other black jackets.

I tried an Anne Klein cocoon-shaped black wool coat, which was original, but the mark-down wasn't that great and I don't think the cocoon shape is a trend with any legs. And I have two black wool coats already.

I tried a DKNY short mac in a sensational yellow but it was too big.

I tried a Donna Karan slate jersey dress reduced from £1995 to £675 but thank god it was too small because I couldn't afford it.

And looking round I thought how utterly uninspired I felt by everything. Far too many of the dresses were too short, there was a world of black and beige and stone everywhere you looked. The clothes depressed me. Either they were ugly or they were unwearable. I looked in at Zara and saw a scrum of women fighting over tat, black tat.

Fashion has lost its bearings. The fad for cheap disposable style has revved up the speed of design, so trends come and go in a heartbeat, there's an air of desperation. There is nothing with authenticity and confidence, and nothing at all which issues that old siren call . . . wear me. Clothes have little relation to the bodies that they are supposed to dress.

Perhaps this is why there has been a retail slump. No-one wants to buy the stuff.

18 comments:

Glamourpuss said...

You know, I think you're right. Clothes used to really inspire me, but very little interests me at the moment - probably why I spend all my cash on lingerie.

I don't know who designers think they're designing for these days, but it certainly doesn't seem to be women.

Puss

indigo16 said...

I agree,my gripe is that fashion is too often designed and cut for the slim body shape and because retailers are so quick to copy and paste from catwalk to the store they don't seem to focus on translating trends to fit/suit real womens body shape. I too am so tired of the short tunic and have no symapathy for retailers left with rail after rail of uninspired copy cat fashion. Stores need to make a personal response not a copy. will they ever learn?

Phyllis said...

This is how I shop! And I share your pain. Maybe this is why I’d rather spend my disposable income on hair/skin treatments and cosmetics ; I feel the end result and the level of personal attention I receive makes the price a value-add for me. I also think we’re in an era of true innovation in those industries, and I find this way more exciting than what is happening fashion right now.

miss cavendish said...

I'm remembering my wonderful summers in and around Sloane Square in the not-too-distant past. Were you at Toni and Guy (the salon I recall in the square)? I'd make my rounds from Sloane Square Tile to Emma Hope, and then down to Trotters and Daisy and Tom (or Tom and Daisy; j'oublie, but surely not named after the Buchannans?!). And yes, I had a one-year-old in the pram at the time, so my shopping was for shoes or tiles (along with darling little-girl clothes).

enc said...

Agreed.

Linda Grant said...

No, Richard Ward in Duke of York's Square, opposite Peter Jones

Anastasia said...

So true - shopping used to be fun, now it's just depressing. I remember ten years ago I would go window shopping for fun and sometimes even try on something without wanting to buy it. Everything was pretty and everything fitted.
Today it's just awful and boring, I end up buying new versions of my old standards because I can't find anything new I like.
And god help me if I need a new dress for a special occasion - it's a nightmare that can last for weeks, when I'm cruising through all the shops I like, all the shops I have bought something in the last three years and in utter desperation all the shops that exist in my town, sometimes followed by shops in the biggest city in my country.
And then I usually wear the old, trusted dress which I've worn on oh-too-many-special-events that I've started to hate it a little.

Deja Pseu said...

Aarggh, I'm so with you. There seems to be no tailoring anymore. Either clothes are designed to fit like potato sacks, or the manufacturers rely on skin-tight stretch fabric to give the garment any shape. I've also made a committment to eschew "junk food clothing" which leaves little else.

priscilla said...

I found your blog through the sewing divas site. I totally agree with you. Last fall I said I have to LOVE something before I will buy it.if I like it I can look at it but I have to really LOVE it to buy it. Funny, this year I purchased hardly anything for the very reasons you gave. There isn't anything out there that is just so fantastic that I just have to have it. I won't even go to the way things are made and the price they are charging for it.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I am of the same opinion as Phyllis. I will "invest" in my hair, skin treatments, gym/trainor, but I bought almost no RTW clothing in 2007 (or 2008). Instead, I spend on beautiful, unusual fabric and make something special for myself. Linda

Bag Snob Tina said...

You are so right. This is how I have been feeling for a year now. I get excited about something (online- it's where I do a lot of my shopping) but am usually disappointed when I receive it in person. And when I actually go to the stores, I usually walk away empty handed or with a pair of shoes because Louboutins and YSLs rarely disappoint! So now I am a girl with hundreds of bags and shoes but nothing to wear with them. Sigh... I hope the trend of super-trends will die down. I just want beautifully made clothes that are stylish yet classic. I am not interested in shocking or making any statements. Is that too much to ask?

Mimi Jackson said...

So true... but I will never forget when I learned that people do not dictate fashion; they either accept or reject what is presented to them.

This is an important point. Nothing changes unless/until people stop buying.

Resse said...

I miss the times when I would stroll down the avenue with my mom with some beautiful outfit. She and I would be dressed to the hilt back in the 70-80s. I am only 35 years old so this is not in roman times. I miss feeling great because of what I am wearing. Back then I never felt like something was too tight or short. Colors and fabrics used to complement your body not show it or hide it. I have recently stopped shopping at retail shops. I am so happy that this blog is out. I thought I was going crazy. Fashion is not fashion anymore. I don't know what it is but it is definitely not fashion. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog. It is high time somebody said something about it.

bonnie-ann black said...

i totally agree -- everything is as boring as boring can be. i thought it was perhaps because i am approaching the time of being "a woman of a certain age"... but now i know, everything *is* boring as boring can be. i like the suggestion of using money i used to spend on clothes for lavishing on my face and body....

Meg said...

Testify!! The last time I went shopping, I had none of the excitement that I used to have. Although it was only last weekend, it could have been 1990. MANY of the dresses and jackets looked exactly the same. Sure, classic styles don't change that much, but the fabric didn't appear any different, either!! The quality of materials is at an all-time low, and many department stores don't even offer tailoring. Not for free, anyway. So, why would anyone brave the traffic and the scores of shoppers invading your private thoughts with their cell phone talk for that?

Marisa said...

I feel horrible when I go shopping. I am in my twenties and it's depressing that I can't find clothes that are cut right or designed or sewn well. I thank my stars that I am much the same size I was in my teens (I am very petite) because the stuff I would buy once in a blue moon make up the bulk of my wardrobe ... it's probably also a good thing I bought stuff in styles and colours that last and suit me and my figure.

But now I am "all grown up" and there are still a few nice things I'd love to be able to go out and buy but I can't because I find them in the shops and it's a) horrible quality and b) way overpriced stuff at that and c) definitely not designed for any woman.

So many of what I wear now is stuff from years ago, vintage or really really cheap. I am just lucky I manage to put it together so that I look decent.

And I agree with Meg - tailoring and advice in the department stores should be free after the kind of prices they charge. They should bring back the hat and gloves - your outfit just isn't finished without them. And why aren't we seeing anything original anymore?

I spend my money on books and dvds and chocolate. *sigh*

mmm said...

I save buy not going to the sales. If I see something I like, I´ll buy it straight away. Cashmere knitwear feels wonderful and I can buy 2-3 at the same time ,once I´ve found a nice model.I love beautiful and expensive lingerie too .I don´t have lots of clothes, but the ones I have are the best quality I can afford. Same goes with my bags. Actually I have a very nice feeling when I come home and realize that I didn´t buy anything.

Joan M-M said...

If the average sized young woman is having no luck finding anything to buy, imagine being 5'1", a size 14-16 and living in the limbo between XL and 1x.

NOTHING fits in any direction. The rise is too long in most pants, price level makes little difference. If the length fits the circumference is too tight. It's a nightmare.

Thank god I can sew and knit or I'd be a ragamuffin. Still, it would be nice to be able to just go out and buy *something* even at full boat retail price.