To Shop or Not to Shop?
Actually, shopping isn't the real issue, it's buying. So, rephrased - to buy or not to buy? My new motto for this coming Fall and Holiday season is, "Buy better, buy fewer." But, then again, I have always been a quality buyer. Over time, you do wind up with quantity, yes, but all of what you have is quality pieces. As a classic Midwesterner, this has been the approach that made the most sense. I really hate the idea of buying something, spending real money on it, and then essentially throwing it away because it was either too trendy and looked stupid two seasons later, or it was poorly made and didn't survive a couple of cleanings. Or, in the case of jewelry, was a piece of costume junk that broke or bled black or green on my wrist, neck, shirt or fingers. So, my interpretation of all of the financial calamity is to make more out of less. Pay off the credit cards and make a new habit of being highly discriminating in your purchasing behavior. I notice that most of the fashion magazines are focusing once again on investment dressing. Further, it appears that many of the manufacturers are starting to ever so quietly, ease up on pricing. The designer discount sites on the Web seem to be generating very substantial sales and that's good, because it does send a message to the designers that women don't want to be suckers. Last year, women sent the message that they were finished with stratospheric pricing and stopped spending (some had to, others simply got tired of being gouged). Even I was shocked at some of the typical markups on some of these items. Very excessive. On the other hand, there is so much competition and so much talent out there, in order to make a living, many thought that high prices would be a safer bet. Last year, that philosophy stopped working. So, it's on to a new season of still very expensive clothing, shoes and purses, minus a few key players in each category. Jewelry has taken the biggest beating, I think, because it is so unnecessary. I am hopeful that some rationality will ultimately prevail in the fashion industry, though I believe it will take time to recalibrate the designers, manufacturers and retailers to the "new normal" in women's purchasing behavior. It's been a wild ride this past year. On September 15th last year, the market began its collapse, and the world since then has changed dramatically, maybe permanently. Fingers crossed on getting through the rest of this year without more of the same.