Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Impact of Throwaway Fashion

All the emphasis on throwaway fashion - by stores like H&M and Forever 21 - has trickled up into so many other areas of retail. To some, this is welcome news... But I hold that time is what you're trading for price.

Which is fine for the few trendy looks that you won't want to wear next year.

And makes sense for teens who are still developing a sense of style.

But what about the rest of us - who know who we are, what we like and what looks good on us?

When your closet's full of throwaway items that lack the quality and longevity of a well-tailored jacket or a good shirt with French seams, shopping - or "replenishing the stock" as I call it - can eat up a considerable amount of time. It's hard to keep up with the churn.

Trying to find quality items that will last? Forget it. It's nearly impossible these days, at a reasonable price point, at least.

Retail has devolved into what I call "the non-value chain" - inexpensive lines have pushed the lack of quality higher up the retail ladder.

Now that Macy's (and even Bloomingdale's) is jam-packed like a fire sale bazaar, even historically quality-oriented stores like Nordstrom just don't seem to have the goods they did five years ago. Although prices have continued to leap apace.

But when you're working as much as Americans do today, dashing from work to home to scarf down your 30-minute meal, squeezing in a workout, and (hopefully!) carving out some friends and family time, shopping takes a backseat out of necessity.

So buying clothes that last can also increase your productivity, since you'll devote less of your free time to shopping.

Don't misunderstand, I don't hate shopping. I hate unsuccessful shopping. And that's what I've been experiencing, lately. And I feel like it's a tremendous waste of time.

Bah, humbug.

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