Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who are these clothes meant for?

As a 40-something woman, what I look for in clothes is not what I was looking for in my 20s. I know that and understand that "fashion" isn't for me. My style is pretty well defined and I'm rarely swayed by "trends". I buy fewer clothes and I wear my clothes longer. I'm frugal and don't define myself by my appearance the way I did when I was a younger woman.

Still, I like to look nice and I am always leafing through magazines that have fashion layouts for women my age. Sometimes they have terrific ideas and sometimes the outfits are ridiculous. That never seems to change.

I just have a few questions: How can anyone justify a $450 skirt or shirt? How can any coat be worth $1000? And, if you buys shoes that cost you $700 and you get a scuff, do you think to yourself, "Damn, there goes $50!"

Honestly, it seems to me that I don't understand the point of these fashion layouts. Oh, don't misunderstand, I do understand the idea behind marketing and generating interest in styles and trends. What I don't understand is how publications can put together "business casual" outfits that end up costing $1000 for one outfit. Oh, I understand that the pieces are basics and that you are supposed to add and subtract aspects to create new looks. Some are even called "investment" pieces. Really? An investment is something that can appreciate in value. Clothing is like automobiles. Then second you drive it off the lot, you've lost money.

Obviously, there are people who make lots and lots of money who can and do afford clothes that cost as much as my house payment. I know that. Looking at magazines aimed at the mainstream, however, and you see items featured that the average woman will NEVER be able to afford (even those in the so-called upper middle class). With that realization, you have to wonder what the real message is. In a country where we're drowning in debt and stuff, maybe we need to teach ourselves to be more aware of the not-so-subliminal messages we're receiving. "This $450 shirt will make you happy, beautiful, and successful." Um, no…that $450 shirt might be pretty, but happiness, beauty, and success don't come in anything someone can sell you. "Oh, it is a new season…time to get an entirely new wardrobe!" Yeah, because the clothes that worked the last time this season came around won't work this time? Look, people wouldn't offer these clothes if people weren't buying them, right? But why are people buying? Aren't we smarter than that?

And don't get me started about undergarments? Do designers not realize that we need to wear bras? Even when I was younger, I needed to wear said undergarment. Yet, as I look at so many of the clothes that are designed, I wonder if other women know something I don't about defying gravity. If they do, I wish they'd fill me in.

Maybe I'm too old (but I think I'm just right for me) or maybe I'm just not part of the target market, but I just can't figure it out. Who are these clothes designed for? Is it you?


Andrea said...

I dress more for comfort and as I purchase it is about quality and comfort....not whether it is designer or not. I need for it to feel good and last a long time.
Blessings, andrea

Deb said...

I absolutely cackled when I read, "Do designers not realize that we need to wear bras?"....believe me, if I went without my bra, the last thing I would be is in fashion!! :o)
Have a blessed day!!

Andrea @ The Train To Crazy said...

It kind of makes me sick, really. I can't believe people throw so much money away when it could be used for much better purposes.

Anonymous said...

Honey you lost me when you said you were looking through magazines, I don't even buy those. LOL If my entire outfit is more than $20 something is wrong. I don't mind looking nice, I am just cheap. I will buy jeans for $5 off the clearance rack when the same jeans are hanging on the regular rack for $35. The only difference in them is the SKU. Notice that even full price I ain't paying more than $35 for jeans. I love that walmart and kmart have tshirts on clearance for $1-3 all the time here. I can pair them with a cute top and be fashion conscious for under $20 and that is including underwear. I am just not the target market.

Beth in NC said...

I can tell you that I DON'T spend a lot on my clothes. I wouldn't even know designer stuff if I saw it.

Tootsie said...

only if I was going to a costume party!!! haha ha
I have to agree with you here!

Growing Up A Country Girl said...

I find myself more and more shopping and buying and purchasing the bargains at the thrift or second hand stores... The other day I found a like new leather jacket for $8.00...

loveaphid said...

Ummm, No, not me. I'll ask around {time elapsing}

Nope they all say not them either.

Sorry can't help you here.

Anonymous said...

To some degree, yes it is clothing of a style I wear. That said, I'm not paying 50 BUCKS on fabric for it, let alone 400 more for the outfit. (And the silver one, not the black, it's ugly.)

This is why I sew. I love clothes, and expensive ones at that, but I can't afford them.

As far as coats...I've got 2 I have made, an opera coat and a dress coat, and both cost me well over $200 to make myself (the retail tag would have been around 4K and 2K respectively). While they are expensive, even making them myself, coats don't go out of style provided they are taken care of, made of quality materials and in a way as to be classically styled. So yes, they can be work 1K, easily.

I do buy expensive shoes (and I do own a couple of $700 pairs, that I got after they were worn once in a fashion show as a gift)and I view the ones I do have (75$ range) as an investment. These are usually black and of a style that will last me for many years if I take care of them.

By and large, the fashion industry is meant for those that are consciouys of having more and better then everyone else, and usually bought on a credit card. You can't sell fashion if you can't create a market. Doesn't matter WHAT market (vintage inspired, avant garde, resort), there will always be those that try and convince you the price tag is all that matters.

Anonymous said...

My apologies...I apparently can't use a spell check.

Julie the Army Wife said...

It all seems crazy to me. I feel bad if I spend more than $15-20 on a shirt.