Outfits: Flashes of Brilliance

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are you ready for Fall? No, me neither but retailers are starting to move in that direction. Anthropologie has unveiled new outfits for "pre-fall" mixing more subdued color tones with pops of bright color.

I haven't bought much clothing this summer, which I'd love to chalk up to being in full-on debt paying-off mode but truthfully it's more because the clothes have just not impressed me. Anthro has managed to draw me in with several items but not so much elsewhere -- I've been drifting through stores aimlessly for the better part of two months. This whole revenge of the 80s/early 90s thing has been pretty craptastic. But Fall and Winter are my favorite clothing seasons so while I'm not ready to give up the warm air outside I'm definitely ready to see what's in store for the late year.

Fall 2009 is the first season where we'll really get a taste of how the recession has impacted designs. I'm expecting the ready-to-wear items to be much more subdued in shape and color, still playing around with the whole 1940s housewife theme. Then you'll have the fantastical pieces for confident women looking to stand out.

The other thing that could happen during the Great Recession is playing it safe. And that seems to be what Anthro is doing with their latest outfits. With the exception of the "Electric Field" outfit featuring the Draped Plaid Dress ($148) nothing is really all that special here. Is the retail clothing world catching up to Anthro's point of view, or is the brand regressing towards mainstream here? A bit of both probably (example: J.Crew's ongoing love affair with all things ruffled).

There are a couple of piece I really like...the Modern Glass Blouse ($248) in the "Falling Hail" outfit (above) and the Soaring Shapes Dress ($178) in the "Sharp Voltage" outfit impress me. But overall my feeling is "I could get very similar pieces elsewhere...for less." I have no problem paying more for clothing that is well-made and lasts. But I want to justify the purchase not only with quality but also with rarity. Anthro isn't Chanel but I don't want to pass by someone wearing the same outfit on the street. Homogeneous is bad when it comes to clothing.

Despite all the commentary I can't wait to see more new stuff. I'm hopeful some special pieces are waiting in the wings. What do you think?