Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What's In a (Brand) Name?

    I love Forever 21.  Not everything they have is my style, but I've found a lot of great pieces there over the years.  The trouble is I'm looking at 21 in the rear view mirror...in fact it's so far gone I can't even see it in the rear view anymore.  I don't think that means I can't shop at a place called Forever 21, but I have wondered about it and there does seem to be a stigma attached to it for some people.
    I recently had a conversation with a friend who was complaining about women who won't dress their age.  She began her tirade with, "If you're not twenty-one you shouldn't shop at Forever 21."  And she felt pretty passionately about it.  I didn't say anything, because she wasn't aiming her comments at me personally (I hope), also she doesn't shop there, so she wouldn't know if I'm wearing something from there or not.  The other reason I stayed silent is that I see her point and she's not wrong.  
    As we mature our sense of fashion should mature with us.  Just because you can wear something from a "younger" store doesn't mean you should.  I get that, and I get that the name of this particular place has a sad, "struggling to look young" connotation to it.  I get it.  But, it's just a name.  Yes, some of the things they carry are way too young for me, but some are not.  It's that way at any store really.  Some of the things at Ann Taylor and J. Crew aren't for my age, size, body type, etc, and some are.  I rarely rule a store out completely just because not everything is right for me.  
    I used to love Charlotte Russe years ago, but then, either their style got much younger (everything went "body-con" and became shorter, tighter, and made of polyester) or perhaps my style grew up a bit.  I still shop there occasionally, because I still love their boots, scarves, hats, and jewelry.  If something looks good on you, then it looks good on you, and where it came from doesn't matter.  The only reason to pay attention to the store is so that you can check back there to see if they have other things that look equally good on you.  
    In the same way that I'm not one to disregard a place just because of its name, I've never been one of those who buy something simply because of the name.  In fact, I kind of hate it when the company's name is sprawled across my clothes for the simple reason that I think it spoils the overall look of the outfit.  I don't condemn others for  their love of certain brands, I just don't understand it.  I've had friends who felt such elation over finally owning a Louis Vuitton purse or a Coach bag.  And I was happy for them and excited with them, but inwardly I couldn't help but wonder, "what's the big deal?  It's just a purse with a logo all over it."  When considering a purchase, the first priority should be on the aesthetic, not the brand and/or the (sometimes perceived) associated status.
    My advice in all this brand name nonsense is let's lighten up a little.  If you find something beautiful that looks great on you, then it doesn't really matter if it came from Betsey Johnson or Charlotte Russe.  If having a Coach purse gives you confidence then it's worth it; if you can get that same confidence with a Korean Novelty purse with cat ears that costs a small fraction of the price of that designer bag, then that's even better.  If the connotations of the name have made kept you out of a certain store, go in and look around.  You might be surprised at what you find.  Honestly, if I'm with my friend and this particular subject comes up again, I think I'll suggest she let me take her shopping at Forever21 sometime.  I think I could make her look like an age-appropriate knock out.

1 comment:

  1. Well put. I don't think it should matter where you shop as long as you love your style.
    Joy OutfitZest

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