Thursday, August 16, 2012

Desperately Seeking Sanity

Welcome to the Jungle

The first of the September "big books" arrived in my mailbox today. At 2 1/2 pounds and 652 pages, InStyle magazine took up so much space there was barely room for the bills. Flipping through it had me thinking of fall, though the temperature is sitting squarely in the mid 90s. Fall in Houston is generally a state of mind. The Galleria Mall, eternally 72 degrees, is more like it. So I spent some time tonight checking out what's in the stores as they begin to unveil their fall selections.

I report thus: The state of the agora is... desperate. I was assaulted by a hodge podge of styles, sensibilities, silhouettes and fabrications. Granted there are still bathing suits and sundresses on the racks in a riot of colors and patterns, but the cacophony didn't stop there. It's as if the designers or buyers or whoever makes these decisions have thrown up their hands to say, "We don't know want they want. So let's give 'em everything."

Normally you'll have the Preppy look "in" one year and "out" the next. Or there will be a Folkloric feel. Or it's first cousin, Tribal. One year will be Minimal; the next will be Animal. There will be a Good Idea replaced by another Good Idea. What I saw was all of it at once, and that's a Bad Idea.

Too much pep for its own good?
Remember peplums and how fresh they looked last winter and into spring? Now, everything has a peplum. And not just a blouse. Got a skirt? Add a peplum. Pants? Peplum it. Sweater? Peplum! This is way too much pep for me.

And where to stash this abundance of apparel? There were not enough racks in Macy's to contain it all. The fractured floor plans of most retail stores make shopping difficult enough. Designer sub-shops mean you have to cover the space of a football field to see all the black cardigans. Just try to make sense of the styles when even the sub-shops have sub-shops! I was drowning in a sea of plenty. I couldn't see a tree for the forest. Just as I am overdoing the metaphors so was I undone by the flotsam and jetsam of unedited plethora.

It was clear that if you were not a Dedicated Follower of Fashion you would run from the mall, straight to the nearest Jamba Juice and forget the whole thing. Or you would head home, fire up your computer and fill your shopping cart on L.L. Bean's website. So peaceful.. so organized... so... boring.


  1. My local nordstoms is rathe small and well edited. Here in LA everyone wants jeans and that's what they provide. It's brilliant really.
    I do so want a peplum top though. Perhaps Ill put on my fatigues and head to the battlefield.
    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Thanks for the review. I'm so glad to still be out of touch and on vacation.
    Trends cycle around so quickly I don't think they ever really leave. Manufacturers and designers continue to amp up the hype hoping to rope us in. I think/hope they're mostly catching younger fish.

  3. I rarely go mall shopping, as it is just too confusing, and now you tell me it is even more so? Oh my.