Thursday, June 26, 2008

Magazines Acknowledge The Cost of Clothes: A Recession Fashion Rundown





So,
the U.S. is teetering on the brink of a recession. While there is a
smattering of financial advice scattered throughout the July issues,
the magazines focus on something far more important than investments
and job security: looking good! Priorities! The best investment to
weather an economic crisis is, apparently, your wardrobe. I’m no
financial expert, but based on what’s in the magazines this month, I
will say this: If Forever 21 ever goes public, buy.



Nearly all the
magazines offer looks at lower prices, but considering the source,
lower-priced is not necessarily low-end. Here’s a breakdown of the
style sticker shock:





Bazaar



One page of “Hottest,
Newest, Latest” is devoted to “fashion at AFFORDABLE prices.” It was
wise to emphasize the word “affordable,” because otherwise—well, see
for yourself.



Total number of deals: 6



Their idea of dirt cheap: A $69 Banana Republic scarf



Most expensive bargain: A $395 Elie Tahari clutch



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: $140 J. Crew flats



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $450,000 Neil Lane for De Beers bracelet



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: A $46,650 Balenciaga dress. No,
it isn’t woven from gold. Why do you ask?






Cosmopolitan



“How to Shop Summer
Sales” blends fashion with suggestions to befriend a saleswoman and
keep your receipts for price adjustments. Original!



Total number of deals: 14



Their idea of dirt cheap: A $49 dress from Macy’s



Most expensive bargain: A $158 necklace, Marc by Marc Jacobs



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: $48 DKNY jeans



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $575 3.1 Philip Lim dress



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: Cosmo neglects to list prices for
the most expensive items, like the YSL cardigan worn by a model riding
a jetski. Where else would you wear such a sweater?



Elle_july_marykate_olsen_2



Elle




An eight-page spread, “Le Cheap, C’est Chic!,” is annoyingly teased on the cover with the line “No She Didn’t!” Because, you know, spending less than $150 on an item of clothing is totally a novel lifestyle choice and not a necessity!



Total number of deals: Who can tell what Elle thinks is “cheap”? They’ve got Forever 21 mixed with Burberry.



Their idea of dirt
cheap: A $6 bead necklace and, the fashion find of the century, a $7
Hanes t-shirt. Thanks for uncovering that hidden gem, Elle!



Most expensive bargain: Elle’s
“inexpensive” clothes are paired with thousands of dollars of jewelry,
as if that’s the only way to redeem them. The highest-priced piece in
“Le Cheap” is a $3,990 diamond ring.



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: $48 Levi’s denim shorts worn by Mary-Kate Olsen




Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $5,600 Marchesa satin dress



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: Ludicrous $300 square sunglasses
by Luella by Linda Farrow. People aren’t actually going to buy those,
right? Right?






Glamour



Bargains are splashed across one page, “Summery work stuff—all less than $40,” and a high-low feature, “Your Summer Extras.”



Total number of deals: 12 for sure; the high-low feature doesn’t designate what is what. A $40 scarf could go either way.



Their idea of dirt cheap: A $10 Shop Suey ring



Most expensive bargain: A $70 Roberta Freymann tote (assuming this is what counts for low-end in Glamour’s universe. Since another page in the same story features a $795 straw hat, I think it must.)



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $25 Chinese Laundry belt



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: The $12,000 Louis Vuitton Speedy mentioned here



Item whose price makes me question the wisdom of capitalism: Gotta be that hat.







InStyle



An anemic single page is devoted to “Deals & Steals.”




Total number of deals: 7



Their idea of dirt cheap: $14 aviator sunglasses by Shop Suey



Most expensive bargain: A $139 MNG by Mango dress



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: An $18 American Apparel t-shirt



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: An $88,000 Van Cleef and Arpels ring



Item whose price makes me question the wisdom of capitalism: An $18,000 Donna Karan crocodile bag. It’s just a purse.






Lucky



An entire feature, “The Season’s Best Looks Under $100,” is given over to low-price style.




Total number of deals: 67



Their idea of dirt cheap: An $18 Mossimo for Target top



Most expensive bargain: Tie: at $99, a “tiered maxiskirt” by WDNY International and a Tommy Hilfiger cotton dress



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $7 Metro 7 tank top



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $1,465 bracelet by Steven Dweck



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: Chanel charges $1,225 for a belt.
A belt! I regret not launching a career in luxury fashion.






Marie Claire



They’ve spread the
discounts throughout: there’s one page of “101 Ideas,” one page of
“Splurge vs. Steal,” and a feature, “Black & White,” that’s
high-low.




Total number of deals: 40



Their idea of dirt cheap: $7 Hue socks (Thanks, Marie Claire, I was really overspending on socks.)



Most expensive bargain: $300 Marciano shoes (worn with the $7 Hue socks, natch)



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: $5.80 Forever 21 sunglasses



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: An $18,800 Cartier ring



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: A Chanel top and skirt set that
retails for the low, low price of $10,745.






Self



Looks like all the clothes shown in the ; fashion features under $100, which is excellent.



Total number of deals: 100, according to the cover



Their idea of dirt cheap: It’s a tie at $8 for a Forever 21 necklace and Old Navy earrings



Most expensive bargain:
Another tie, this one at $99, for a Nahui Ollin tote, an RJ Graziano
necklace, and a $99 Tommy Hilfiger clutch. Those are special prices for
Self readers, however, so this hews dangerously close to cheating.



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: See above for $8 jewelry.



Priciest item elsewhere
in the magazine: That tank top Anne Hathaway is wearing on the cover?
Yeah. It’s $845, and she’s wearing it with necklaces whose combined
total is $5,300.



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: $49 jelly shoes, but probably
only because I’m old enough to remember buying jellies the first time
around.



Vogue_july_nicole_kidman_2



Vogue



In “The Economists,” Vogue
editors offer “inspired finds under $500 (plus one key investment
piece).” Oh, thank god, because I needed help to find clothes that cost
so little.



Total number of deals: 31, not counting the home d├ęcor and investment pieces



Their idea of dirt cheap: A $127 Sykes London belt



Most expensive bargain:
Seven items retail for $495, including a John Varvatos coat, a Moschino
Cheap and Chic skirt, and a ; 3.1 Philip Lim dress. (You didn’t think
they’d go four whole pages without mentioning Lim, did you?)



Cheapest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $150 YSL dickey



Priciest item elsewhere in the magazine: A $16,600 Cartier watch



Item whose price makes
me question the wisdom of capitalism: Hands down, the dickeys were the
most egregiously priced items I saw in any of the magazines. Vogue
featured two: a $150 YSL version and a $395 Prada one. That’s an awful
lot of scratch for something that isn’t even a real shirt.







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