Are we ready to shop? Are you kidding? Perhaps the fun of buying has disappeared. This economic downturn puts the seemingly wealthy in a conundrum. We may have the money, but there are two obvious reasons why it’s not appealing for many of us to shop. First, we feel poor. Our retirement accounts show 30–40 percent less than we had a year ago. Secondly, it’s not cool to shop. It feels distasteful and insensitive to flaunt a new outfit while much of the country is losing jobs and homes. Worrying about affordable healthcare and providing our children with college educations needs to be our focus. Right? Buying that Louis Vuitton “Alma MM” handbag or the Gucci leather platform T-strap sandals, or the Burberry tulle trench coat seems downright criminal. Right? Well, maybe.
I was making my rounds today, as I do each week as a wardrobe consultant, checking out the stores and seeing what’s new. Today was Neiman Marcus. While chatting with one of my sales girl’s, Orly, I asked her. How’s business? She replied, “This week was better; but honestly, people have the money, but they are afraid to spend it.” Her commissions are suffering.
This phenomenon is the trickle down effect that Obama so desperately wants to jump start with his stimulus plan. So what do we do? What is our stimulus plan? We need to shop again. We start with baby steps. Maybe in the past we’d think that buying that new Marni macramé’ A-line skirt with its purple and yellow reversible cardigan would be prudent in that we could wear it to both a charity luncheon and my friend, Alan’s fiftieth birthday party at Spago. But now we think that perhaps that black vintage Prada dress from a Decades purchase two years ago would suffice, at least for the Spago party. Let’s just update our shoe. Ok. So, we just buy the shoe. Or, we just buy the clutch. We could borrow from Lissa, across the street. Her Michelle Roy large, chain link graphite necklace would give this outfit an updated punch. Yes, that’s what we do. So we minimize what we buy, but we do start to buy. Baby steps. Head to toe shopping isn’t going to happen. We just aren’t ready for that. But, we can begin to shop.