“Amongst American retailers, discounting has become so common that it’s a challenge to walk past specialty stores like J.Crew and Gap, or traditional department stores like Macy’s or JCPenney, without seeing red sale signs.” ~ The Business of Fashion
Apparently, American retailers have jumped in too far with the constant discounting. And though it appears to be a win for the customer, it’s actually unhealthy for the retail industry itself, “shrinking profit margin and diminishing brand value, making the path back to growth more difficult,” says The Business of Fashion. It’s especially hard in the United States, where European stores like H&M and Zara are eating into its market share. In addition, the discounting model in Europe is much different from the United States. “It’s almost like a drug,” says Tiffany Hogan, a retail analyst for Kantar Retail. “We’re on this 40 percent off drug that we pulse every weekend or even more frequently. What happens when you take away your promotions? Your shopper just kind of melts away because you know that you’ve trained them to come back on that 40 percent off day.” Many retailers are opening outlet stores to get out of this vicious cycle and to create off-price stores without upsetting the old brand models.
But what does all of this mean for the future of the American retail market? Discounting in and of itself is not a bad thing, right? But the future model for Amercan retailers may have more to do with promoting loyalty programs and creating a unique shopping experience and promoting benefits for its customers – and away from the price slashing.
Is it okay to wear white after Labor Day? Absolutely! With the end of August fast approaching, I say it’s actually a good time to pull out your white; there is never a wrong time. In fact, adding a pop of white is a happy alternative to black. As the weather cools, you just have to watch the fabrics and textures of your whites: lightweight cotton, linen, and seersucker are meant for summer and should be avoided after Labor Day but if you choose heavier textured fabrics like wool, twill, and cashmere you will look seasonally appropriate. Don’t be afraid to try, to experiment (think accessorizing and layering) and find the right shade of white for you and your skin tone.
One of the ways I like to wear white is to combine a white jean with a darker, contrasting color like navy, black, and gray. Of these, my new favorite paring is white and gray. I think it is super-chic, simple and subtle. It’s the perfect combination.
Sweater; The Kooples; white jean; Citizens of Humanity; sandals; Zara
Need an outfit change this Spring? Try culottes. First spotted for fall, this fashion trend is still going strong for spring and one that you can pull off! This pant that hits at the calf looks like a skirt but is actually a trouser. And you can find it in various fabrics and textures. High-end brand Tibi has beautiful and original culottes – but you don’t have to pay high-end prices to own a pair. I didn’t want to invest in culottes until I saw this pair at Zara for $60. And now I want to wear them all the time!
How would I style culottes? Since the pants are on the wide side, I suggest pairing them with a slim-fitting top and heel. And don’t forget to accessorize!
My outfit: culottes, Zara; top, Alice + Olivia; sandals Coach; and of course, pearls!
Photos by Sophie MacMillan