The tough retail environment, reflected in Macy's second-quarter posted loss and a somber US government outlook for retail, may actually be good news for shoppers. We'll learn (as my mother said about her depression years) how to be wise buyers.
As Cathy Horyn observed, in an interesting piece on the revival of Liz Claiborne, "Can Liz Claiborne Get Its Groove Back?", "Today the goal for many is to be smart- smart with money, smart with time, smart about how you look."
Doesn't that just sound like an enduring, even noble wish? The key in a down time is not resorting to such obdurate basics that you look outdated even in the few new clothes you buy.
The cost-per-wear formula has led me down many a pricey path, but now, some things are just too high-end even if I swear I'll wear them till the dawn of the next ice age. Each woman will define what "smart" is for her.
For me, an embroidered silk Kashmiri jacket (on sale for $120) from the National Geographic Store could make the cut, a bargain if the fit is right.
For outerwear, I like this A.P.C. double-breasted pea coat in mood-elevator marigold, ($390 at net-a-porter).
I would depart from my habitual black for a Tracy Reese Runway pleated skirt in in a nearly year-round fabric (about half cotton and nylon, with some spandex) in Storm, a slightly blued grey, $320 (at eluxury).
All classics, but with something extra to elevate the eye and spirit.
If we're going to wear our clothes longer and more frequently, we have to love them madly.
Today's NYT Style section contains Horyn's own choices for recession buying, "Tiptoeing into the Stores".