As the year draws to a close, we take stock and reflect . . . on why we can’t find a sophisticated dress with sleeves, and what we would do with the family over the holidays if the mall wasn’t an option (gasp!). Trends come and go. Yoga pants stay. What we wear and where we shop say something about who we are and how we’re feeling. So here’s what shopping has taught us this year.
1. Black Friday has jumped the shark. Kudos to REI for saying enough is enough. The novelty of retailers opening early the day after Thanksgiving has been normalized by years of one-upmanship—to the point that the holiday has become just another shopping day and the only shocking move left is to close. Which is what REI planned to do on what is typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Hopefully, the positive buzz REI’s bold move created will help the industry to reset itself and realize that spending a day with family, at home, or out in nature, won’t prevent us from buying stuff—it might even make us more apt to do so.
2. We’re tired of trends. Nothing says that more clearly than yoga pants and sneakers. The continued popularity of “athleisure” (i.e., wearing fitness-inspired apparel to places other than the gym) speaks to a reshuffling of priorities. Gone are the days of suffering for fashion. We demand comfort and versatility from our everyday wardrobe. After all, 2015 will go down as the year that Converse—the most iconic of sneakers—finally gave us arch support. Designers are listening. Rebecca Minkoff and Kate Spade are among the fashion brands venturing into sportier styles for spring 2016.
3. For a good party, add Nordstrom to the invitation. You’d think residents of the western ’burbs had been wandering around naked and barefoot before Nordstrom opened at Ridgedale Center. More than 2,000 people crammed into the store for an opening gala, and the shoe department was still nearly that crowded two days later. This is not an isolated phenomenon—just ask anyone who tried parking at Shoppes at Knollwood the week Nordstrom Rack opened last spring.
4. Malls aren’t dead. It’s been a big year for mall growth—Ridgedale built a new wing for Nordstrom (see No. 3), Mall of America also added a new wing and recently announced plans for phase two (despite the fact that the new wing is not yet filled), and Rosedale is gearing up for a two-level expansion that would include space for another anchor. The thing of it is: We can shop on our phones, but we can’t eat on them, or know if that sweater is soft. The buzzword for shopping centers continues to be “experience,” whether that’s dining, play, or service—all under one roof. Don’t believe me? Let’s debate it while the kids play games at Southdale’s Dave & Buster’s on day 13 of winter break.
5. Never give away a plaid shirt. The classics always come back.
6. We’d all look better if we were French. One of my most popular blog posts at mspmag.com this year was an exploration of why French women seem so effortlessly chic. I asked French designer Juliette Longuet, who was in Edina for a trunk show. She called yoga pants “terrifying,” suggested wearing more color to look younger, and said we should stop dividing our wardrobe into work and weekend. “My American customers buy far more than the Europeans—because they buy individual pieces, and then don’t have anything to wear with them,” Longuet says. “Buy pieces you can mix and match. Then you don’t need as many. Stop thinking about clothes for work versus weekend. Why would you buy a boring pantsuit when you could get a leather skirt, a silk blouse, and a fabulous jacket that you’d also wear on the weekend? It’s so much sexier.”
Oui to that in 2016!