NOW THAT'S FUNNY
Abercrombie and Fitch, the trendy clothing store, gained a name (and profits!) by promoting a super sexy image featuring skin-baring models in racy poses. Now, the company has lost a third of its marketing value in the past year, and will close 180 stores by 2015, according to Businessweek.com.
All that sex doesn’t seem to sell clothing anymore. Has today’s youth lost interest in sex? Can it be that hot looking people in slinky outfits are no longer considered cool?
Well, trends come and go. I doubt that sex will ever be out of fashion. However, the idea of WHAT is sexy comes and goes. And I know why that image of beach-tanned bodies with distressed jeans and tight tees is suddenly unattractive. It’s because that look says “unemployed” and today, sexy is having a JOB.
Today’s underemployed teens and college grads have all the time in the world to hang out, get tan, and fool around. If you can’t get a job, well, you might as well work on your abs and hit the beach. But after a while even that gets old. It would be nice to use that college degree. It would be nice to have a place to be each day, and to get a paycheck.
American Eagle Company is doing well with Peter Pan collars and pleated silk blouses. Those are things you wear to a job, not to the pool. I predict a whole new trend in what is sexy for the year to come:
Instead of tan, fit bodies, models will have a slight paunch and pale skin. This look says: I’m inside in my office most days.
Instead of sneakers or flip flops, real shoes with leather and decent soles will be the rage. This look says: I’m ready to take a client out to dinner … and I can afford it.
Denim jeans costing more than $40 will be out. Wearing inexpensive clothes on the weekend says: I am saving for a down payment on a house!
Instead of models draping themselves all over each other in a state of post-coital ennui, models will sit upright, fully dressed, and make cute over their smart phones at each other. The ads can show them meeting on commuter trains, at airports or in bank lines as they deposit their checks.
If Abercrombie wants to regain market share, I recommend they start with an image of a working professional. This doesn’t have to be just the office wear of blouses or blazers – whatever suggests a job would be appealing. Lab coats, tool belts, chef hats, welding aprons, chaps, security IDs, ballet shoes … anything that suggests you are needed someplace could be a fashion statement.
I don’t know if America’s job market is going to improve this season, but even if it hasn’t, we can all look like it has. Fashion is all about image. Why not dress the part?
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Check out her blog: Better Living Through Chaos! Become her REAL follower on Twitter @plobley.