SPECK CandyShell card case for iphone 4s/4
It was a quiet Sunday around my house. Many are since our eldest moved out, and our middle is living at college. Our not-so-little-anymore is gearing up to leave us for college next year — and I’m anticipating more too peaceful weekends with a bit of angst. “More shopping time for me” would have been my mantra but until more retailers make it easier to multitask, I think I’ll opt out and go antiquing instead. Flea markets and tag and estate sales aren’t exactly time-savers, in fact they are just the opposite, but at least there is an opportunity to uncover a real find, one that you can enjoy and relish for many years. Retail lives in the moment. We walk into stores in search of the now, the imminent, the key looks that will update our closets and our style, at least for the short term.
This is where my beef begins. Walking into, in order of the day, J. Crew, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor I was dismayed by the idea that there is so little styling with jewelry and accessories going on. Yes, there is a mannequin here and there done up complete with necklace, bag, scarf, etc. and yet, in so many instances that’s all they offer us visually. The clothes are mostly separates, and of course, dresses, and the jewelry is tossed on one or two pieces to give us…what? Some vague notion of how to put it together? Most women need and want a little more guidance. Or a lot more. In any case, this is an opportunity missed like no other. Even cell phone case companies, like SPECK, are offering us more. The company recently sent me their CandyShell Card for my iPhone to try out. I like it much more that I anticipated. I can now do without a wallet when I go out for the evening. What a major convenience, and space saver! My only suggestion would be to make it so that you can also store business cards in it too.
J.Crew Liberty of London shirt
Classic Wide Bangle, J.Crew
Fan Fringe Necklace, J.Crew
IRIDESCENT EARRINGS, J.CREW
Which of the above would you put together? What would the stylists at J.Crew suggest?
Returning to my gripe, as I walked through these stores I was amazed at how they are organized, like a department store, rather than an intimate boutique where the store owner has provided gentle input. Each category has a separate location: clothing, jewelry, shoes, bags, and miscellaneous items. You have to run around the store to finish a look. Isn’t that what paid stylists do? When I, Jane Do-More, shop I have some expectation that these retailers hire their own stylists to provide inspiration, so that all I have to do is to politely ask a sales associate to pull it off the rack and out of the cases or back room so that I can pony up at the register. Shouldn’t it be that easy? Ok, ok, so some companies will say in defense, “We want to give women a choice. Not dictate.” And I say, “Uh-huh. You don’t say. Well, guess what? We want suggestions, we like them, we can, of course, choose to ignore them. We have the intelligence to know when to say, “That’s not for me.”
All we want is insight, or foresight, or a nudge in the right direction. Time is a precious commodity these days and if everyone is multitasking, why shouldn’t you? I walked around J.Crew thinking, “Why isn’t that necklace shown with that shirt? That’s a great day look. Take the same shirt and necklace, and add those earrings and a blazer or that adorable sweater and you’ve got your dinner with clients for tonight.” Why aren’t the same two articles of clothing shown with different jewelry just to give customers a choice and an option? I’d be willing to bet that many would buy not just one, but both jewelry items and the clothes shown with them. Styling clothes with jewelry is something most women do on a daily basis — take the guess-work out of it! Yes, we may want to choose our own accessories much of the time, but then there are days when we all wish someone else would walk into our closets and pull it together for us. That’s where a responsive, innovative retailer can show off their stuff, this is the value-added to a retail price tag, and that’s why women will return to buy, because they are getting more for their money. The stylist is in the bag.