Income inequality has received a lot of attention over the past couple of years because of the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots. Although I’m reluctant to blog about something so political, as it’s not my area of expertise, I can’t help but notice how this issue of income inequality impacts fashion shopping. Just as our middle class is disappearing, fashion stores for those in the middle are also disappearing.
Nearly a year ago when I blogged about Boutiques v. Department Stores, I had identified three tiers of department stores based on quality and price of merchandise. But a mere 12 months later, it strikes me as a two-tier situation. Now it looks like higher end department stores vs. lower end department stores. Further, the majority of shopping malls seem to be going in one of two directions, choosing to brand themselves as discount malls and incorporating lower end franchises, or closing all low and mid-level chains, in favor of high-end designer stores.
So where does this leave women with enough discretionary income to invest in their wardrobes, but not enough to afford many high-end pieces? I’ve determined that, to look and feel their best, these these women should look to boutiques for the answer. Even among boutiques costs can vary, but most carry different price points for clothing and accessories. By and large, the quality, cost and variety of styles work beautifully for a growing number of women. I’ve found this to be true for most of my personal shopping clients, as I am able to update their wardrobes with stylish looks created especially for them, from fabulous boutique selections, all the while staying within their budgets. It’s also nice to support local businesses where the sales staff gets to know you personally. Give boutiques a try and let me know how it goes.