Income Inequality Impacts Fashion


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.

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  1. As always Karen, you are looking out for those of us who want to use our resources wisely while still expressing our individuality, sophistication, elegance and creativity in how we dress. Boutiques offer interesting and unique pieces that help me be me, uniquely. And my experience, particularly in Objects, a fabulous clothing and jewelry boutique, is I can purchase a terrific outfit at a price point that is not out of this world. I can actually purchase the entire outfit including jewelry for a fair price. There are a wide variety of differently priced items. And I love that I am not going to see someone else in my outfit at an event. Thank you Karen for your sound advice and expertise.

  2. Yea!!!! Thank You, Karen! Of course, I am all for the Boutiques over Dept. Stores, but I feel we can give the client more personal service, such as what else she can wear our pieces with items already in her closet, and of course, we can give her other options that she may not have thought about. You know your clients & what they already have, so it’s a win, win, for all. So many times, a client may come in looking for something special, so we start there, but upon asking about the event, personal taste, etc., we can find the perfect fashions that make her feel & look like a million. That’s what a boutique is all about!! You got my vote!

  3. Not only do you bring up an interesting point, that never really occurred to me, but traveling as much as I do, I just realized it appears to be a present day, all-over-the-world phenomenon. And so from now on, I’m going to be focusing much more on boutiques for my wardrobe needs. Thank you for the great tip!

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