She loved the red glitter on her eyes. It was so thick and opaque. Looking into the mirror, she had to tippy-toe onto her Dr. Martens to see the details. It gave her a buzz – the satisfaction of seeing colour on her face. Kate patted down her hair, trying to ignore the grays.
There was a lot now. They came in from nowhere. Probably due to stress. Her mom-in-law. Lack of inspiration or something like that. Katie inhaled a deep breath while admiring herself. One more time, she thought. And then, she turned to exit the restroom.
Her dress was red too. Strolling through the children’s department, Katie saw something green. It was fabulous! Hyper-fantastic and surreal. She had to run towards it. A supreme, three-piece, pastel green, polyester suit. It was a suit of dreams.
Flared pants, minuscule vest, oddly-sized plastic buttons, and a blazer. The blazer. The lapels and the boning. That feeling she got when fresh clothes actually existed was drugs. Not street drugs, but visceral happiness-coated candy love.
Lime green market baskets. Apple-scented Jolly Ranchers. That sort of thing. Why in the world would you even need drugs, if you could find clothes like these? She didn’t know. It blew her mind. As she took the leisure suit to the till to pay, she was anxious, but she still smiled.
She opened her Celine wallet, removing the VISA card – personal purchase – she thought. I’m gonna make this work! Smiling and not evaluating an inch of the sales associate’s grin, Katie took the handles of her JC Penney bag and walked out. Into the world.
***The stores that have given me a sense of fashionable purpose growing up were JC Penney, Fairweather, Smart Set, Dalmys, Le Château, Mariposa, Jacobs, Westbeach, Au Coton, Aritzia, Nike, Winners, Eaton’s and Hudson’s Bay. Most have come and gone. Based on this subset, the champions have focused on a specified niche market, continual dedication through brand evolution and reduced pricing.
Time changes everything. How do we keep up (trend)? Stay relevant (worth)? Do you remember your favorite stores and brands? Are they still around? Have they become more or less ubiquitous over time? Why are the champions still in ‘power’ and how do you think they got there?