The endless fashion cycle

I’m no longer sure whether humans are capable of not wanting anything. Our whole lives seem to be made up of it. I for one am definitely subject to continually wanting things. More specifically: fashion. Working around all gorgeous labels as I do, I always seem to have a wish list going.

The other day this lovely dress Japanese woman came into work. She was wearing a cream and black striped Lisa Ho dress (I would tell you the name but I can’t remember it) with little black brogue shoes and this ever so lovely Country Road messenger bag. Ever since then I’ve been thinking, “I NEED/WANT a messenger bag”, and the Proenza Schouler PS1 Medium leather satchel I’ve pictured is the current one I’ve been obsessing over. Out of my price range but I will be searching for a style very similar to the Proenza Schouler one.

Every time I feel like I’ve stopped wanting something, something else comes along. There are just too many cute clothes items on the market these days! Lately I’ve indulged in a few pieces and I’ve included photos for some of them. Starting with the most recent; I finally own True Religion Brand Jeans denim! A very sweet pair of white denim shorts. I got them for half price at The Sale Shop in Townsville and while they’re half a size too big, I already love them. They’re still selling on the True Religion site, however, if you can find them locally, they’re probably a better price.

True Religion Joey Classic Cut Off Short

Next up is a gorgeous necklace from another local store in Townsville’s mall. At Milou Dress House I found a turquoise cross on a leather chain for $19. Bargain, I say. With rosary beads a hot item on the market at the moment, this turquoise cross necklace is a nice alternative.

Milou Dress House Gabby Wears turquoise cross on a leather strap necklace

Princess Polly has now opened up in Townsville. Originally a Brisbane and Mackay based store as well as E-boutique, the store is located in the CBD on Denham Street. This week alone the store appeared to have been painted, fitted, filled with clothes and then opened to trade. If you’re in the area it’s worth checking out. There are some lovely pieces such as this Shape Shifter dress. Although, I preferred the black with little white flowers version they had in store.

Princess Polly Shape Shifter dress

I decided not to get the shape shifter dress simply because in a week or two I’ll be wearing my camilla and marc letter frock, which is amazing and therefore, I won’t need another a strapless maxi to wear just yet. The Princess Polly dress I did buy was the Veronica Dress in rose-pink. It’s very 80’s inspired and as much as I love the 80’s, I don’t think I’ll be wearing my black Tony Bianco punk/gladiator-esque stiletto’s with them just yet. Instead I’ll be pairing them with my lovely tanned Natasha platforms and my Louis Vuitton clutch.

Princess Polly Veronica Dress in Rose Pink

A few weeks ago I was at a friend’s 20th birthday, when I saw one of his friends dressed in black skinny jeans and an oversize/baggy grey tee with a big black sequined bow on it. Ever since then I’ve been on a hunt for a grey baggy tee with a black bow and have come up short. Then suddenly, Miss Ruby gets new Wildfox Couture in and voilà, the search is over. Needless to say I snapped it up straight away, as did everyone else who laid eyes on it within 2 days of it arriving in store. I plan on teaming this cutie with my JBrand pitch leggings and some black Tony Bianco heels for an understated sexy look.

Wildfox Couture Black Bow V Neck T in Diamond

Hopefully, I won’t be spending any more money in the near future, as I need to start saving so I can shop in Melbourne in January and Japan in June/July. Although, I will have my eye out for a nicely cut black jacket, similar to ones in the last season of Karen Walker and a simple black skirt that’s appropriate for all occasions.

Visual Merchandising

I’m not going to describe myself as much of an authority on retail as I’ve only been in the industry for about 5 years now. However, over those 5 years I have learnt quite a few things. One of those things is about how you present your store.

We live in a world nearly entirely based on visuals. We buy products not only based on what we’ve heard about them, but what their advertisements look like, what they packaging looks like. Everyone always says, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, and sometimes I will admit they’re right, but majority of the time, I do the exact opposite. My favourite book of all time, Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s Match Me If You Can, was picked out of a second-hand book sale by my best friend in grade 10 because she liked the cover as it reminded her of me. Just like her book choice, majority of my choices in everyday life is more often than not influenced by the visual aspects. From soft-drink in the supermarket to make-up products in the chemist; how something looks has a stronger influence on us than we realise.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I personally don’t see what wrong with choosing the [whatever] because they’re put more time and effort into marketing their [whatever]. Unless of course we’re talking about something morally wrong that is marketed in a visually appealing way – just one of the many tests The Gruen Transfer puts advertising companies through on their show.

So if the visuals are so important, why is it so common to walk into a retail store and find yourself looking at an utter pigsty? There’s nothing attractive about shopping in stores like that. Am I the only one who feels that if a store (usually labelled ‘[whoevers] fashion outlet’) is out-of-control messy, then there’s bound to be something wrong with the clothes?

Besides, they don’t call it retail THERAPY for nothing. It’s not meant to be strenuous! Who honestly wants to spend their Saturday or Sunday afternoon wading through a massive pile of tops to find something that may or may not look cute on? Because after all that effort of searching for something, you’ve still got to try it on and debate whether you want to pay that much for it. By this time, the whole process has taken up a fair chuck of time and energy and everyone needs a coffee – cue Gloria Jeans in shopping centres making a fortune (aside from the decent beverages).

I don’t believe one should have their hand held, so to speak, by the sales assistant when in a store, but I do believe they should make sure it’s an enjoyable experience. This starts with a clean, organised store.

No cluttered racks – that just makes it hard to pull clothes out to look at and means as the sales assistant, you have to spend more time trying to keep that bastard neat. At the same time, make sure they’re not bare. There’s nothing worse than your customers thinking you have a limited selection that clothes. You don’t want a lack of clothes to lead to customers thinking you’re not making enough money to buy more/are too lazy to buy more/are going out or business/have just started up. Actually scratch that, there’s one thing worse: customers thinking you have a very broad range of clothes and not wanting to dig through the MESS. You can see what I mean from the two, very different, photographs.

Retail therapy style clothes racks - neat and visually appealing :-)!

Spread your colours out. Yes, it’s convenient if you want a specific colour to go to that coloured section, but it also means it’s harder to distinguish which clothes are which. They will sell much better if you position other neutral colours around them as they will stand out and be picked up by customers.

If you have a massive influx of new clothes, then you’ve got an excuse to make your sale section a little more crowded. If you still can’t fit everything in the store a great idea is to put the two most popular sizes out only. This might mean either a Small and Medium OR a Medium and Large on the shop floor, with extras and other sizes out the back. However, you must make sure your staff tell customers this as they may not realise and think you’re simply out of the size.

In the end, you’ve just got to play around with it. But remember that visual merchandising is extremely important as everyone judges majority of things based on how it appeals to them visually. A good-looking shop floor can give of a personality, a style, an emotion. It can even make the store look more expensive, not necessarily the clothes (although it might), but a good-looking store will show that those who run it put a lot of time and money into keeping it looking great. If staff spend that much time making the store look good, imagine how great they’ll be helping you out with your outfits! So don’t forget to keep those racks tidy guys!