Home > Uncategorized > OT: Things Fashion Stores and Designers just don’t Get

OT: Things Fashion Stores and Designers just don’t Get

February 15, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have just returned from a trip to Milan, my lovely wife traveling with me. And after a full weekend there, I feel like ranting again. For my trusted readers, if you expect something technical from this, please stop reading now.

Oh… you are still with me? Here we go.

We live in times where manual labour is becoming less and less needed. Very soon, we will have mechanised most production. Supermarkets will be RFID powered storage facilities with barely any staff.

However, tailoring and retail fashion stores are an exception to this rule. And the people who run them in their high rent locations are in need of a lot of help. In fashion, human labour is still needed at a grand scale – and this is especially true in Italy where they cram in one shop assistant per square feet of the store.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a connoisseur of fashion. But I am a male that is often dragged into fashion stores by a beautiful female that is. In the (admittedly desperate) hope that I might spare other men from the annoyances we have to put up with during shopping – here is some advice for fashion stores

Sofa, WIFI and Coffee, please

Here we are, wandering into another store and something caught her eye. Time to try on the little thing, into the changing room she goes.

At this point, a few things are true:

  • Because I am in the store, I am expected to comment
  • It will likely take a LONG time to try on different outfits. Time during which I shall become increasingly impatient.
  • The sales person helping out has an excellent opportunity to upsell to me

The ONLY thing that can stop the transaction from proceeding at this point – is that I become restless. When I become restless, I become annoyed – and when I become annoyed, it shows and I tend to tell the truth a little too honestly.

There is a very simple cure for my restlessness: Give me a sofa to sit on, preferably close to the changing room (so she does not have to walk half naked through the room to speak with me), a cup of coffee and some WIFI. The nice girls in the store don’t even need to pay me attention, just park me there.

Surprisingly few fashion stores have understood this very simple idea: When the man is in the store, the LONGER you can keep him there, the more likely he is to buy something extra that his chosen one in life wants.

Considering that fashion has a mark-up of what? 400-500% ? It is surprising that the stores can’t afford a coffee machine, WIFI and a sofa for us men to use.

Simplicity Works – Always

Here is a secret for all you women out there: We men are really simple. Take the simplest mind you can imagine and remove half – then you have an idea of how simple we are. We also have a very poor attention span. The less bling you put on yourself, the more we love you. There is no need to show flesh, no need to make a statement and fill yourself up with gold chains, Gucci bags with fancy handles, designer labels, massive necklaces, funky accessories and other distractions. Just simplicity – thank you!

A pencil skirt and a simple blouse will do. Or the iconic black dress. If you put too much fuss on yourself, we cant help but think “is this girl trying to draw the attention away from her face?”

For example, this works:

image image image image

  …And this just serves as a distraction, cui bono?

image image image image

I realise that some women dress to impress other women. But for the man in the store, just show me something simple and I will be transfixed in no time. Remember, we don’t compute complexity very well.

Staying in the Italian theme, in the words of the greatest Italian who ever lived:


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Leonardo da Vinci

Stop Fawning!

There she is with her new outfit in front of the dressing room mirror. Time for me to comment… very carefully… on how it looks.

Note to self: The answer to the question: “Does my [insert body part here] look big in this?” is not “no”, neither is it “yes”. If she has to ask, it looks big. The right answer is: “That other dress compliments your body much better” – see upselling advise below. Evasive manoeuvres Mr. Sulu!

Dear shop assistant: When I am in the store, my judgement is the one she wants, not yours. There is really nothing worse than a few shop assistants ganging up on me, telling me how pretty my wife looks in that dress that just happens to be the most expensive one. We all know that your meagre, minimum wage gets padded with a good commission to keep you hungry. But for the moment I am here, can we please maintain the illusion that we all have independent minds capable of making judgments? Your fawning is false, and we all know it! Please just cut it out – because it annoys me (see introduction about what happens when it does). Serve me another cup of coffee, show me more things to consider while she is in the changing room. I am the one you need to upsell to, not her. When the shopping assistants fawn, one wonders if  the job description should be “shopping resistance” instead.

And finally a pleasant trick from a store that was, without doubt, the best experience I have had with Italian shopping: High heels near the changing room. Dear store, I don’t care if you sell shoes or not, you need to have high heel ready for her to wear with the dress she is trying on. If you are in doubt as to why this is needed – see mental note above. Remember, we men are easily fooled by illusions.

  1. February 15, 2014 at 14:26

    Wise words indeed…

  2. thomasrushton
    February 15, 2014 at 14:44

    I have my wife well trained. She’ll line up the few things she wants my opinion on beforehand, then get me properly caffeinated before dragging me along to the shop. She knows she’s then got about 30 minutes before I start to get fed up with the whole thing…

  3. thomasrushton
    February 15, 2014 at 14:45

    On the off-chance she reads this, I should probably rephrase “I have my wife well trained” as “my wife has me figured out.” 😉

  4. February 15, 2014 at 14:46

    LOL Thomas!

  5. manowar77
    February 15, 2014 at 16:09

    Very, very true my friend!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Andrea
    February 17, 2014 at 16:01

    Great stuff, as usually!

  7. February 18, 2014 at 14:08

    Thomas, I look forward to a blog post from you on the curious phenomenon of the “Fairer sex” knowing what they do not want, but not knowing what they ** want ** . Based, on my very simple mind, I would have thought that if you know what do not want, based on a process of elimination, you can therefore determine what you ** do ** want. Or, to couch this in terms of set based logic.

    What I do want = SELECT

  8. February 18, 2014 at 14:09




  9. February 19, 2014 at 04:24

    as always brilliant.

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