What’s In a Label?


It was announced this weekend that a retail location that I spend far too much time and money in, Target, is now offering several designer items thanks to a holiday partnership with Neiman Marcus.  This was big enough news to be covered on the Today Show.  I’m happy for those who care.

Of course for years I’ve heard of the big designers who set the standard for the world’s hot couture — the greats like Diane Von Furstenberg, Oscar De La Renta and Coco Chanel. I will occasionally pick up a magazine or catch a fashion show on tv and be interested in the new looks and trends being marketed by the fashion houses.  But I’m going to be completely, openly honest here, and there are probably more than a few of you out there who may be shocked by my admission:  I wouldn’t know a Marc Jacobs or a Jason Wu or a Lela Rose item if I fell over it.   Even if I read the label to know a certain item was from a designer, I’d think “huh, isn’t that nice.  Must be why it is more expensive.”   Then I’d move on.

I have survived, dare I say thrived, for almost (gasp) half a century by not buying, or truly caring about, designer labels.  If there are any designer clothing items, shoes, or bags hanging in my closet, (and I do believe you’d be hard-pressed to find any) they are there either by accident, or because someone else gave them to me, or I bought them from an outlet simply because I liked them.

Granted, I’ve never lived a high-fashion life style. I’m sure if I lived and worked in Manhattan, and had a high-powered high-visibility lifestyle, this would all be different.  But I don’t.  I’m a Real Woman from New England. Yes, I like clothes that are cute or pretty or funky, that fit well, will make me look as good as possible, and that will last for more than a couple of wearings.  But that’s it. That is pretty much the sum total of my expectations and guidelines.

Out of curiosity, I went online to take a quick look at the 50 designer items that are being offered through this Neiman Marcus and Target venture.  I will say that these “must-have gifts” are I’m sure much less expensive than they would be normally.  But none of them were must-haves on my list, not even the $50 Diane Von Furstenberg yoga mat.  Do you suppose Diane does yoga?

What intrigued me was the news that because of the long lines and amazing demand for the Missoni line that Target started carrying about a year ago, the store doubled up on quantities of these items so they would be sure not to run out of stock.  I remember hearing about the clamor over Missoni.  I didn’t understand that either.  Really?  Is the demand for these designers, most of whom I’ve never heard of, really that big with discount shoppers?  Could I really be that clueless?  Should I really be running out this afternoon to beat the rush to get a $25 Tory Burch thermos or a $60 Judith Leiber compact mirror?   I’m fairly certain I can continue to get by with my no-name versions of the designer labels.

And perhaps I should offer my apologies now to those on my holiday shopping list —  I don’t think too many of the gifts I wrap will have a special name on them… other than mine and the recipient’s.


About Real Women

A "real woman" mom, wife, worker, friend, sister, daughter....
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3 Responses to What’s In a Label?

  1. Molly says:

    Oh could we discuss this one!! May I refer you to the blue sweater scene in the movie “The Devil wears Prada”?? Though none of the 50 items are on my list either, that is kinda not the point!! It is an amazing market idea, may I also refer you to a recent episode of “Revenge” with one of the most amazing marketing ads from the Target/Neimans alliance I have ever seen. BTW, I am sure Diane does yoga !! Love you !!

    • Real Women says:

      I KNEW you’d be the first to comment, my dear fashion-degree sister! 🙂 I have to say, I was thinking about you as I wrote this, and could just see you shaking your head at me. Good thing I have you to make sure I don’t stay completely clueless — or worse, go down the road of frumpiness. Love you right back!

  2. womaximum says:

    Great post. Couldn’t agree more. Clothes don’t maketh the woman! Or the scientist for that matter. A visit to a Science faculty will be evidence of that.

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