Red store, blue store

When I was growing up and a young adult (1960s through 1980s), stores such as Macy’s and Nordstrom, which catered to the carriage crowd, had the more restrained stuff.  If you wanted sleazy-wear, you went where the “poor” people shopped:  Sears, Mervyns, Penny’s, and Target.  We were poor, but my mother would rather have died than allow us to dress in a trashy way, so we nickeled and dimed our way through the more expensive stores.

Today, the reverse is true.  Macy’s and Nordstrom are still more expensive, but I won’t dress my nine year old girl in the clothes from those stores.  The clothes are off the shoulder, above the belly button, low on the bottom cheeks and heavy on the attitude logos (with “cute” sayings that can all be summed up as “I’m sleazy, I’m easy”).  The contrary is true at Mervyns, Sears, Target, etc.  The clothes there are affordable and appropriate for little girls:  cut modestly, made to play and, if they have sayings, rather innocent, along the lines of “Daddy’s Little Girl,” or “I’m an angel.”

From a consumer’s point of view, it’s an optimal situation:  For cheap prices, I get clothes for my daughter that I’m willing to let her wear.  The whole thing also reflects an interesting demographic shift and one, I think, that exemplifies the trend away from rich, conservative Republicans and poor, free-spirited Democrats, to a new trend of rich, socially loose Democrats, and cash-strapped, conservative Republicans.

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  • Anne

    Interesting observation, Bookworm. I read something along those lines recently, but it was on the subject of language, vulgar (“of the common people”) language, in particular: “Today, society has changed. Common people still tend to find certain words offensive; the upper classes are often the most foul-mouthed of them all. Thus the elite are now vulgar, revealing a “low” sensibility and an utter lack of taste.” That was from “Reading Between the Lines” by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.

    As for the clothes for little girls, I’ve had good luck at Sears, too. We don’t have Target here, but I shop there whenever I visit the mainland. Best of all, though, is Lands’ End overstocks, where I’ve found modest, inexpensive, and very high quality clothing for my daughter.

  • Anne

    Didn’t mean to put the smily face in there. It was actually a parenthesis.

  • William

    A couple decades ago, remember when ‘ain’t’ was to be the word everyone used? You know, it was uneducated speak. But now you only find it in Rap videos or, more simply, where the money is.

  • jau

    Interesting point. There also seems to have been a cross-over for whacky, whiny, attacks. Remember when Republicans would set their sights on Democrats (e.g. Ralph Reed’s viciousness)? What do you suppose happened?

  • Ymarsakar

    The world turned upside down.

    Ain’t is a contraction used by Southerners.

  • erp

    jau, the internet happened and you learned some home truths, one of which was that conservatives weren’t/aren’t vicious and that Ralph Reed, among others, was telling the truth. For vicious, you need refer to Sid Vicious Blumenthal and other Clinton apologists and then segue over to the liberals in congress who have viciously attacked the president with issues that are bogus at best (see current manic hyperbole about Foley) and/or made-of-whole-cloth lies.

    Re: clothes for little girls. I first noticed the sleaze factor at upscale stores about 25 years ago. I used to love Bloomingdale’s and shopped at the NYC store and the suburban malls in Connecticut. When we moved to a small town in Vermont, my daughter was a college freshman and I wanted to send her stuff so she wouldn’t feel so homesick. It was then that I contracted the shopper withdrawal syndrome and started shopping from catalogs. What an eye opener that was!

    My granddaughter is nine too and I have a hard time finding stuff appropriate for her. We used to have Burdines here in central Florida that had great stuff for that demographic, but they were bought by Macy’s and now the little girls clothes look like what street walkers might wear to ply their trade.

    Target is better, but they still haven’t gotten it that less is better when it comes to clothing no matter for what age. She wanted cargo pants shorts which her mother couldn’t find anywhere in the tony Connecticut area where they live. I happened to walk through the boys department at Target and there they were. She loved them and grandma came through again.

  • anne

    erp – Good point. Was it all my perception, though? I wish I could remember more specifics. (By the way, my granddaughter lives in a “tony CT area” too. Interesting to consider that maybe we’ve seen each other, or will do!)

  • erp

    anna, It would be a pleasure. Next time I go north, I’ll comment here and we can take a lunch.

  • jau

    (Actually that was me, jau.) Awesome. Looking forward to it. How far south are you otherwise?

  • erp

    So, anna and jau are one in the same? Either way, it’d be fun to meet a fellow Bookwormian. We’re on the Atlantic coast just south of St Augustine, Florida and we visit the greater New Haven area.

    How ’bout you?

  • JJ

    I was extraordinarily lucky – I think. That’s hindsight, of course, which is why I’m not entirely positive.

    Kid was a Goth queen – for ten years she didn’t own anything that wasn’t black, and she was at all times thoroughly covered. She also avoided sunlight with the fervor of Dracula in order to maintain the “three days dead” pallor that contrasted so nicely with the black clothes.

    Now of course she’s 24, living in LA, a steadily employed working actress; and who is this stunning looking creature?

    I first went to St. Augustine fifty years ago, and go back often because it hasn’t changed. It’s my touchstone: every other place in my life has changed so as to be virtually unrecognizeable, but it hasn’t. I assume this is because the largest landowners are the State Park Service, National Park Service, Florida National Guard, and Catholic Church – none of which permit much change.

  • kevin

    And think about what all those years without tanning will mean to her skin as she gets older. I’m sure she’ll appreciate looking younger than her chronological age!

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  • jau

    erp – the first two “Anne” entries are not me. The one after yours is me and I meant to change my “Name (required)” to jau so as to avoid confusion but I forgot. So Anne #2 and jau are the same. I’m in the NYC area myself and my “tony” CT area is slightly southeast of yours, but not far. It would be great to meet, wouldn’t it?

    As for the topic on hand – it’s also a bit tricky for adults, actually, to find really attractive clothes that are not cheesy or cheap. I work in a corporate type of setting and currently only have very few clothes for work because I can’t find what I want. Wear do you all shop?

  • erp

    Anna #2 aka jau thanks for clearing that up. Which name will you be using in the future, so I know to whom I am speaking.

    If you live in the city, you should have a great selection of shopping choices. If not, you have the big malls in NJ or White Plains, or the island.

    I’m retired and live in shorts and tees relieved in the cooler weather by sweats. It’s a good thing too because it’s a 100 mile drive from here to any store worth going into.

    My daughter is probably nearer your age, 40ish and she shops in small specialty shops and boutiques where the stuff is exorbitant, but pretty gorgeous. Caveat — if you’re above a size 6, don’t even bother going in.

    When I visit we go to the upscale West Farms Mall off I84 in Farmington CT. Nice stores that carry a wide variety of clothing styles and fabulous shoes. Most of the stuff is way over my budget, but she doesn’t blink an eye paying five or six hundred dollars for a pair of shoes!

    No wonder the economy is percolating along.

    It’s fun talking about stuff that isn’t a matter of life or death on the nonce.

  • Ymarsakar

    anne with the litte a, ha. As opposed to the capitalized version.

  • jau

    erp – I’ll be jau from now on, I promise.

    The boutiques are indeed for tiny people. Yes, White Plains has an amazing upscale mall but I don’t wear a lot of Dior or Valenciaga. (I love Restoration Hardware, though.) We’ll check out West Farms. And, yes, isn’t it nice to talk about what is basically trivia, sometimes. If we only focus on earth-shattering topics, we’ll have ceded our “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

  • Connect the Dots 2006


    I thought my wife was hallucinating about the changes that came about when Macy’s acquired the Columbus, OH-based, formerly family-owned Lazarus chain. (Actually, I think they were both part of Federated, and they decided to cut their losses and merge).

    Lazarus was always the ‘rich people’s store’ when I was growing up in the 70’s, so I chided my wife for shopping for clothes for my daughter (now eight years old) there.

    She mentioned, about a year ago when they took down all the Lazarus signs and replaced them with Macy’s, that she was no longer going to be shopping there. The clothes were sleazy, no longer appropriate for young children.

    I guess the ACLU (the American Communist Liberties Union) is getting their agenda furthered by retailers now. See this article at WorldNetDaily for the REAL scoop on the ACLU and Communist agenda being furthered in our country by the left:

    Macys. Way to Shop.

  • erp

    jj, I haven’t had the heart to reply to your comment about St. A. but I thought better of it. You should be warned.

    The old Spanish section is the same, but the worst kind of developers have swarmed on us and they are busy building many thousands of new houses and condos all over St. Johns and Flagler Counties.

    A1A has been designated a scenic highway. That means that we don’t control development along the stretch in our town. It’s governed by a committee named by the group who went after the new designation. You have one guess as to who are on that committee. Hint: it isn’t those of us who are against rampant development. If you guessed real estate agents and builders, you are correct.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

  • Ymarsakar

    Under a Democrat governance, you may rely upon it that not only your homes will be taken by emminent domain, but lots of other things having to do with your home or its vicinity will be taken over for profit. Legal, Democrat controlled, profit of course. Everything must be done legally and under law, that need not be said. When you are in power and may select whicever judges you like, that becomes so much easier, no?

  • Ron Larson

    Here is Australia people are getting upset with the major department stores for the way they present the models used for their young girls items. They don’t like how they dress them, put make up on them, and and pose them in sexually provokative ways for the print ads.

    Read about it here:

    “David Jones” is a large, well respected, high end department store, similar to Nordstroms.