Pet Peeve #6783: A Story.

Clothes that are manufactured to look old, used and torn.


A few years ago...or, now that I think about it, more like 7 or 8 years ago, Victoria's favorite shopping centre, Mayfair Mall (also known as "high school reunion with only the people you don't want to reunion with"), acquired a couple of stores which provided a certain level of excitement for Victoria's teens. At the time, I was one of them. A new store in the mall was a fairly big deal, especially if it was one that you had only ever seen advertisements for in your latest issue of Seventeen magazine. When you are stuck with a sad selection comprised of Mariposa, Le Château, the Levi's store, and Club Monaco (which perpetually sells only white, black and grey clothing), a little variety was worth the drive.

On a side note, if someone can please explain how Le Château went from being the store I would pick up a synthetic $15.00 shirt on a Thursday afternoon (specifically so that it could get spilled on at the bar that evening) to a store with prices on par with Jacob and RW, despite no visible improvement in their overall quality, please let me know.

I remember driving out to Mayfair in my car with Alayna, babysitting money saved and ready to be spent. Focused mainly on the t-shirt, hoodie and jean crowd (and therefore perfect for us), it lived up to all of our expectations and both of us left with empty wallets and a much-coveted reuseable shopping bag, which is great when you want everyone else to know where you have been. When you're 18 and live in Victoria, this is very important.

Over the next few years, I frequented this store often. The quality seemed good, the clothes were super comfortable and the prices, while higher than Mariposa, etc., were manageable. However, at some point circa 2001, a certain irritating trend began that I not only refuse to participate in, but will never understand.

Again, Alayna was my shopping buddy. With a 36 inch inseam, her choices in jean manufacturers were somewhat limited, but this store fit the bill, so off we went on a random afternooon. We clearly hadn't been in quite awhile, because we certainly weren't prepared for what we saw. Mannequins, draped in the usual jeans and t-shirt combos, looked as though they had come into contact with a rabid cat, wielding a sanding block and a pair of scissors. Threads were hanging off of the edges, the jeans were full of holes and purposeful scuff marks, the collars of the shirts were was a mess. And it didn't stop there. All through the store, amid the now-limited selection of intact clothing was the start of the trend of clothing manufactured to look old, used, stained and torn. And I don't mean the standard cute vintage t-shirt (with necklines and sleeves intact)...I mean the jeans with a hole in the knee that someone not only took the time to create, but also the time to patch up again.

Now, I do consider myself to be somewhat of a snob when it comes to certain things. I uphold certain standards. One of those standards is that when I spend upwards of $50 on an article of clothing, I would rather create the holes myself. And I don't expect to see one for years. When you buy a t-shirt with the neckline already frayed and full of loose threads, can you really be surprised when it falls apart in the washing machine after only one wear? No. You can not. Because that is what aged clothing does - even if the aging happened approximately 30 seconds after the shirt was sewn together in the first place.

This morning, on the bus, I noticed a guy in front of me dressed very nicely and carrying a shoulder bag made by a very expensive jeans label. However, as nicely dressed as he was, it looked as though he had dropped his bag into a mulching machine. Not only were holes created all over the bag, but they were patched (from behind) with a different type of material and then purposely frayed around the edges. The bag even had a little "menu" on it (supposed to look like an old stamp?), listing all of the "features" of the bag. These "features" included "holes and patches" and "staining". Awesome. $200.00 well spent.

I am all for comfortable clothing. Sometimes, the aging process does create clothing that is softer and feels as though you've owned it forever. I don't have a problem with that - in fact, I think it can be great. I just think that the rips, tears, stains and loose threads are a rip-off. For one thing, you can do this yourself, if you really want to. A pair of scissors, a couple of random pieces of upholstery for patching and a sanding block should work nicely, and for the staining, try tea. For another, clothes that are old to begin with have a much, much shorter lifespan, even though you have spent just as much money on them.

I know, I know. Ignore the trend. Buy clothes that are actually new. Get over it. Doesn't mean that I can't be annoyed by it anyway...especially since it seems to be the trend that doesn't die.
I just think it's lame.


Heather said...

You sound like my mom.


Btw, I totally agree.

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