The Comeback of Modest Clothes

Posted on: 03/9/09 3:24 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Despite all the negatives of a dismal economy… I see one positive on the horizon: more modest clothes.

USA Today had a fascinating article yesterday about the return of modest apparel options. Apparently when the economy was booming, stores could afford to operate with a “what you see is what you get” mentality. Now these stores can’t afford to, as the article says, “ignore the muted voices asking for, say, a decent supply of sleeved shirts or prom dresses that show more fabric than skin.”

The article goes on to say:

Now, however, it’s the rare retailer who’s willing to take the chance of turning off any possible customer. Luxury-store clerks can no longer afford to look down at scruffy shoppers, and store owners of every sort are recognizing the one-size-fits-all approach to retail buying no longer works.

Whether it’s more of a fiscal or moral shift, understated girls’ clothing may indeed be making a comeback.

Even flashy Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld declared “bling is over” and noted the economy is prompting a “new modesty,” in an interview with the International Herald Tribune this year.

Retail consultant Ken Nisch says the trend is more moderation than modesty, but the effect may be the same.

“It’s not because of a moral revival but about sensibility,” says Nisch, chairman of retail brand and design firm JGA. “What’s provocative has often been ultra trendy, and it just doesn’t make sense to buy things you can’t wear for a lot of occasions anymore.”


(ht to Jamie L.)