Whenever I read The Wall Street Journal, I always have a “Huh?” moment.
I had almost gotten through an issue recently without that “Huh?” moment when I came across an article on denim making a comeback.
Denim has been out-of-style? I thought of all the denim jeans, shirts, skirts, vests, jackets, even a denim coat in my closet. Gosh, do I generate snickers whenever I wear them? It’s certainly possible I’m out of touch. At a certain age, you lose track of what’s fashionable. Moreover, you don’t much care anymore.
The article said hard times (it’s always the economy, isn’t it?) is bringing a renewed interest in “down-to-earth” denim.
The thought of denim being a fashion faux pas hung on like those extra 10 pounds.
I headed for the mall.
It was news to Shawna Robertson, the assistant store manager of American Outfitters.
“I didn’t know denim can go out of fashion,” she said.
It was news to staff at Eddie Bauer who are under corporate orders not to talk to the press. Before the manager escaped to the backroom, however, she said she hadn’t noticed any reduction in their denim offerings in recent years.
She offered an explanation for the denim-was-out claim: New York is always ahead of Duluth in fashion trends. Then there’s the Northland’s practical style.
“Our dress up is more casual up here,” she said.
Jeans were everywhere at Vanity, a store catering to teen girls and young women. I told a manager — who apparently is also under a gag order — about the article.
“That seems ridiculous,” she said, expressing her opinion anyway. “ How old is that person writing the article? A 70-year-old man? It’s comical."
It was written by a man. Can’t say how old he is, though.
“We actually do 80 percent of our business in denim,” she said. “So in my opinion, denim being out of fashion is not accurate.”
Ah, but she admitted that denim vests and jacket, which are considered accessories, haven’t been big sellers lately.
Hmmm, I was on to something.
Back at American Outfitters, jean sales were as strong as ever, Robertson said. But fewer other denim clothes have come in in the last year, she noted.
However, that’s changing.
“Denim shirts, vest and skirts seem to be coming back,” she said.
A staple, jeans aren’t going anywhere. It’s the other denim pieces that come and go in popularity.
Fashion mystery solved.