Thursday, April 09, 2009

Knocked off and marked up

So I finally took Kei's advice and entered Topshop. Yes, there was a line to get in, and I'm ashamed to say I waited on it, knowing full well that the line is there to create/sustain hype, and that the store would not be at all crowded once I got inside.

The verdict? It's H&M but 2-3 times the price. Since Zara already exists, and since Zara and H&M are both a ballet flat's throw from the new place, what void will Topshop fill? Is the whole thing that it's British, and that now we can all own what some friend of ours bought in London? Is Anglophilia (or Kate Mossophilia) so strong in 2009 New York? I'm missing something, clearly.

If I'm less than enthusiastic, it could be because at Topshop, the 'cheap' accessories hover at $30 per item, a price well above the impulse-buy threshold, not to mention a ridiculous amount to charge for Ray-Ban knock-off sunglasses that have, in at least one case, already snapped. An intact pair runs you $6, give or take, on St. Marks Place, something anyone trendy enough to be interested in the opening of Topshop (ahem) presumably knows. T-shirt dresses, meanwhile, are in the $50-$80 range. If they were super amazing t-shirt dresses... I still wouldn't have bought one, true, but I'd have at least understood. A number of these garments looked washed-out, not in the sense of intentionally 'distressed' denim, but in the sense of the cotton piling. I mean, it's not that $60 is an insane amount for a dress. It's that it's an insane amount for an extra-long beat-up-looking tank top.

But I tried some stuff on, because what the hell. Here's the rundown:

-These neon-pink leggings were wonderful, but not priced as leggings. So much for that.

-The skirt part of this dress had a weird elastic thing that cuts into the upper legs. The shirt part didn't work for ways I won't go into except to say that thank goodness nothing ripped, as I feared it might.

The other two dresses are classified on the Topshop website as "tunics", a subset of "tops", which I'm guessing explains why they were slightly less expensive than the dresses referred to as such. Of these two, one was a pretty color combination but had extra flaps of fabric that serve as hips for the woman who hasn't any, or as an extra set for one who does. Hips are not a body part (body parts?) I give much thought. If I wore that dress, I would probably have to start.

-The next dress-that-wasn't (this, but a different color combination) cost $28 (more online - why?), presumably because it is in fact a shirt that fits me as a dress because of my 5'2"ness. It turned out to be a clingier, costlier version of a dress I have from the GAP, that's also, now that I think of, technically a sleep shirt. Clingy could work, except who wants a summer dress that can't also double as sleepwear and thus work year-round?

Perhaps, if I think this way, I am not in Topshop's target audience.


PG said...

Unfortunately, all the links immediately redirect to just

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Gar! I just tested a couple, and they seem to work...

PG said...

Doh, I figured it out -- it defaults people who have never visited the site before to the front page of the UK site. Once I selected the U.S. flag, it would let me see the product page URLs you linked.

Evidently I should sit this year's fashions out, because all of it looked pretty unappealing -- not just in a "oh, that would look bad on me" skinny-jeans way, but in a "*who* looks better in that?" way.

PG said...

Also, this much money for stuff made almost entirely out of synthetic materials, including polyester? Yeesh.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

"Also, this much money for stuff made almost entirely out of synthetic materials, including polyester?"

I think they want you to believe you can only find these particular styles, all in one place, at their store, so that you're paying for the styles and the shopping atmosphere, not the quality. Which, again, is odd, considering the block it takes to get to the closest H&M.

PG said...

Oh, and more online because sales tax is included when you shop online.