Dancing Cardigans

Cue the Brit pop. Back in the 90’s, Saturday morning revolved around going to fashion shows. Thanks to basic cable TV the collections from Jean Paul Gaultier to Gucci were brought to my living room.

These shows featured hosts with very sophisticated sounding transcontinental accents, models working the runway to hip rock tunes & of course, the most glamorous cities from London to Paris were featured.

It was a nice escape from my ordinary teenage existance. Even more alluring were fashion magazines. Glossy textured, filled to the brim with spectacular advertising & sumptuous photography from the likes of Herb Ritts to Mario Testino fascinated me. I typically cut out fashion advertising from magazines & used them as the covers for journals I used to write in.

Living in New York, I worked across the street from the former home of fashion week, Bryant Park. It was fun watching the fashionista crowd from my office window at 40th & Sixth Ave. However, it was more splendid seeing the people traffic(in & out of the fashion week tent) from a building rather then being in the mayhem below, which featured photographers, journalists, society types & celebrities.

The most thrilling part of living in & visiting a fashion capital is the window-shopping. I have wonderful memories of the djs spinning records in super trendy Tokyo shops. The music inspired me to hop from shop to shop, enjoying the best in street & high fashion. The music ranged from J-pop to David Bowie & even some old school hip-hop. I also love everything from observing fashion on the London underground to New York’s fashionable Nolita neighborhood.

Cabazon & Ontario, CA do not set off the fashion senses. After all, nobody ever puts Ontario in the same spotlight as Paris, London, New York & Milan. These two very suburban cities are known more for chains of burger palaces than a breeding ground for haute couture.

However, these two cites are home to the outlet malls. These malls advertise their shops from the freeway. Signs for Gucci, Lacoste & J-Crew appear like a mirage in a sea of cactuses. The names alone entice the shopper.

For me, I love ambiance. Therefore, I enjoyed shopping in scenic streets as opposed to an outlet. However, I wanted to build up my closet & took the plunge. I drove to Cabazon (in the middle of the desert close to Palm Springs). Walking into the Lacoste store was heavenly.

A row of cardigans caught my eye. They looked simply magical. I looked at the price tag & could afford a couple, since they were discounted dramatically. Visiting several shops & I walked into the desert sun, thinking “Wow, I’m actually buying sweaters & cardigans in a sweltering desert day.”

From that day on, I became addicted to outlet shopping. I found great pieces, buttoned up shirts, coats & fancy trousers for a very affordable price. Before, I couldn’t play with my wardrobe as often. With the affordability of outlets, I mixed & matched outfits with great enthusiasm.

The runways of New York, Tokyo, Milan, and Paris & London will remain eternally chic. Fashion TV shows on cable are a memory, but glossy magazines still capture my imagination.

I still love the photography & advertising. However, I can recreate the street chic look so prominent in Tokyo & London via the shopping outlets. Close your eyes, while at the outlet & imagine yourself on Paris’ Rue Montaigne. However, open them up & say hello to the food court.

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