Friday, December 21, 2007

Weather Or Not

Now here’s an interesting story: meteorologists aren’t only predicting weather trends in their usual mediums (TV, radio, newspaper, internet, etc) but a few apparel companies are taking weather very seriously and hiring consultants to advise them on future weather trends. The New York Times reports that clothier Liz Claiborne has hired a climatologist from Columbia University to predict weather for its designers; Target has established a “climate team” to advise the retailer on types of apparel to sell throughout the year and Weatherproof has bought a ten million dollar insurance policy against unusually warm weather.
“Two consecutive years of volatile weather—last November and this October were the warmest on record for the New York City area, a retail Mecca—have proved disastrous for companies that rely on predictable temperatures to sell cold-weather clothing like sweaters and coats,” according to The Times.
Apparently, this means more season less clothing will become popular—lightweight sweaters, cashmere blends and layering pieces. Locally, I’ve noticed retailers like Fair Indigo roll out layer-worthy tissue tees and cashmere-blend sweaters. A few cozy, heavy sweaters at Karen & Co. on State Street beckoned customers to pull one on over a long- or short-sleeve T-shirt.
This season’s popular and ladylike three-quarters length sleeve coats (intended to be worn with elbow-length gloves) were an indication to me that some clothiers might have taken the global warming thing a little too seriously. Although they’re cute, they’re best reserved for a mild day since here in Wisconsin a glove-covered forearm might still be too cold!
In the future, look for clothing that can be worn over the seasons. Fashion magazines like Lucky and Glamour even discuss how to take a summer-weight dress into fall and winter by pairing it with thick tights, substantial shoes and a cute cardi. Global warming is not good, but the multi-season clothing thing? Good for consumers since we can wear our favorite clothing year-round!

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