There is often a disconnect between the weather outside and the merchandise that is sold at retail. Spring and Summer collections hit stores in the northern hemisphere in February when we’re bundled up because of ice and snow on the ground. Heavyweight Fall and Winter merchandise hits stores in August when we’re trying to beat the heat in breezy skirts, dresses and sandals.
The fashion industry has operated like this for as long as I can remember, and there is method to the madness. The idea is that you plan ahead by refreshing your wardrobe early. That way you’re prepared and ready to wear something new as the weather begins to change instead of scrambling at the last minute.
Of course, the flip side is that it’s hard to focus on seasonal merchandise that’s very different to what you’re wearing at the time. It can also be hard to pinpoint your sartorial preferences so far in advance. Some prefer to wear their items as soon as they’ve bought them instead of waiting for hotter and colder weather. And some prefer to wait for end-of-season sales because they’re bargain hunters.
More recently though, I’ve found that retailers are doing a better job of supplying weather-appropriate wardrobe items at the right time. Retailers in the US stock transitional merchandise throughout the year, which is brilliant for moderate climates. They’ve also caught on to the fact that Spring coats and cashmere make complete sense, and that sleeveless tops or sandal booties are a hit in early Autumn. Plus, online shopping has made it possible to shop for a larger range of items at any time of the year.
I’m not sure whether it’s just because I’m conditioned this way, but I fully support the “disconnect with the weather outside” retail strategy because it makes me feel more prepared for the upcoming season. I love planning my seasonal refresh in advance, and having new items in the wings waiting for just the right weather conditions. And if those weather conditions show up earlier than expected — so much the better. I can enjoy my new stash earlier, and my upfront planning has more than paid off.
It also helps that I am most excited about shopping right at the start of the season, so the refresh is on my radar. Retail buyers put their best stuff in early and that’s when I pounce. I’m assured of getting my size in the colours that most tickle my fancy. By the time the weather outside complements the merchandise in stores, I no longer want to think about planning and organizing my wardrobe for the current season (plus I’m bored with what I see.) I want to enjoy what I bought, wear the heck out of it, and slowly begin planning for the upcoming season so that I’m once again ready to pounce when the first lots of inventory hit retail.
Over to you. What do you think of the disconnect between the weather outside and what is sold at retail? Do you wish that retail merchandise was more aligned with our weather patterns?