Bottom to Top Trends

I always get queasy writing about class, but here goes.

It never ceases to amaze me how perfectly cheap, shoddily made accessories make their way up the social hierarchy and become Hot Items. Consider the chinese sandal – those abominable slip ons with the mesh and the flowers and beads and things (they’re not that bad, actually, I just hate things that aren’t flip flops and don’t grip my ankle/heel.): Last summer, these “shoes” priced anywhere from $1.50 – $3 in Chinatown, where they were worn by everyone and, being cheap, became evocative of a lower socio-economic class. Then, apparently, word got out and by the time I got back to my campus in the Fall, the local overpriced boutique were selling them for between $15 and 20. Which is competitively priced for the J.Crew set (where standard flip are priced around $17) but ridiculous for returning New Yorkers who’d bought them by the dozen. Somewhere along the way, very cheap became very chic – someplace beyond “shabby chic” and the novelty of vintage shopping. But of course, the richers wouldn’t buy the stuff off the discount vendors which means that, in essence, they’re buying the SAME CRAP (because how much can you improve on a mesh sandal?) made by more savvy shops.

I feel like I can see the same thing happening with these pleather bags. You’ve probably seen them – they’re being peddled all over 7th Avenue and have these straps that look like laces. They’re not necessarily attractive, but they do have a good shape (read: a shape that looks lumpy, so that stuffing it full of odds and ends won’t destroy the basic form of the bag) and can hold alot. So when you see this bag on the OC, remember that you heard it here first.

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