A few items arrived through the mail slot recently caught my eye... but not necessarily in a good way.
LL Bean's Signature series catalog is chock-full of odd ideas tuned flat in their presentation. I still have no idea what they are going for.
This dress/sock/shoe combination lets men know that there will be no sinful hand-holding before marriage, and when this gal is "legal", the same men should expect to father no fewer than twelve children. Also, you'll have to move out west.
When I go sailing, I tend to NOT invite the creepy guy from the truck rental garage.
Though duck season is still well away, this outfit will let others know that you enjoy paddling around lakes and ponds before being patronizingly tolerated at the local un-picturesque general store. You've been in three times this summer, but mysteriously can't seem to be treated like a local.
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From Ralph Lauren, their catalog seems to be a bit all over the map.
The guy reassures young preppy aspirants that wearing jeans with a shirt and tie is not stupid, not passé, and still very *yawn* original. The gal reminds us that the 8000 square foot "ranch house" dad has just outside of Sante Fe is a great place to "just hang out and focus on my art". After three months, the "art" will have yet to materialize, but you "were at least able to make some great contacts in the local galleries".
"Can you believe that someone was just going to throw this old tablecloth away?" Apparently, the image team was overcome with J.Crew catalog (circa 1990) nostalgia. Some things are timeless... including fungi and communicable diseases.
Though not unattractive, LL Bean Signature is now dabbling the agenda towards the ambiguous English-overcast-estate-aesthetic. Make no mistake: I'd chat her up, but those shoes on that soggy ground is patently anti-LL Bean... a direct rib against Yankee sensibility and practicality. Put her in some manure-encrusted Wellies, and you're onto something.
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Finally, Brooks Brothers sent me this catalog for their children's line. The agenda is harmlessly eye-roll inducing.
I chose NOT to publish the more obvious picks, but many of the images, especially those of the young girls, are approaching inappropriate maturity renderings. The looks are a bit too Lolita/Jon Benet Ramsey for this parent's tolerances, but such is the burden of a father.
Am I being too reaching? How about $70 cotton pants for your 10 year old? Expensive white pants on a young boy... what could possibly go wrong? Foolish.
In case anybody was still not fully aboard:
Many of the clothes are actually cute/handsome, but the prices are naive and the agenda of the publication is the age-old catalog ploy: carefully construct an attractive world, and offer ambitious readers a piece of it... for a price. That is what advertising is. Use your unsuspecting children as dress-up dolls for your fulfillment and maybe you can rid yourself of some of that pesky money in the process.
I suppose that the entire thing would be far more tolerable if the prices were a bit more proportionate to the life-expectancy of the garment. While I like the push to get children into non-athletic clothing for daily wear, the Brooks Brothers Fleece (yes, that's the actual name) seems to come off a bit too angled for me... and at no bargain. The name, however, is hilariously appropriate.
As for LL Bean Signature, I would be curious to hear the snake-oil sales pitch that claimed to identify the demographic to whom this must be targeted. Can somebody - anybody - please make sense of this? I am unable to decipher the slant here.
When I arrived home this evening, a new Brooks Brothers "Back To Campus, Back To Town" catalog had arrived. In what can only be described as brain-exploding conspiracy-level twists, just as Lady Aldrich began taking the collective pulse of fellow unsatisfied LL Bean enthusiasts (myself included) one page of the Brooks Brothers booklet seemed to flip this entire thing around once more.
While LL Bean seems to be going for a new look, here we see that Brooks Brothers is actually going for the LL Bean look. Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing? What the hell is going on?