Monday, February 19, 2007

Gray is the New Black?

Trends are fascinating, to the social scientist and interested amateur alike. If you think about retail products a lot, you need to be concerned about what people are wearing, or buying, driving, or talking about. To discuss this with any authority takes a lot of research and the ability to distinguish between a passing fancy, and a true trend, i.e. an indicator of how people are behaving over time. I'm hardly a master, but it is something I devote considerable time to as part of my job.

The way Trendhunter describes it, the move from black to gray as the new "base fashion color" as people become more formal in their appearance seems to be more of a fad, but I really like gray clothes. Black clothes are alright, but gray is simultaneously more interesting and more subtle. Since I began my professional career I have always worn a lot of gray, and you're probably thinking, "so what?" Well, If you have worked in office environments, you understand how totally pervasive khaki is for men who need to conform to a "business casual" standard, and that you actually stand out in gray. I mentioned this to Lauren and she replied that men's dress pants really only come in variations on black, blue, gray and tan, all true; but my guess is that khaki outsells the other ones by a huge margin. They're a safe bet in an atmosphere of conformity. That's Detroit though. I had dinner in New York City recently, and it seemed like everyone in the restaurant was wearing a black turtleneck - just as conformist, with geography determining the color. Dullsville.

Bottom line? Gray is cool, and it will still be when everyone is back to saying brown is the new black. It will be interesting to see if it takes hold as a real trend, or if it's just a passing fancy.


(un)relaxeddad said...

Alternately, grey is just the new black-you've-washed-too-often?

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about this new politcal party that is starting up here in Michigan? It's a State only party with some right on ideas, at least I thought so, but I'm always interested in getting a different perspective. What's your take on this party?