The Combo Frock by Tracy Reese, $348
There was an article in a recent addition of The Wall Street Journal discussing the rise of the $400 dress. This is considered a mid-range dress, not mall chain store wear, yet not high end designer. The $400 price tag defines it as affordable to the young business orientated woman. Many believe this is the “sweet spot” in fashion. Not too cheap, not too expensive…really?
The last dress that I bought for $400 was my wedding dress and that was a lifetime ago. Now it’s not that I wouldn't love to have a closet full of these $400 dresses, they are quite attractive. I just don’t have that kind of a budget. This got me to thinking. If these young professional women are shelling out $400 for a dress, what kind of clothing budget do they have? Apparently it is much larger than mine.
The Isosceles Dress, Tibi by Amy Smilovic, $450
It’s understandable that women need to dress well for their jobs and looking professional will certainly help you climb up that corporate ladder, but how much is too much for clothing? It begs the question, does spending $400 on a dress really make you appear that much more competent or does it make you seem frivolous? The last thing a woman wants is to appear out of touch with reality when it comes to money. A $400 dress for everyday wear just might do this.
The real catch here is many designers believe that $400 or slightly under is affordable. They explain that sales are brisk. They also believe it is young professionals buying up their wares. Could it possibly be well-heeled women looking at these collections as a great deal? I’m going with the latter as I still see a lot of young women shopping at H&M. Truthfully, many people with money to spend on a $400 dress probably have money to burn. In my circle it's not mid-range, it's high-end.
Underground Dress by Nanette Lepore, $378