30 January, 2018

"Why I Hate Shoes . . . "


Ok.  We have to start this almost 30 years ago - on a warm summer's day in 1988.  I was arriving for my first day of work with Polo/Ralph Lauren here in the Bay Area.  And lordy, there was a LOT to learn.  Besides all the endless new-hire paperwork involved with starting a new job, there was intensive sales training and product knowledge manuals.  We had the most AMAZING dictionary of fashion and textile terms that I've ever seen (and yes, I still have a copy in my library).  

The great part of working for Mr. Lauren was that there actually WAS a right way of doing things.  We could never hand a client their purchase from over the counter - we always walked out from the cash/wrap - and hand it to them personally.  I haven't worked for Polo since 2001 - and I still have to catch myself from saying "Good morning, Polo/Ralph Lauren."  Even when I answer the phone in my own shop!  

I also learned to hate the word 'shoes.'

Now please don't misunderstand me.  My closet is full.  But at Ralph Lauren we didn't sell shoes.  We sold 'footwear.'  You couldn't find a 'coat' - but, we had a vast selection of 'outerwear.'  No 'ties' - only 'neckwear.'  What I learned was that language mattered.  And the words we use can relay so much more than a simple 'descriptive noun' could ever imply.  So . . . never 'couch' - always 'sofa.'

I feel the same way about the dreaded 'man cave.'  For me it implies some sort of regressive male sitting in the dark with cold pizza and European football blaring from the television.  I certainly understand the need for a private space in one's home.  But, I much prefer to see a term 'library' or 'gentlemen's study' on the floor plans.  

Let's bring back the 'retreat' - and shuffle the 'man cave' off with the need to buy antiperspirant.  (the right word is 'men's furnishings.')

If we can help you create the perfect retreat - reach out to us at inquiries@SMWDesign.com



At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Wondering if you know why Ralph Lauren no longer makes those beautiful comforters and shams? It might just be me, but their Plain Jane furnishings don't seem to hold a candle to the lovely checks, florals and plaids Ralph Lauren Home use to carry.

Vickie H. said...

...hence the term "gentleman"....OMG, Scot: you do some GORGEOUS work!!!!

Unknown said...

As usual Scott, Ralph was right. Language does matter, and you can tell who the ladies and gentlemen are by the way they use languages, either foreign or English. That said, speaking from a "mature woman" lol who owns probably 40 or so Etiquite books and laments daily on the total breakdown of our society today, it's nice to read the columns you put out so i know there are still some of us originals still around. I tend to agree that Ralph is not putting out some of the more Classic things that put him on the map of the Design and Fashion World, but there is hope. I have been reading that my beloved Chintz is about to make a very strong return along with strong color in the near future and the days of "Spared down neutral designing" is about to be replaced by a return to the Classics once again, although Mid Century Modern and Hollywood Revival will still be good ( Thinking Frank, Draper, Baldwin, etc etc.) We are living in a time of great changes and we need to keep the best of the Past and honor the best of what is about to come..Exciting times ahead. Have you ever thought of a Design Book on Tartans and the Classics in Design Scott? If not perhaps you may want to give it some thought. You have a great sensibility to this subject.

Annette said...

I loved this post as it brought back some great RL employment memories ('85-'92). I'm still wearing and sleeping on my personal archive collections, purchased with every dollar I made working for RL. It was an excellent investment!

Merlin said...

KUDOS!!! franki

Carol said...

I look forward to one day never hearing the term "man cave." I cringe every time I hear it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails