Here’s a picture of me and our guest, legendary fashion journalist Teri Agins, back in the day at a fashion show. She covered the business for the Wall Street Journal, and brings her massive store of knowledge to bear in this episode, in which we discuss why clothes are so expensive, the complicated truth of fast fashion, and why designers don’t prioritize older people, among other things. So do tune in, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
I knew Teri Agins in the late 90s when we were both “in the trenches,” covering the runway shows in Milan, Paris and New York for major newspapers. What came through in the podcast was how knowledgeable, direct and sensible her approach to the fashion biz is. I also fondly remember her as upbeat, kind and generous to her colleagues, with a ready smile and an excellent bullshit meter. Thanks for another great podcast episode.
Fascinating episode–Teri, thank you for your unvarnished conversation. I’d love to see a “Teri’s Picks” guest post because I admit I have ZERO idea how to shop Fashionnova. It all seems way too young for me and alarmingly disposable, but I’m very curious as to the pieces you see on the site and think “that works!”.
Thanks also for talking about how complicated the issue of fast fashion is. Back in the day, when I was an indie bookseller, I had a brilliant friend and coworker who had come from India to study literature in the US. One day the subject of factory made clothing came up (in the early 90s–I can’t for the life of me recall how we got on it) and I was quick to say how horrible they were for workers and the environment. My dear friend said she could see how that was true from my perspective, now that she’d lived in the US for a year, but that I couldn’t understand that the factories where she came from meant steady jobs for people, mostly women, who desperately needed them. And that conditions had to be fixed without shutting the factories down. Basically–that it was complicated. I’ve thought of that ever since.
I think we have become so uncomfortable with anything that is “complicated” and, as a society, have embraced a worldview that draws very clear lines between what is right and wrong without much room for nuance. While this kind of thinking is often associated with right wing views (homosexuality, abortion) I am pretty left and I can be this way. I love that Teri seemed to be expressing her (complicated) thoughts in ways that sometimes contradicted what is the conventional wisdom for the demographic that reads this blog and others like it. In the case of fashion, maybe one answer is to seek out the fast fashion that also gets decent marks for working conditions. To find that balance. I think (not absolutely certain) that Uniqlo is one, though they are on my s*#tlist right now because of their refusal to shut down in Russia.
Personally, I have chosen to be a little more flexible on the fast fashion for my 13 year old because she is still growing and it just doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on clothes that she might only wear for a season. Her older sister has no interest and buys about 85% of her clothes at thrift stores.
I really loved this episode and I second the request for more Teri Agins! She offered a great mix of insider knowledge and down to earth advice.
Loved this episode with Teri Agins. . . her energy and the authority with which she speaks. As someone living in middle America working in state government who wants to look good on a limited clothing budget – I feel seen after this episode. Hearing her say she shops Uniqlo was wonderful. Another commenter felt some of her advice was old fashioned. For me, it just validates that some of the rules of looking good are timeless. Ignore them at your own risk. Thanks so much!
I am very interested to listen to this episode, however the Stitcher link is not showing me this most recent episode. Thank you so much for sharing these conversations — I always look forward to listening to the EIF podcast!
I feel like one pair of espadrilles is probably enough (I have a platform pair with glitter and a pair of flats though)
Hey there I’m getting caught up from last week’s podcast (in which you discussed fitness…) if you’re ever looking for a contributor for that, I would love to jump in! I own a Wellness studio in Englewood Cliffs (pilates and massage) and I am here to tell you it’s NEVER too late. We CAN do anything 😉
Tamara, I so agree! I didn’t start regularly exercising until my mid forties. I never was into sports or just going out for a run. It took a long time for me to find something that I love (Pure Barre classes), plus, I also had the wake up call of realizing how hard it was to just roll out of bed in the morning. It really is never too late.
Kim, I’m excited to hear this episode. Oh who are we kidding?- I’m excited for every episode! And what a lovely photo of the two of you!
Well I am confused. I enjoyed that episode and clearly Teri has an in depth knowledge of how the fashion industry works, although I found her advice about what to wear as an older woman a bit predictable and old fashioned. However, I checked out Fashionnova and Fashionnova Curve on Instagram as she recommended and it’s basically stripper wear! Yikes, wasn’t expecting that!
I loved this episode, too, and I think Teri’s idols — Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly — shape her idea of chic: tailored, sophisticated, not showy. Not all GOACA chase that particular vibe. That said, the tidbits Teri dropped about how to shop non-luxury brands: pick pattern over solid, look for double layers — made me crave MORE of this very specific advice.
LOVED this episode. I just adore fashion and clothes so this was such an enjoyable way to start my week. I work in finance so I’ve been a WSJ reader for a long time and always enjoyed her column because despite the WSJ’s target audience and economic demographic, she made fashion seem so accessible. Quite a few years ago I remember sending in a question to her “Ask Teri” column about the trick to finding a good pair of white jeans. To my knowledge my question never made it to the paper but I do recall her responding to my email and providing some thoughts which I so appreciated. (Side note:that good pair of white jeans remains elusive.) I loved hearing her thoughts about fast fashion, brands for women our age and tips for looking our best and I also hate too.much.makeup. And, yes, everything provides some type of hangover for me now. I feel as though I’m doomed to a lifetime of a sensible bland diet which is just no damn fun.
I used to have a ritual of buying and returning white jeans every summer: nothing worked. But several weeks ago Kim mentioned Citizens of Humanity Emerson jeans & I found a pair in white that I love. Worth a try…
Thank you for the rec- I will check them out!
Been catching up on months’ worth of EIF episodes and this was one of my favorites EVER. TBH I normally prefer the ones where you and Jen just talk; some of the experts seem like they’re not prepared and casting around for answers on the spot. Teri gave out so much information, so quickly, and so much interesting stuff! Great to hear a veteran of the fashion scene share her wisdom.