Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

OF CLOTHES AND BOOKS

My favorite women’s clothing store, Coldwater Creek, will be closing all of its brick-and-mortar and online sites in just over a week. I have been buying my clothes from them since they were a catalog only retailer. I estimate that at least 90% of my wardrobe is from them. If I count only those clothes I wear every day, especially before I retired, it’s probably closer to 95%.

I love their clothes. They fit well, they hold up well, they wash well, they are fashionable without being trendy or flashy. And that may be why, despite the fact that “everyone” I know of a certain age shops there, they have gone out of business.

The clothes are durable, so there’s no need to replace them every year or so when they wear out. (The exception are 100% cotton jerseys, which tend to become misshapen after several washings. Or maybe it’s the dryings. Or maybe it’s because I never bother to follow cleaning instructions.) I have one plain black “travel knit” shift that can be dressed up or down depending on what I wear over it. I’m not sure how old it is. It is so versatile that shortly after I bought it I got a second one, worried that I would somehow damage the first and not be able to replace it. The backup dress is still folded in tissue paper on a shelf in my closet.

Plus, because they’re not trendy, the clothes don’t look dated. They stay in my closet (and on my body) for years before I give them to charity, and then usually only because I’ve worn them so often I’ve gotten bored with them. I have a few things that may be 10-15 years old.

The very reasons I like Coldwater Creek – durability and timelessness – are probably why they haven’t shown a profit since 2007. I’ll have a discount coupon begging to be redeemed, will go to the store, and not find anything I want to buy because I already have the same thing at home.

And what does that have to do with writing? (Thought I’d forgotten the topic, didn’t you?) A book series has to stay fresh and innovative to remain popular. I have stopped reading some authors on my “must read” list because they are writing the same book every time, just changing the names and settings. Or there’s no character development: the main characters don’t age, the events of previous books don’t affect their behaviors or attitudes. Why spend money on a book I’ve, in essence, already read? Yes, they may be comfortable, they may still hold interest, but eventually, they become stale. And if they’re classics, I’ll just re-read them, not buy new ones by the same author. Unless it’s something fresh.

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Comments on: "OF CLOTHES AND BOOKS" (10)

  1. A agree wholeheartedly about Coldwater Creek and series. Now I buy most of my clothes from Kohl’s.

  2. Agree with you on both subjects! We went to the Coldwater Creek store near us last week. Everything was 70%-80% off. I bought 17 pieces for under $160. And it felt very sad. I get some of my clothes at Chico’s because they carry the same kind of travel knits I loved from Coldwater Creek. And, yes, writing has to stay fresh and interesting. Some authors think they can write ‘formula’ books and their readers will grab them up. And some can get away with it if their writing skill keeps their readers interested. I, too, have given up on writers with whom I got really bored!

  3. kamagrowski said:

    I loved coldwater! Just discovered them for work clothes about a year ago and now this.

  4. Love a good analogy. Good one!

  5. Yes! I think, too, that the Coldwater Creek customer was not the kind of woman who’d buy clothes on the spur of the moment, to make herself feel better. That only works up through a certain age, thank goodness. I have to admit I buy books to make myself feel better, but I’ve usually been on the track of a particular kind of story or author for awhile.

  6. Remember that you will still be able to find Coldwater Creek garments at resale shops and thrift stores for a few years to come. But not much consolation I know…

  7. I must say that writers seem to have good taste in quality clothing… I’m a Coldwater Creek fan, too!

  8. Thanks for your post, Rabbi Ilene. I, too, am mourning the closing of Coldwater Creek, one of my favorite places to shop for so many years. You make an excellent analogy with writing. It seems as though as a culture, we no longer have an appreciation for the “classics”–whether in literature or clothing. The times, they really “are a changin’.”

  9. I am going to miss Coldwater Creek too – so stylish and affordable (on sale). Nice to have these factors in plus sizes.

  10. Joyce K said:

    I too am an avid Coldwater Creek fan and have been buying from them for many years. My favorite pieces of clothing came from there. I was sadened to see they have closed. I agree on the writers as well. Certain authors I will buy anyway just because I am hopeful for something new in their latest books.

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