Brown Bag It

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12/16/2008 12:15 PM |

These days, style and fashion scribes have had no choice but to squeeze all that they can out of the Recessionista trend story. They’re writing about clothing resale, recession-savvy salespeople, shopping bulemia and buyer’s remorse, secret shopping parties, whisper sales, and more. But this week, The New Yorker found a different sort of hook: bags. Not Birkin, but paper. Not Tiffany powder blue, but an uobtrusive neutral. “If Santa has a sack, in 2008 it is probably a brown bag,” writes Talk of the Town reporter Lauren Collins. Inconspicuous chic is here!

Collins spoke with Ron Raznick, the president of R.T.R. Packaging, who told her that businesses are selecting more “classical” bags, which makes sense, given the fact that everyone is championing this as a buyer’s market perfect for picking up the pricey staples you can wear again and again. And he came up with an interesting, if not hilariously stereotypical metaphor. He compares the showy bag-lady to a blond girl that probably has big boobs (except he calls them “big, whatever, features” — hah! Forgot you were talking to The New Yorker for a sec, hmm?) and the recession-savvy-sartorial lady to someone in an understated-yet-sexy LBD. No specific hair color is mentioned, but we’re guessing he’s referring to an Audrey Hepburn type: a brunette, perhaps, with tiny, perfect gold highlights?

Naturally, Collins wonders, because she is a rock star: “Does that make Forever 21, whose bright-yellow
plastic bags have a tiny "John 3:16" printed on the underside, a

It’s as an important a question as any. Are Forever 21 bags gingers? We’ll be waiting for an 8,000 word fashion feature that explores this ever further. If they can give Paumgarten that space for elevators, surely, she should have it for inconspicuous chic. Yoohoo? Mr. Remnick? We’re waaaaiting!