How Retail Hijacked Time and Space

Today is September 21, 2019. According to the current calendar, it is summer. But that’s incorrect because everyone knows summer ends on Labor Day. The fashion retail calendar is not only celebrating Spring/Summer fashion week for 2020 but also Pre-Fall, which began in July.

Starbucks, which controls the passage of time, has unequivocally declared that September is AUTUMN. Unless you enjoy FOMO, get yourself to a coffee shop and immediately purchase an unbearably hot $5 -cup? — of seasonal gourd-goo. The thermometer still hovers near 90 degrees in Denver, and even iced gourd-goo fails to entice. Your opinion is irrelevant. Halloween candy has replaced back to school supplies at Target and other major retail outlets. Flu vaccination wars have erupted (I am pro-vaccination; for the kids). I’ve already had whooping cough, probably contracted after I licked an armrest on a flight back from Pittsburgh in 2016. Soon Christmas trees will displace pumpkins and all available merchandise, plus bananas and milk, the Denver blizzard staples. I don’t know what people do with all those bananas. Doesn’t matter. That’s the way we observe September; try to keep up.

Don’t you mention that September 21 is SUMMER.

In October we celebrate the resolution of Autumn. As the fashion industry has kindly dictated, the proper attire in October is Winter/Holiday. The holiday is Christmas. October is the month of pre-Black Friday preparation, pre-Thanksgiving sales and post-preparation, Christmas decor, and clearance Halloween costumes (you knew better than to wait until October). You will find crappy leftover candy, including those weird orange and black taffy things stores just display year after year that were manufactured in 1950. Prepare for cyber Monday as well. Autumn is over.

November is Autumn without leaves, so really it is rainy Winter. The fashion industry requires you to don Winter and Holiday fashion, though at the end of the month Resort Wear appears. Resort wear is intended for people who vacation when there is a chill in the air but insist on their 5% Target discount. It includes swimsuits and other non-winter items, such as, um, my application for riches is still pending. Resort Wear season is best defined as winter-summer, but it’s not. It’s Autumn.

If you are not traveling to a heavenly, exotic, and absurdly expensive destination and your travel plans include celebrating Thanksgiving with your family in the greater Detroit or Toledo areas, you do not need resort wear. You need a different destination. The only merchandise available to you during this time will be associated with a holiday, and that holiday is Christmas. A sweatshirt with a holiday applique will do just fine.

In December, resort wear continues, and despite October’s declaration that Autumn is Over, it is not. There is a second attempt at early termination of Autumn, following the Thanksgiving meal, which is somewhat more successful. Haul out the holidays and the eggnog and toss your gourd lattes. Christmas is here! And other holidays. Pre-Fall 2020 fashion week will premier…somewhere, maybe Omaha…but that clothing will not be available until July, which is also the advent of…autumn. On December 24 stores will display items for Valentine’s Day.

It is definitely winter in January, except that’s wrong. January is the beginning of Spring/Summer fashion season, so if you are looking for a coat, you are too late. Coats are available in summer/autumn/September when it is unbearably hot, and you want to purchase “Resort Wear” but are out of luck until Autumn. If you’re going to procure a coat, boots, or other appropriate winter items, you need to plan. Pull yourself together.

On January 1, you will embark on your first and last week of fitness. A barista on winter break will encourage you to sample a steaming spring kale latte. Unless you intend to add sugar (REAL sugar) to mask the horrid taste, you may drop that $5 latte directly in the trash on your way out the door as you drive to your local Dairy Queen. Want a “bikini body?” Buy a bikini. Put it on your body.

In February, Fall/Winter fashion week appears again from the ether. However, Fall/Winter 2021 is not the same as the Pre-Fall collection, because Fall/Winter debuts in July, or for simplicity, at precisely the same time as Pre-Fall. Pre-Fall runs for five days, and then Winter begins.

Spring/Summer runs from January to June, and in February you will also see spring clothes, swimsuits, and resort wear. Don’t be fooled. February remains affiliated with Winter, and you should not charge your air conditioning just yet. The fashion calendar has not synced with the National Weather Service or anything you learned in 7th grade about how the earth travels around the sun. Or the sun revolves around the earth, however they are teaching it these days.

March 1 is spring. That’s when all the snow arrives so you should plant all your flowers and buy cute pastel-colored things. In Denver March in the snowiest month of the year, and still classified as Winter (so Spring/Summer), so you will spend lots of money planting and replanting dead plants. No winter clothes will be available to you until the end of June, and it will be difficult to find snow shovels or windshield washer fluid. Lawnmowers and grills will be on display. In April the snow will continue through actual spring and mudslides and sinkholes will appear, cold and rain will ruin every day. “April is the cruelest month,” after all, said T.S. Eliot in “The Wasteland,” a famous and incomprehensible work of literature that even Eliot himself did not understand. In an emergency, plastic ponchos may be available at a local convenience store, but boot and bananas disappear fast. All boots were sold in October, but fortunately, you have the adorable glittery flip-flops you purchased in February.

May Day! Summer begins on Memorial Day, though that’s not even close to correct. Expect more snow, and in Denver, the cloudiest, most depressing weather of the year. The pool will open! Unfortunately, 18 inches of snow will fall the night before, so the “welcome to summer!” picnic will be delayed by assorted broken branches, power outages, and a water temperature that just will not cooperate. It’s summer, but you may revert to Fall/Winter clothing or jump ahead to Fall/Winter 2021 since July is around the corner. School’s out by the end of May, and the second week of June the stores will overflow with school supplies. Independence Day is right around the corner. This is an excellent opportunity to take the time to purchase a new coat and winterize your car. Begin preparing for Autumn and Christmas, as all available sunscreen was sold in March. NOAA, the government, your calendar, your bank, scientists, anyone born after the fall of the Roman empire — and even the New York Stock Exchange — may agree that it’s summer (pre-fall) in July. Pitifully this is untrue. So say Fendi, Marni, Armani, Theory, Prada, and many other designers that I found on a list. Please. Enjoy the pool before Winter arrives. Check your local retailer for guidance. 2022 calendars are on their way.

​Oh, and September 21. SUMMER.



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