Relationship

Dating Girl: Our relationship has come to an end.

Dear Dating Girl: I’ve been seeing this guy for a couple of months and I thought things were going quite well. We’re both extremely tentative about getting into a relationship, so we took it very slowly and all seemed well. He even told me he was really enjoying the way things were going. Then suddenly, out of the blue, he tells me in a very cruel way that he no longer wants to see me. No discussion. Just, “It’s over. I don’t want to see you anymore.” I’m completely floored. What the hell happened?
Shocked and Shaken.
Dear Shocked and Shaken: I’d say the guy is suffering from the old fear-and-flight reaction. Maybe things were going a little too well and he’s not ready for that. But you can forget trying to find out. And no blaming yourself. Both are futile exercises. I mean it. You must also resist all urges to call up your mob connections and have him taken out. And repeat after me: I deserve better, I deserve better. As far as I’m concerned, all humans deserve respect, even when they’re being dumped. Someone who can’t be decent about breaking up with someone can’t be decent in a relationship. Now get out there and buy yourself a hot new outfit and go dancing with your best girlfriends. Right now!
That was my first Dating Girl letter and response back on July 12, 1999, just over 13 years ago. Wow – that’s longer than I’ve been married.
Like the young woman in this letter, I was tentative about getting into a relationship with The Gazette. After all, I was writing my slightly more risqué weekly column My Messy Bedroom over at the now sadly defunct Hour magazine when The Gazette approached me for a more, shall we say, family-friendly version of a relationship column. Could I be as honest, as frank, as bold in a daily?
Ultimately it didn’t matter. Sure, maybe I couldn’t use the word booger back in 1999 (ed: can I use that word yet?) and I couldn’t advise you when it came to the more X-rated aspects of your relationships, but there was so much to explore without even getting into any of that, from how to meet someone to how to get over them.
Some letters were less universal in theme than others (I’ll never forget the guy who wanted advice on sleeping with his cousin), but I tried my best to make my advice such that anyone might be able to call upon it when needed. I didn’t always succeed, but just as with relationships, there is no reward without risk.
And when it comes to relationships, just as I wrote in that very first column, “as far as I’m concerned, all humans deserve respect, even when they’re being dumped. Someone who can’t be decent about breaking up with someone can’t be decent in a relationship.”
Now I’m getting dumped. Thankfully, I didn’t get dumped like the poor woman in the above letter. There was no, “It’s over. I don’t want to see you anymore.” It was completely respectful. I’m sad, but not floored. I am well aware, as someone who has been in the media for over two decades now, that the times they are a-changin’. I am thankful for my years in this space. I am thankful for all the love, support, criticism and genuine gratefulness I have received from you for helping you navigate your way through the weird, wonderful and sometimes painful experiences of love. Not all relationships are meant to last forever. It’s been a good one. Thanks.
Now I think I’ll go out and get a hot new outfit and go dancing with my girlfriends.

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Dress

Rich toddlers draw fashion designers’ eyes.

NEW YORK – Juliet Sandler dresses in the latest $650 dresses and $400 shoes from Parisian fashion house Lanvin. Juliet is 3.
Her mother, Dara Sandler, says she dresses her daughter in the latest fashions because Juliet is a reflection of her — even though her daughter can’t spell the names of the designers, let alone pay for their clothes.
“I dress Top fashion designers are pushing more expensive duds for the increasingly lucrative affluent toddler demographic. This fall, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Marni launched collections for the pint-sized. Luxury stores Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman are expanding their children’s areas to make room for the newcomers, many of them with higher price tags. Late last year, Gucci, which launched a children’s collection two years ago, opened its first children’s store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say they’re careful to keep the clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that raise eyebrows because of their eye-catching prices and sophisticated styles.
American households are expected to spend an average of $688 outfitting their children for school, says the National Retail Federation, and that includes supplies like pencils and notebooks.
That’s most families. Some will spend $795 on Gucci backpacks or $1,090 on leopard print puffy coats from Lanvin.
Sasha Charnin Morrison, fashion director at Us Weekly, admits that some of the clothes are outrageously prices. But, she says, things like $200 Gucci sneakers make her kids happy.
“They’re a walking billboard of you. They’re a reflection of who you are, so if you are someone highly stylized, then you want to make sure your kids are the best-dressed kids out there,” she says.
Critics say the trend promotes elitism.”This creates a class system of the haves and have nots,” says Dr. Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. “It creates a culture of envy.”

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Luxury

Only five years ago, the high-end children’s wear business was dominated by just a few major designers like Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Christian Dior. But the recent influx of others is the latest sign that affluent shoppers have gone back to splurging since the recession. And as the wealthy feel more comfortable about spending again, they increasingly want their kids to reflect themselves.
It’s a “mini-me” phenomenon, says Robert Burke, a New York-based fashion consultant. “It feels good. It’s like one for me and one for you,” he says. The trend isn’t limited to Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but is occurring in other big cities like Boston and Chicago, he says. Sales of designer children’s wear are also strong in resort areas where retirees who tend to dote on their grandkids live, he says.
Luxury children’s sales account for just a fraction, or just over 3%, of the $34 billion market, but it’s growing faster than the rest of the children’s wear and clothing market, according to NPD Group Inc., a research firm. For the past 12 months ended in May, children’s wear sales rose 4%, with the upscale component up 7%, according to NPD’s most recent data. That compares with a 3% rise for the overall clothing market.
Designers, seeking more growth, are now looking at children’s wear as another way to deepen their relationship with their customers as well as reach out to new ones.
The designers are targeting household incomes of at least $350,000, says Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. That’s about seven times the U.S. median household income of $49,445.
Many of the new designer entries are more expensive than some of the established brands like Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren’s cotton shirts for boys are priced about $59. In comparison, Dolce & Gabbana’s plaid shirts for boys run $190. Girl’s dresses are about $500.Nordstrom, whose designer kids clothes were limited to a few names like Burberry and Ralph Lauren, is adding a number of collections for kids from the likes of Marni, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.

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