• Fri, Mar 2 2012

Banana Republic Has Bought My Love Forever

Which has been known to trouble people. When I mentioned to some friends that I was going on this most glorious and amazing trip one (Jamie) replied “you’re going on a press junket? You are going to Hell. Also, I am jealous.”  Another replied “if you accept, won’t the integrity police come for you?” I breezily replied that I’d been on their ten most wanted list for years, so this was just another lap on my life-long sprint on the lam.

I hope that I’m pretty transparent in my motivations for writing (primer: I do it for the money. And so I will live forever, like a vampire).

(Sidenote: if you had the option of becoming a vampire, would you accept immediately, or would you, say, tan and diet first, because you’ll stay looking the way you do when you’re turned forever? Please discuss in the comments).

So, I sometimes feel that since my reason for writing is only secondarily to “tell the truth to the world” – and that if this was my motivation I should seriously be in a war-torn country – it is cool if I accept nice stuff from companies, sometimes. I run a fashion and beauty website. I flatter myself about many things, one of which is that TheGloss is a smart, funny, enjoyable fashion and beauty website, but I don’t ever flatter myself that we’re The Atlantic.

And so I accept stuff in a way that maybe I would not if I were a hardened journalist.

Though I think the fact that I do this, and that this happens, is worth noting, because the end result is that I will love Banana Republic forever, now.  I would find it really, really hard to say anything bad about them, because my affection for them took root the moment I saw the plane (the most magical and glorious plane!) I think it is a pretty human reaction to feel that way, because it would seem wildly ungrateful to write something negative, even if I didn’t like their collection. Frankly, I feel somewhat ungrateful raising this as “an issue that I find exists for me in the world of blogging” rather than “a straightforward post about how pretty this Mad Men collection is” (and I think it is very pretty) (and I added that parenthetical because I worry I sound incredibly ungrateful about my nice trip at the moment).

Look, it helps that I actually like Banana Republic. I think they’re a good company that makes tasteful, affordable things, and Mad Men is my favorite show on television, so this is totally in the wheelhouse of “things I would have liked, anyway.”

But if I hadn’t liked it…

Well, saying so would require an awful lot of integrity.

Or if Ashley, say, wanted to write a post panning Banana Republic I can very easily imagine myself saying “you know, we have a special relationship with them.” Partly because I love the interplay between British and American politics, partly because they now have my eternal gratitude. I would like to continue to go to their parties and have fun and see the super nice publicists and generally have a delightful time.

I suppose the best way I can handle it in that regard is to constantly link back to this post any time I do write about Banana Best Republic Ever, or at least to include some sort of caveat saying that they’ve done some cool stuff for us.

But then, I wonder how much this sort of thing even bothers anyone. When you read fashion magazines and see positive reviews, do you just assume that the journalists writing them had some sort of relationship with the publicists? Is that immediately obvious to everyone? Does it offend you? At the very least, you should know the reason that I will be constantly gushing over BR for about a week, now.

On a side note: how great is Banana Republic? Seriously. I think their new collection is pretty.

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  • JaneM

    I can absolutely believe that bloggers get perks. However, I can’t believe you took that pink dress when the cream one with the grey belt would look so much better on you.

    • Jennifer Wright

      There were no free dresses! Integrity still hanging on! But yes, if there were, I would have taken that cream one.

  • Dan

    Jen, you are too good to become a style blogger. Don’t go down that dark path.

  • Fabel

    Take me next time?

    Also, yeah, I’d totally tan & diet before accepting any proposals to become a vampire. And make sure my skin was blemish-free and, I guess, shave?

    • Jennifer Wright

      I would worry a lot about the vampire-becoming offer expiring though, so I’m thinking I’d master cleanse (something I would never do as a human). You can’t expect creatures of darkness to stick around forever.

    • K

      One of the most appealing things about becoming a vampire is that you become the absolute perfect physical conception of yourself regardless of how you looked when you died. Its evolutionary, so you can bite the shit out of all the folks that want to make out with you. So…no need for tans or diets.

  • Jamie Peck

    It’s hard for me to get worked up over “integrity” in a field as frivolous as fashion. All the same, my personal policy about perks is to take them and disclose them, but not let them affect my opinions on things. Like, I always get comped tickets to the shows I write about (and very occasionally free drinks), but that doesn’t change my opinions on them, because that would make me a bad music writer. Maybe that’s why I don’t get invited on junkets.

    • Jamie Peck

      And by “bad music writer” I mean “someone with untrustworthy opinions.” I’m not pretentious enough to think my music writing is high art…I think of it more like “consumer reports” for people who love music as much as I do but maybe don’t have as much time to research it…so I really, really value people’s trust. I guess I have more thoughts on this than I thought I did.

  • Jamie Peck

    Also, I think you have the potential to be a much more “important” writer than you say that you think you do in this piece, and eventually stuff like this might not fit into that. And I am a mean person who hates saying something nice on the internet, so you know I mean that. Sorry that wasn’t more eloquent, I’m hunting around for stuff to post right now.

    • Miss C

      You’re right… I read The Gloss a lot and don’t always agree with JW, but this post is like a kid raving about how nice the man in the van was, because he gave her candies… and ignoring that a lot of kids have gone missing lately.

      Maybe a strong way of stating it, but it IS in the same general area. This company are not all flowers and benevolence, and taking a wilful stance that you’ll disregard that ultimately calls into question your ability to criticise anything, ever, so long as they throw you a goodie bag or cheap weekend break.

  • Jamie Peck

    One more thing: you should never feel ungrateful to a corporation. They did not spend money on you to be nice, they did it because they thought it would help them sell more stuff. That’s not benevolent, it’s Machiavellian. As such, you should not feel bad for showing insufficient gratitude.

  • misenhammer

    It’s all about the pink dress.

    And I would totally go ahead and blow my savings on lipo if I got a vampire offer; just lipo, though. Would never risk screwing up my face or anything, especially if I were going to be stuck with weird plastic-surgery-cat-face the rest of my life. Do you get to cut your hair as a vampire and have it grow back??

  • Jo

    Just remember that Gap Inc has a pretty shitty history and just because they are willing to send people they think are important on a fancy trip, doesn’t mean they don’t treat a majority of people that work for them like garbage. I know that doesn’t change the awesome experience you had, but I think it’s important to note that they—like many other retail corps—make and keep their money by paying their lower tier employees very little. So even if you think Banana Republic is, like, the best company ever, it’s really not.

    • Jamie Peck

      Word.

    • Miss C

      Well said.

  • Kimberly

    I love the white lacy dress with the V neck. Saw it in the store yesterday :)

  • Miss C

    Well I guess we all do have our price, but damn – they bought you at bargain-basement prices there lady.

    There’s a fine line between enjoying & acknowledging the freebies you get as a blogger, and admitting you roll over and die, FOREVER, just because you got a pat on the head and a free trip.

    • superjack

      Yeah! This post was utterly devoid of self-awareness and irony.

      Just like this comment.