Fifteen years ago, when I was in high school, I remember flipping through the pages of Teen Vogue and marveling at glossy Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein spreads. These brands each still represented distinct styles: Ralph Lauren portrayed fresh-faced girls with bouncy ponytails wearing tennis skirts and polo shirts, while Calvin Klein was edgier, with black-and-white photos of skinny models wearing nothing more than jeans and a tank top (if that). Depending on whether I was in an optimistic or angst-ridden phase, I’d gravitate toward one aesthetic or the other. I remember thinking that one day, when I grew up and had my own money to spend, I would fill my closets with designer bags and dresses. But here I am today, at the age of 33, and none of these brands interest me anymore. In my mind, they conjure up images of outlet malls. Go to any T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s and you’ll find Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger shirts piled up in untidy closeout bins. At Macy’s and JC Penney, Coach bags are stacked on crowded shelves, priced at enormous discounts. Read more at Fast Company.