From produce aisle to checkout lane: All things grocery in Washington

Questionable fashion at Whole Foods

July 20, 2011 - 07:01 AM
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Things Whole Foods does well: produce, sustainable seafood, and buffets. Things Whole Foods does not so well: parking, sausage ad campaigns, and fashion.

Displays of eco-friendly clothes rolled out at the P Street Whole Foods this summer. They might be socially responsible, but they aren’t pretty.

I puzzle over a shapeless maroon cotton thing before deciding it’s some sort of cape. (The tag informs me it is a skirt.) Oddly shaped hoodies in wan colors baffle. Strapless sundresses in tacky faux-snake prints repel. Some organic olive green socks with peace signs on them summon sad memories of dressing in the mid-‘90s. Everything exudes a vague hippie vibe, but it’s more Goodwill than Free People.

Their do-gooder cred (the Threads 4 Thought line responsible for those sundresses uses organic cotton and recycled plastic) should make me feel bad for critiquing, but no matter how many sustainable dresses Natalie Portman dons, they don’t look so good. Not that I had a chance to see how the clothes look on me—an employee tells me I’m unable to try them on in the store before purchasing.

Store spokesperson Daniel Thaeler says response from customers has been “significant” and that P Street is actually leading the region’s Whole Foods in clothing sales, leading me to question everything I thought I knew about the style instincts of Whole Foods shoppers.

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