How Madewell Kept My Flight of Fashion Fancy From Ever Leaving the Runway
I love jumpsuits.
I love jumpsuits like Oprah loves bread. Because in a jumpsuit, all things are possible. With the right jumpsuit, you can channel:
- an elite member of the crew of the Starship Enterprise
- Auntie Mame
- Ziggy Stardust
- a woman who works at an art gallery because it feeds her soul, not because she actually needs the income (perish the thought!)
Transformative, that’s the word. I like that. I want that transformative power. So I take to the world wide web, hunting for jumpsuits. (The internet: where a universe of jumpsuit personalities awaits you).
Look at this one! So cute. It’s from Madewell, the brand that’s like J. Crew’s less uptight little sister. This jumpsuit would make me look like the head mechanic at a female-owned Scandinavian auto shop that also makes smoothies. Or a mechanical engineer at the Willy Wonka-esque Japanese factory where they manufacture those strawberry mochi ice cream bon bons. Or a millennial pink-collar NASA technician. (Does this make absolutely no sense to you? Remember: the place where things don’t quite make sense is the place where fashion begins.)
The point is I just love it. And I really really want it. And I have $148 in my jumpsuit fund.
But here comes the roadblock. See, I made a rule for myself: no more button-up jumpsuits. Zip closures only. This decision was made in the interest of what I can only describe as bathroom logistics.
As a responsible adult who manages all her own bodily functions, I need to know: when four green teas, two Sodastream refills-worth of bubble water and a white wine spritzer finally catch up with me, can I shimmy out of this thing in under 10 seconds? Will I wear my fingers to the bone futzing with lots of buttons, snaps or (gasp) hook-and-eye closures? Can I easily take it off and then put it back on without help? (Seems like a no-brainer, right? But if you don’t wear women’s clothes, you’d probably be surprised how many of them are designed with the assumption that we have some kind of personal valets or ladies-in-waiting to help us get un- and then re-dressed).
I can’t tell from any of the images if there are buttons or a zipper inside that hidden front placket. And the copy. Doesn’t. Say.
That’s a lot of text that’s telling me everything except what I want to know most. Why are you doing me like this, Madewell? Take my money, Madewell! But first tell me what I am getting for said money. I just need to know: can I enjoy wearing these incredibly cute petal-pink coveralls without the sad inevitability of a panicked, sweaty fumble in a public bathroom stall?
Madewell has created a product I genuinely want and then thwarted me from making it mine. What a tender trap. This is how eCommerce retailers shoot themselves in the foot.
Put yourself in your shopper’s place.
When you’re designing your product page content, put yourself in your shopper’s place. What’s important to them? What do they really, really care about when it comes to your product? Maybe the country of manufacture? The design inspiration? The fabric composition? The inseam length? The bathroom compatibility? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
This jumpsuit is not a complicated thing. It’s not an incredibly expensive high-tech stroller that I need to keep my baby safe, or an inflatable pool toy pump that will rescue me from complete and total lung exhaustion. It serves only two functions: 1) to cover my nakedness, and 2) to whisk me away on a whimsical flight of sartorial fancy. But even with seemingly simple, straightforward products, there are still important questions that must be answered before a shopper feels safe enough to click the “buy” button.
“But can I pee?”