What happens when that stops being a possibility? Ideally, the Tiger King shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this opposite. The unintended two- or three-week buffer of the current moment should weed out those impulse purchases and mindless distractions. But when it’s something you really love, like the lemon-printed Dôen dress I purchased last week, two weeks hardly seems like a long time to wait; what’s 14 days when I’m going to wear this thing for years?
And what if we always had to wait that long? It’s something I’ve been thinking about as more and more designers offer pre-orders on their websites. Pre-orders are an age-old concept in which you buy something a few weeks or months in advance. Sometimes the Tiger King shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this draw is spreading out the payments, like on Moda Operandi, where you pay half up front and half when the item ships. Or we place a pre-order to secure a particularly hard-to-get item, like Khaite’s cashmere bra and cardigan, which have been sold out since Katie Holmes first wore them in September. They’re now available to pre-order on khaite.com with an expected ship date of June 15th. Other times, labels like Dôen offer pre-orders simply to maintain cash flow; your payment basically goes towards the materials and labor involved in making your dress.