Liz Claiborne Gets Lucky

So my wife, in her never-ending (and impossible) attempt to make me seem cool/hip/trendy, dragged me into one of Liz Claiborne's (NYSE: LIZ  ) Western-themed Lucky Brand stores. Lucky Brand features jeans that seem like they've been washed 10,000 times for that extra-soft feel, ranch-style shirts I could (and did) make fun of, and scores of other rodeo accoutrement that made me want to skedaddle back to the Montana Territory on my horse, Trigger.

I knew I was in trouble when the saleslady pulled out a shirt decorated entirely in paisley -- harking me back to a mid-'80s Cornell frat party where my Texan chum Matt flailed his arms wildly in a paisley shirt on the dance floor.

"No!" I screeched. The poor saleslady looked frightened. But she really didn't have reason to be. I was probably the only person in the vicinity whose taste ran to Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick The Gap (NYSE: GPS  ) , Tommy Hilfiger (NYSE: TOM  ) , and Polo Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL  ) . Everyone else was soaking up the hee-haw Lucky Brand style. And if you don't believe me, check out the chain's 29% increase in same-store comps last quarter. It's enough to make a Liz Claiborne investor whoop "Yee-haw!"

But it gets better. Once, my wife forced me to buy a pair of jeans and a shirt I barely tolerated. I got a look at the price tags.

"Eighty-eight dollars? For a pair of jeans?" I bellowed. "Eighty-eight dollars? For a shirt I don't even like?"

That's why Liz Claiborne investors should be happy. The fickle and mystifying ways of Those Who Set The Trends have put Lucky front and center and allowed it to charge insane prices for its products. And within six hours of wearing those $88 jeans, they had a hole. And it wasn't because Pecos Bill put a slug in me! The verbiage I unleashed when I discovered this flaw rivaled the foul-mouthed cowboys on HBO's "Deadwood."

"Oh, Hon, stop it," my wife said. "Jeans with holes are hip."

"No, Hon," I replied. "Jeans with holes are a rip-off!"

At least my wife thinks I look cool. But I can't help wondering whether that $176 I spent might have been better invested in five shares of Liz Claiborne.

For a round-up of other retailing news, check out super-shopper Alyce Lomax's articles on:

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Fool contributor Lawrence Meyers makes fun of clothes he doesn't like, but that doesn't mean a company's product or stock is bad. He owns no shares in any company mentioned.


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