On Princess Charlotte’s $23 Cardigan

My “attractive/classic/unique” theory.

Photo credit: Rod Long | Unsplash

When I was around eight years old, I wrote a short story about a girl named Charlotte. I remember giving it to my dad to read, and having him tell me that I couldn’t call my protagonist Charlotte because “it’s out-of-date. Nobody names their kids Charlotte anymore.” (He was right. That would have been in the late 1980s, and if you check Baby Name Voyager, “Charlotte” was at its lowest point ever as a name.)

I still remain astonished that so many of the names I “discovered” as a child, names I gave to protagonists and dolls and my imagined future children, are now in vogue, if not popular. (Hazel. Eleanor. Alice. Ava. Blaise. Timothy hasn’t become popular yet, but I’m waiting.) I even named a character in my soon-to-be-released novel Alexandra, aka Alex—the character would have been born in 1982, putting her right at the beginning of the Alexandra name popularity bubble—and last week I saw a tweet from a literary agent in which she said she was seeing too many female characters named Alex these days.

Which brings me to Princess Charlotte and her $23 cardigan.

People are going gaga over Princess Charlotte’s sold out $23 birthday cardigan

Kensington Palace released the portrait taken by the Duchess of Cambridge on Monday, a day ahead of the little princess’s second birthday. And the pastel yellow John Lewis Baby Luxury Sheep Cardigan adorned with a Fair Isle print and fluffy blue sheep that Charlotte wears is no longer available on the retailer’s site. It originally ran for $23. You can still snag a pink coordinating dress in some sizes marked down to just $13.50 on the John Lewis site — for now.

Did the cardigan sell out in under 24 hours because Princess Charlotte wore it? Probably. No doubt the affordable price tag helped, too.

But I have to wonder if there’s something else going on here. If the sweater is popular for the same reason the name “Charlotte” became popular—that combination of attractive/classic/unique.

Maybe they went with the yellow sweater with blue sheep vs. the pink dress with white sheep because the blue would bring out Princess Charlotte’s eyes, and because they avoided the oversaturated pinkness of 2017—seriously, everything is that Millennial ballet pink right now, which was attractive/classic/unique when it first appeared—they made the sweater look even more unique, while also being classic because of the Fair Isle pattern and attractive because of the subject and the photographer.

Maybe this is also why everyone is buying succulents right now: attractive/classic/unique plus very hard to kill. I thought I had the idea to buy succulents independently—technically I was searching online for “best plants apartment no sun”—then I heard about it on a podcast and saw it on a webcomic, and now I’m realizing that everyone is doing it. Safeway added an entire succulent section in the last month. The center where I tutor just put succulents on every table.

Millennials ❤ Plants?

I have one more question about the Princess Charlotte photo: what book is she reading? (Or, you know, holding.) The cover looks familiar, but I can’t see enough of it to figure out what it is—and as far as I can tell from Twitter and Instagram, no one has identified the book nor tried to buy their own copy.

But… it’s got to be a classic, right? Or maybe it just looks classic, because I searched through pages of the most popular picture books on Amazon looking for it, and couldn’t find it.

Either way, the part of the cover we get to see is visually attractive, and it may turn out to be a book many of us have seen but have since forgotten—in which case we’ll all start buying up copies for our children or niblings. I’m sure of it.

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