When you think Banana Republic, compound phrases like “thirty-something administrative professional,” “boring cocktail party,” and “overpriced shrunken cardigan” come to mind. Now, the extramarital online dating platform Ashley Madison is unwittingly shaking up the Banana’s image. The “online personals & dating destination for casual encounters, married dating, discreet encounters and extramarital affairs” surveyed 52,390 self-identifying cheaters about their shopping preferences.
Believe it or not, adulteresses are flocking to the midlevel business casual emporium as their outfitter of choice. While extramarital trysts in the popular imagination involve ripped bodices and scarlet letters, modern day Madame Bovarys are actually kind of vanilla in their sartorial tastes. The surveyed philanderess were also likely to indulge in the following fashion trends: maxi-dresses, colored skinny jeans, and pencil skirts with slits. Here are the other stores that made the list, in order of popularity…
1. Banana Republic
4. Ann Taylor
7. Lane Bryant
10. JC Penney
The presence of Lululemon on this list is understandable, what with its penchant for seductive, buttocks-revealing yoga pants. But how did Banana Republic become America’s leading purveyor of marital infidelity? Could it be the phallic connotations of the titular Banana? Are those Mad Men capsule collections subliminally driving women out of their marital beds like oh-so-many homogametic Don Drapers? Maybe the free-return policy is encouraging risky behavior.
These theories are compelling, but, alas, it’s more likely that Ashley Madison’s extremely non-scientific study reflects the tastes of the site’s demographic, regardless of one’s reverence to the institution of marriage. According CEO Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison’s “typical female user is a professional woman in her early 30s.” That said, maybe JC Penney should consider changing its slogan from “Every Day Matters” to “Tenth Choice Among Cheating Wives.”
- Chloe Wyma