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The Clothes That Literally Call Your Name

Model in the Alice + Olivia “Elana” skirt, a black velvet skirt with silver embroidery.
The Alice + Olivia “Elana” skirt.
Photo: Net-a-Porter

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It all started, as most moments of deep introspection do, while I was mindlessly browsing Net-a-Porter’s new arrivals and stumbled upon an item that quite literally called my name: Alice + Olivia’s “Elana” Embellished Velvet Mini Skirt. Made of my longtime fabric of choice, embroidered in silver, and dotted with pretty beadwork and crystals, it was already the sort of girlish-glam piece that begged me to click the “add to shopping bag” button — but the fact that it bore my name made me want it that much more.

A quick Google search revealed that this skirt was far from the only shoppable fashion item with which I shared a name, despite the fact that I’ve always considered my name to be not that common.

Before long, I found myself contemplating Tory Burch’s “Elana” Ankle Strap Sandal, with its slim straps and reasonable 3.5-inch heel. Ditto Free People’s “Elana” Leggings, which magically manage to combine two of my favorite things (polka dots and athleisure) into one comfy-looking garment. And while I find the notion of purchasing and owning an evening gown wholly ridiculous — who actually needs a floor-length dress hanging in her closet these days? — I found myself oddly tempted by Elizabeth and James’s “Elana” Cutout Gown, with its ‘90s-tastic spaghetti straps, sultry back zip, and peekaboo detail.

Clearly names hold a certain appeal when it comes to clothes; how else would you explain the enduring popularity of the preppy monogram or fashion’s current customization craze? But of course, happening upon a beautiful garment with your name printed on its hang tag is very different from chain-stitching your initials on the back of a jean jacket or buying an initial pendant.

It feels like the happiest accident, a sort of sartorial serendipity. Somewhere, somehow, a designer decided that your name was the best name for this particular coat/bag/whatever. It’s also the sort of thing you can keep secret until the perfect moment, when, having just been complimented on your new coat/bag/whatever, you can exclaim, “Thanks! It’s me!”

I’m not suggesting you spend your hard-earned cash on something solely because of its style name — that would be nuts. And by that logic, I would be compelled to buy the objectively ugly (but probably quite cozy) Maine Woods “Elana” Boot, which, sorry, is never going to happen. But when you’re itching to make a purchase and need that extra little push, who better to convince you than… yourself?