Yesterday, as I was reading Jane Lindskold's Thirteen Orphans, I came across a section where one of the POV characters, an elderly lady, was described as wearing a Chanel suit. I came across a similar description in Louise Marley's Mozart's Blood. Other urban fantasies often drop brand names when describing the protagonist's clothing; most often, these are high-end brands.
As a reader, I don't get much out of these descriptions. Sure, the Chanel label carries a certain cachet, evoking not just wealth, but a classic sense of style. But I'm not familiar enough with fashion to look at someone in real life and say, "Oh, she's wearing a Chanel suit." I'd notice color and styling, perhaps maybe even figure out the material, but unless the label is plastered all over the suit, I'd be clueless. Maybe there are readers out there who can do this; I could be the odd woman to lack this ability, since I don't dress up for work and don't read fashion magazines. Even so, I'd personally get a better visualization out of "a pink silk suit" or "a black suit with big gold buttons" than a brand name.
I'm interested in hearing other's thoughts on this. How do you feel about using name brands as descriptions of clothes? Do you find it helpful or not when you find them in books you read? If you were reading an e-book (I know not everyone likes them, but please bear with me for a moment) and came across a brand name that linked to an ad for that piece of clothing, would you find it annoying? If you were the author of that book, would you drop name brands as another source of revenue?