Over the last year or so there’s been a strange evolution unfolding in my midst. Instead of staying out until 4am, wrestling myself up at 8 and dripping coffee intravenously throughout the day in a feeble attempt to survive, I am instead getting 7-9 beautiful hours of sleep and waking up (marginally less distraught) to green tea. I suddenly find myself with a somewhat full time job complete with *gasp* health insurance and am enjoying the longest stretch my bank account has ever gone without falling into negative numbers. An all too frequent occurrence which used to result in a hasty scramble for change in the couch cushions to make it to the next payday. I rarely drink, I’m paying (most) of my bills on time, and I can’t remember the last time I killed a plant. Could it be…I’m growing up?
Another part of myself I feel growing older and wiser is my perception on fashion and aesthetic. When I was younger I was all about the ins and outs of fashion; the designers, the houses, the magazines, the models I was a veritable encyclopedia, spitting out as much as I was taking in. I painstakingly dissected every publication I could get my hands on, poured over seasonal collections and scoffed at anything that wasn’t pushing the limits of either reality or wearability. I was a snob. A poor snob, but a snob nonetheless.
Although I still pay attention to what is happening in the industry I feel my immediate focus pinpointed on style more than “fashion” and the scope of items I want padding my wardrobe smaller than it’s ever been before. Gone are the days of disposable pieces, instead I seek out classics that endure, things that get better with age and a wardrobe that will ride seamlessly through the decades instead of being time-stamped as belonging solely to one.
Before my move to Brooklyn this past spring I started the daunting task of rifling through my ridiculous assortment of clothing and paring down in preparation for my notably smaller surroundings. As I starting sifting I realized just how much crap I had accumulated over the past few years and how much of it was such a waste of time and money. An easy corner to back yourself into is the “oh it’s only $40 dollars!” corner, and before you know it you’ve forty-dollared yourself into a mashed up wardrobe even you can’t comprehend anymore. It’s embarrassing really, such lack of restraint! I look at the timeless beauties, these enduring style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin and Jackie O and think to myself “would any of them have bought a teal green puff sleeve blouse because it was only $40?” Yeah, probably not.
What retailers and trend watchers have been observing over the last few months is that people are starting to spend their money again but overall they’re spending it much more wisely. For awhile it seemed that shoppers had completely clammed up and abandoned consuming altogether, but as the economy has leveled out a bit people are slowly but surely easing back in.
However, the mentality this time around seems to be more aligned with quality than quantity. In the aftermath of the age of epic consumerism, the generations entangled in it’s web of credit and debt are finally starting to understand the benefits of holding back a bit, saving for the nicer model and being able to hold on to it for a few years rather than just a few months. I always wondered how it was that our grandparents were able to not only keep a pair of shoes or a coat for years and years but to also keep them looking nice after all those wears and washings. The truth of the matter is that generations before us not only had less but they had access to less, so those things had to last. They took care to shine their shoes, hand wash their delicate garments and stitch up ripped hems or gapped seams. The ability to run to the mall and pick up a new outfit for the weekend just wasn’t there, so they made do with what they had.
I think it would do us all a little good to absorb some of that psychology. To thoroughly assess our purchases and make intelligent decisions before we throw down the cash and a few months later are scouring our brains as to why in the hell we decided a lace bustier with sequin trim was a solid investment. As fast as fashion can turn out a trend there will be an audience just waiting to snatch it up and in a lot of ways that is the fun of it all. However I know that as I’m getting older the desire for transitional clothing that will last longer than just my walk to the train station is becoming more and more appealing. It isn’t that I’ve abandoned fashion and all it’s crazy, colorful nuances and delights, but I’m finding that it’s a whole lot easier on my wallet (and my conscience) to be an observer instead of a participant. I applaud the dedicated followers out there who shed their skins each season and emerge as wholly different creatures, your transformations are indeed captivating. As for me though, I think I’ll hold onto my position on the sidelines, the view is better out here anyway.
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