Is that statement broad enough?
As I’ve gotten older, and spent more and more of my life in elevators and under florescent lights, I’ve become increasingly utilitarian with my purchases.
Is that money really well spent? Or could it be used to break me out of corporate jail sooner rather than later? Is that just a Chewing Gum Purchase, only meant for a burst of flavor and quick disposal?
One of the first things to get jettisoned from my list of things worth buying was clothing. That’s right folks, I’m a nudist. Let that sink in for a minute.
What I mean to say is that I can’t stand spending money on clothes. I find fashion to be one of the highest forms of waste on the planet. Embarrassing Confession landing in 3…2…1…I really like the movie, The Devil Wears Prada. Here’s just one of many gems from the chief antagonist:
Miranda Priestly: This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner” where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of “stuff.”
Except she gets it wrong from the beginning. Who cares what Oscar or Yves did?! Why does anyone care about what recycled crap they had some underpaid seamstress put together?! Because of their names?!
Why yes, that’s exactly why. It’s all perceived value which is exactly what drives me so crazy about the entire fashion complex. Because Oscar or Yves did something, it’s the peak of fashion, you guys! Everyone will be wearing cerulean this year! But not next year. They’ll have decided something else is better. Cerulean is so last year!
Fashion is constantly stealing from itself, because there’s nothing left to explore. Hmm, sounds like financial blogging. So those hooked into the culture of fashion are just participating in a never ending cycle of lather, rinse, and repeat. It’s the definition of insanity!
I know I’m targeting a sliver of the clothing industry as most of us don’t even dream of dropping the kind of coin it takes to buy an Oscar or Yves … Outfit? Ensemble? Velour Jumpsuit? But the implications trickle all the way down. Major retail chains ink deals with celebrities, and pseudo-celebrities, to have their name attached to a line of clothing.
Look! My favorite Actor/Singer/Dancer/Entrepreneur/GlobalPovertyExpert loves those jeans! Gimme Gimme Gimme! Yum, I’ll take seconds of that perceived value please!
And don’t even try to tell me that fashion is art. Art is timeless. Fashion by its very nature is not timeless. If it were, there wouldn’t constantly be a new something to buy every ‘season’.
I’ve got no desire to participate in that charade and I’d like to think there’s an army of frugalistas out there that feel the same way. I’ve talked to Mrs. No Waste about this many times before and while she doesn’t feel as strongly as I do, and let’s be honest, few could, she did concede the following:
Although I do not share my husband’s severe distaste for fashion, I agree that high fashion is useless and wasteful. I find just as much fun in going to a store “window shopping,” trying on things that I like, and putting them back on the rack. I feel like I get to wear something I like, without having to spend the money on something that I’ll probably only wear a couple times. Plus, let’s be honest, for most women, shopping is a form of entertainment. You don’t have to actually buy the outfit to get the same joy in wearing it. In my life, mostly I wear yoga pants, and when I wear something other than jeans and a simple shirt out, I feel over dressed. You don’t have to be a frump or be super-fashionable. There’s a nice middle ground… and also clearance racks!
I love what Mrs. No Waste wears, whatever it happens to be. And anyone else with a stay-at-home Mom in the family knows that entails a wide range of options from day to day. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t keep showing up after work to see what she’s wearing. The clothing my friends and family wear has zero impact on how I feel about them. This isn’t The Plastics.
Oh boy, I just realized that’s the second time I’ve dropped a Mean Girls reference. Tranquility Base here, Embarrassing Confession Two has landed.
But far be it from me to rant about a problem without proposing a solution. The answer?
Star Trek jumpsuits for everyone. Just gimme a couple months to drop some weight before they roll ‘em out for everyone, cool?
You guys drive safe, see you soon!
TL;DR: It’s not about what’s being worn, it’s about who’s wearing it.