Back to school shopping time? I don’t think so.
I just saw an article in the New York Times about how U.S. retailers are in trouble, because Americans are less interested in acquiring “stuff” and more interested in paying for “experiences,” like travel, restaurants, or gym memberships.
Which is so unlike us. Even though we value individual freedom, there’s definitely a herd mentality when it comes to style and shopping in the U.S. Here’s the link to that article: “Stores Suffer From a Shift of Behavior in Buyers”
It’s true for me, though, and I used to love, love, LOVE to shop! But back in the day, shopping was an experience. New clothes would only hit the stores a couple of times a year. They were made of better fabrics. You would buy just a few pieces, so you’d spend a lot of time in the fall dreaming up your school or work wardrobe.
I used to mull over what I would buy, and think about how it would go with what I had in my closet. I’d look through magazines and pattern books to plan what I’d buy and sew. Then I’d go to Goodwill and throw in some vintage, too.
Retail stores were much more pleasant places to go, too, and not jammed with ill-fitting, poorly sewn stuff like they are now. Then came online shopping, which, though it was fun at first, has become overwhelming and weird.
So I’ve embraced the “experience” of sewing instead. Let’s say you take 70+ hours to plan and execute something like a Chanel jacket, for example. When you’re done, let me tell you, you’re really invested in that jacket! It feels luxurious and looks unique. When you wear it, it’s yours alone, and it fits! The whole process is a lot more satisfying than shopping.
(One of the zillions of times I’ve worn that jacket)
And I really enjoy the “experience” of communicating with sewing peeps like you, because it alleviates those moments when modern life is dull and crappy. (Like when I’m procrastinating about the dishes I’ve been abandoned with. Which is now.) Most sewing people are friendly and encouraging online and that’s something every girl needs, right?
I was reminded of the ickiness of shopping when I was looking through U.S. Vogue Magazine’s September issue the other day. It’s not terribly inspiring because nobody in there has a body like mine. (Medium height, short waist, spare tire.)
And even though some of the modern designs are cool, the advertising people have clearly run out of ideas. Most ads can be grouped into the following cliches:
I Love Animals:
“Hello little birds! I plucked your friends to make this puffer dress!”
“I risked ripping my $800 down jacket to rescue this dog. That’s just the kind of person I am.”
“I am your trophy spirit animal. Pull the Beemer around to transport me.”
“I am your spirit animal when you’re skiing in the Italian Alps. Or I’m a muppet. I’m not really sure.”
I’m so angry:
“I’m so angry that I have to hold two bags. Where’s my assistant?”
“I’m so angry that I can’t find my brush. Where’s my assistant?”
“We’re so angry that we’re unpaid intern assistants. And we have to wear Pleather. But we’re too cool to emote.”
I’m so ennervated:
“I’ve been in bed so long, I’ve become one with the sheets.”
“Can you help me?…get out?…of the corner?”
“It’s so boring here at this Swiss boarding school. Let’s throw ourselves off the rocks and end it all.”
“Zut, they found out we were going to throw ourselves off the rocks, and locked us in the library.”
“I’ve had so much peyote that I’m starting to over-accessorize.”
Not sure if we’re gay, but we are trite:
“Let’s play kissy-face and then show off our expensive bags.”
“Does my lipstick need to be touched up, Kate?” “Sorry, I’m not getting paid to turn my head right now.”
“Oops, I’m so sorry! This dress is so heavy and my heels are so high!” “I know, and this clutch weighs a ton.”
It’s time to RIVERDANCE!
(My dancer friends think it’s hilarious when models try to be ballerinas.)
From the land of clueless gifts:
“One year old today! Here’s your bag!”
“Lagerfeld wants you to have this $10,000 concept bag. Just watch your fingernails–it’s bubble wrap.”
But there was one ad that tempted me…
Hosanna! Come to mama! (Rats, I just realized that I spent that $200 on my 13-year-old’s school books, supplies, and soccer equipment. And a couple of patterns. And fabric. And some Steam-a-Seam. And some thread. And a zipper. And one of those little rolls of fleece. Because you know when you stop at Joanns just for one thing?)
After combing through the entire magazine, I only found two or three ads showing women who are within 20 years of my age, either way:
I’m down with looking like that in 15 years.
But then I saw…
Jeez, having lunch with Madonna, Donatella?
I know where my fall wardrobe’s coming from–my trusty sewing machine. How about yours?
Hope your sewing is going well!