Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Reading: On Desire and Shopping Budgets

via Vogue Japan

Today's post is a fairly light one as far as Sunday reading posts go. Recently, I've come across a few discussions relating to clothing budgets, whether monthly or otherwise, and as it's a topic I'm basically always interested in, I thought I'd share. 

First up are two semi-related discussions on r/femalefashionadvice about setting a budget and sticking to it. The first was about the experience of constantly wanting more than one's budget can accommodate, and how different readers dealt with that feeling. The second was a discussion of different readers' monthly shopping budgets and/or larger shopping habits, often with some context regarding their age and larger financial or life situation. Both discussions were interesting, and I particularly appreciated the second, as it was fascinating to hear about some very different approaches to building and maintaining one's wardrobe. I've personally found through experience that a flexible monthly budget (that sets a hopefully strict limit on the year's fashion expenditures) works best for me, as I can't stick to a more "minimalist" and "needs and careful wants only" shopping fast-type approach. My approach may be in flux, as I think many of my shopping habits and preferences have continued changing this year, but we shall see.

Up next is a series of incredibly thoughtful posts from Twelve: of Our, the blog of Wired's Senior Art Director, Olga Montserrat, reflecting on the marketing of fashion (particularly high-end fashion), the level and type of consumption and spending that can encourage, and various related ideas. This post reflecting on the 1994 Calvin Klein aesthetic that captivated her as a teen, for instance, and how that fed into a desire, a visceral want to buy something that felt like it would, it must "somehow imprint me with a sort of status and cred, making me untouchable in a way-"

It really struck me, because I know that feeling, or something like it, could always relate to that article about the "holy hell, what did I just do" purchase of a Rick Owens leather jacket even when most other people in my life would think it all deeply extravagant and baffling, the epitome of selfish "first world problems." Of course the things that captivated me, that I desired when I first became aware of fashion and style were probably significantly less tasteful and, well, un-classy. No lie, the first item I wanted that way was a $495 circa 2007 or 2008 Coach patchwork tote, and with the benefit of hindsight, it was really darn ugly (exact photo here, and it is a horror).

Her series of posts also includes a few reflecting on regret and big-ticket purchases, as well as on how those big-ticket designer purchases fits in with her larger financial picture, especially after making a subsequent commitment to get rid of consumer debt. Those latter posts are likely a cautionary tale that I should keep in mind when I eventually get in a position to pull the trigger on one or the other  "big distant future splurge," no matter how well-planned and reflected on the possible purchase proves to be.

What was the first designer item or aesthetic that really captured your attention, maybe initiated your awareness of fashion and style as a thing to aspire to? Any thoughts on whether a monthly budget approach or some other approach to allocating funds for fashion shopping works best for your wallet and your closet? 

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