While a post on the fallacies of “green” fibers is still in the works, I just don’t have it in me tonight. What I do have is a room full of looks for my styling shoot tomorrow, and a serious hankering for a good shopping spree. What turns me off to shopping best, though, is the daily drudgery of working in luxury retail.
At its best, my job gives me great satisfaction. Gaining the trust of a stranger and seeing them in something that makes them feel fantastic about themselves is a downright warm-and-fuzzy, super lovely feeling. What intrigues me most about fashion is the divide between what we feel our image choices say about who we are and what the world thinks we’re trying to say. That divide is something at once personal, cultural, and universal, and is our first (and often only) chance to communicate what we’re about to the world at large. That being said, I’m continually horrified by the epidemic of insecurities that plague women about their own bodies. Clothing should be something that helps us explain who we are, not something that hides who we’re afraid you might think we are. Yes, it’s shiny and fun, and it should make us feel beautiful or even sexy, but not because we’re covering up the fact that we don’t still feel beautiful underneath all of that overpriced silk and spandex.
That I still want to buy the things that I see in shop windows and know I don’t need is a mystery to me. I’m aware of the ugliness of consumption, I’m not trying to compensate for insecurities, and I love the things I already have, so why do I want to cheat on them so badly with floozy dresses in the Macy’s window and one-night-stand accessories at H&M? Who knows. Hopefully over the course of the next six months, I’ll get closer to finding out.
What I do know is that I got a vicarious fix this evening picking up garments for my shoot tomorrow, and man did it feel good! Walking out of work, even with a bag full of my own work clothes, the gears in my head started whirring, planning outfits for imaginary outings at a rate that an entire army of me could not possibly hope to actualize. Picking out pieces for studio rental at Buffalo Exchange was even worse. Entire universes of possibilities sprang to life inside my shopping-starved brain, and it took all the will power I had to get what I needed and get out before temptation blurred the line between wardrobe sourcing and personal scavenging. Picking up hosiery turned out to be less dangerous that I had feared, maybe because the styles don’t vary enough to stray beyond the confines of “vintage hipster”, “film noir ingenue”, and “goth chick”, or maybe because the shop was closing in five minutes and I had to get back to Buffalo to sign the studio agreement, but I escaped relatively unscathed. Yes, I did technically buy something, but a) I refuse to subject my poor (already unpaid) models to second-hand hosiery, and b) who on Earth would lend a wardrobe stylist stockings?
Even picking up shoot supplies at Walgreens satisfied my cravings to an extent. There’s nothing sexy about safety pins and eyelash glue (at least not as a part of any fetishes I’m aware of), but it’s the prospect of acquiring something new that could, combined with something I already have, become more than the sum of its parts, that really gets me going.
After an hour of collecting wardrobe elements and two hours of prepping looks, I’m sartorially satisfied. Tomorrow night the clothes from Buffalo Exchange will return back to their rightful home, hopefully to live out their usefulness in multiple someone elses’ closets, and my conscience will be clear. Hopefully it’ll be a couple of weeks before the cravings hit again, and when they do, I’ll be sure to hit up a swap meet, free market, or some other treasure trove of post-consumer recycled textiles. In the mean time, I’ll continue to show up at work every morning, ready to do what they pay me to: make conspicuous consumption sexy, while my conscience hides in the fitting room and cries.