Friday, 23 April 2010

Decisions, decisions

I have felt a little ridiculous for the past couple of days, spending way too much time thinking about spending money on a pair of shoes. I am very grateful for the advice you guys have given me, and you know, if I, myself, am so torn about the money and the shoes, it is better to not get them. I want to make good decisions, not ones that eat me alive, and make me feel vain.

I realise that thrifting has really changed the way I feel about spending money. Whether it comes down to clothes or, say, furniture, my instinct says: recycle. Think. Feel. Feel good about the purchase. Right now, there is no way I could feel good about spending $250 on a pair of shoes, even if they were hand-woven by blind Tibetan monks and half of the money went to charity. It just doesn't feel right. For now, I am just going to hold onto the money. One of our local animal shelters needs a new roof and we were going to give them a donation anyway, so perhaps we'll just give them more money than we originally thought. And perhaps I'll spend a small part of the money to treat myself at Salvation Army or something, I haven't decided yet. But anyway, having made the decision to not spend the money on the shoes makes me feel liberated.

I don't consider myself awfully vain, and style is important to me not just because of looks. It is all about expressing my identity, it is a way to have fun, but more often than not I do struggle with the concept of spending money on looks. No matter how I feel inside about the clothes I wear, the beast of consumerism still lurks behind every purchase I have made. The leap from consumerism to vanity is a major one, of course, but I do often wonder how I can morally justify wanting to look a certain way and using consumerism as a tool to get there.

I realise that we all have to wear clothes, and I just don't want to wear the same clothes all the time. Dressing a certain way can be a manifestation of power, of self-esteem, of identity, and I hold those things very dear. I don't want to take spending money on clothes, style and looks for granted either, but going back and forth with wanting and not wanting, spending and not spending, is sometimes a little annoying. I just feel torn. What I want and need are two different things, and I often wish I could just settle down with a certain guiding light, a real ideology regarding consumerism. I feel like I have to make up my mind about how I buy and the reasons behind it.

Perhaps I take this stuff too seriously. Maybe I should just go with my instinct and not think so much - there are so many moral loop-holes in the whole concept of money to begin with. For whatever reason I still feel I need to think about these things right now. Perhaps I am at a stage of my life where these issues seem more meaningful. I just need to figure out why, and then, what to do about it!

Okay, enough about that, because there are more important things to consider. Look, my red ridinghood lettuce is growing!

as is my gourmet salad mix:

and pak choi:

and romaine lettuce!

Come to think of it, maybe my gardening project and my shopping dilemmas have something in common: I have a strange need to feel more self-sufficient. I feel perfectly happy watching these green little ones grow, and this is a project I can fully justify while enjoying it tremendously. I would like to feel the same about style, but for some reason I don't. There is something lost in translation. For now, I can't really expand on that thought further, but I have a feeling it might be something important once I figure out what this all really means!

Blouse: second hand Calvin Klein / Plato's Closet
Belt: second hand / Salvation Army
Skirt: second hand / Hietsu flea market
Socks: gift from Jenni
Shoes: Vagabond
Sunglasses: Max&Co.
Ribbon worn as hairband: random
Plopping kitty: Blue, who is constantly on a diet, but does not lose any weight.


Shey said...

that a very nice skirt, I had always wanted to wear those two colors but in solids however I don't think I have them in my closet. You look lovely and you should be so proud of yourself for getting your little garden to grow! I only have a plant and that's it, even my law is dry and plain because I forget to water it hehe. Have a great day.

Franca said...

I feel the same about buying stuff. I do tell myself to stop worrying about it, but then it is important and if everyone thought about it, it would make a big differene.

Cadmium said...

it might even be character building to forgo. to purchase or not to purchase is often a dilemma of mine too. these days, i usually choose not to - and can't even remember the article in question long enough to regret it!

your blue is like my béla, always on a diet, but in béla's case, gaining weight steadily!

Eline said...

That's such a great skirt! It reminds me of a flower.

I love that you decided to give the money away instead of spending them on shoes. It's great rational and objective thinking, in the end you won't miss much but other's will be helped. I'd sadly get overwhelmed by passion for the beauty of the shoes and buy them on the premise that I "deserve" them.

Eyeliah said...

wow, your garden is doing great. Good choice for the shoes and donating money. Re: wearing different clothes, I couldn’t imagine being in a uniform everyday or always wearing the same things, I get a lot of joy out of dressing how I want and constantly rotating pieces. I’d be interested to do a big travel where I only have a suitcase though, that would also be a nice break from thinking about what to wear.

Anonymous said...

heips tipsini. olipa ihanaa katsella pikku puutarhaasi ja kuvia sinusta tietty. tuli hirveä ikävä ja nyt pukkaa tippaa viel linssiin. mun puutarhamaani on kevyesti roudassa ja saan odotella tovin tositöiden alkamista, kasvimaan koko kun on 8 x 8 m, niin pelkään pahoin et mustakaan kynsilakkakaan ei tule tepsimään. ai niin korvasienet nousevat viikon kuluessa. terkkuja sienihullulta mammalta. taas se alkaa, hih

tigerteacher said...

I struggle a bit at times with these questions, wondering whether I am wasteful or frivolous for caring about clothing and enjoying it so much. Then I struggle again with my making heavy weather out of something that is (and ought to be!) fun and isn't really all that poor a use of $ and time. I thrifted today what I consider to be the Holy Grail of thrifting: jeans. They fit and they're long enough (I'm tall so jeans usually seem to hit me at an awkward spot) and they have a great stovepipe leg and they're LL Bean and well made and they have slash pockets, which I just any rate...I bought these and a straw bag (which is large AND has a closure at the top and, I think, that's tough to find in a straw bag) so for $9 all told, I'm trying not to feel wasteful for buying things that I didn't technically NEED...but really LOVED! I just finished reading Tim Gunn's book about style and enjoyed it. He doesn't touch on recycling per se and doesn't seem to adore thrift but he does talk about the need to weed one's closet down to items that are "soul stirring" and I have thought of that quite a bit while thrifting lately. I ask myself whether I'm thinking that I like something or I LOVE something and I limit myself to things that I LOVE and I'm glad (though it can lead to a lack of basics to go with the soul stirring pieces!) :-)

Shanna said...

That is such a cute outfit. I love to check in on your blog from time to time.

Charlotte Holmes said...

Gardening has so much in common with creative work. I spend a lot of time in the garden, weeding and thinking, and then I'll go back to the computer and write. It settles the mind and eases the soul, and the rewards are so tangible and immediate, as they seldom are with writing! Wny not spend the time examining what you think about rampant consumerism? No one can think about it for you, and it's an important subject. I agree with your philosophy: thrift and recycle whenever possible. And the more you do it, the more you discover that it's almost always possible!

lrsboulder said...

If you are giving up the Hasbeens, which are ludicrously priced, take a look at Tessa Clogs ( I might be biased because they are Colorado based, but it is run by an American husband and Swedish wife, they work with a traditional clog factory in Sweden, and they are one third the price of Hasbeens. They have high heeled clogs as well, . Or check Etsy for vitnage 70s high heeled clogs. Enjoy!

Ms. Falcon said...

amaziiiiing skirt! love how yopu paired those strong colours.