Today's NYT featured an article about the current enthusiam New York consumers are showing for colours and prints. Apparently ethnic, animal and graphic prints as well as florals are making women go wild and spend money on them. The article talks about the recession, and how "people are sick of not shopping", and how the enormous flow of colours and patterns is awakening women's pent-up desires for new and exciting things. The fashion director at Neiman Marcus says that new prints and colours are "things [women] don't own yet". This statement got me thinking about the reasons behind buying new things.
I can only speak for myself here, but when seasons change, I feel a strange inner urge to renew my wardrobe. Spring and autumn are the seasons when I buy most stuff. I often wonder how much of it is learned behaviour - either because that is when the fashion magazines and the ad campaigns push that feeling of renewal, or because that is how it has always been for me. Even as a child, just before school started in mid- or late August, my mom would take my sister and me shopping for new school clothes. Same for after-Christmas sales, or just before summer holidays. I wonder how far I could trace the feeling of wanting, or even needing, new things. I distinctly remember getting a pair of new MicMac jeans with a Minnie Mouse print on one leg when I was 11. I couldn't wait to wear them to school, and the fact that they were new was the key issue here.
There are a lot of bloggers out there who focus on buying new things every week - that should tell us something about how obsessed we are about getting something new. I think a lot of women are mood shoppers, i.e. they buy because it makes them feel good, but why is it that buying new clothes and accessories makes us feel good in the first place? Is it just that we like to surround ourselves with things that are pretty, is it because we are greedy, are people hoarders by definition, or is it all about the novelty factor, and if so, why is new automatically exciting? Perhaps it gives us the chance to experiment and express our inner wishes in a way that we haven't before, which leads me to think that maybe we are just emotion-junkies.
I have actually bought quite a few items in the past weeks, and I don't think the fact that I buy second hand makes any difference from the standpoint of wanting to get something new. I explain to myself that I have to get new things for spring because I had planned on bringing a lot of my spring/summer clothes from Finland, well, right about now, and currently I am stuck in the US with a wardrobe full of mostly autumn/winter clothes. I don't think this explanation is all that relevant though, because it is definitely not the whole story. I just have this strange craving I can't explain, and I would have it anyway, even if I could have access to all of my summer clothes in Finland this very instant. I feel like a child just before Christmas, the little me who just had to have the Peaches'n'Cream Barbie. Just had to. Except now the distinct Barbie is replaced by something undefined, as long as it is new to me.
As you can probably tell by now, I don't have any idea as to why I buy things. Rose told me yesterday, as we were pulling to the parking lot at Salvation Army and I was busy telling her how much I am into prints right now, that "well, that's very now, right?" And grudgingly I admitted that she was right. I haven't always loved prints, but I do now. How much of that is the influence of current trends, I don't know. I thought I was inspired by seeing other bloggers look gorgeous wearing prints and colours, or just seeing things that were somehow different to me. The option to experiment with prints, ethnic vibes and colours had been lurking in the horizon for some time for me. And there it was, staring at me in the face: these were things I hadn't owned yet.
Until yesterday I had never owned a skirt that reminds my husband of a gypsy orchestra, but I do now. Salvation Army, $2.49. I bought a new thing, and it made me very happy. Not the buying, but the having, the owning, and with it, the possibility of wearing it.
In case you were wondering, my hair is driving me crazy, hence the random solution of wearing a scarf around it. I was counting on being able to get a haircut in Finland, and am freaking out because I don't know how to go about trusting any hairdresser here in the US. I have been going to my Finnish hairdresser for at least six years, and haven't had a bad haircut since. I don't know whether to take a chance, or just wait and deal with "the mop" for now.
This is what's going on with the gardening project - I am the proud care-taker of four zucchini seedlings (above), and a couple of tomatoes (below)!
And one more thing: there are some really interesting comments in the previous post regarding style identities and What Not To Wear, including a wonderfully insightful comment by Tigerteacher, who reminds us why programmes like WNTW matter, and why they are important and meaningful, even if they are not perfect.