a bad case of reflectionitis.
30 August 2006
  Because I Can Can Cannot
I was walking through boutique after boutique in a stylish little niche of Chicago yesterday, and I felt like an awkward little duckling quacking about, wet from the rain, unfashionable in my pratical walking gear.

Plain tees cost $85.
Pants cost $385.
The only dress I wanted cost $460.

Earrings became life investments, where Target used to make them cool at the price of a box of Easy Mac. I saw new accessories, like stretchy mid-drift covering belts meant to turn long shirts into dresses or dresses into long shirts worn over jeans. A lot of wool goes unspoken for on clearance racks around here. Wool is boring in a town where everyone wants to be seen. Or at least envied. And I hate wool. So clearance soon became passe, and I soon became rotten with anger.

$100 for a shirt? Kiss my ass.

I don't care how much money I make. I don't care that after paying what I have to pay every month, I'm at least $1000 in the clear. Yes, I have to make college debt disappear eventually with that expansive surplus. And yes, I should start saving some money. Sure, fashion comes at a price.

But why so indecently? I want to buy something that won't make me feel guilty. Or at least trendy beyond reasonable justification. Hand-crafted these or those and fine prints of silk and other fabrics matter to me, but the one shirt I ever spent $100 would have to be accompanied by equally stunning jeans, shoes with pretentious points, watches with bands threaded and manufactured in Milan.

Mannequins are walking around this joint, wearing what I could be wearing. Because I can wear what they wear. I make a decent wage, I have few expenses, I could fill in all those blanks will finely sewn blazers and deliciously fitted tees from snobby boutiques. But I'm not so lavish, not so flashy, not so Moulin Rouge, dancing about in my frill, drinking 'til dawn, singing "Because we can can can!" all about. I still buy canned vegetables. I don't even have cable. I can't imagine strutting around in so much prim.

I almost spent $49 at the United Colors of Benetton. On a pencil skirt. For work. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was left on the rack because I can can cannot! imagine, even for a second, that I need another skirt. But I feel sad and empty for wearing comfy shoes and dingy old green pants from Old Navy. I should probably go spend $17 on a plate of food then drink a few glasses of $7 wine. Because Sara Pellicori can handle that kind of tab. One meal: $30. Fine by me. One shirt, likely to last a while longer than an hour and a half: $100. Hell no.

I'm messed. But that's a whole nutha story...
I use to be like you. Then I discovered Mulberry. Some things are just too nice to forgo.
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