September 21, 2011

September 21st, 2011

Dear Sofia,

I have expensive taste and I'm not sure why.

Neither your dad nor I grew up in homes of plenty. True, we never experienced hunger or doubted if our lights or heat would stay on through the winters. We would call that "poverty" and many in this country live steeped in it. We did receive free hot lunch at school (once a week) and ate a lot of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, but I don't remember ever feeling like I wanted something I didn't have.

Now, that might also be credited to my parents, because we were not raised to covet other peoples' things. We shopped at the thrift store, which I never thought was strange. We got new school clothes every fall - $50 a piece to shop, then later it was bumped up to $100. When we could convince mom to give us the money early, we could shop in Chicago on our summer vacation. This was the highlight of my year because we could find unique items, and not have to dress like every one else in small town, MN.

I liked new things - who doesn't? - but was never hung up on the novelty of them, nor on brand names (except for a brief period in 7th grade when I was being influenced by my awful peer group). I simply liked things that were fun, funky and fit well. That still defines my style, though I am more conservative than I was at, say, age 17.

Sometime during late high school I developed a strong interest in high fashion, designer and couture (this is almost like costumes, but is defined by its attention to tailoring and finery). But I only liked it for the sculptural aspects and the creative mind it takes to design them. Bold graphic prints always caught my eye, no matter the designer name, as did ultra-feminine details like ruffles, pink, beading and overall delicacy.

Maybe it's my eye for finely-made items that necessarily translates into having expensive taste, and has nothing to do with how I was raised? I appreciate quality over all else. I can spot a well-made handbag and would pay hundreds for one (if I made the kind of money that requires). I don't find anything wrong with paying for what an item seems worth, be it a bag, dress, pair of shoes or even accessory.

Now, the fashion industry is a trend mill, which can inspire both positively and negatively: seeing runway fashion gets you out of a style rut, and often. But it can also influence you to compulsively spend, trying to keep up with everything you see. As if anyone past the age of 19 actually thinks that's realistic! (Or healthy.)

My penchant for expensive items just keeps biting me though. I don't need these things - far from it - but I want them. I want the structured Fendi bag, I want the Burberry trench. It's a dangerous type of thought, the desire for that which you don't need, and I have to work hard to keep it in check. Thankfully since I am nowhere close to being able to purchase anything I have my eye on, I'll never spend the money and the temptation loses it's power!

Here are a few of my current favorites.

Love, Mom

P.S. Have I already mentioned I hope you share my interest in fashion?

Here's that Fendi bag. In green, to boot.

This purple trench makes me swoon!

Classic Brit.

A little edgy. Love the jacket.

Those shoes!
That print!

The trench skirt, a new classic.

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