Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Challenge #2: Fashion Victim

My favorite dress from Sex & The City. At the height of my obsession, I actually tried to find out where to buy it!

Hello again Dear Readers,

Thanks for bearing with me during my unintentional hiatus. Turns out that my home renovations took longer than expected--no real surprise there!

It's Wednesday, which means another installment of the Getting Out of the Big Black Hole series.

I used to be a real clothes horse. I was also addicted to shoes, but thankfully I wasn't a slave to labels, like the Carrie Bradshaw character on Sex and the City. I've never paid $800 or more for a pair of shoes in my life, thankfully. I can only imagine how much bigger the big black hole would be if I'd been buying Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo instead of Dolce & Gabbana and Chinese Laundry. (Note to those who are not in the know: Moschino Cheap and Chic is not that cheap!)

When I decided to take charge of my financial situation, one of the first luxuries that had to go were fashion magazines. People talk about how bad they are for the female body image, but I've never heard anyone admit how devastating they can be for the bank account. Not the cost of the magazines themselves, which can certainly add up over time if you buy a few each month, but the ultimate price of the not-so-subtle marketing push.

Let's face it: what these magazines actually are is targeted advertising. Big, shiny ads with gorgeous clothes, expensive make-up, and shoes that can qualify as works of art (with prices to match). If that wasn't bad enough, the "articles" reinforce the message that you're somehow inadequate if you don't buy a new coat every winter or don't own shoes with the new "in" heel height. When you see ludicrous prices day in and day out, they start to seem almost normal.
"MUST" have? Says who?


Ten Must-Haves For Fall.

Twenty Things You Can't Live Without.  (And no, water, food, and shelter is never on the list.)

Five Things To Buy Today.

Those articles became a real trigger for me. One day I'd decide I needed polka dots, the next day it would be plaid. All of it added up to some big bills--money for stuff I didn't need, when I really should have been paying off my debt.

So one of my first steps to financial freedom was cancelling my subscriptions to Lou Lou, Lucky, and the like. I also didn't look at catalogues that I knew would tempt me. Now that I've broken my spending pattern, those ads and images don't have the same appeal, but they also don't hold the same interest. I'd rather wear the same pair of shoes multiple times and spend that money on fabulous vacations than stay at home, mired in debt, with the city's greatest footwear collection.


One of my favorite pairs from my own collection.
 What about you, Dear Readers? What do you think of fashion magazines and their not-so-subtle message to buy, buy, buy? Have you ever been influenced to buy something you otherwise wouldn't because you saw it in a magazine?

5 comments:

  1. I think we all are influenced to buy, and it doesn't have to be a fashion magazine. Bicycle magazines, kayak magazines, Ikea catalogues... You're absolutely right, they are a giant collection of advertisements. You can add on-line catalogues in with the mix too. I browse on the net because I can squeeze in a few minutes at a time, throughout the day of coveting!

    Right now I'm dying for a pair of cherry red Fluevogs. I think about them every day and sometimes stress at the idea that they may be sold out and it's too late! Holli, I have absolutely no where and no occasion to wear these! But they've become a part of my day. We can't get an evening babysitter, so we don't go out, and I can go till 4:00 pm in my pyjama pants, unless someone rings the front door. But I have to have those shoes!!!

    Advertisers know the power a beautiful shiny picture can have. That's why ads cost so much. It works!

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  2. Good post, Holli.
    The best thing is to develop one's own style and not worry too much about the trends. A few well made classics with seasonal changes in accessories will be easier on the budget. Who wants to be a slave to marketing ploys? Fashion should be fun and not get us into debt. And we've all seen fashion victims...people who are wearing the all the "right" labels, but have no style. That said...I must say I do like fashion magazines...but I really try to look at them as art and for a little inspiration.

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  3. @ Angela - wow, can I ever relate! I don't even know what Fluevogs are, but I certainly remember my days of coveting shoes. It was like a terrible ache that didn't go away until I got my "fix". And I didn't deprive myself much in those days. If you do get them, wear them with your pajamas if it makes you smile. No one will know but the kids, and they'll be cool with it. Thanks for commenting. Always love to hear from you.

    @ Carol - I agree, but my style always changes. I like so many things and have so many different moods. Thankfully, what I like best now is getting out of debt. :) And I still love fashion magazines--I just usually only read them when I go to my hairdresser now. Thanks for your comment!

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  4. Check out Fluevogs.com...I'm the Mini Lily Darlings in cherry red. One day...Sigh...

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  5. It'll happen, Angela. Have you given Jerome a hint?

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