Materialism Is A Naughty Side Effect

After five weeks of observing friends and strangers in Europe two things (resolutions) occurred to me when I got home and unpacked. One, I must stop shopping. It’s now more politically/economically correct to be a recessionista than fashionista, and there’s no reason why I have to shop like Imelda Marcos. Case in point, I should not have this many pairs of jeans unless my last name is Levi or my job is buyer for a denim museum that only displays jeans in my size. The old excuse of hoarding in case they stop making jeans in the perfect cut and rinse is, well, old. Low-rise jeans are not going away any time soon, and it appears I have enough inventory to last me till I’m 80. Chances are I will need another size by then anyway. And low-rise jeans on my 80-year-old body? Need I say more?

Two, I must learn to accessorize better, with my existing collection of accessories that is. That’s right, you’ll not hear any shopping technicality loophole here. More specifically, I need to wear scarves better. There’s nothing more alluring than the insouciant way in which European women seem to toss scarves about their necks and shoulders. In their hair. It’s that whole I-just-woke-up-looking-like-a-goddess-n’est-ce-pas?-nonchalance that they have perfected. It’s maddening, because when I put a scarf on, after ten minutes of fussing with it, it does look like I just woke up. But not in a good way. There’s no goddess here, mon ami.

My conclusion is that if I could succeed at accessorizing, I could magically double my wardrobe without having to buy anything new. So if I achieve the second resolution I can also achieve the first. In fact, I could reinvent my wardrobe by changing up basics with a belt here and a scarf there. And this trick is truly what I have learned from my friends from abroad (both Europe and Asia). Given the limited square footage in most of their homes, it isn’t feasible to own so much stuff. On top of that, it’s not in their mentality to acquire so excessively. I don’t think it has anything to do with socioeconomic status. Excess simply isn’t in their vernacular as it is here. Perhaps it’s cultural, too. God bless American capitalism but materialism is a naughty side effect.

Sure, there are exceptions as I do know people outside of the US who collect haute couture, and that’s a whole other planet all together. But just speaking broadly, I’d like to try my friends’ fashion philosophy in 2010. It’s a challenge to myself. Instead of the popular resolution to lose weight, I’m shedding my wicked shopping ways this year. I know, it’s already February and a bit late to set new year’s resolutions, but there are a couple of reason for that. The Vietnamese/lunar new year doesn’t start till a week from now. Plus I got some shoes in January that I don’t want to give up. OK, so sue me. The lawyer in me always finds loopholes.

This is going to be harder than I thought.

Tomorrow I’ll introduce a series that hopefully you recessionistas out there will play along with me.


  1. larkie

    I’m thinking the next test item should be a black skirt. Everyone has one of those in their closet, right?!?

  2. jelita78

    oh u’re so funny!
    i love everything that u wrote there!
    it hits the right spot! hahahaha..
    and i’m sooo looking forward for your series of mix matching!
    love it!

  3. larkie

    thanks Angie! it’s fun to have you all travel with me! let’s see how long my resolution lasts before i fall off the wagon!

  4. angie


    What a great resolution! (Though I will be sad to be forced to stop shopping vicariously through you.)

    The women in Europe and Asia do it so well! They rarely buy anything new but when they do, it lasts through the seasons and stays fresh and timeless. I’ve been trying to curb my consumerism as well and have been lousy at it. =(

    My best to you and I love your blog…I envy your ability to travel so much and so well!

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