I’ve come to terms with my beliefs on materialism and I am going to articulate my thoughts as best I can.
It started about two years ago. Babysitting was picking up. I finally, FINALLY had the money to finance my growing love for fashion!! Fifty dollars, or an average night’s paycheck, would take me very far at even the most expensive thrift stores, like Goodwill. I never limited myself. I mean, it’s pretty hard to when everything costs $5 or less, and I could make that money back (just about) by selling things I no longer wanted to the consignment shop. (To be honest, I don’t think I have ever bought anything full price in my life…) To this day, my enormous, walk-in closet is still teeming with clothes (and shoes).
Several times per year, with my mother’s strong encouragement, I would have a massive closet clean-out. Each clean-out resulted in 60-70 items to take to the consignment shop. Only it wasn’t really that simple. I could only take twelve items per week on specific days. It doesn’t really sound bad, but I definitely resented going out there every week after school, taking away an extra thirty minutes from my homework time. No matter how often I frequent that place, there is ALWAYS a large pile of clothes/shoes in my room, ready to get out!!!
Recently, I decided to try a new consignment shop. Here, I would take all of my clothing at once (YES!!) and hopefully get more money if the clothing sells! The shop has an option of writing your own price tags to take a higher percent commission. I could totally write those tags over Christmas break!!
After two hours last Saturday, I finally finished the tags. But that wasn’t all. I still needed to go out and buy hangers for everything, make copies of all of the tags, and buy safety pins to pin the copied tags to the garments…… I got really fed up. 84 ITEMS. 84. How was it possible that I STILL have this many clothes?!!?!?!?
This experience taught me something I value. Clothes don’t make you happy. Because, like my mom always says: “Stuff doesn’t make you happy.” My tastes in styles change so so so SO quickly. Something I just HAD TO HAVE in September is something I later think is too boring or too girly or too (insert other adjective not synonymous with my current style). Buying things just creates more work for me—more dang errands to the consignment shop!!!!!
As I was resentfully writing about the 70th tag last week, I realized that I have learned one of life’s most important lessons pretty early on. Material goods (and I can apply that category to much more than clothes and shoes) do not make you happy for very long. So for now, (and for the rest of my life!!!) I am not just going to clutter my life with stuff I bought. (I could really probably make cool outfits by creatively thinking about the infinite amount of clothing I ALREADY HAVE.) It doesn’t matter if you get stuff for $3 at the thrift store, or if you buy expensive stuff and are drowning in credit card debt. Cheap stuff and expensive stuff are equivalent, and it’s all just a bunch of CRAP that you probably won’t want in a few months.
I really feel refreshed. My parents and I are about to take an awesome vacation to Austin, Texas. Instead of getting anxious about trying to find an outlet mall or obnoxiously asking locals where the cheapest thrift store is, I can look forward to relaxing. We’ll go walking through the city. We’ll hit up some art museums. Maybe, we’ll just sit at our bed and breakfast and I’ll read a book that I finally got around to getting from the library, or I’ll color in one of the four coloring books people got me for Christmas, or I’ll read the blogs of some of my favorite instagrammers, or I’ll just sit there and edit some OOTD pictures on Vsco. Honestly, enjoying the moment and relaxing is so nice. Creating memories that I can keep forever is better than buying STUFF that I’m just going to have to lug to the consignment shop.
That’s my experience with materialism. For the most part, my new motto is: I’m done buying crap.
I have always loved fashion. In the past two years, I have developed a love for Instagram, as well. In the past few months, I have become a bit unsettled because I fear that fashion and Instagram are inherently superficial. I feel a bit guilty for spending so much time planning outfits in my head and for enjoying looking at fashion bloggers’ beautiful and creative Instagram feeds.
Recently, I have decided to reject my guilty feelings. Fashion and Instagram may be superficial to some people, but almost everything people take pleasure from can be superficial in other people’s opinions. Planning my outfits, shoe shopping online, taking photoshoots, playing with Vsco filters, and looking through Instagram fashion blogs for outfit inspiration are all things that I enjoy. Because these are things that I enjoy, I am not going to worry about the fact that others might think they are superficial. Each individual has her own set of values, interests, hobbies, and pleasures. Our differences in personal taste should not be used as grounds to belittle others. Our differences in personal taste make the world beautiful and (for lack of a better adjective…) interesting.
I know now that I want fashion to forever play an important role in my life. As time goes on, using Instagram or my personal blog as a means of documenting my outfits may become outdated, and new forms of technology will take over. For now, I will focus on simply enjoying the many things that make me happy in life, and fashion and Instagram will be among them.