March 19, 2010

What Price Vanity?

I received my "Real Simple" magazine in the mail on Wednesday.  I love my magazine subscriptions, and RS is one of my favorites.  I usually skim it the first time through, read it more thoroughly in the second pass and then keep it around for a few months for the recipes and hints.

For those of you who have never read this magazine, think of it as sort of a laid-back Martha Stewart.  It's loaded with time-saving hints and tips for parents and non-kidlet families alike.  It's one of the only magazines I've read that I liked at 31 and will like at 61, if it's still around.  Some of my favorite recipes have come from RS.  The stories of real women (and men) who have faced obstacles or triumphs are always well written and insightful.  They do a great job of citing sources for the items contained therein.

But I do have one issue with the magazine - the fashion section.  Oh, they pick out gorgeous clothes, all right - but my question is, who wears them?  I'm not talking about size here, either; yes, their models are thin, but not grossly so.  No, I'm talking about price.  Egads!!!

Take, for example, an outfit they show in the current (April) issue.  Some of it is clothing from Max Azria, so it's going to be expensive.  But am I the only one who shrieks when I see a black jacket for $258?! A linen skirt for $595???  Seriously, who's buying these clothes???  To be fair, RS always has a "steals" page, too - but I must be super cheap when it comes to clothes, because I still wouldn't pay $44.50 for a Lands End Canvas shirt.

I feel very lucky to live in a town (small city) that doesn't pride itself on its fashion sense.  In that arena, I fit right in.  Here in Fond du Lac, you can dine anywhere, even if it's "upscale" (read: one place in town), in jeans.  No one would bat an eye if you showed up in a "nicer" sweatshirt.  You have to remember, though, that Fondy (its pet name by everyone who lives here) is a blue-collar/farm town.  The good people of this town just don't care what you look like, for the most part.  I have to say, it's very refreshing.  Not that Green Bay, where I lived for the first 28 years of my life, was any hotbed of culture.  Far from.  But it was a big enough city to have an "elite".  Fondy does too - they're the "Ledgers" - but not enough to change the fashion climate.  Thank God.

I'm one of those people who never knows quite what to wear to a wedding, and I HATE to shell out the $150 for a new outfit (that would buy a nice stash of art supplies!).  I also hate wearing heels, and that seems to be all the rage right now.  I really liked the early 90's, when I was in my mid-twenties and Grunge was in.  I had a ton of baggy flannel shirts and my Doc Martens, and I was comfortable.  Why can't that come back into style?

I'm also pretty far out of the loop when it comes to beauty products.  I do use Aveda hair products almost exclusively, and they ain't cheap.  They're also 95% naturally made, and they smell great.  But the facial creams that they show in RS - WOWZERS!!!  They recommend four different moisturizers, depending on skin type.  They range in price from $15-$95.  Are you kidding me?!  I think the $15 is too expensive!  Whatever happened to soap?  And really - is that $95 cream six times more effective than the $15 stuff?  I doubt it.

Anyone who's ever met me in person knows that I just don't care about the clothes or makeup I wear.  I'm picky about my hair, and that's about it.  I've been thinking a lot about possibly updating my wardrobe, but the circular argument with myself always comes back around to, why?  Especially now, when I'm working with paint and glue all day, would I shell out moola for clothes that no one will see, save my trip to the grocery store or random errand?  I've also come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter.  People have always treated me kindly, whether I was in my cashmere sweater or my ratty old sweatshirt.  Because one thing that I always do wear, whenever possible, is a smile.  It's the best fashion accessory you can own.

You can go ahead and puke now.  :D  But it's true.  If you don't normally wear one around strangers, try it some time.  It works wonders.  It also makes you look younger and feel better.  I can't offer a money-back guarantee, but you won't need it anyway - it's 99% effective.


  1. I'm with you on those expensive clothes, who needs em! I hardly ever spend anything on hair or makeup.But I have to admit I am a bit of a shopoholic when there's a sale on at my fave clothes shop :-)
    The smile is great advice! :-)

  2. Oh yes - sales are fantastic! I mean, we do all have to wear clothes, so why not get them on sale, right? :D P.S. Thanks for following! :D