I watched with disbelief an MSNBC evening television news show with a short piece on women who have pledged to go on an “apparel diet” for a year. One woman, oddly unashamed, counted out her thirteen coats. Not jackets. Not sweaters. Full-length coats. Known less pretentiously as a “clothes diet” in the New York Times, this seems to be the newest upper class discovery that “less is more,” which is a fairly simple concept to understand in your half-million dollar home and a six or seven figure single or combined income.
My coat, a wonderful and timeless piece, has outlasted two marriages. It was purchased, as nearly as I can recollect, at an outlet in Pennsylvania in 1989. My coat has no siblings and I have no plans for any, unless I spy a wonderful piece in my favorite Goodwill just down the interstate. But only if it’s around $3 to $5.
You see, I don’t need to go on any damn “apparel diet.” I’m svelte and toned in the closet area and I eat most of my meals out of these womens’ trashcans – their favorite charity thrift stores, Goodwill, even yard sales. They’re the ones that have to worry about overeating at their favorite boutiques and three or four-figure charges for their new outfits. All I have to do is wait for them to literally overeat and then donate those outfits to a thrift store, sometimes with the tags still attached.
Yes, there will always be the newest in thing to be found and purchased. That’s what the fashion industry is about, stupid. But just because I don’t buy it until someone else has determined that it doesn’t fit either their body or their style, doesn’t meant I won’t look in when I wear it. And who’s to know? After all, secondhand clothes aren’t stamped USED in indelible ink.
When you purchase the vast majority of your clothing from thrift stores, it’s hard to relate to the guilt or recognition of more, more, more that the women in the television piece spoke about. In fact, I have a couple of bags on a hook in my closet and frequently put pieces in them that I haven’t worn or have had a falling out with. They go with me to the thrift store, allowing me to make a donation before I even begin shopping.
When less is more is used by someone who has a whole lot more of more than you do, the mantra becomes less touchy-feely and more patronizing.