I got used to seeing wealth in NY. Not only are the most expensive boutiques based here, but also the greatest labels are seen on the streets on a daily basis. It’s normal that you see people wearing Gucci, Prada, Hermes – no matter if we’re talking bags, glasses, or clothes. For a lot of people here, it’s just regular clothes. People buy them because they can simply afford them – well, they don’t see much of a difference on their account after spending a few thousand on clothes anyway. I always liked good brands, because I really think that their quality is actually better most of the time (especially when we’re talking about these most expensive ones) and their looks are just more interesting. I don’t like cheapness, but the funny thing is that NY taught me to not to bother with expensive stuff anymore.
I still like labels, but since I learned that I can get clothes cheaper, I choose not to spend money on clothes with regular prices. There are ways to spend less on good clothes and I already wrote about them on Just Like NY. There are not only big sales here, but also second-hand stores, exchange stores (Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet), Century 21 – discount store, Housing Works – stores where rich people get rid of their stuff (you can find real bargains here). You can walk out with $10 Helmut Lang t-shirt or $30 Diane von Furstenberg jacket. I’m not ashamed that I buy used clothes (most of the time there are brand new or not worn at all anyway), because why should I be…? I would be ashamed to pay $1000 for a skirt (it’s only a skirt for God’s sake! One I would probably ruin soon, anyway). I’d be ashamed because I know that buying this expensive thing would mean that I wanted to feel better about myself.
There are people out there who are not wealthy at all but will save or – which is even worst – spend their last money on an expensive bag – or on another item of little importance – only to feel good about themselves. I won’t even mention that those people usually look down on others, who can’t afford or simply don’t want to buy expensive stuff. Do you really think that a Hermes bag makes you a better person…? Do you think you’ll mean more by having that big logo strapped on you? Don’t get me wrong – I do get the idea of saving money for a thing you really want (especially when you’re a fashion lover and you really want this vintage Dior bag, I get it, I’d probably do the same), but I don’t understand the need to own yet another designer bag, another designer sweater and thinking that this will somehow improve your life. I can tell you right away – it will not. It will not fill the gap that you are seeking to fill up. What makes your life better is improving yourself first, working on yourself, reading and helping people. This is what you should be focusing on. Running around stores like crazy in order to buy another piece of jewelry that will give you some happiness for a few days is not a solution for your soul. You think that all you do is just buy another jacket that you “need”, but the truth is that you’re buying yourself that momentary high, that fleeting boost of self-esteem. You want to feel (without even realizing it) that you mean something, even if it’s just for a second. And I promise you that you can find this feeling someplace else, without spending crazy amount of money on it.
Before you go shopping, next time ask yourself this question: Why do I need this thing? Not: “DO I need this thing?”, but “WHY do I THINK I need it?” Maybe instead of spending so much time and money on shopping, you’d be better off going to a coffee shop and reading for two hours or just simply sit down, watch people and think what is that you are ACTUALLY seeking for?