Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Vintage Obsession


I honestly can't tell you why I am this way.  Or when it even started.  All that I know is that my closet--with the exception of the approx. 1.25 square inches that belong to Moses (affectionately referred to as that space where that one suit is hung)--is filled with vintage or vintage inspired clothing.


I will readily confess to you--to anyone--that I am a full-fledged consumer whore.  But somehow, purchasing vintage-y looking things makes me feel like less of one--as if buying an $8 vintage dress from Buffalo Exchange were some subtle form of rebellion, of sticking it to the man, of bringing down those evil corporations(, man.)  That is until I realize that I am hanging it next to a mere catalog's worth of garments whose tags bear the shameful stitching: MADE IN CHINA (while likely simulatenously sipping an iced beverage from Starbucks.)

I got my first vintage dress when I was ten.  My fashionable maternal grandmother (who I think I inherited all of this from) let me scavange through some of her old clothes from the sixities.  I blissfully capered away with an armful of dresses. I still have them.  I wore one to class once and some of my girl students asked me where I got it.  I told them, "from my grandmother," and they squealed with delight.

Recently, however, this obsession has taken a dangerous new hold since I have discovered ModCloth.com--a website that exclusively sells vintage inspired clothing.  Basically my own particular brand of heroin.


Take, for example, this:
In many respects, this is the vintage inspired personification of me.  Adorable yet not sickeningly so.  Colorful yet mundane enough not to warrant too much attention.  Curious yet skeptical.  And clearly, a brilliant scholar, teacher, and girlfriend...

The point is that this is just one sample from the 1000+ other precisely-tailored-for-wendy's-personality dresses that exist on this disturbingly perfect website.  And the most devastating thing of all, is that these dresses are almost entirely outside of my comfortable price range.

I have a rule you see--an arbitray one much like my "no more than one serving of ice cream per day" rule.  I can buy as much clothing as I want but I can't spend more than $25 on any one item.  And $25 is pushing it.  If it's $25, I will likely pace around the store, agonizing over the decision for a solid twenty minutes.  And yet, I can happily scoop up two $20 items and feel wonderfully content swiping my credit card through at the register.  I know.  It makes no sense.  But for whatever reason, it seems logical to me and I follow it staunchly and with ease.  Naturally, this rule keeps both my closet stocked and me splendidly poorer than I should be.

Moses has often compared my dress collection to the hydra.  He says that I will pick through it every few months and donate or sell the dresses that I have fallen out of love with.  But for every one dress chucked, three more new ones quickly take its place. (You see now why he's reserved to that space where that one suit it hung.)

The absolute worst is when I have an actual event that most reasonable people would purchase clothing for, like the wedding of my dear friend Ruth that I am going to in July.  Do I need a new dress for this occasion?  Probably not, no.  Do I want a new dress for this occasion?  You bet your two part-time job salary, I do.  With this one, I really broke my rule and big time--and you better believe that I spent a good two or so harrowing weeks fretting over this purchase.  But I have since come to terms with my first (and so far only) ModCloth purchase and I look forward to spending more money that I should not be spending there.

But hopefully no more than $20...well at least not on any one item...

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