Stuck at a Red Light.

I made it through the month of June without buying or shopping for clothes! The buying/spending part wasn’t nearly as difficult as the not-shopping part. I really do love trying new things on. But what am I after? What is the point of trying on new things? I already know that I don’t want all that extra clothing in my closet.

The other day, I was stopped at a red light behind a truck. It had a gigantic picture of the perfect sandwich on it. The (whole wheat, presumably) bread looked thick, rich, and soft, and the layers of sliced meat were curled at the edges just so. I wanted to eat it! And I don’t even really enjoy deli sandwiches. It made me want to buy that bread, even though my husband has been making our delicious, wholesome bread from scratch for the past three years. It made me think of how everyone wants their sandwiches to look just like that, and to taste as good as that one looked.

The ad team must’ve worked hard on getting the bread and meat (if they were indeed edible) to look just right. To look like something everyone would want.

…juuuuuust like they do for clothing ads.

When I see an outfit that I like, what I really want is to look just like that person in those clothes. I want to feel the way they look. Mysterious, happy, ethereal…

Yes, I was staring at that ham sandwich thinking of being ethereal, which reminded me of an article I read a long time ago that I remembered being very deep, explaining the flaws of the so-called ethereal woman. I just found the article, and it’s by the very funny Mindy Kaling! It’s true, though. Every time I think of actually being the way that most models look, I think of that description.

I don’t want to be floaty and unreal.

I don’t want to be anyone else. But I do want to be a better version of myself. Clothing is not going to help with that. I can write this a thousand times, but my brain never seems to get it. I just have to think of the sandwich!

8 thoughts on “Stuck at a Red Light.

  1. Jessica says:

    What a great achievement, a month of not spending! I hope you won’t binge in July.
    You seem to know exactly why you buy and are eager to break this habit. I hope you keep going in this direction, because you are making serious progress!
    Love from Holland.

  2. Cristina says:

    Thanks! I went on a planned shopping trip… a post is coming up on that!

  3. Mo says:

    Interesting. This is buying into the fantasy of the clothing rather than just the item at face value I guess. I don’t do a lot of this myself, but I often shop on eBay where there is zero fantasy LOL! Good for you for recognizing this.

    • Cristina says:

      Even if I’m not shopping from a catalog, I think there are images that are always in my mind. If I see a flowy top, I picture the best image that had a flowy top (probably from Pinterest, LOL). Same with jeans. And then I think that it can look like that on me, along with whatever background was in the image, etc. Was she on a boat in the Mediteranean? Ah, then THAT’s how these jeans will feel! (I know, it’s madness!)

  4. Joanna says:

    There’s a particular shop that sells athletic casual clothing to active women that always sucks me in with their catalogs. I’ve ordered several packages from them and every time ended up sending every piece back because none of it fits my body shape. And yet I still look through the catalog when it comes and place another order. I finally realized it’s because I want the life they show – a life spent laughing and running and paddling around in the sun with my strong lean tanned body… except I don’t run and jump and I don’t spend much time outdoors and I don’t want to sunburn and get skin cancer so I’m pale and kinda roundish shaped with boobs that don’t lend themselves to jumping… But maybe if I had that awesome skort I would be someone else and my life would be different… Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. These advertisers know exactly what they’re doing, selling a fantasy. (I am done with this store, btw.)
    Good for you, getting through June without shopping! 🙂

  5. Cristina says:

    Yes, I’m definitely drawn in by the advertising of the whole lifestyle! I still remember the first Tweeds catalog that came to my door when I was a kid, probably 25 years ago. Back then, it seemed SO magical. To this day, the look of fall (to me) IS from that catalog. Cream chunky knit sweater, brown distressed leather bomber… all while standing in an old cornfield with not a care in the world. I’ve spent years trying to translate that ideal into clothing.

  6. Nikki says:

    It’s hard not to fall for a fantasy life – we all carry one around in our heads. But I guess the trick is to follow through with a little self analysis: what feelings/emotions am I attracted to in this fantasy life? More freedom? More order? A carefree, calm, uncluttered life? Can I achieve this in my own real life now? (yes!) How? What social activities would help me to achieve those feelings?
    Just for fun, maybe you could combat the lure of these images by re-creating your own fantasy scene using digital photography – a bit like doing a professional photoshoot with you as the star. Then every time you saw another of those images, you’d be able to compare it with your own great photos & think: see, I already live that life 🙂

    • Cristina says:

      Whoa, a lot of wisdom there! I hadn’t put that thought together AT ALL. But, when I was a teenager living at home, I wanted to be free! Yes, those pictures in that catalog embodied freedom. Now… I want freedom from the drudgery of everyday life. I want someone else to worry about dinner!

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