You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

For god only knows what reason, I had a dream the other night about Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life. Yeah, I know. My subconscious was pretty freaked out too.

After dreaming of that late 70s/early 80s sitcom about boarding school girls and their kindly house mother, I woke up with the overwhelming need to do some IMDBing.

Seen through a contemporary lens, the The Facts of Life had shortcomings. The show’s one African-American character had a somewhat belittling name (Tootie); another character made overtly violent threats at her classmates (Jo). My eight-year-old self didn’t understand this. Instead, I couldn’t wait each week to see the gorgeous, stuck-up Blair flip her blonde hair, flaunt her beautiful clothes, and reluctantly learn a life lesson.

When the world never seems to be living up to your dreams

What does this have to do with clothing? Well, in looking on IMDB, I found a picture of Blair and was immediately struck by how much her clothing resembles the clothes I see everywhere now—both in stores and out and about. I mean, I know the late 70s and early 80s are back. I see young(er) people wearing kicky little hats, shorts over tights, and oversized blazers. Still, I don’t think I realized just how MUCH the era was back until I saw  Blair’s platform open-toed sneakers, shortest of short shorts, and button-down midriff-tied shirt.

I was especially struck by the shoes. I guess because I was so little when the show first came out, I don’t remember platform sneakers from that era. Until my dream and subsequent IMDB session, I had figured they were a more modern outgrowth of the rise of athletic wear as fashion.

Although, I do have to say: Poor Mrs. Garrett. I mean, as much as viewers and characters alike loved her, she certainly got the short end of the stick in the costume department.

Ah well. As they say. You take the good you take the bad you take them both and there you have…

You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

You Can’t Always Get What You Want & You May Not Want It Anyway

I am not a fan of stealing other writers’ ideas—especially because I think I should be the only one generating all the good ideas.

However, The Sartorialist recently wrote about that thing that sometimes happens, where you fantasize about owning a certain piece of clothing; then, once you buy it, it sits in your closet unworn.

Reading the 600-plus comments on The Sartorialist post, many of them quite touching, I was surprised at how common this experience is.

Blame it on Your Brain

I began mentally perusing not only my current closet, but the ghosts of closets past. I thought back on the grey and pink Lululemon gym bag with the polka-dotted lining and all the little pockets that I just had to have, then ran out and bought as soon as I received a small raise.  I use it every once in awhile but not as much as I thought I would, and it still looks new.

I thought back to my strapless, black lace Betsey Johnson dress. I wore it once but always felt a little too exposed in it. I would try it on every once in awhile just for fun. Then one time I found I could no longer zip it up all the way. I know I should consign it but I keep thinking I’ll suddenly lose my perpetual  ice cream craving or develop a tapeworm and suddenly be able to fit into it again, and feel great in it.

A quick, albeit clumsy Google search with the phrase “psychology behind not wanting something once you have it” yielded this article in Psychology Today, which says (and I’m summarizing it very simplistically) that one part of the brain controls the experience of “liking” something, and a totally different part of the brain controls the feeling of “wanting” something, so you can want something you don’t ultimately end up liking.

Whoa.

At least I don’t feel so bad about that Betsey Johnson dress anymore; I mean, it’s not taking up too much room in my closet, and I still want it. Maybe soon I’ll even like it.

Buying Away the Blues

Just Doing a Quick Size Exchange at Nordstrom. I’ll Only be 5 Minutes. Really.

That’s not me. That is my jacket.
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom

I have something I need to confess.

Last week, I self-pity shopped. It was a brief but highly successful retail therapy session that made me feel even better than a gazillion milligrams of Prozac mixed with a bottle of merlot and poured over a gallon of Edy’s Slow Churned probably could have.

It started innocently enough. I had an exchange to make at Nordstrom—one size blazer for another. I’d be in and out in five minutes.

But. Somehow on the short walk from car to mall, I started to feel liked I’d gained 20 pounds in two days. Before me appeared the face of every guy who had ever not texted or called me for a second date. I saw all my job applications in the reject pile on the desk of the editor at my dreamiest of dream jobs.

Then I bought a leather jacket, and I felt much better.

A Quick Lap Around the Store

This is also not me. My jacket, though.
Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom

I mean, it was the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and all bets are pretty much off when fall clothes are marked down by a third. Plus, it was almost closing time and the store was all but empty. Over the weekend it had been crowded, and wasn’t there the chance that I’d missed something great because someone had planted herself in such a way as to block  my view of the perfect top? Just in case I’d better do a quick lap around the floor.

In my defense, Really Irritating Internal Voice (RIIV), I had been wanting a short black leather jacket for quite awhile and hadn’t had much luck finding one I liked in my price range. But there it was. Continue reading