Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Wardrobe by Sam: What It's All About

Dearest Reader,

Sometimes a girl needs to play in a serious way.

My life has been comprised of a long succession of style changes. From hair to makeup to hemlines and blue jean shapes, I've done it all, worn it all. (Except for fake hair, eyelashes, and nails. Could never go there.) Like many other women, I often cringe to see photos of myself in clothes from the distant past. My personal regrets include the Q-tip Head hair era, the "So Many Men, So Little Time" graphic tee I had when I was *gasp* fourteen, and any number of big-shouldered jackets with epaulets. (I have broad shoulders and looked like a linebacker.) But now that I'm a certain age, I've finally developed a style that I have confidence in, and it continues to evolve.

One thing. I'm vain about my clothes. I depend on them to give me confidence that I don't necessarily feel inside. It's a terrible habit that's only been exacerbated by my career as a writer. If I don't feel like the author I am or want to be, I at least want to look like her!

This next year is a kind of test for me. Yes, I'm kind of a snob when it comes to clothes. I can pretty much buy the clothes I want to buy when I want to buy them. (Within reason, of course.) I love, love, love a true bargain and will spend four hours in a TJMaxx, spend $50 and come out with five pieces that retail for $500. But I'm not averse to buying a $500 dress if the occasion warrants it. Then I'll wear $30 shoes with it and $30 earrings. It just all has to work!

I also like to have fun. I love puzzles and challenges. So this year I'll be shopping exclusively at one of the world's most reviled but also most innovative retailers--Wal-Mart (including and Sam's Club)--for all of my clothes, accessories, makeup, jewelry, lingerie and shoes. (Note the single exception in the "Rules" section! Hey, they're my rules!) There will be those who will accuse me of "slumming," but they don't know me very well--or at all. This is the place where I often buy my groceries, home goods, eye drops, etc. This is a personal challenge for me.

If you think this project is silly or trivial, it is on some level. I won't be hurt or angry or anything if you find it's not your cup of tea. But it's also a serious project for me. It has nothing to do with anyone else or their circumstances. Yep. It's all about me.

We'll see what I learn. About myself. About the world. About planning ahead. About other people. Along the way I'll tell you about some stuff I know or learn about. I plan to enjoy myself. I hope you'll think it's fun, too.



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  2. Laura,

    I'm curious why you would spend so much of your time, attention and energy in the course of a year to give free advertising and promotion to this multi-national behemoth.

    I'd wager that there are small, local clothiers who would die for the marketing exposure you are going to provide for Wal-Mart. And I do mean this literally.
    Within the next year, locally-owned businesses in your area will die. And the dollars, promotion, attention and awareness that you are sending to Wal-Mart (apparently for free?) would have been enough to keep them in business.

    It sounds like this scheme of yours was concocted as a bit of a lark. And maybe it isn't your responsibility to keep our locally-owned businesses afloat. But then again, if we don't, who will?

    I'd prefer a world with some local flavor and character, but it is certainly within your rights to help paint the world a bit more corporate and uniform.

    Your plan stirs a vision within me of the impact that another writer has made through a self-created challenge that she undertook for one year. Barbara Kingsolver wrote the story of her decision, for herself and her family, to eat only food produced within 100 miles. Her book has been an inspiration and helped thousands of people move away from corporate, processed, nutritionless food toward habits which sustain their health, their lives and their communities.

    I challenge you to be similarly responsible for the impact of your actions and words. Rather than helping create a world where every article of clothing available is an echo of faded glory from a Chinese sweat shop, you could tell a story of local artists & designers. You could weave new connections among your neighbors and friends.

    What if a self-professed clothing snob eschewed EVERY national brand and corporate label for apparel which let you look into the eyes of the person who designed or created it.

    What story do you really want to tell?

    The pen is in your hands.

  3. I am a HUGE fan of Barbara Kingsolver's work--especially her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Everyone should read it.

    You have so many good, thoughtful ideas here, Mr. Brock. I just know there are many folks among my wonderful readers who will want to embrace them immediately and even put them into action. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sheesh. Lighten up, Mr. Brock. It's Laura's project, and it sounds like fun. Looking forward to seeing what happens ...

  5. Mr. Brock has a great idea and I'll start paying more attention to where the items I wear are made and who makes them. But I agree with Shane Greicke that it's Laura's project and I'll follow with interest as long as she reminds me on Twitter