A Constant New Look, Huh?

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

Greetings from a rather overcast Saturday.  We are up to post #78 and it’s been an interesting week.  On Wednesday I appeared on Channel 7’s The Morning Show with Larry Emder and guest co-host Sonia Kruger.  I might blog about that experience on another day, as it was extremely fascinating.  For now, you can check out our media pagewhich always has the latest on what we’ve been up to and where we’ve been seen (apart from the grocery store).  We’re off to the USA on Friday and I have a couple of TV guest appearances lined up — I’ll keep you posted about those, too, ok?

For today’s post, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about, so I went through my “inspiration file” of photos to see what jumped out at me.  I keep my camera handy when I’m out and about and take photos of anything that grabs my attention.  Well, this billboard, on the back wall of a blingy accessories store, certainly did that:

I’m guessing that some marketing grads with funky clothes and asymmetrical haircuts probably had a creative brainstorming session to come up with that slogan.  If you don’t think about it too much, or at all really, then it doesn’t present a problem.  It’s only when you actually read the words and apply some attention to them that you realise how insidious this message is.  

My Only Constant is The Need for a New Look.  That statement  just begs so many questions, doesn’t it?  Like let’s start with why?  Why is a constant new look a desirable commodity?  What comes with a new look except a fluctuating wardrobe and a falling credit rating?  How did we become beguiled into believing that a new look was what it was all about?  The more I think about that sentence, the crazier it makes me. 

When you think of truly stylish women, there is a consistency to their look – it’s coherent and they know what suits them and they stick to it.  I’m not talking about transformers like Madonna and Lady GaGa here (look she’s a car, no wait, she’s a alien transmission device!) – the way I see it, the way those gals turn up can’t be defined as a ‘look’, it’s a publicity stunt. 

No, what I’m talking about here is true style in all its interpretations.  I’m thinking of famous ladies like the Hepburns (Katherine and Audrey), Sophia Loren, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Sigourney Weaver, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett.  For any one of those ladies, her look is not in a constant state of flux. Sure, it develops, it evolves, but it doesn’t radically change from one paparazzi-captured moment to the next. Right?

Since we’re talking celebrities, here’s something interesting – a little side path that I want to travel down with you (promise I’ll come back to the main road in a moment).  Some recent articles have appeared on the ‘net, quoting the amount of consumer debt that we’re notching up.   This piece quoted that “the average self-confessed shopaholic owes just over £3,350 (that’s about $5,350 USD), mostly racked up on credit and store cards as they buy the latest fashion fashions in a bid to emulate their celebrity idols”. 

Note the plural – idols.  We’re not just trying to emulate one celebrity, but many (it’s worse than that awful Lou Baga song  – “A little bit of Monica…. Rita… Sandra…. Jessica..” except it’s her handbag, her tree-topping heels, her sunglasses and her haircut we want).

The women we’re emulating don’t even try to keep up with that level of variety.  So why are we’all trying madly to compose a novelty-rich set of ensembles on a weekly, if not daily, basis?  And why are signs like the one above exhorting us to do so?

Well, we know at least part of the answer to that.  Our spending is what’s keeping those stores in business.  But the other part of the equation is about us.  You.  Me. 

When your relationship to shopping isn’t as healthy as it could be, then those messages are particularly compelling.  You start believing that a revolving door of clothing and accessories is a need.  After all, isn’t that what the sign says?

When your relationship to shopping isn’t as healthy as it could be, you start to believe that the answer lies out there.  Somewhere where a new look can be acquired.  Where a new look is a neednot a want.  Somewhere they accept Visa, Mastercard and Amex.

When your relationship to shopping isn’t as healthy as it could be, your precious time and attention are diverted by the latest Must Have and Bang on Trend whatevers that we shiver and quiver about and can’t wait to buy.  We’re constantly on the hunt. 

The answer isn’t out there.  And a constant new look is not a requirement, let alone a necessity.  We get to choose what our real needs are.  We get to choose when to shop and what to buy.  We get to choose where to put our energies, our time and our disposable income.   Now that’s a real choice.  Right?

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