Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This Week in Thoughtful Consumerism, Week 14: Summertime at Target

Target Strapless Dress 5_08_14 with frame_cropped{Image from Target website}

“Cheap sundresses.”  Is that phrase not synonymous with summer?  And yet, is there anything that feels less thoughtful than buying something where cheapness is one of its primary virtues?

Summer’s virtues are its ease and frivolity.  Sunshine, ice cream, bare feet, fresh vegetables, long days, road trips big and small, that Neko Case song…“It looks a lot like engine oil and tastes like being poor and small and popsicles in summer.”  Cheap sundresses go hand-in-hand with drippy ice cream cones, live music, and summer love.  Summer isn’t a season for serious decision-making or ambitious plans.  (Ask me more about this statement after Paul moves in with me, we find housing in Austin, and then we move to Austin.  Ambitious plans, welcome!  We’ve been expecting you.)

Anyways, spending $20 on a Target sundress strikes me as a trivial purchasing decision, but it’s one of those decisions where the ripples spread into your life and beyond.  How many “trivial” decisions add up to a life lacking intention and focus?  I’m kind of afraid to know how much of my time is lost to my frittering away the best hours of my day.  Now feels like a good time to hold onto a thread of intentionality in all of my decisions.

(As an aside, I think it’s okay to be “intentionally flexible” in life.  But you might ask yourself what the purpose of such flexibility is.  Is it driven by a higher purpose?  For me, it’s all about reducing stress and anxiety.  I’m willing to spend money in ways that accomplish that goal as long as my everyday routine is not running from one crisis to the next.) 

I decided recently that I wanted a strapless summer top, preferably something floaty and pretty.  My sister had given me a top from her giveaway pile that fits this description, but it doesn’t stay tied in place very securely.  So now I’m on the hunt for a strapless top, and I bumped into a rack filled with dresses like the one you see up at the top there.  Adorable, right?  Except that the top is secured by just a band of elastic, so I passed on them.  I think my next destination will be Plato’s Closet, which seems likely to have plenty of cheap, secondhand(!) summer clothing.  I’d love to support an ethical clothing maker, but I’m not all that motivated to comb the internet in search of something cute and affordable.  (However, if you’ve got suggestions for great companies to check out, by all means, send them my way!)

Either way, I think it’s a little better than spending more money on cheap clothing from Target.  What do you think?  How do you curate your summer wardrobe?

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