on affordability

Lately I’ve been going to shops–just to browse, as I am seriously low on funds–and the result is that I’ve felt, well, kind of poor. It’s not that I struggle with poverty or really would ever spend $500 on a handbag if I had the cash, but when you live in an allegedly artsy neighborhood whose boutiques are filled with these items, it’s hard not to wonder how the freelancers and musicians and artists in my city can afford to dress themselves in Phillip Lim and Alexandre Herchcovitch.

On that note, Suzy Hansen writes a fantastic piece about the spread of high-priced boutiques in Brooklyn. I used to live in some of these neighborhoods, and in my mind–only in my mind, most likely–they are still somewhat ramshackle.

When did it become normal to spend $200 on a pair of jeans, or $400 on a pair of shoes? It’s difficult for me to understand how people can afford to do this. Lawyers, doctors, sure. But writers and musicians? How are they/we able to pay for this stuff? When I see other ladies who make the same salary–or less!–than I do, and yet they’re decked out in a $350 Daryl K dress that I’ve seen at Barneys, I keep wondering, “What am I doing wrong? Why can I not afford that?”

(And then I start thinking about how I am a bad, bad consumer creature and how I need to stop wanting things anyway)

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2 responses to “on affordability

  1. Honey, I feel you. After ten years in New York and not being able to imagine myself anywhere else, I left–and though I love and cherish my visits back, I keep wondering what’s happening. Sure, gentrification was going on when I lived there, but there was still a feeling of discovery, of invention, of young, unkown=the key to affordability. Now it seems that if you’re an unknown label in an up and coming store, it’s totally legit to charge $500 for a bag. I am more and more confused as to how young people working in creative (read: low-paying) fields manage to pull off what they do.

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