As with every Sunday edition of the New York Times, I acted no differently on this week's end in immediately flipping to the Sunday Styles section. I like looking at the photos of the newlyweds, scanning the fashion photos and reading the stories that seem more affable and comforting then the bad complicated news the news usually delivers. Reading an article entitled 'No More Fancy Pants,' I was disgusted, not delighted as I usually am with exposes about contemporary life.
The article looks at the current trend of downplaying the luxurious lifestyle. Just as sky-rocketing gas prices shook the populace to suddenly realize the ecological impact of their automobile affinities (issuing a rush of commercials touting the most fuel-efficient cars on the road, abruptly ending the fad of tanksized vehicles), the crashing economic markets have commercial enterprises advertising the affordability of their wares and their many sales. At a time when people are losing their homes and their jobs, "if you're laying people off," as the article states, "you don't want to buy a Ferrari."
My problem with the article which focuses mainly on the well-to-do and how they are shifting their lifestyles in accordance to the current economic climate, and its subsequent effect on trends in lifestyle, is that it treats modest living as nothing more than a trend. While I have no doubt that it is true (the article briefly mentions previous economic downturns of the 1930s, 1980s and post 9/11), the author misses the boat completely on the artificiality of blind consumerism.
In my humble opinion, flaunting opulence, fine jewelry or expensive clothes is never in fashion. Recycling your wardrobe every season, while it might be nice, is not realistic. There is this ideal of having massive amounts of disposable income to spend and buy at your heart's every whim that represents, for me, empty desires without any substance. I balk at this article and its claims that "thriftiness is making a comeback," "it's now chic to cut back," and "roast chicken will be very popular [addressing ostentatious and over-the-top restaurant food]."
Having clothes of quality, a comfortable home, strong connections to your family and friends, and a healthy lifestyle rooted in your local environment shouldn't be something that comes in and out of fashion. Such things are timeless, classic, but more importantly fundamentally human. Treat yourself every now and then, make it special, to be savoured. And focus on the foundational and eternal trues of life, the ones that never fade in and out of style.