I look at the Sartorialist and then buy Primark dresses from eBay. I have a pitiful collection of shoes. My boots constantly need repairs, my ballet flats have paper-thin soles that flap when I walk, my heels are woefully under-used. Why care about something so transient? I don’t know, but if I had money I suspect that the first thing I’d do is squander it on dresses. Why am I late to work every morning? Partly laziness, partly indecision. Standing in front of the hallway mirror thinking, will this do? who cares? but will it do?
One of my favorite pastimes is to peruse online shops for hours, actually hours, on end. Select things I would buy if I could. I hate this lustful nature of mine, this hunger for things; but I seek comfort in it anyway. I like to think about what Jeanette Winterson wrote in her preface to Oranges are not the Only Fruit: “When Keats was depressed he put on a clean shirt. When Radclyffe Hall was oppressed she ordered new sets of silk underwear from Jermyn Street.” And I think: if a clean shirt or a new set of silk underwear (ah how I’d love to order sets of silk underwear, how I’d love, even, to have matching underwear, something that said “sexy” and not “you need new pants”) extinguishes the fear, the oppresive mould of our youthful poverty, allows us some freedom of thought and imagination, then why not? Why not buy eBay dresses and lust after shoes we can’t afford? Why not consider our appereance carefully in the mirror, consider whether or not we feel comfortable with the reflection? Perhaps it’s shallow; but sometimes it’s the best we’ve got.