“To venture upon an undertaking of any kind, even the most insignificant, is to sacrifice to envy.”
Emile M. Cioran, Romanian philosopher
On Dec. 18, 2015, I resolved not to purchase any apparel, including shoes or accessories, for a whole year. Friends and family members pressed me to wait ’til the New Year, but I decided to practice self-denial in the days leading up to Jan. 1, 2016, to see if I could I do it.
It was quite easy really, even when I agreed to shop with friends. Even when they held up garments, flagging them in the air, “Oh this looks just like you. And it’s on sale.” I even had a few, “Hey, I’ll buy it for you and that won’t count.”
“No,” I thanked them. “That’s cheating.”
Christmas shopping was over. Shopping for myself, as always tends to happen when I shop for others, was finished. There was even a bit of shopping in anticipation of not making any personal purchases in the coming year. My last purchase on Dec. 18 was a backup pair of New Balance walking shoes with orthotic inserts. I was set to go.
And now, a month later my resolution has taught me some important things:
My favorite pair of herringbone socks has holes. It seems if you can buy socks at any time, you don’t. My second favorite, the black and white polka-dots, also has holes. By the third day I was wearing pink socks. I still have a whole basket of socks. Noticing the socks with holes was revealing. And knowing I couldn’t buy any for a whole year did not feel particularly good. I won’t even get into the thin trouser socks that are losing their elasticity.
Then the invitation came for a celebration dinner party. I was so excited about the celebration until my thoughts drifted to, “What will I wear?”
Who cares what I wear? From my closet I picked out a couple of possibilities, then noticed my footwear has become all too casual these days. I think high-heeled boots might work. I suppose I could borrow some dress shoes and that wouldn’t be cheating. Or I could polish up the 20-year-old boots and be fine. After all, it’s a celebration.
A few friends have asked about my resolution. They’ve all asked the same question: “What about underwear? You will buy underwear, won’t you?”
The question causes me to tilt my head. You never know about other’s buying habits. Am I buying more underwear than most? I think I will be fine in the area of unmentionables, the ones everyone is mentioning, though I sure hope underwear won’t turn out like the socks.
Last week I went gift shopping for the celebration dinner. It wasn’t long before I was drawn to the apparel section; then I wandered aimlessly through the shoe racks. I was unprepared for the temptation of the clearance racks. I resisted and instead bought lipstick.
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