Thursday, 27 August 2009

My beef with Elle

In this months Elle there is a feature about why young people are still shopping.
A naive, posturing, irresponsible article which doesn't answer the fucking question at all but only serves to advertise the cycle of consumption even further. To continue to make women feel they are inadequate if they aren't buying all the time like ditzes with credit cards but no brain cells.
The author Linda Grant talks of the predictions of the end of shopping with the recession bearing down on our wallets, this is the end of "mindless consumerism, to be replaced by a new mood of seriousness, of wartime make-do-and-mend. Of buying a few investment pieces that would last years, instead of a new dress every week."
Well, firstly, I can't even afford those investment pieces and secondly, Linda then goes on to tell us about how despite these predictions, the country is still shopping, as if this is a positive thing! Oh, it doesn't matter that you are up to your eyeballs in fucking debt and can't even afford porridge because you have bought three pairs of shoes that week you must keep purchasing!
According to Grant, it's because of "fashion's own defiance of bad news." Really? Or is it just so fucking hammered into us that we're nothing unless we don't have loads of stuff, however fucking useless. Unless I have a new shiny dress in my wardrobe I'm nothing. No wonder we're all in a recession, we can't stop, it was going to implode on us at some point.
No Grant hit it better on the head when she said "for those under 35, who have never known anything but a culture of consumerism, it might be cool to buy an ethically sourced necklace - but it's unimaginable to buy nothing at all... to dress badly, in out-of-date clothes, or ones that no longer suit you, is to surrender your self-respect."
When did self-respect become about having nice new clothes? I thought self-respect was about sticking up for yourself, believing in yourself, achieving something real with your life, not queueing up to buy some fucking Matthew Williamson at H&M because you might not get the chance again and if you don't have a shiny new wardrobe every five fucking minutes then you quite simply don't match up regardless of the intelligent thoughts you may have or the good you do for others.
Now, fair enough, Elle is fashion magazine, it is in their interest to push consumption, and really, as I'm on a shopping ban I just shouldn't read it. I'm just angry that this is why I am in such a mess. That I fell for it all. That it's so ingrained in my pysche. That I only have myself to blame.
And I do love fashion, love it. I love pretty things. But I'm coming to realise that the "sheer pleasure of being surrounded by pretty things" means nothing compared to once in my life actually having some financial security. Now, that, is real self respect.
This weapon of massive consumption (thanks Lily Allen) is retiring.
I wonder how long my self righteousness will last... ohh, there's a nice bra on the Bravissimo website, I could do with a new bra.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Incapable of being stylish at a festival

I always look shit at festivals. I'm allergic to camping you see, I break out in terrible hayfever, if I get bitten by gnats I develop fierce red rashes, despite how much factor 30 I smother myself in I still get burnt. My ginger disposition means I can't handle the outside world for longer than a few hours.
This is why I don't think I'll ever camp at a festival with a boyfriend/man I fancy. They would run away screaming. The cute little red head with nice heels they thought they were going out with has suddenly turned into a blotchy red-eyed zombie woman with terrible hair.
The fact I look like utter crap is only highlighted by the whole Kate Moss festival chic thing everyone has been sporting for the last couple of years. Seriously, at the V festival this year there were women wearing shoulder padded glittery Balmain dresses with their wellies and perfect dark edgy make up. Other women were in cute little sailor girl poplin dresses or Pixie Lott style fifties shorts with a face full of glitter. Somehow because you have wellies on, it's perfectly fine to staunter about in an uber revealing going out dress for two days. And that's before we have even get to how good all the acts looked, V V Brown with her vampire collar leather jacket, (so cool) Lady Gaga with her disco ball dress, Lily Allen with her massive heels and backless minidress, Shingai Shoniwa from The Noisettes with her fringed red jacket and white mini shorts.
Well, my denim cut offs with mascara smeared all over my hayfevery face just doesn't quite match up does it? I don't know how women manage to stay that polished at festivals. My carefully constructed stylish appearance that works so well in London town just crumples and falls apart as soon as I set foot in the field.
Seriously, a man was walking round at the festival offering 'free hugs' to any woman that walked past. As I walked past he yelled, 'free hugs for all... oh, not you though, eugh.' Charming.
Usually when I'm feeling this unattractive, I shop. And the V festival certainly provided in that respect. There was this unbelievably cute festival dress shop full of the sailor girl poplin dresses mentioned before. All vertical monochrome stripes and anchor emblems. Not to mention other dresses with cute little covered buttons, floral skirts and fifties style necklines. And they were cheap, just £15 each! Oh, it took a lot to walk away. In fact, I went back three times. But my sisters constant reminders that if I bought any of the dresses I wouldn't be able to afford to eat again for 24 hours pulled me though.
Thank goodness there is one thing I care about more than clothes: food.

Current overdraft total: £1490.05 Fuckady fuckbags. It seems I can't afford to eat either.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The money diary

After the horror of my extreme spending last week I have decided to keep a money diary, just so I can work out where exactly all my cash goes. I'm sure I don't spend that much on clothes.
I have noted down every little purchase, even if it was for £1. From this, I hope I can pinpoint my most extravagant and unnecessary expenses, give them up and stop my cash flow from, er, flowing quite so much!

Lunch at Double Espresso with girlfriends: £13.50
Cinema with girlfriends: £11
Coke & ready meal for dinner: £4.29
Night out at The Roxy: £27.50 (this includes drinks, entry and cab ride home, so I think I did really rather well considering how tipsy I was!)

Photoshoot with sister: £150
Milky way, nutrigrain bar and apple juice: £1.55
Snack a jacks, Orange Juice and chewing gum: £2.63
Weekly grocery shop: £21.73

Chocolate: £2

Gave friend Suzi £2 so she could buy fags.

Lunch with friend Jones: £7.55
Entry into the Tower of London: £17
Muffin from starbucks: £1.45
Film from blockbuster: £1.95
Indian takeaway: £13.29

Lunch with Hannah: £6.39
Chocolate: 65p

Starbucks muffins for colleagues: £2.95
Lunch: £3.59
Wrapping paper: £2.99

Total: £294.01

Oh god. Nearly £300 in a week when I was trying not to spend, when I was trying to behave. See, no clothes at all! Oh my god. And I didn't even drink that much either!
It seems I spend my money mostly on... food. £100.57 on food to be precise. That's the answer, I'll starve myself and then I'll be able to afford shoes again!
Seriously though, how many lunches with friends can a girl go on in a week? This week I spent £31.03 on lunches out alone!
Right that's it, no more lunches or muffins from starbucks, no more chocolate to cheer myself up on the way home from work, (unless the day has been particularly bad). As a student I had a £25 food budget and I stuck to it rigidly. I was also a lot slimmer then too... hmmm, perhaps there is something to this minimal food thing. But how? How did I spend so little? Back then no one else had any money either, so we didn't go for lunches, we just ate toast round each others houses. Not sure that would go down so well these days.
Right I'm calling out for tips, how to eat well on a budget? I shall consult my Thrift book too. India will tell me exactly how I can eat organic, vegetarian, fair trade and free radical for just £25 a week. Hurrah!

Another thing I can go with out... photoshoots with little sisters.

Current overdraft total: £810.58 Not bad, but again, I have just been paid.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Just a minor shopping indiscretion... or two.

Ok, this week, well, this week has not gone so well.
You see, it's my dad's 50th birthday party soon. It's a fancy dress party and I'm  
going as Marilyn Monroe. 
I think it's fair enough to buy a costume, I mean, it isn't for me, it's for my dad! So I toddled on down to the fancy dress shop and discovered two Marilyn dresses. 
One was a very synthetic, see through, badly fitted white halterneck dress for £20 - this dress did not give me any kind of Marilyn allure or sophistication. It made me look like white trash with droopy boobs. Not a look I favour.
The other dress, which cost nearly £60, was just beautiful! Pure silk, fitted 
perfectly with corset ribbons and a wonderful long pleated skirt I could just swirl round and round forever in.
I know from an economic perspective I should have just gone for the £20, it's just a fancy dress party and I'll probably never wear it again.
But, well, I have a minor obsession with Marilyn. I admit, I am not into the whole psychoanalytic, suicidal, weak, all for man and child, fluff and giggle routine, I prefer a little more kick ass attitude. 
But I like the way the woman dressed - I have read that I have very similar 
measurements to her, and I think she maximised her assets to full effect.
So when presented with these two options, I knew I had to go for the more 
expensive option. I just had no choice! I then had to get the big pants (wow, how did women breathe in those things!) the red lipstick, false eyelashes and wig.
So phew, that was indeed pricey.
Then, well, I went into the Primark and New Look in Tooting. I honestly was  
merely accompanying my housemate so she could take back a top. Instead I 
ended up buying a pair of flat biker boots, developing an obsession with a pair of suede pixie boots, buying an uber-cute heart printed mini skirt, some Chanel 
style pearls and a red beret.
Because it was Primark and New Look I did only spend £55 on all those lovely clothes. But it's still very bad. And £50 I don't really have. Especially 
considering the price of the Marilyn dress.
But, well, they are all wintery style clothes, so it's not all bad. These are clothes  
that will last! I can wear the mini skirt with thick tights, the boots and a jumper in the middle of December, and I can hardly wear the beret in the hight of August  
can I? It was an investment purchase.
And I had said in my initial rules if I found a pair of biker boots that I liked for  
under £50 I was allowed to buy them. The fact I'm now desperate for the pixie 
boots is a whole other problem.
And the Chanel beads? I have no real excuse except that the Coco Chanel film is on at the cinema at present so it really is the height of fashion and Chanel pearls never go out of style. 
Most importantly, they only cost me £2.50
So, yes, I have been an extremely naughty girl. I had my comeuppance though. I looked at my bank balance yesterday and actually yelped. Yep, I yelped, like a  
dog. A dog with no money. 
On the positive side, I have created two new outfits with my existing clothes that I am looking forward to wearing! It's all about the layering and the mix and  
Just stay the hell away from Primark and New Look.

Current Overdraft total: £1256.02 This means I have spent £496.84 in a week, a week! I'm a money spending machine. So, so bad. *Sob*