Trust Me, I Have Impeccable Taste, I Just Can’t Afford The Clothes I Want

I see you eyeing my jacket. I know you’re as obsessed with a cleanly versatile beige trench as I am, especially one rendered all the more adorable by the light pink lighting that’s revealed when the sleeves are cuffed up in a defiant stance against the impending cold weather. You don’t have to be shy, you can give it a touch. I know, the material is surprisingly soft for the structured cut. And while you’re at it, you can also buy this jacket, because it is currently on display in the window of an upscale department store at which I cannot afford to shop. While this jacket is very much mine in a spiritual sense, and has already been mentally paired with half the clothes in my closet, there is absolutely no scenario in which I can justify the purchase of a 600 dollar coat, particularly one that can only be worn a few slim months out of the year.

I’m proud to say that I have moved past the ill-advised phase in my life in which a sizable chunk of my clothing purchases were made in a kind of credit card-scented haze; where, despite my laughably low-paying position at a retail store, I would put literally half of my bi-weekly checks into clothes and accessories that I would immediately hate myself for. During the two-year fugue state in which I decided that Lilly Pulitzer was the epitome of taste and refinement, I must have spent a few thousand dollars that I absolutely did not have on such cringeworthy items as cotton strapless shift dresses embroidered with fluorescent pink lobsters. And while I have since done the right thing and sold every last one of those monstrosities off to some unsuspecting consignment store, the lingering pain of all that hard-earned money lost still remains. As a result, I am particularly stingy when it comes to clothing myself.

The main problem this presents is the gaping ravine of distance that exists between the things I want to be wearing, and the things that are feasible for me to wear (in other words, things that don’t much exceed the price points of, say, Zara). While I still invest in the occasional staple, I am in no way the free-wheeling fashionista who is willing to go without vitamin-rich food for an extended period of time to fund the latest It Bag that simply must be on my arm. And in truth, I have nothing but respect for those people, because they are fighting the good fight and contracting scurvy in order to project to the world a flawless image of the person they imagine themselves to be, at least sartorially speaking. You will never find them in an outfit they don’t love, because they essentially live in a small cot inside of their walk-in closet.

For the rest of us plebes, however, there will always be a discrepancy between the adorable-ass outfits that litter our personal blogs and the mediocre-ass outfits that we actually have to put on to trudge to work in every day. I have often considered drawing a picture of the upgraded-and-refined version of my outfit that I would be wearing, had I the means to do so, and stapling it to my shirt. That way, even if I won’t have the full, swooshing effect of wearing the clothes of my dreams, at least you are being effectively informed of my flawless taste levels.

Allow this article to be, if nothing else, a plea. When you see me in the street and I am that reckless combination of hungover and late for several errands, when I am wearing the kind of outfit that screams “Undersexed Mother Of Three” from every seam, know that this is not me. The real me is stuck behind the invisible wall of some perfect alternate universe, one in which I have mastered the perfect cardigan, skinny jean, messy bun look that somehow doesn’t look sloppy (TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS YOU FANTASTICALLY DISHEVELED BITCHES). I have so much more to offer the world in terms of personal style, if only someone would give me the limitless amount of money that it would require to demonstrate. Please. TC mark

image – Love Maegan

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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