In a world full of outside influences, it’s easy to forget our own interests and values at times and buy items that help us to fit in or look good. Between magazine advertisements, movies, friends, family and others, we observe then buy popular items such as clothing or cars Advertisement agencies work hard to produce enticing ads to draw us in and make us buy. That’s all fine and good, but it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to “keep up with the Joneses.” Always trying to be in the “in” crowd is stressful and unrealistic, as there are always those with more money, better looks and possessions. By being true to who we are, we keep our wants and needs within safe spending limits, wear appropriate clothing and maintain our own individualities.
It is important to wear clothing that compliments our body types. Many fashion models on runways are tall and thin, so the styles of clothing they wear may not be appropriate for someone short and with a stockier build. When friends and I used to go out on weekends to clubs in the eighties, we’d see a variety of other women who squashed their bodies into outfits either too small or unflattering for their body types. Sometimes, we’d hear comments such as, “Someone needs to call the Fashion Police,” which was good for a chuckle or two. So, we made sure to choose our outfits carefully, not wanting to be the next target of critics. Just because an outfit looks attractive on a mannequin or model doesn’t necessarily mean it will look good on everyone. Being realistic about what is right for us, keeps us from making tragic and potentially humiliating fashion flubs. Now that I’m older and wiser, my concern isn’t about what others think about how I look. My focus is now on how pleased I am with my own clothing choices. Through time and experience, life has taught me to be more of a conservative dresser. The daring styles of yesteryear are replaced with tasteful and comfortable outfits that suit my lifestyle and build.
Every generation has them. Some new product comes out and everyone just has to have it. It doesn’t matter if the item is useless or absurd. A need is cultivated and then it becomes the rage to have one. For example, the Pet Rock, Rubik’s Cube, and the Wacky Wall Walker were a few that were big fads way back when. Whoever successfully marketed the Pet Rock really earned my respect. After all, rocks are something any of us can go outside and get on our own for free. Any parking lot, garden or landscape has endless supplies of them. To get the public to buy something like that is remarkable. Marketers work to hit the public with these items and convince everyone how great they are. Remember the fake flower in a pot that “danced” to music? Buying any of these things isn’t a requirement for a happy life, but it’s fun to show your friends at work that you now own the latest trend out there. Gag gifts like Chia Heads (a ceramic head that you spread seeds on that sprout “hair”) are given in offices and parties for laughs. This is a humorous way to be “cool” and fit in, to have the latest fad, but popularity for it will decline in time, so don’t bother getting one unless you like it after the public interest in it is gone.
Who doesn’t want a nice car? Each of us has our own criteria for what the best car is. It’s all based on our values; do we need it to be practical or fun? Do we care how attractive it is, or do we want something that isn’t too flashy? There are shapes and styles of cars for everyone. What we want and what we can afford can be two drastically different things. It’s a good idea to be realistic when buying a car, to make sure it is within our financial means. What is pretty and affordable, can still be trouble later, so it pays to be vigilant about the track record of the style of car you buy. I bought a cute little sports car as a young woman. It was beautiful and flashy, and had a dashboard that looked like an airplane’s console. It was car of the year in a magazine, so I just bought it without thinking further. Within a year it was a mechanic’s nightmare. Everything that could go wrong did. The turbo engine blew, the heat from the engine melted the back of the dashboard and then I heard from other owners of the car that there was a class-action lawsuit by disgruntled buyers regarding the car. I sold the car to my mechanic and refuse to buy anything with a turbo engine from a foreign car maker, again. Since then, my choices in cars have improved, and practicality is more important than flashiness. The car I currently own has been so reliable; I’ve kept it for many years. Who cares what others think, it’s been good to me and was paid off a long time ago. Making wiser car choices has made my life much less stressful.
There are many other examples of items we want such as homes, boats, and others. Whatever we want, it pays to keep in mind what the best choices would be, given our incomes and individual needs. It’s always nice to fit in and look good to others, but it only works if we aren’t drowning in debt, stressed to the max from bills, or are afraid to drive that expensive car because we don’t want to get it dirty. Being practical and true to ourselves is the answer. Take a cold, hard look at what matters most to you and make sure whatever it is, fits within your budget. It’s easy to get caught up the glitzy world of advertising, and wanting the dress in the magazine. Will you really wear it or is it too fancy for everyday wear? If you don’t go to formal parties, buying a ball gown isn’t advisable. My way of dealing with items that I really want is to take at least a day to think it over, and not make impulse purchases. If you still want it after taking time away from it, and can afford to buy it, then it’s yours for the buying. Being happy with yourself and your life is more important than fitting in with others. The only person you need approval from is yourself.