11 June 2016
Do you ever find yourself wanting not just to change some clothes but to change your entire wardrobe?
You have considered a gradual change, but the new idea of the fashion you want to appear in, just can’t match with your old clothes.
Say for example, you want to now wear only purple label clothing, but so far your best shirt was from the second hand store and it would look very strange resting above your Prada jeans. Fear not, you are not alone.
French Philosopher, Denis Diderot was going through exactly the same thing when he started wearing an expensive red coat that was gifted to him.
This coat made all his other clothes look so bad that he ended up running himself into debt to upgrade all his other clothes to match his new red coat. In one of his essays he lamented:
To my old coat I was a master, but to the new a slave.
Till date, this idea of complete upgrade or no upgrade remains one of the leading psychological gaps exploited by capitalist economies. It is the reason furniture are normally displayed in showrooms displayed as sets that go together.
It is the reason mannequins are dressed in fashionable outfits instead of just acting as statues to showcase clothes you could buy to make the shop the most profit.
So why are we like this? Surely, if we want to learn to be more content and happier in life, we should get used to settling with fractured belongings. Nothing is wrong with wearing a Rolex watch with a cheap gold bracelet, right?
On the surface it is easy to assume we are just greedy by nature. We always seem to want more and more. But when the psychological underpinnings are examined, it becomes obvious that what we own is more than just a display of our wealth, it is also an expression of our identity.
Think about it, the phones we use, the clothes we wear, the cars we would like to drive. While these things are not a part of us, we use them as markers to identify the type of people we are. For this reason, when one part is far more outstanding than the other, we are uncomfortable because the lack of harmony in our identity makes us feel almost like frauds. To regain our sense of unity in who we are, we just can’t help but upgrade.
So next time you are looking at that really expensive piece of clothing but scared to buy it because you have nothing to go with it and you are considering buying an outfit, remember, you aren’t just being greedy, you are being human. No one likes to have a unified identity.