Deep thoughts on the Ultimate Shopper

Eating croissants outside Tiffany's does not make you Audrey

Eating croissants outside Tiffany’s does not make you Audrey

The other day I watched  a British show on TV called “The Ultimate Shopper”.  Four “shopaholic” women were taking  part in a fashion contest and the winner would “have free run of the best fashion store in the country” and take home their entire collection. To compete, the four super-consumers were asked to put together three different styles choosing outfits from the store.  The fashion experts judges would then decide which contestant got it right and which did not.

What struck me as interesting is that the two contestants who made it to the final (pulling off the Miami Beach party look correctly) were far from elegant. The one was so overweight that looked uncomfortable in almost anything she wore and the other one was what the British would call a chav, orange face, hair extensions, fake eyelashes, you name it. The two girls that actually looked good were eliminated because they failed to put the right outfits together.

“This is not Miami Beach Party, it is more Summer Gig ” a slim elegant girl was told before she was eliminated. As a viewer I lost any interest in the show after that. Nobody really cares to see how an 180 pound woman or a chav would dress for the Oscars after all.

I was suddenly annoyed by the hypocrisy behind the whole thing. Two thoughts crossed my mind:

First , the whole idea that fashion is this set of rules that the average Jane can follow and look just as good as the fashion models is ridiculous. Every day we are bombarded with images of super tall, super slim, and photoshopped to perfection girls who try to sell us dresses, boots and make up. The message is clear: “Buy this and you will look like me, it only takes a few clicks on your keyboard and a credit card”.

And now the Fashion Industry is taking this offensive message even further: There is a way to get it right and that depends only on following fashion rules. It does not matter if you are fat and waist-less, orange faced, and do not possess a drop of elegance. As long as you wear the right kaftan combined with the right ridiculous pair of Summer wedges (because the beach is the right place for wedges after all), you are fashionably correct and look better than the rest. What an obvious way to target a woman’s wallet.

I am not saying that we should all look the same and that all women should be thin. I am not even interested in this idea right now. What I am saying is that there is a way to get it right and it has nothing to do with the right combination of shoes and bags or color blocking.  It has more to do with looking and being proportionate, effortless and graceful.  To wear what looks good on you and not blindly spend your money on garments that do not flatter you. There is nothing more unflattering than a woman or a man who tries too hard by wearing clothes that do not match her personality.

The second thought in my mind was how our whole society uses the same questionable system to evaluate everything and everyone around us. We are taught to not trust our gut instinct, our primordial gaze. We are taught to see something that looks and feels right and reject its harmony as irrelevant. Instead we seek to judge or evaluate others using only one criterion, and that criterion in our minds is independent from everything else.

Therefore we seek beauty without grace.

We seek performance without talent.

Responsibility without kindness.

Love without sacrifice.

Novelty without change.

We evaluate success by adding up numbers.

And the list goes on and on. There is a harmony, a grace that connects everything in the world but we are taught to look for small blind pieces, disconnected ideas, and weak perceptions.  We simply do not allow ourselves to tune in with the spirit that expands, relates and connects. And then we wonder what is wrong with the world.

By the way, the lady with the orange face won the contest and went home with the prize.

 In the end the judges decided that she was the least bad of the final two.

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