You know that feeling you get when you buy new clothes and wear them
for the first time? Don't you feel great? When you wear new clothes, it
feels as if you are a new person.
It's the same feeling you get after your house has been freshly painted. It feels like a new home.
Not that the old you was so bad, but the new you can conquer the
world. It shows in your attitude. It's written all over your face.
People might even comment that there is something different about you...
and it's not just your clothes.
So if new clothes make you feel so good, why do we go to so much trouble to make sure nobody knows they are new?
When I was growing up, getting a new pair of sneakers was cause for a
private celebration. But what did we do? We took those sneakers out in
the yard, rolled them in dirt and beat the stuffing out of them with a
baseball bat until you could tell someone you'd had them for months and
they would believe it. It was apparently okay to allow one's friends to
think they were not very observant.
When we acquired a new pair of jeans, we were ecstatic in spite of
the amount of effort and laundry detergent required to make them look
like they weren't... a new pair of jeans.
"New? Nah, I've had these for years." I believe the idea here was to
make your friends think you had lost so much weigh you could fit into
your old jeans again.
It made sense that getting your sister's hand-me-down jeans would be
the best scenario: "new" jeans without all the work. Unfortunately, we -
like teenagers everywhere - did not make sense at all. Hand-me-downs
were an embarrassment to be avoided at all costs. You'd go naked before
you'd allow your sister to comment on "her" jeans within earshot of your
What should we blame for this lack of common sense? In my opinion, it
all started with Permanent Press shirts. We didn't want the work of
ironing shirts, but to wear one with wrinkles meant you were probably
brought up by wolves. Permanent Press meant you never have to iron
shirts again, right? Not really. But it was all the excuse we needed.
Present day, if there are a few wrinkles in your shirt (even
Permanent Press) you are considered "cool." If your hair has the
Just-Rolled-Out-Of-Bed look, you're not lazy, you're fashionable. If you
also haven't shaved in three days, you are nominated for Man-of-the
Shortly after Permanent Press came pre-washed jeans. New jeans
without the work! The collective cry went up: Huzzah! They were more
expensive, but to many of us, they were well worth it. When we got holes
in them, our moms put patches on them. That soon became a fashion faux
pas just like hand-me-downs. So rather than making patches the "in"
thing, we made holes the "in" thing. What?!
Now we can buy jeans, pre-frayed and perforated with lots of holes, and they cost MORE money than perfectly intact jeans!
Similarly, in the case of bikinis, the less fabric there is, the more
it costs. Oooh! That really burns my bagels!... Not that I could wear a
It's only a matter of time before we will be able to buy pre-smudged eyewear at twice the price of the spotless pair.
We can look forward to buying premium bathtubs with soap scum rings
permanently engraved into the enamel and mirrors with pre-etched water
How about cars that come with the "rusted look" option? Only $300
more! Another $200 if you want the "rear-ended look." Shopping-cart
dings are $50 each.
The most sought-after china pattern will have gravy stains and risotto decorating the rims.
Premium carpeting will come with Kool-Aid stains and pet hair. And
Macy's will sell men's underwear with skid marks embroidered in them.
However, only those people with the most discerning tastes will buy
these items. They are, of course, those people with more money... and
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.