It first showed up in images for other products earlier this year — the Everlane glen plaid oversized blazer. I can only imagine the glee with which Everlane marketers read the comments on an unrelated ad for jeans: “But what about that blazer!”
I too was smitten. It was the perfect mix of classic and fresh, layered over a bodysuit and jeans or a turtleneck and trousers. I could totally see myself in it. It was everything I wanted! But was it? Or did I just think I wanted it because it was everywhere?
Eventually, the mystery blazer entered the line-up of Everlane’s Coming Soon items. We all held our breath. I debated whether or not I wanted to purchase. I didn’t need a blazer and hadn’t planned on buying one this season, but it was so attractive and in step with the style zeitgeist. There was even some article about how glen plaid is the “it” pattern this season.
On the day of the launch, every Insta-fluencer worth their affiliate status sported her gifted blazer, and I felt my desire curdle a little. I was still attracted to that blazer, yes, but it was undeniable that seeing it featured on so many different accounts was a turn-off.
I’ve mentioned here before how perhaps my most defining character trait is my need to be different than others. If too many people are doing it, it’s not something I want to do anymore. I lose interest. It’s a defense mechanism of sorts, I suppose.
But even if everyone’s doing something and that makes me not want to do it, it doesn’t fully erase the initial desire. Dampens it somewhat, but there’s still a kernel left. So I waffled, and then I waffled some more. I added it to cart, then checked my bank account.
Ultimately I couldn’t justify the purchase. I haven’t bought this blazer partly because it feels oversaturated, but mostly just because I didn’t budget for a blazer this year, at least not one as pricey as this. It was salt in the wound that so many people I saw wearing the blazer got it for free (yes I understand it’s not free when you put work into writing about it, but I’m doing that anyway so it’s a wash to me).
I’m a little envious of the good fortune I’ve watched others in the slow fashion and blogging community gain. When you look at who in this community is “successful” ie. who gets likes and free shit, I don’t necessarily think their content is any better or worse than mine. They don’t put out more posts. Their captions aren’t any more or less profound. It’s a little random who got lucky and had a follower count snowball, gaining the attention and good will of brands. There’s a game to be played here, and most days I just don’t feel like playing it.
But if I was sent this blazer for free, you’re damn right I’d be wearing it.
I see so many beautiful garments and shoes in the world that I would love to add to my wardrobe, but my limited funds and attempts at keeping a lean closet mean I have to be more selective about what I do add. With all the money in the world, my closet would be on another level, believe me.
So when I see people — people with more or less the same means as I have — showing off their good fortune, it stings, and in reaction I feel myself recalibrating what I thought I wanted. I thought I might want this blazer, but now I don’t know. Enough time has passed that my size is sold out anyway and my life has continued none the worse for not owning the damn thing.
It’s not lost on me either, the irony of minimalists showing off a new gifted thing every single week (and granted, not every one of the people wearing this blazer are proclaimed minimalists).
Before anyone gets their feelings hurt that I’m picking on fellow style-people for being successful, let me be clear: this is not actually about you, and it’s not about them. It’s about me wanting what they have while simultaneously not wanting to be just another person with what they have.
This is about me wrestling with my desires and my own jealousies and guilt. This is about coming to terms with the fact that I cannot measure myself against others, even as I make decisions in response to others.
My desires: I like beautiful things. I try to make sure the things I have are beautiful.
My jealousies: other people have beautiful things. They are no more or less deserving of those things than I am. Why don’t I have those things?
My guilt: I don’t even need more things, and the world certainly doesn’t need more things. I should go fucking find a vintage oversized glen plaid blazer that’s existed since the 1980s if I really want one.
Most of all I want to remember that my voice has value even if it’s not being chased by a brand. And other people’s voices still have value, even if they were gifted something so they’d use their voice to promote it. Even if they were not gifted anything, and they don’t have a blog, or an oufit-of-the-day Instagram account, or even any style-inclined friends who will listen to them gush about clothes.
Every voice and lived experience is valid.
The reality is that “everyone else” is not actually everyone else, it’s just the most highly visible people in a relatively small community that I’ve twisted into a monolithic “everyone else.” The vast majority of this community, I’m willing to bet, is made up of people similar to myself — people with limited budgets, who must make thoughtful choices with what to do with those budgets. People who are in the minimalist game because they want to be less beholden to stuff, even as they seek to cherish more the things they do have.
No amount of hand-wringing will change the fact that other people have lucked out in certain ways. In other ways, I’ve had my own luck, my own set of unique privileges that I must be grateful for.
And I am grateful. At the end of the day, I’m grateful for what I have. I recognize that things are things, and life continues whether or not you have those things. I’m fine. I hope you are too.