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Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

$75 Per Month For Clothes

Fashion illustration by Georges Lepape (1887-1971) via MCAD Library.
Fashion illustration by Georges Lepape (1887-1971) via MCAD Library.

After reading my post about budgeting, my dad emailed me:

Not wanting to be a downer, but a few items I’d suggest adding to your budget …

Car: operation, repair, and replacement fund: $250
Clothing: $75
Incidentals (haircut, parking fees, etc): $50
Entertainment (plays, movies, restaurants, camping): $75
Short-term saving (to cover unusual expenses, like travel, or a new computer — savings that you expect to spend over a 5 year period): $200
Long-term saving / rainy-day fund (building up your savings): $100

These are very rough estimates, but give you a more realistic picture of your total financial picture. Also, I’d suggest that you do some grouping of expenses to put all the similar expenses together. I can show you how to do that if you want

To which I responded:

Exactly, I wanted to figure how much room I have for saving & incidental spending! I didn’t think about adding car repair, though. That’s a good point.

Do you spend $75/month on clothes?!

Dad said:

Every year I probably have to buy roughly 3 pairs of shoes ($300), 4 pairs of pants ($120), socks (40), underwear and tshirts (60), and maybe one jacket ($120).  That would add up to $600.  So maybe I spend $50/month on clothes.  Maybe that’s a more reasonable budget estimate.

So that’s that. He’s apparently much harder on his wardrobe than I am.

Fashion illustration by George Barbier (1882-1932) via the New York Public Library.
Fashion illustration by George Barbier (1882-1932) via the New York Public Library.

Commercially Motivated Art-Posting

I have a ShopSense account. They’ve rebranded as “ShopStyle Collective” but whatever. This entity, regardless of name, is a pay-per-click affiliate-linking thingamajig. Back when I was fashion-blogging I made $88 dollars using ShopSense. I can cash out when I get to $100, and I kinda want the money. So… here’s some art (there’s a precedent for me posting art!) because if you click on the links I’ll make $0.02 or whatever.

Art Deco Pochoir of Woman with Cherry Tree
I enjoy the color pink. And kimonos. Click here, yay!
stripy modern art painting
I like this painting because stripes.
Joy of the Eternal Now by Alice Asmar
Pastels! Birbles! Ideal. By Alice Asmar — click click click.
geometrical painting
I like this painting because geometry.
Young Turkish Boy, 1714
1714 painting of a young Turkish boy. I like his outfit.

Pretty Stereotypes Of City Women

Excessive lyricism lies ahead. Sometimes I can’t resist over-writing.

I love cities, but I don’t want to live in one. Every time I visit San Francisco it smells more like piss, you know? For me, home is a mid-size town, a suburb on a hill. But of course I’m grateful to be able to access urban cultural nodes, to watch live theater and buy pricey drinks, to browse bookstores and pretend the panhandlers aren’t talking to me. Momentary immersion is exciting. High-profile cities are glamorous despite all the grime — the word “cosmopolitan” accrued its connotations honestly.

girl fixing her motorcycle
Photo by Mike Babiarz: “My downstairs neighbor Marni doing some maintenance on her Yamaha XS650.”

City women are easy for me to idolize. Do people find the opposite of their own attributes attractive, or is that just me? I’m drawn to sophistication, to convincingly affected indifference. What’s more enchanting than the ability to stroll past mounds of trash without paying attention?

city woman walking past garbage in NYC
Photo of NYC’s Greenwich Village by Ryan Vaarsi: “There is not, despite appearances, a garbage strike underway at the moment.”

I’m not a city woman. I could never be a city woman. I care too much about how I’m perceived, and the temperament for regular cocktail parties has never been my strong suit.

Yes, realistically, my two-dimensional idea of a city woman doesn’t exist, but let’s roll with it.

Nicole Kidman as Marisa Coulter in the movie version of The Golden Compass.
Nicole Kidman as Marisa Coulter in the movie version of The Golden Compass.

I think of Mrs Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Vaguely evil under the tight dress and well-cut wool coat. (In Mrs Coulter’s case, extremely evil.) A tool of power who nevertheless wields it, a woman among men who relishes her feminine influence because the alternative is recognizing their masculine advantage.

I realized while writing this that all of my notions about femininity are particular facets of an inferiority complex dressed up by certain aesthetics. The observation is not new. Besides, I have the same reaction to, like, indie music. I’m such a born hipster but I feel mad defensive about it. (A reaction that became classically hipster immediately after the phenomenon achieved meme status.)

I want to be aloof and reserved and brash and sassy and especially never self-conscious. I want to have Marie Antoinette’s cake and eat it too. Okay, fine, I want to be Blair from Gossip Girl, even though she’s excruciatingly self-conscious.

I am continually trying to parse femininity, to practice ladyhood, and stumbling on contradictions. Being human is weird. (QED.)

cosmopolitan fashion collage
Collage by Joana Coccarelli.
graffiti woman, red lipstick
Photo by Sarah Murray.

Priceless Fashion Guidance From Fran Lebowitz For People With Short Attention Spans

I know very little about Fran Lebowitz, but I know that Kathleen Hale’s interview with her is fantastic. Choice quotes:

“American women think that clothes fit them if they can fit into them. But that’s not at all what fit means.”

“Shirts don’t go bad, they’re not peaches.”

“I wish that real estate were cheaper and clothes were more expensive.”

“If you’re 18 right now, you think you invented platform shoes. You think you’re doing something new. You think you’ve invented something so ugly that it’s beautiful.”

“Designers now, they all have these things called mood boards. I suppose they think a sense of discovery equals invention. It would be as if every writer had a board with paragraphs of other writers—’Oh, I’ll take a little bit of this, and that, he was really good.’ Yes, he was really good! And that is not a mood board, it is a stealing board.” (YES. This is how I feel about Pinterest.)

“What’s so great thing about clothes is that they’re artificial—you can lie, you can choose the way you look, which is not true of natural beauty.”

Note to self: learn more about Fran Lebowitz.

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