Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dressed to kill

I admit, I am looking at dresses at the moment with the idea in my head that the perfect one is out there for me - think Lauren Bacall, think the 1940s, Hollywood glamour, whatever silly idea might come into my head (why do I put myself through this?). I'm going to be 40 this year and in my shallow fantasy, I am wearing a perfect dress, which makes me look fabulous.

So, I am looking at the dresses on Net-a-porter. And I don't think I can possibly be mis-stating this: none of the dresses there are less than GBP1,000/US$2000/HK$15,000. How can that possibly be just or meaningful in any way?

This is a world where hedge fund managers like John Paulson are making US$3.7bn profit for themselves in a year. So it makes money seem meaningless, right? But it's not meaningless. If you make US$3.7bn on gambling on the sub-prime crisis, that means you're making money on people losing their homes. If you buy a dress that costs more than GBP1000, then you are spitting in the face of people who don't know how they are going to afford to eat because inflation has forced up the price of rice.

Am I wrong about this?


Grande Poobah said...


I find this one of these freadful modern day tensions.

On the absolute side, of course it is ridiculous and wrong that £1000 should be an amount of money that is seen as reasonable to spend on a dress. The media, advertising, ourselves are all culpable in this state of affairs where we raise the bar and set expectations that dropping this amount of money on a frock is somehow acceptable.

HOWEVER, on the other hand, you work hard to earn a high salary which enables you to treat yourself to these things. Or choose to have these luxe items as part of your every day stuff.

I guess in the end it comes down to awareness - of choices you make, of the backgroud to the stuff you choose to consume but also to acknowledging the fleeting pleasure (and fantasy) that dressing up in a damn fine dress, with killer heels and matching undies can give you!

(oh yeah, and a standing order to charity helps with the guilt trip too). Which reminds me, when are we doing the Room to Read sale??

Grande Poobah said...


Freadful is even worse than dreadful. Truly.

But Why? said...


Thanks for dropping by my blog. I frankly can't see the attraction in spending a grand on a frock, but then again, not being a hedge fund manager, I tend to not find myself spending the odd grand here or there(!)

Were any of the dresses perfect, btw?

Oh, and GP - can I steal "freadful"? It's such an excellent word creation - I don't know how ever managed to express myself without it!

LottieP said...

Hello, But Why?. Luckily for me, none of the dresses were perfect.

GP, I suppose I just had an attack of conscience when I saw the prices of the dresses and wondered what sort of woman would think it normal, acceptable, essential even, to buy one. As you know I'm as much a fan of luxury as anyone: and there's the rub.

The woman who owns the St Bernard probably has a closet full of them.

Mummy said...

Isn't it all a matter of where that $1000 dress comes in amongst everything else that someone does?

As someone who has spent next to nothing on clothes for the past year, I am really looking forward to spending a serious wad of cash soon - does it make me a bad person that Lane Crawford will benefit from my need to have very nice things (as will Hugo Boss, Stella Mac etc)?

But at the same time, I have quite a few charities I regularly support, have lent money to a friend who is temporarily strapped for cash, and am saving like hell for my daughter's education.

Perhaps it ain't what you do (or spend) but the way that you do it?

Grande Poobah said...


women like us - that's who.

as an aside i hope the st bernard munched his way through the lot of them!

although i don't think i've cracked the £1000 mark yet on a frock. i do remember the first time i charged through the £100 barrier on a pair of shoes (only about 6 years ago) and now i rarely spend less than that. i try to salve my conscience by then wearing them til they fall apart and then recycling them!

Claire said...

By way of comparison, the dress (how much does something cost to be called a frock?) I wore for my 40th was just under 40 quid from M&S, and very nice it was too. It would have been even nicer had my tummy been flat and my arms toned, but that's another story.

How about having something made for you? That way, I would hope, you don't line the pockets of someone who doesn't need the money. Or get something second-hand...where do the likes of St Bernard woman send their clothes - the ones that haven't been mauled by a frustrated dog - when they've had enough of them?

Having said all that, I would experience a vicarious pleasure going shopping with you in Edinburgh when you're over in August.

LottieP said...

The trouble with St Bernard woman and her ilk (obviously, and completely unfairly, I have developed a towering dislike for on the basis that dogs are good judges of character) is that the dresses will all be size 0 or the even smaller size bird.

Having something made is definitely the way forward.

Anna MR said...

Hei Lottie - hope the perfect dress comes up sooner or later (when's your birthday, anyway?), somewhere. You had me looking through all 22 pages of dresses. On page 21 I found one I'd wear but felt no great overwhelming desire to own. This may speak volumes of me and my dress sense and my wardrobe (currently mainly comprising of various hand-me-downs from my sons, very useful for walking the dog). It was "only" 200-odd €, though. And the site, amusingly, said "Welcome. You are currently in Finland", which I thought very considerate of them to point out.

In case you're interested, I'll leave you the dress in question under my name. Hope you are well.

A xx

LottieP said...

Hello Anna. How do I see your dress? I am intrigued now.

My birthday is in October.

Anna MR said...

Click on my name, Lottie, in the comment above (I've just checked again and it does work) (also the dress still looks like one I'd wear. I might have even started to want it a little bit, so I'd best not look too often).

I'll keep October in mind.


LottieP said...

Thanks, Anna. I knew about that trick, in fact I used it on TPE once a long time ago, which may have started something I couldn't finish, as it always does with him. ;-) I was just being a bit slow on the uptake.

I see what you mean. Very nice, not that expensive, and I suggest you would look fabulous in it. Does that help?

Anna MR said...

Noooooo. Don't say that, Lottie. I am not meant to start wanting the dress - believe me (although thank you, obviously, for the fabulousness-suggestion).

Yes, I learnt/stole that trick from you and TPE, and have become a regular user (it was made impossible for a while, while they were tinkering with the functionings of blogger. I was mighty pissed off, but then it thankfully came back). Not sure whether I should say sorry or thank you...?

I will be back to the friendship thread soon, once I've mentally munched on some of the stuff brought there by your other guests (and you, naturally).