"I found myself growing a budding sense that every exchange has a dollar value, and everything has to be evened up." THIS. Only, for me, the calculation was always re: dad and the kid from his second marriage. Because when he bitches over child support, and your mom's cleaning toilets for a living, and then he's lavishing gifts and vacations on the new family, there's no way not to turn love into a dollar calculation, and always come up short. The OPs post is interesting, because from what I've seen (and the stats), it's mainly women who fare far, far worse in divorce. They've usually lost years in the workforce due to childrearing, so have a large wage gap to overcome, and that's only if they're able to go back to work. With two kids under 5 and outdated qualifications, it made no sense for my mom to put us in expensive childcare, so she stayed home and raised us on state benefits. Meanwhile, my dad was off getting married, rising at work, combining two healthy household income, and acting like child support was a privilege, not a right. Flash forwards 20 years, and he has a pension and savings, and mom is barely scraping by on a state pension, which I'm doing my best to supplement. Me, bitter and mercenary? However did you guess. *hollow laughter*
I moved to LA recently (and by that, I mean over a year ago) and haven't seen a dentist yet. Recommend yours please!
It's insecurity about my future that keeps me from Buying a Lot of Stuff. Even during the span of college, I saw two industries I had aspirations in -- the music industry, and print media -- both spin into their crash, and now, 7 years later, I can't trust that the field in which I'm currently working won't also suddenly crater. Millenials have also seen a lot of housing markets crash, meaning that we don't share the idea of property as an investment as other generations (mistakenly?) have. Ten years ago, it was about starter homes, and working your way up the property ladder, but now, people seem lucky if they're not underwater on their mortgages, and that makes me very dubious about ever buying a home for anything other than the value I'll get out of living there. Also! We need mobility for this ever-changing job market.
@goldstar oh, should say, pubbed novelist, YA.
@blair *raises hand*. Is there a way Mike can exchange our emails, mine is firstname.lastname and I'd prefer to keep it off-thread.
@Jennifer Roehm@facebook Indeed! I just got an adorable pelican-print dress from Dorothy Perkins (that may well have been a rip-off of Charlotte Taylor for Anthro). Plus: $50, minus: the back seam ripped wide open after 3 wears and I had to mend by hand. Sigh.
This is the advantage to being an unpopular reclusive book-nerd all through school (that mandates uniforms). I grew up on welfare, but thanks to the fact I didn't really have friends to go visit/sleepovers with, it never really registered to me that getting all your clothes from thrift stores/ hand-me-down sacks from family friends was out of the ordinary. I was a scholarship kid in a private school, and then switched out to public school when I was 13 by choice, but luckily (?) I remained fairly insulated from comparisons by my own anti-social tendencies until I was able to get a part-time job and buy some of my own things. Looking back now, I remember how excited I was when a new haul of the cast-offs/outgrown clothes would arrive. New stuff! Which I guess is also testament to my mom's strength in keeping all of the financial struggle and anxiety hidden from us, so we never knew any better.
@Faintly Macabre I agree, so much of the stock is way overpriced compared to say, Gap (which is a pretty good approximation of a lot of their drapey cotton tanks) and style-wise, I rule out 90% of anthro's stock due to over-fussiness and/or bad color palettes. But then, I find the occasional gems I adore more than anything in other stores -- a chiffon maxi skirt in neon pink, a watercolor-style dress, the best basic pencil skirt -- and it's worth the effort to stalk them into the sale. Personally, I don't have the time or passion for thrifting to find the unusual or quirky pieces, and hate ordering online without being able to try for size, so even though I find their pricing absurd, (sales)Anthro is my best route to more distinctive outfits. Coming over from Europe, there's definitely a gap here between the H&M /f21 level of more disposable trends, and the J Crew/Banana Republic/Anthro price levels. I grew up with stores like Oasis, Warehouse, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and, yes, Topshop (although their sizing never suited me) filling that middle bracket of more interesting, design-led clothes that were better made but still relatively affordable. $30 shirts, $60 dresses. Although, that was 10 years ago, sob. Now there's, what, Zara? It's too businessey.
$150 dresses are way out of my league, but Anthro consistently puts out unusual/dramatic dresses and skirts that I love. If you're like me, and want certain items, the secret is RELIGIOUS STALKING OF THE SALE SECTION. If you leave it to browse the sales section when you happen to drop by the store, you've left it waaay too late: only dregs linger on the rack. Sales usually go up Tuesday night online, so: 1. Stack your wishlist with things you like, 2. Log on Tuesday morning, see what's been reduced, 3. Call your local store first thing to have them hold the items and sizes you want until you can make it in to try them on. 4. Enjoy your cheap, lovely sales scores. They also do a ridiculous sale twice yearly where they drag everything out of the stock room and take an extra percentage off, which is how you score those $250 dresses for $40. People debate the quality/value, but I find their items so much better made than H&M and even Zara. Decent stitching, good linings, silk and cotton. Sale pricing takes it to Banana Republic-level, which is acceptable for a multi-use dress or well-tailored skirt (but not the ugly, ugly layered ruffled chiffon things). Anthro also have a great little-known policy of price adjustment: if the thing you buy gets a price drop within 14 days, you can go in and ask for a refund on the difference. Even counts for sale items getting further discounts. All of the above doesn't negate the hideous original pricing and aspirational brand, nor the 70% of crazy-ass kaftan designs, but it does let you get the occasional lovely thing for half-way decent prices!