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Wednesday, 15 July 2009


I like cashmere.
This is not hedonism on my part, I am severely, cripplingly allergic to wool from sheep, but as an adult thrift-store habitue -- naturally I never encountered the fabric in my non-wealthy childhood, which has been followed by my non-wealthy adulthood -- I discovered I liked cashmere.
Veni, vidi, visa, I came, I saw, I charged.
It's incredibly warm yet light, it feels nice, and I don't look like Joseph Merrick after wearing it.

But other than from a thrift store, or the "Last Chance" rack at Land's End, (whence I nabbed two cashmere tunics a couple years ago for $4.78 a piece, red for Christmas no matter how cold and drafty the loft, and white for Easter, who cares what gale howls as we watch the fire being blessed? ) it has never occurred to me to purchase any, not at a real store at a real price.

Of course, like many high-end consumer products, the democratization of extravagance of the past couple decades, (a democratization no doubt built on the backs of the third world poor,) it has trickled down into venues that cater to the merely middle class.

But the rich, you will always have with you.

Anyway, a friend brought this phrase in a fashion review to my attention - You might think a gray cashmere cardigan is a gray cashmere cardigan. But this gray cashmere cardigan is almost a thousand dollars. There are surely reasons for this: the rare Italian sheep are massaged by virgins and fed opals, perhaps.

I LOOOVE that. Because it perfectly encapsulates and mocks the world of luxury goods pricing, and the sensibilities behind the actual purchase of such arbitrarily exorbitantly priced objects.

Strangely, I don't find the fetishization of luxury goods, a constant in fashion and lifestyle journalism anywhere near as disturbing, and ultimately repulsive as the current spate of articles extolling frugality as if it were some cute fad like big sunglasses or ballet flats, which those who don't need to practice it might nevertheless like to try on for fun.

Incidentally, tightwad that I am, if anyone else is similarly inclined, (to thrift,) and similarly fond, (of cashmere,) I have a tip to offer.
The week after Christmas, your local Goodwill or Salvation Army shop is more than likely to have brand new, somewhat extravagant merchandise -- rejected gifts that the recipient couldn't even be bothered to wear once to give evidence of gratitude.

O the times, O the mores....
Addendum: the delicious description of the possible provenance of the bizarrely overpriced substance was by Cintra Wilson, and there's plenty more, (witty remarks, that is,) where that came : her review of a boutique.

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