I ran out of perfume a few days ago and needed to find something new. The perfume I have worn for years (okay, the last decade) can only be purchased in certain places that are not close to my home, so I set out to find something new – I figure it was about time. The last time I changed perfumes was before I became a parent… my oldest is now 11. Finding a perfume was harder than I thought it would be – there were so many choices, many of which made me gag. I like a perfume that will not hang out in an elevator after I get out of it – something that can be smelled slightly, but is not overpowering and nauseating. Being that I am not the type of person that is normally drawn to name brand items, I must admit that I was a bit surprised with where my perfume procuring journey landed me. Yes, the perfume I liked the most (or tolerated the best) was made by Prada. I definitely do NOT consider myself a Prada girl. As if to add insult to the injury my ego had been caused by my pull towards Prada, the perfume itself was called “Candy”. What sensible professional sprays themselves every morning before work with something called “Candy”??? Apparently, now I do.This got me thinking about name brands and non-name brands and what people gain from heading towards these labels (and what the labels mean to different people). I must confess, while no one would ever – I mean EVER catch me in a pair of Prada shoes, I am very loyal to Uggs, Dr. Martens, Keens and Birkenstocks. I am my own brand snob that chooses comfort and durability
Is it okay to buy fancy, expensive brand name items???
My first question is, “Can you afford it?” My next question is, “What are you getting out of it?”
A few years ago I really wanted tall Ugg boots, but did not have the money to purchase the brand name. I thought about these boots for over two years and instead bought fake sheepskin boots – the quality of which was not great. I was not comfortable walking in them, they were falling apart, and eventually I gave them away as they were not what I was looking for. Just 10 months ago I finally treated myself to the pair of Uggs I had fantasized about- they are so comfortable and amazing and I wear them as often as the weather allows. In this case, there was a huge quality and comfort difference in buying a brand name. There was also a long-term cost savings as the cheaper products required continual replacement, whereas, this product should last a very long time.
Fake Rolex Watches
I knew someone once who was a rather complicated being. He had an issue with differentiating truth from reality and would often tell rather elaborate, highly embellished stories. It seemed he needed to tell these stories in order to gain attention and feel important. He had people believing all sorts of things about him that were not true. When I really think about it, he must have been living a really awful life and had the self-esteem of a rock. Anyhow, this person really wanted a Rolex watch. He could not afford a Rolex watch, but wanted, or rather NEEDED people to think he could. When travelling abroad, he had the opportunity to purchase a fake Rolex and he fell in love with the watch. He told some it was not real, but also allowed many to think it was. I felt the watch was so outwardly symbolic of who he was as a person – creating stories on the outside, but really something quite different on the inside. (Others were less polite and said fake and shiny on the outside and cheap on the inside). Eventually I think that he took work in a place where he was able to purchase himself a real Rolex. I wonder if it brought him the happiness that he thought it may. I find that happiness just does not come from things, it comes from within, understanding yourself and how you relate to the world around you.
Which brings me back to my Prada perfume. Why do I find it okay to wear certain brands of shoes, but feel strange about Prada perfume? Perhaps because in my mind the shoe brands I chose symbolize sensibility, durability, stability, and for some reason Prada brings something else to my mind. (Of course, the first thing is the book/ movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”) Maybe that is the problem – the associations the media makes for me. Any particular item or thing is not inherently good or bad, what we need to do is question the weight that we choose to give these items. If I like Prada perfume and I can afford to buy it (disclaimer – major sale!) then why should it matter whether or not it has that name? Why does the name need to mean anything? If I do not give the name power, it loses its meaning, at least in my life.
Today, 15 days ’til 40, I know that in my life I really do not need or seek out fancy name brands. What I need is family, love, belonging, an opportunity to help make this world a better place, challenges that push me to learn and grow, and a sensible, comfortable pair of shoes.