My two weeks of “gde je mladost ili ludost, tu je i radost” have come to an end. My American friends have gone home, spring break is coming to an end, and I am sad and missing my corgis and humans back in the States (and in Belgium).  On my way back from dropping Cyrus off at the airport today I made a split decision to go to the mall for some retail therapy.

As a woman who was raised in a hyper-consumerism culture (1980s/1990s) in the U.S., I am rather familiar with the concept of retail therapy. The practice of going to the mall to distract oneself from the harsh realities of life is one that is practically spoon fed to us Midwestern middle class gals of a certain era. (Something Taneem and I will talk more about in the coming weeks in our three-part series on fast fashion, feminism, and conscious consumption).

While I was shopping, two thoughts kept coming to mind. My first thought was of the cooking sage (LOVE HER), Carla Hall (of Top Chef and The Chew fame), who always says, “if you’re not in a good mood, the only thing you should make is reservations”.

Even though Carla Hall talks about the importance of cooking with love, I try to follow the concept of avoiding doing things when I am in a bad mood, as the end results rarely produce anything worthwhile*. I should have kept this in mind before I entered the megaplex shopping center full of unwieldy teenagers.

Ušće was hot, noisy, and full of people who seemed to enjoy being together. Additionally, all of the items I have been waiting to go on sale were still marked at full price. This, along with Desigual’s super problematic (nay, fucked up), racist Spring 2016 line (shown in their window display), pretty much set me over the edge.

Spring break is over. All of my friends are gone. The world is a fucked up and terrible place.

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Then, all of the sudden, I caught glimpse of a bright poppy red jacket in the Stradivarius shop. The bold color seemed so out of place for the usual pastels, beige, and whites of the typical Stradivarius clothing color palette. The curious color (at that store) reminded me of a story on NPR a few days ago covered by Yuki Noguchi (LOVE HER). The overall piece was an interesting analysis of job performance and dress. Overall, something to be further unpacked in a future piece.

What I thought of in the hot stinky mall, though, was the part of the story when the author of Style Bible, Lauren Rothman, critiqued of Ms. Noguchi’s wardrobe. The first thing she says is, “the first thing that comes across in what you have here is that there are bold colors, and that is a sign of confidence…”

Confidence. Confidence will make me power through the next two months and finish the second half of this semester. Confidence will help me come to terms with not living near my partner, my friends, my family, and my corgis. Confidence will make fitter, happier, and more productive. Confidence will turn me into the Radiohead robot on OK Computer. I NEED BRIGHT COLORS! I NEED CONFIDENCE!

My search for confidence/bold colors was more of a miss than a hit. This is probably because I don’t necessarily buy into the whole self-help/dress for success myth. That, and I think all I really needed was something to eat and a cold misty walk home from the mall to cheer me up.

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I love my adopted city. Belgrade’s waterfront in the mist.

That being said, what would a post about retail therapy be without the compulsory haul shot?

In closing, I will leave you with the anthem of my early 20s. I swear I screamed, “but you’ll fight and you’ll make it through, you’ll fake it if you have to, and you’ll show up to work with a smile, you’ll be better, you’ll be smarter, more grown up, a better daughter…” in my Volvo station wagon more times than I would like to admit. 2002/03- the years baby emo Sonnet had ALL THE FEELS!

I lied. I will leave you with this video of Jenny Lewis doing the Freddie (with Shelley Long- LOVE HER), because, I love Jenny Lewis, ESPECIALLY Jenny Lewis pre-Rilo Kiley. #troopbeverlyhillsforever #itscookietime

*With an exception to working out- I always kick ass in the gym when I’m pissed off/feeling blue.

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