Updated: Sep 11, 2020
No one is hated more than the "poor little rich girl,” the girl who seems to have a stunning amount of wealth, celebrity, and freedom, but squanders her privilege with moral or material excess. Why do we hate those who seem to have it all?
Morals aside, we appear to have forgotten that money does not buy class. Class, at least in America, can be created, even if one wasn’t born into privilege. One time-tested method for effectively creating and presenting ourselves to all tiers of society is through sewing our own wardrobe. No other skill can transform the art of presentation and creative individual expression more than making and wearing our own fashion creations.
Class is related to image, and our best impressions can be created if we take some time to think about our presentation. Even if funds are tight, you still have a chance to create your own Cinderella story using a needle and thread.
Instead of spending our attention on the moral shortcomings of the elite, it is our opportunity, as ordinary women, to create the elegance we wish to see in society. By paying close attention to two things, manners and dress, you’ll be able to present yourself to all milieus of society.
This is where I ask you, dear reader, to reconsider your wardrobe and your spending habits. Ignore the trends.
Today’s irony is: the poor-girl isn't dressed in rags; instead she drowns in excess; she owns a closet full of cheap, off-the-rack clothes with cheap accessories that would amount to a large percentage of her annual paycheck. Her idea of wealth is, “quantity over quality." By comparison, the elegant woman shows reticence with her pocketbook and saves her pennies until she can pick the finest she can afford. Her closet contains high quality items. "Quality over quantity" is her mantra. She believes it is better to own one pearl than a string of potatoes.
Let us transfer this same attitude over to our sewing goals as well. Yes, it is fine to make quick and easy outfits from cheap fabrics, but at least once in a while, consider that extra special fabric and extra special pattern that may cost a little extra. You may be surprised that you’ll be able to afford higher quality by saying, “no“ to the lesser quality outfit you would have otherwise made.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, why not allow time to pass in between paydays before splurging on a special fabric or pattern? Consider using the extra time between projects to sew slower and more elegantly by using hand-sewing methods or designer couture methods. Why not try to learn and use the methods that celebrity designers used? You will gain valuable skills, pass the time productively between paydays, and have a special outfit at the end of the month.
It would be safe to say that most of us cannot or will not agree to afford Paris Haute Couture. The good news is that paying jaw-dropping prices does not define your femininity or elegance. It isn’t necessary to invest in a $20,000 custom collared shirt in order to look elegant, especially if you are, or are willing to make the effort to become, a skilled seamstress. Look for high-quality, timeless designs and use the finest fabrics you can afford. Put in your best effort when constructing and recreating.
The biggest investment you can make with your wardrobe is the ability to say “no,” and to learn to save for the more high-quality items that will help you create the luxurious look you are seeking.
The excess brought on by both the “poor” and the “poor-little-rich-girl” boils down to taste. They are both symptoms, not an identity. Both can be remedied by saying a two letter word: no.
Let us reference both girls as a cautionary tale when we decide how we spend our hard earned dollars and how we spend our sewing time.