So this post was supposed to go up yesterday, but didn’t. Sorry.
Anyway, yesterday’s Song of the Day was “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and I gave as my reason that it went along with something the song’s made me think about lately – the line, “Yo, that’s fifty dollars for a t-shirt.” It made me think about the one time I actually DID spend fifty dollars on a t-shirt. Said shirt is in the photo above.
It’s a Dirtee Hollywood shirt, which I purchased at the line’s launch in NYC. Normally, I’m not at “fashion” events, but this was less a fashion event than it was an art event, and I was covering it, because the line of shirts was from one of my favorite artists, Molly Crabapple.
Fifty dollars is A LOT for a shirt. In fact, I think it’s way too much for a shirt. Basically, if a shirt is gonna cost more than $20, it had better be lined with real gold, or made by hand in front of me.
So, why did I pay $50 for this shirt? Because I wanted to support the efforts of an artist whose work I love, and for whom I have a huge amount of respect. This woman hustles, and her talent and hard work deserve to be rewarded. When it comes to giving a Molly Crabapple venture $50, it suddenly doesn’t seem like a lot of money. Suddenly it seems worth it. It’s the same reason why I’ll support a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo project, or buy access to a TV show (or watch it live), or spend any amount of money on books, film, theater, or artwork. Because I believe this stuff is important.
But this has to do with priorities, too, and mine aren’t everyone else’s. I have friends who LOVE fashion, and for whom $50 for a t-shirt is worth it, because of the quality of the garment, how it’s made, the materials used, etc. Fashion IS art, or it can be, and I know that. I suppose I balk at spending a lot of money on clothes because everyone needs clothes. And the fact that there’s a separation between “good” clothes, which cost more, and “less-good” clothes, which more people have access to, is a bit upsetting. As if only people who can afford it deserve to dress well, or have clothes that won’t fall apart in a matter of weeks.
Then again, I believe art is just as necessary as clothing. One protects a person’s body, the other a person’s soul. So maybe neither should be prohibitively expensive?
Then again, to make something well takes work, and don’t those people deserve to get paid?
Then again, I think most people who buy designer clothes don’t actually buy them because they’re “well-made.” They buy them as a status symbol; for the privilege of being able to say, “I own a Gucci/Louis Vuitton/Calvin Klein [insert article of clothing here],” and this seems a bit disingenuous to me. Because, you know, Fruit of the Loom t-shirts are made pretty well, and you can get those in a three-pack.
Then again, art can be purchased the same way. Not because you actually care about art, but as a status symbol. “Look how cutting-edge I am. I totally support this edgy art.”
So, I’ll throw it out to you. When would you spend “fifty dollars on a t-shirt?” What are your extravagances, and what makes them worth it to you? Is there actually such a thing as Too Expensive, or is it all subjective and a matter of priorities? Tell me in the comments below!