Ameriwomen: Do we even have a government anymore? Is this what anarchy feels like? Huh, not as punk rock as I thought I'd be. UPDATE: Apparently the House and Senate are getting along, spurred by a "cute top" exchange between a senator and rep. I made that last part up. UPDATE: Boehner does NOT like said top.
The word of the day is "democracy." And while I wish I could delve into detailed definitions during my vocabulary lessons like resident genius, Rio, I'm going with a very broad and happy understanding of the term: inclusivity, egalitarian, STUFF FOR EVERYBODY.
I think beauty products are a very egalitarian, depending how you look at them. I visually consume luxury brands probably more than most women who can actually afford to buy it, but keep a healthy distance. Some women, poisoned with the notion that in this day and age everything is available for the taking, have a real problem with this, and spend beyond their means so that they can feel as though they're players in this weird, phony uber-rich social sphere. In reality, they're just participant-observers in luxury culture. They study it, take notes, Instagram their findings, and try to play along, but their time will run out as the bills pile up and the people that can actually afford that lifestyle giggle from the decks of their yachts in Corsica while passing the blunt back to Rihanna.
Don't get me wrong, I feel that urge to have. I appreciate the perfect hand-stitches on an Hermes bag and the way their scarves drape so exponentially more elegantly than all the others ever. I love running my fingers across the embossed Chanel logo and hearing the sturdy click as I open and close my Soleil Tan compact. But the thing is, I can afford the >$100 price of the Chanel compact, I cannot and will not spend SO much money on a luxury item for the sake of it being a luxury item that it effects other things I want to spend my money on. Like food or Hulu Plus.
Beauty products totally help satiate that urge to have luxury items while being comfortably within reach for many women that this kind of stuff matters to. (Let's take a moment to acknowledge that real issues exist and that luxury goods, even beauty products are not essential by any means. Oh god, I'm going to get fired for saying that.) And oftentimes the quality is such that the extra expense is justifiable. You can even find inexpensive dupes that recreate an iconic designer color. Peridot nail polish, anyone?
But FTW, sometimes we want to accessorize. Wanna do that with Chanel, MJ, or Valentino? Pretty sure that even if they did make socks, they're not going to fit the bill when it comes to shiny, luxurious designer accessorization, because you probably can't reasonably afford a designer handbag on a semi-regular basis. Enter: barrettes, headbands and yes, scrunchies. A studded barrette is the sole object from Valentino's collection less than $200.
Sure, buy a designer barrette or many designer barrettes because you can actually afford to and you really need to fill that designer void. That's one reason why I considered them democratic, although the $400 LV clip and $2,500 feathered Chanel version feel a little like I'm being spat on by a Greek shipping heir.
The real reason why they're democratic is because you can't really improve upon them, no matter how much you pay. (Unless you consider a logo slap an improvement.) And honestly, who looks to hair clips as a signifier of wealth? The reality is that you're probably using the exact same bobby pins and Goody elastics as your favorite socialite-cum-model, and that the hardware on your run-of-the-mill spring-open French barrette or snap clip is no less quality than the kind used on Chanel's. (HA! Sorry, I'll stop the "-cum-"s.)
They're almost a commodity in the sense that everybody needs them, but unlike toilet paper, they can be REALLY FREAKING CUTE.
I got these giant star snap clips for $1 at the bodega down the street from my crappy apartment, and I look like an elegant and fabulous disco queen. If that's not democracy my friends, then what is it? Well I guess it's technically a monarchy now.
Have you ever purchased a designer trinket-type accessory just to get your luxury fix? Somebody please tell me they have a Hermes scrunchie.