This post originally appeared on the Positive Publicity Patreon. If you like what you’ve read, subscribe to it today! ❤
I trekked into CVS, parka zipped all the way to the top of my nose, in search for the perfect shades of light blue and peach nail polish. Earlier that day, I had come across the most *darling* manicure on Pinterest, with a smiley face painted onto one finger. I was excited at the prospect of attempting this nail work on my own, and then I stopped myself. I remembered I was about to spend nearly $20 on two bottles of polish, which might not even turn out remotely pretty or would inevitably chip the next day. I stared down at my currently chipped black nail polish, looking like a sad Dalmatian print, and went down a different aisle.
Instead, I purchased 85% dark chocolate and Celestial Sleepy Time tea for less than two bottles of OPI nail polish. A much better and comforting purchase, at least in my eyes.
I began thinking about the idea of “chasing an aesthetic”, which I believe is different than partaking in “flex culture”. Rather, it’s the idea of keeping up with certain vibe, if you will, but not for the sake of showing off one’s wealth, or perceived wealth. Think of the VSCO girls or manic pixie dream girls of yore, to the cottage core or soft girl of today.
Trends come and go, and eventually do come around again. YouTuber Tiffany Ferg, who I have been enjoying immensely, covers this topic to a different degree with her dark side of flex culture video. I highly recommend subscribing to Tiffany if internet discourse and commentary on social media is your thing.
There is a distinction between feeling inspired by something, whether it be art, decor, fashion, whatever, and trying to obtain a certain style that is pleasing to the eye… or to one’s Instagram feed. Whether the purchase is made with the sole purpose to share on social media or for your own private enjoyment, the influence is absolutely there.
And along with the influence, so is the financial impact. I began considering the amount of items I’ve purchased to chase an aesthetic, and the amount of money I’ve wasted. NOW, that’s not to say I haven’t found immense joy in many of these items I’m purchased, as I certainly have. It’s the wasted money for me, man. It’s something I’ll aim to be more cognizant of…hopefully. It can be all too tempting.
Chasing an aesthetic that fully never be obtained has both its financial drawbacks and psychological drawbacks as well I suppose. Striving to curate the perfect home, space, social feed simply isn’t sustainable or good for one’s soul. Allow your ever-changing persona to flourish and expand.