Monday, January 10, 2011

Nostalgia for Sale

Sometimes I forget that stores are trying to sell us something. For me, my biggest weakness is Nostalgia.

Everyone should know that Nostalgia is dangerous. It was originally known as a disease that caused death, illness, and general malaise. 
I feel I am particularly susceptible to this illness. 
Another definition of nostalgia is "a feeling of appreciation for the past or something related to the past, often in an idealized form." 
So yes. That is what I like.


In NYT critical shopper review way back in 2006, it talks about Anthropologie. I recommend reading the article, of course, but this is the part that particularly struck me. 

     "On a philosophical level, there is something about Anthropologie that is well intentioned but makes me profoundly depressed. The old bicycles, the old-fashioned Marvis toothpaste, the etched-glass candleholders, the calico pajama sets, the teacups and saucers -- all are the trappings of a grandparent's or a parent's home. But [those that] shop at longer has access to those homes.
This is where Anthropologie steps in: It helps the shopper create the illusion ... a house with European teacups and flocked bedspreads....The store's philosophy takes the colloquial and sad world of regrets and realities and wraps it up in a swath of vintage calico, tied with a satin bow."
When I go into Anthropologie, I come down with a terrible case of nostalgia. Or in the words of SWPL (note: this website is pretty awful, but it pretty accurately describes my tastes):
"You might have walked past [Anthropologie] a few times at your local mall and wondered how they crammed the interior of a late-nineteenth century barn into a shopping center that was built in 2005. It is the store equivalent of a Wes Anderson film, which certainly helps to explain its appeal, but it is also the most efficient way for white women to look and (hopefully) live like Amélie."


Have you ever been to Tabula Rasa at Trolley Square? They are your "Social Stationers". It is pretty impressive that a "stationers" can actually still exist. They have pretty paper and pretty jewelry and even pretty perfume! They also are charmingly pretentious.

I went in last year, looking for a Moleskin planner. After searching the store to no avail, I found one of the sales people. He was very well-put-together, with long hair pulled back in a pony tail.
I asked, "Excuse me, I have a question."
He answered, "Oh, pray tell".
Pray tell.
Love it.

Again. This is a store built on the idea of nostalgia. They even sell quills and ink and wax and seals. Things that are out of their place in history. 


The mecca of nostalgia.

Ok. I appreciate the past. I think it is beautiful. I hope that at the same time I can appreciate the present, and be grateful about what I have now.

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