The current downsizing trend isn’t just a result of the lousy economy (even though that’s what forced me and my family to downsize). I think the buying boom of the previous 40+ years has disappeared because there just aren’t enough beautiful things to buy.
I think about this when I go shopping for linens, as I did the other day. I needed some new washcloths as ours had gone all stiff, probably from my elderly dryer getting too warm for modern washcloths with their very specific washing instructions that including washing and drying on cool; my dryer doesn’t have a cool cycle, and we take hot showers, so modern washcloths are pretty much doomed once they get here.
While looking for the 4/$5 washcloths, I saw the towels, sheets and curtains; boring, all of them. They’re either in solid colors or bland prints. Gone are those pre-21st century days when I struggled to choose between bright floral prints (like those by Vera), tiny Laura Ashley-type stripes, and bold geometric designs.
I assume much of what we find in the stores these days is the result of uninspired, crank-them-out-as-fast-as-you-can far Eastern manufacturing. Once, designers grew up studying art and color theory, but now I’m thinking the prints come from the choices on some design software. Boring! No wonder I can hardly remember the last time I was tempted to buy something in a store. In fact, when department stores send me one of those “Get $10 worth of our stuff free” cards, I usually can’t find anything I want and come out empty-handed.
Young people have grown up in a world where everything looks the same. They have no idea of the choices we once had. It probably doesn’t matter, as so many of them are loaded down with student loan debt, and they pay so much in rent and to keep a smartphone going that they don’t have money left to go shopping anyways. I suppose the plus side is that it’s easy to live a minimalist lifestyle when you don’t see much you want.
But I think we all lose when beauty disappears.
Vintage Laura Ashley bedding