I am a long time reader of Vanity Fair Magazine. I love their articles with their willingness to sponsor thoughtful essays on complicated issues, and their wonderful photography. I get the window into the lives of beautiful people with articles of art collectors and rich folks of all kinds, and party pictures that prove my hunch that all rich people know each other. Their photo essays are beyond compare.
What I read first every month is the "Fanfare" section, with it's capsule profile of a wealthy type - usually a beautiful scion of a wealthy family congratulating him(her)self on having by mighty effort so many personal accomplishments. One part of the feature is "My Stuff" wherein the accoutrements of the Good Life are listed out for those of us who are still shopping on the cheap. Here, for your information, are my own necessities:
Necessary Extravagance: Giant beach towels, Kohl's 1998.
Favorite Place in the World: Camp Doris, Wichita Wildlife Refuge
Jeans: Not Your Daughters Jeans 2009
T Shirt: Bike event freebie circa 2008
Jewelry: Wedding ring from the mall
Obsessed with shoes by: L. L. Bean
Sheets: Pottery Barn on sale + my discount. Previously B B & B
Lipstick: Burt's Bees
Moisturizer: Body Shop
Where do you go for facials: My bathroom
Well, you get the idea. You can go here to see some more elevated "stuff". Now I do understand that I have a good life, even by American standards. I have excellent health achieved in large part by the benefits of heredity and good medical care and nutrition in my youth. I have a good education, ownership in a house, and live in a beautiful place. It is the rare month that finds me having to juggle to get everything paid, even though my (late model, paid for) car seems to need something with distressing frequency. I always have enough food of a kind I like and can always afford my regular meds. What I object to is the concept that this aspirational stuff featured in Vanity Fair is the standard to which we should aspire; a person should want more than just things. Also this is a standard to which 99% of people cannot aspire even though the culture tries to trick us into thinking that spending enough will get us there.