Jessica Gross

Mass Production Woes

In people watching on September 4, 2008 at 11:32 am

In fourth grade on Long Island, one of my classmates saw another was wearing the same purple shirt. “Ugh! Britney is wearing my shirt,” she whined. One of the glasses-wearers raised her eyebrows and peered over her rims. “It’s called mass production,” she said.

In the adult world, women still are mortified to find that other consumers have bought the same, factory-made garb. Stereotypically, as seen in movies, the conversation starts with an accusation (“That woman is wearing my dress”), and ends with a reaffirmation (“Well, it looks much better on you”). But it’s not just a movie thing. The other day, as I stood waiting for the bus (why do all of my posts feature the MTA?), I saw another passenger-to-be wearing the same short-sleeved black shirt and silver skirt. I hid behind the bus shelter so she wouldn’t see me. For fifteen minutes.

Embarrassing. Also, dumb. Not just because I (and others who display mass production mortification) should understand that unless we’ve sewn these clothes ourselves, there are other copies floating around. It’s also dumb because we bought clothes someone convinced us are fashionable. We saw them in magazines. We mimicked these magazines. Does every New York City woman think she’s the only person who’s seen Sarah Jessica Parker’s ridiculous, fluffy heels?

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  1. I don’t get it. How come you’re hiding? You’ve got as much right to wear the clothes as the other person….it’s not like a fashion crime has been committed.

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