Saturday, December 26, 2015

My own legacy...timeless and fresh

Dear Michael Kors®,
My postcard as a frequent shopper

I’ve had this fascination with you for a few years now, coveting your stellar bag designs, wrapped in soft leather, and so many other fun mediums that you, as the creative designer and artist, have made just for me.

Or at least that’s my justification for why I always needed just one more bag or pair of shoes to complete my perfect wardrobe.

Truth be told, as with all high end items that fall more under an indulgent “nice to have” budget versus the magical storytelling of the confident woman, who deserves to have it all, proving myself worthy of these steep price tags is little more than a marketing ploy to get me, the consumer, to spend more.

Oh, but how I have loved your marketing magic…drawing me into your “legacy” that says I don’t have to give up anything…to remain timeless and fresh.

I’m afraid this is where we must call it quits Mr. Kors®.  I respectfully disagree with your logic, though I adore your marketing prowess and admire the smart business model for which you run your business.

Please don’t get me wrong…I am completely sold on the notion that I don’t have to give up anything to be comfortable, timeless and fresh.  I have, however, taken a little creative license in redefining exactly what it means to “have it all.”

Here’s how I turned your “legacy” into a working model to live by in my life:

Make conscious daily choices, to ensure you stay on the right path.

Focus and continuously reevaluate your mindset…critical to the success of your life is to ensure that you have evaluated and assessed your basic needs and are thinking in the right frame of mind to appropriately sift your thoughts in a way that will produce the best results, customized to fit you.

Take a wide, sweeping approach.  I started in my closet, beginning with handbags still wrapped in new packaging, waiting to become a timeless classic and part of my style and wardrobe.  Once my inventory ran into double digits, I knew immediately it was time to trim the fat and bring this lifestyle back down to the level I’d enjoyed in my youth…one every day purse and a few fun bags just in case.  I carefully wrapped the dust covers, piling about a dozen “fresh and sexy” bags into a box, with a resolve I didn’t even know I possessed.

Over time, I had, indeed, created my own storyline to support the over-indulgence of a bad purse habit, with a bad shoe habit pulling a close second.

Last month, my storyline had a plot twist, which included transforming my lifestyle into a single income (overnight). 

I have considered it a unique opportunity to reassess that fabulous life Michael and others have promised me I deserve…and take a glance back on some of the wisdom of my youth. I found this to be an exception to the rule that with age comes wisdom. I had to go back to my childhood and youthful twenties to sharpen my style and find a new legacy for the future.

I love shopping and spending…I love the satisfaction of pulling new tags off of purses, clothing, and shoes.  Some people think you need to wash clothes before wearing them.  But I get a secret satisfaction in pulling a new tag off a suit or shirt, knowing that it is brand new and I am its first owner.

I have spent a fair amount of my life making tight budgets work and being the thriftiest of shoppers.  As a kid, the Salvation Army was one of the boutiques my mom and dad frequented to make ends meet and cloth four growing kids.  I guess that’s why I take this secret pleasure in leaving new tags on clothing I’ve bought on sale out of season, so that I can enjoy knowing it really is something new just for me.

My Pop (grandfather) had a true utilitarian mindset.  He had no room for excess.  He believed that everything in his home and in his barn should serve a purpose in some way. He was a railroader and as he slid into the role of farmer after retirement, he continued to wear his railroad work shirts, threadbare from decades of use.  His closet was just as sparse, with maybe one dress shirt and a tie…though I’m struggling to remember a time he ever put either on. 

I never understood his simplistic way of life, his legacy…until now.

My home is neither sparse, nor utilitarian.  I’m creative and have a great appreciation for old world craftsmanship, including antique furniture, rustic mason jars, and so many more treasures I’ve rescued from yard sales, auctions, and admittedly, a few items that had great “curb side” appeal (translation:  someone threw something away and I saved it from Rumpke’s landfill).  Don’t judge me!  I’ve had several of these said items admired in my home, a few I’ve sold for a profit, and a few that were reclaimed by the curb upon realizing they were indeed useless.

I think I could be considered a hipster of sorts, if I wasn’t sandwiched between the Gen X and Gen Y nations. Growing up in the 70’s, there was a stigma attached to people like me.  It was neither cool nor trendy to shop thrift stores for one’s wearing apparel (but I have always shared Macklemore’s thoughts on “popping tags” and adore him for making thrift shopping trendy). 

My current wardrobe is a blend of new and “vintage”…I’ve never completely released my past shopping habits or that of my mom’s before me.  I think it’s funny to think about a song that describes a way of life for so many people. 

If you consider family heirlooms, items carefully treasured for generations, you’ll see a parallel with those of us not fortunate enough to have had many items handed down…so we saved other family heirlooms and made them our own.  The nice part about swapping family heirlooms, with no sentimental value is that it takes next to nothing to change up a room and swap out nearly new for old…again and again.

My newest channel for new and old…and new again?  EBTH.  That’s “Everything But the House” (, an online auction site for buying and selling estates, collectibles…just about anything you can think of, including kitchen sinks. 

So when I decided to pass on a little bit of my Michael Kors® legacy, EBTH was my first stop.  I consigned to sell several purses and was pleased to learn that the love of Michael Kors® living was not unique to me…turns out there are a lot of people who like those soft leather handbags.  My first check was a tidy sum and I felt no seller’s remorse for having lightened my closet.

Onward! I continued throughout the house, looking for more lifestyle items that had outlived their usefulness for my new standard of living.  Next stop? Waterford®!  Ah, what is it about crystal that makes us want to collect and save these sparkling fragile pieces?  In the 15 years that I’ve collected Waterford® champagne glasses, I think I’ve actually pulled them out and used them to serve at a party maybe one time.  Because I lived in fear of a chipped rim that would render them worthless with a single toast! 

Six sets of champagne flutes went off to the auction block…and I have a check coming in the mail soon that will be put to better use than crystal gathering dust on a shelf.

I’m still taking inventory in my home, deciding what I need, what I want, and what no longer serves a purpose.  Perhaps I’m not as far away as being my grandfather’s granddaughter as I thought…I feel a little utilitarian mindset bleeding through.  I find that in life, it’s important to pause from time to time to take inventory and assess the net worth for the part that counts the most…the part of yourself that no one else can put a price tag on…the part that begins and ends with a feeling of contentment that costs nothing to pass on as a legacy to others.   Oh, and hey Michael Kors®, this one’s on me and I hope you like my sense of style and humor!  I took it from your playbook...

Cheers to defining your own legacy!


  1. What a great message and written with such a terrific wit and lovely style!! Thank you, Mary. This is timeless, but also particularly meaningful during the most special of holidays that is becoming way too commercial. Terrific posting!!

  2. Thanks, Lisa! Means a lot coming from you...I'm walking in high cotton!