Lila Dishes for NY Times Sunday Business

August 9, 2010 by Lila Delilah

Of all the purchases you have made in the past year, what really makes you happy? In the New York Times Sunday Business section, Stephanie Rosenbloom argues that maybe all the stuff we have isn’t what makes us happy but rather it’s the experiences.

New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses…

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff.

That may be but we’re going to think twice before trading in our penthouse for a studio or forgoing a Cartier Watch for a trip to St. Tropez.

Of course, some fashion lovers beg to differ. For many people, clothes will never be more than utilitarian. But for a certain segment of the population, clothes are an art form, a means of self-expression, a way for families to pass down memories through generations. For them, studies concluding that people eventually stop deriving pleasure from material things don’t ring true.

“No way,” says Lila Delilah, who writes the popular fashion blog Madison Avenue Spy. “I could pull out things from my closet that I bought when I was 17 that I still love.”

She rejects the idea that happiness has to be an either-or proposition. Some days, you want a trip, she says; other days, you want a Tom Ford handbag.

So, fashion sista, what items do you have that make you happy?


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