Some women fantasize about a hot night with Patrick Dempsey, some women's fantasies involve pool boys or german shepherds, but give me a $150,000 shopping spree any day! In case you're from another planet, that was the amount spent by the GOP on Sarah Palin's wardrobe makeover. (In case that sounds extravagant, remember, it did include accessories as well as a couple of outfits for her family members.) (Which still sounds extravagant to someone like me, whose idea of a splurge is buying something at Old Navy that wasn't on sale . . . ) People on both sides of the political spectrum can argue about 'shopping-gate' til they're blue (or red, depending on party affiliation) - everyone does it, it's a travesty, she needed clothes for different climates, it sends a bad message in a recession, they're donating all the clothes to charity, it's hypocritical to claim to be a WalMart hockey mom when you're wearing Valentino and Manolo Blahniks - but for me the real issue is envy. I would love someone to take me to any store and spend $150,000 on me (hell, I'd be happy with $150!)
The scale of this spree does raise the idea of diminishing returns. It's like wine - I can taste the difference between a bottle of two buck chuck and a $10 bottle, but once you start going from $10 to $100 a bottle, I can't really tell much difference. Likewise, my similarly uneducated fashion palate can tell the difference between a $10 Jaclyn-Smith-For-KMart dress and a $100 dress from Nordstrom, but I don't see a lot of difference between the Nordstrom outfit and the designer one, except that the designer outfits are often weirder-looking. Moms like me are expert bargain hunters out of necessity; the GOP could have hired me or my friends to do the wardrobe makeover for considerably less money and still have Palin looking camera ready. (I just spent $150 at Target and got myself a nice looking sweater set, a purse, 4 pairs of pants for my younger son, 2 dress shirts for my older son, a sweatshirt for my husband, and some groceries!)
I have plenty of other reasons to be incensed about Palin beyond the superficial clothing issue, but at least her shopping spree has given me a great new fantasy. Now, when my husband and I are trying to squeeze in a quickie before the kids get up in the morning and I have 2 minutes to get myself in the mood or lose the opportunity, I'll just think about a GOP strategist taking me to Neiman Marcus, and I'm set!