Window Dressing / by Uschi Jeffcoat

Window Dressing 22" x 30" watercolor

Window Dressing
22" x 30"
watercolor

This juvenile European Blackbird was spied outside a Birkenstock outlet store in Germany. My sister and I were on a mission to reclaim for our closets the footwear trend of Birks. I'm old enough now to realize that trends do come and go.

It makes me think of all the labels/trends we spend more money on than we should because of what we feel that thing represents. We believe we are buying quality items that we need. When I was younger,  I needed Guess Jeans, Liz Clairborne bags and Clinique make-up.

And I recognize a pattern. I'm calling it window dressing.

Window dressing obviously refers to the beauty and mindfulness that goes into a window or store front display.

But it can also allude to the misrepresentation of something in order to give a more favorable view.

During a TED talk, cyborg anthropologist, Amber Case, describes that for many of us a second version of ourselves exists in these screens we hold. For example, when we are sleeping, others are interacting with our second "virtual" self such as perhaps our Facebook profiles. Two selves doing opposite things.

And that second self of ours also requires care / time / maintenance.

I'm thankful my adolescent "window dressing" was so much simpler then. There was only one me that needed to appear better than maybe I felt on the inside. 

And so I am asking. How and when does one project an authentic self?

And in another facet, this article from the Wall Street Journal provides a look at the cost of a little physical window dressing in 4 women. (Please note: I am not pointing fingers or judging here . . . I spend my fair share on the lotions and potions.)

But is aging and imperfection considered such a flaw? Or can it be viewed as something unique and individual? How do I as a person define and share beauty?

These are big questions for me. The culture I live in influences me. But so have the women in my life.

The "wall paper" behind this painting is inspired by patterns seen in my German great grandmother's home. It is hand drawn and painted, requiring dedicated time and embracing imperfections. 

Sadly this bird tells a moral of sorts. The young European Blackbird flew into the window of the Birkenstock store. The allure of the false reflection ultimatley harming her.