Do you lean more toward Style or Substance?

Some women will wear high heels that actually hurt their feet but that is a small price to pay to look nice. It might be useful to pay them a compliment about their shoes – that may help ease their pain. From my perspective, should I wear stylish shoes that cause pain or average shoes that are comfortable? I’ll choose the latter. Years ago, in the 1970’s, my father-in-law owned a Jaguar. At that time, Jaguars were considered terribly unreliable but they were very stylish. The joke was that you needed two of them as one of them was always in the repair shop. Therefore, he could only drive around half the time in his classy vehicle as the half his Jaguar was in the repair shop. One extreme example of Style or Substance comes from the Ice Bowl in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1967. Many of us remember the temperature was -13 degrees at the start of the game. According to my father, who attended the game, he remembers seeing some fashionably dressed women at kickoff wearing stylish outfits without hats, gloves, or leg coverings. At the end of the first quarter, they had mysteriously disappeared. Interesting, they may have had their 15 minutes of fame by being fashionable at such a momentus event but then missed one of the most memorable football games in history of the NFL. I often see high school girls carry fashionable Vera Bradley bags to school instead of backpacks. Now, in their eyes, they look cool and fashionable but at what cost? It has to put a major strain on their arms and upper body with all the weight. Less fashion conscious and more sensible high school students use backpacks; they may not earn any fashion points using a backpack but the weight of the schoolwork is more evenly distributed throughout the body. In this situation, would you choose Style or Substance? Often I’ll wear my soccer cleats as I mow the lawn and if you saw this for the first time, you’d think I was ready to referee a soccer game or kick around the soccer ball. It looks a little geeky and amuses my kids but it’s functional. The cleats help to loosen up the lawn thereby aerating the soil. No style points earned wearing these cleats but in my mind, it serves a purpose. If you go to your auto dealer with a major repair, the cost could be considerable. Yes, you have free popcorn, yes, you have free coffee, donuts, and bagels not to mention free Wi-Fi so you’re styling at the auto dealer but as the expression goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Thankfully, there’s an alternative. Locate a local grease monkey who could do the same work for half the cost. Of course, ask around for a reputable mechanic. Watch out for any convenience items. Yes, they may have coffee, which could be stale, or food that may not do much for your appetite but focus on why you’re there. Yes, their waiting room might be cramped and crowed, dusty and forget about Wi-Fi. However, if you can save $500 by going to this reputable local mechanic, would you do it? Would you be interested in forgoing all comfort and style to save that much money? We have leather couches in our family room that look very good from a distance but they’re not terribly comfortable. I love the brown color – they are nice looking couches so we’d earn some style points but if you’re looking for substance or comfort, you may want to consider being blindfolded in a furniture store in order to focus on what’s important to you. At a football game during cold weather, you can schlep your own seat cushion from home and be like everyone else at the stadium or you could find some cardboard or newspaper on the way to the stadium and create your own seat cushion. Absolutely no style points using cardboard or a thick newspaper but it provides convenience at no cost and comparable function to the seat cushion. Just hope it doesn’t rain otherwise your cardboard seat cushion could be rendered useless. Sometimes, I’ll wear an average looking dress shirt that feels good but is not overly stylish. Some people whom are into to fashion may rather wear something that doesn’t feel that good but is stylish. What is your preference, Style or Substance? What about Wal-Mart versus Target? Is your shopping experience important to you? When it comes to a discount center, it is very tough to beat Wal-mart’s prices and selection but at what price? Aisles may be narrow, checkout lines long and it can be difficult to find an associate or get the kind of service you need. If you shop at Target, you’re paying a little more for most goods although your shopping experience may be more enjoyable. For those who could afford to shop at store, how much style, or convenience would you be willing to give up to save money? When it comes to cars, I’ll choose a car that is quite reliable, low cost of ownership, and overall a good value. I don’t want to completely forgo anything stylish but it has to be a good value. If it’s too stylish and reliable, it may be less of a good value. You need to determine how much more you’re willing to pay for a stylish vehicle. I can easily tolerate those very comfortable cotton sheets that may not be a perfect match in the bedroom because they are comfortable. That feeling and comfort supersedes any style faux pas I may see or hear. Sometimes, people would rather sit down, have a big meal, get satiated, and not be very active for hours. The pain-pleasure principle may not be equally distributed but regardless, they are so fixated on food that they will go for 10 or 15 minutes of pleasure versus 100 minutes of pain or feeling too full to move. An alternative may be to have a protein or vegetable shake for dinner, it takes minutes to make, you may feel full, but you still may remain productive after your meal. In other words, you can choose the style route of the traditional meal or choose the more substantial route by drinking a protein shake. The type of food or how it is presented may earn you style points, however, it may limit how how much alertness or activity you gain by this type of meal.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

2 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    I like the fact you have included some alternatives. A basic principle I live by is "You can spend your money any way you want, but you can only spend it once. There are times when spending more is a better deal than spending less. You do get what you pay for, so style and substance are not always mutually exclusive.

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