Feb 062008

Lately I’ve been finding that getting married can be expensive in ways that have nothing to do with flowers, gowns, or caterers.  And I blame this guy:


Denis Diderot was an 18th Century French philosopher who wrote an essay entitled “Regrets on Parting With My Old Dressing Gown.”  In it, he described receiving the gift of a magnificent scarlet dressing gown.  He was delighted with the gift, but after a while, he looked around the well-worn furnishings of his study and noticed they seemed extra shabby in relation to his beautiful dressing gown.  He began replacing the pieces of his study, one by one, with things equally new and fabulous.  Until eventually he found himself nearly broke and sitting in a very stylish, but really quite uncomfortable study, regretting the “imperious scarlet robe [that] forced everything else to conform with its own elegant tone.”

This cycle of replacing old items to conform with something fancier has become known as the “Diderot effect.”

Our first Diderot cycle actually started with Mr. T.  Around the time we got engaged, he started upgrading his casual wardrobe to more stylish attire.  Worried that I’d look dumpy by comparison, I soon started doing the same.  (Luckily, we’re both eBay fanatics, so this process wasn’t NEARLY as expensive as it could have been!)  And of course the Diderot effect can be endless with fashion — after all, HOW could I wear a stylish new shirt with schlumpy old jeans, shoes, and purse???

With the wedding drawing ever-closer, I’ve also begun replacing my pajamas and lingerie.  The old ones simply won’t do for a married lady.  And the home?  Don’t even get me started!  I’ll move to Mr. T’s home after the wedding, and vast amounts of painting, appliance-replacing, and redecorating have suddenly become absolutely, can’t-live-without-it essential.

Has anyone else experienced the Diderot effect in the preparations for your wedding?  In what area(s) of life?

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