Sometimes I think that all the years I’ve been a fashion and beauty writer and editor, plus all the decades I’ve been a serious consumer, that I should find it easy to shop and a snap to zip through the sales honing in on exactly what would support and enhance my wardrobe and by extension what I define as my style. But that isn’t always the case. I have to be careful not to constantly repeat what I already own. One thing I do know though is that when I have veered off course — strayed from my classic style — it has almost always been a mistake and those mistakes are hanging in my closets.
I might go all whimsy with an accessory, but the mere idea of being whimsical with my clothes makes me start to twitch. I just can’t do it. In the long ago past I tried, but even in my youth it just didn’t work for me. If the very definition of style and elegance is comfort and confidence, I need my “uniform” strictly defined as tailored although that doesn’t mean that a collar or a cuff couldn’t have a ruffle or a lace top couldn’t be peeking out of a tuxedo jacket or a blazer. The jacket makes all the difference. The jacket holds it all together for me. I could, and have, worn a black sequin pencil skirt, because the shape and length fit into my image of me and I had the occasions to go with it. I often wore it with a black cashmere turtleneck sweater and major sparkly chandelier earrings.
Therefore to keep myself on course when those red tags beckon with tantalizing markdown percentages, I have a check list I keep in a tiny notebook in my purse. These are the self-imposed rules I try to impose upon myself for all my shopping excursions, but I like to refer to them with concentration when I might be tempted to “experiment” when the price seems right, but the choice would be oh, so wrong.
Here then is my list of rules:
- What is currently in my closet?
- What do I wear over and over?
- Is what I am considering “me”? Does it bolster my concept of my personal style? If it doesn’t, chances are it will languish in my closet.
- Does it fit into my life? Does it fit?
- Will this item make me feel confident and comfortable?
- Does what I’m buying work with at least a half dozen major pieces I already own?
- Do I want to experiment with something totally not me? And, if so, how much of an investment do I want to gamble on the purchase? Never mind, unless it’s an accessory(!)
- Remind myself how clever it is to replace the basics that are always the foundation of a smoothly functioning wardrobe. Replace whatever is looking tired or tattered.
- Is this the “missing piece” that will make several items I already own more versatile and elegant?
- You know how much you love coats. Now’s the time to see if you can find something special. (Oh, wait, I can get a little whimsical with coats. I forgot about that. I do have a fun fashion gene after all.)
- Maybe concentrating on accessories is the best way to go this year.
My goal is to have a simple wardrobe and I think I’ve accomplished that. I want to be able to get dressed without too much thought, pack with ease and own just the right something or somethings for just the right occasion.
What are you buying or planning to add to your wardrobe?