August 11, 2009

Old clothes feel new again but new clothes are still tempting!

One of the things most frustrating about not shopping is not that you are stuck assembling outfits from an already overflowing closet. That is actually the fun part of the challenge! But what is most difficult is that in the process of sharpening your instinct for innovation, in viewing each garment as a component in an outfit full of possibilities, you come to see those possibilities everywhere. That skill doesn't suddenly shut down once your closet is out of your eyesight. Instead, you become better equipped to imagine the many ways you could style a garment, if it was already at your disposal. This opens the path to rationalization: "But if it will fit in so well, maybe I DO need it?"

I've gone to three weddings this summer, all of which had different crowds (minus my date, Chris) so I wore the same outfit to all three. I also wore a version of this ensemble last year to two other weddings!

After weeks spent shopping your own closet, you've become intimately acquainted with what you already have, so picturing any additional possibilities yielded when you pair that beloved navy cardigan, your favorite drapey scarf, and the contrasting leather bag with a new piece becomes automated. You can't really shut down the part of your brain that authored creative ways to make old things feel new again. Practicing that process infiltrates how you see new new items, also. Suddenly new things start to again strike you as necessary luxuries rather than adding to your already superfluous excess.

These recent outfits feature pieces I pulled from the back of my closet, except for the skirt on the far right (which was an impulse purchase at f21 while shopping with my sister).
The dresses are all at least a year (the middle two are closer to three years old). The top is four years old. The shoes are all a year old.

It becomes even more complicated when the boundaries of your ban become blurred. "This $20 skirt doesn't count! It was only $20." Or, "I have to buy these undergarments. They're on sale and foundation pieces don't count." Or, "Outnet is having a flash sale and I've never seen 3.1 Phillip Lim dresses selling for this cheap!" The comforting thing about a complete shopping ban is that there are no gray areas. You just don't buy it, no matter the circumstance. Slowly, over time I began allowing the space for gray areas. I'll discuss how my ban fell to the wayside in my next post.


hippyhippychic said...

I always find dressing for weddings tricky, but I like your simple look

Amy said...

I like forcing myself to take a closer look at what I already have in my wardrobe - it makes you be more creative!

Love the bag you've used in your wedding outfit, its gorgeous.

Amy xo

Dream Sequins said...

Extremely well written post, as always. And you look amazing in your wedding guest outfit! I have to say-- I only have a handful of cocktail dresses, which were pricey when I purchased them, but over time, they have paid for themselves, because they are my go to outfits when I have special occasions. It's a very French mentality to buy something of quality and wear it over and over, with maybe different accessories or a styling change or different scarf here or there.


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