Friday, May 06, 2011

Coup de Coeur

best. day. ever.

Vivienne taught me years ago that it is essential to only buy things you really love - for which you experience that elusive "coup de coeur".  This is a phrase I particularly love, because while it is generally understood to mean love at first sight, it has a more... physical?  feeling about it.  After all, a coup de pied means a kick, and a coup d'etat means overthrowing the government, so to me, a coup de coeur is like a kick in the heart, or your heart being overturned.  What we're looking for here is a really deeply felt, visceral reaction.

And this is something that I've struggled with for a long time.  I've always been very influenced by other people's opinions about the right things to own and wear, and so I've frequently found myself thinking that I really loved something, when it was more a "well, I'm supposed to love this, so I think I do".  Big mistake.  Costs money, costs time, keeps you from having the things that would really make you happy.

So what wisdom can Vivienne and I share with you about having a firm grasp on your inner coup de coeur?

  1. Look at things your dreamed about purchasing, and then found disappointing.  What went wrong?  Try to learn from these errors.
  2. Conversely, look at things which you weren't really certain about buying which turned out to be absolutely perfectly brilliant for you.  What was going on there?
  3. Don't rush into purchases.  I've started to trick myself - if I see something that I'm thoroughly convinced is perfect for me, I force myself to wait one week to buy it.  More and more, I find that I don't even remember what that fabulous item WAS after seven days.  That's a depressing but educational experience.
  4. When you have something in your life that's not ideal for you, do your level best to get rid of it as soon as reasonably possible.  (I'm not saying that you should recycle the majority of your possessions, but there are somethings that you know you'd be happier without).
  5. When you get around to replacing the item you eliminated in step 4, think long and hard about WHY that thing wasn't right for you, and what you now prefer in its place.  You may find that you don't need to replace anything; you could be better off with nothing for a while, until your preferences have settled down and you can clearly feel the cry in your heart for the perfect thing.
How does this work out for others?  Do you share my bad habit of making foolish purchases?  


  1. I agree with every word. I have saved for an item and then been very disappointed. Conversely, I have picked up an item on a whim -- black leather trousers and been overjoyed and made them a part of my style. I find that, however, the majority of the time, my impulse buys or thrift store purchases are the ones that get donated. More often than not, if I buy something new it is because I've put a ton of thought into it and it usually works.

  2. Unlike Kristi, I've had great success in thrift stores, but that is because I am as critical on the fit and flatter of a $3 garment as I would be on a $300 garment.

    Until recently, I did share your habit, but my foolish purchases were in skincare and cosmetics. I rarely wear more than mascara and some concealer, so multiple lipsticks, blush compacts, and eye shadows no longer have a place in my vanity. Yes, I'm still tempted, but I gently remind myself that good skin is the best cosmetic, and I put my money towards sunscreen and the occasional facial.

  3. I find I have great resolve and contentment with what I already have (and that is becoming less and less through minimizing) until I go to a store--any store. Marketing and advertising are hefty foes. It is a constant fight not to pick up something cute (stationary, new nail polish, home decor item, handbag--whatever)and throw it in the cart. But now my mind is slowly being trained so as I walk around a store with random cuteness in my cart, I really look at the items and start the mental inquisition: Do I really NEED it? Will I still LOVE it tomorrow, next week, next month? Is it only going to add to CLUTTER in my home? Nine times out of ten, the item doesn't make it to check-out. My newest and scariest adversary, however, is Etsy--a plethora of vintage cuteness...NOT GOOD.

    Thanks for tips! These shall help me overcome the madness. xxBliss

  4. I made a list of all the clothing Items I've owned before that I truly loved and it was a very small list. It made me think and it was interesting to see what actually made the list, a great silk robe, riding boots, random things like that. It's disturbing to know I've spent money on items that I don't really love and it's made my shopping filter that much stronger.

  5. This is exactly the strategy I use (which I now call the Planned Purchases Database), and it has eliminated 90% of the buyer's remorse I used to feel.

    I'm currently agonizing over a pre-owned luxury watch to purchase for my 40th birthday this year, as well as a nice jewelry roll to add to my luggage ensemble. I can't afford to buy cheaply, and I can't afford to make mistakes.

    I routinely have tear sheets from magazines of things I like, and thanks to Google images, have several files on my computer of items that appeal to me. I research the cost, I live with the images for a while, I critically analyze whether "the item" will flatter my natural beauty (also know as my big rear end), and then I make a plan to purchase the item or move on. And by plan, I mean determining how my budget can pay for the purchase and what other previously planned-for item must wait or be deleted.

    It's hard core, but I'm sure Vivienne already does this mentally in her head. How else can she maintain such a beautiful, expensive wardrobe that is highly edited and lasts for years?

  6. Gina, sorry, I forgot people here haven't been following my blog -- I have had great success with thrift store items -- like my leather pants, my vintage fur coat, my little black dress, my velvet blazers, etc (all on my blog!) but I also have made my greatest mistakes there -- by not adhering to my LIST. That is what does me in every time -- not the thrift store shopping. It's just that I'm more likely to buy somethign off list from a thrift store. Occasionally, as in my leather pants, I hit the jackpot!

  7. At the risk of this never being read by anyone, since I am starting from the beginning of these ABSOLUTELY fascinating and thought-provoking blogs, I have a little comment.
    One of the reasons so many of us end up with too much of whatever, be it clothes, make-up, etc. is that we LOVE the hunt. We love the shopping and the search and the catch. However, whenever we have found one item, we feel we must find a new item to hunt for. Now, I have noticed that some women who are incredibly well dressed live in homes that are not at all up to the same standard. I think we should use our talents/interests to make sure every part of our lives follow the same rules of discriminating choices and less is more, from our bedrooms linens to our living room decor, to our kitchen cupboards. If we need to purchase much fewer clothing items we could use some of the "hunting instinct" to improve so many other areas of our lives. Weed out our DVD and book collection, and keep only the ones that we will always love. Throw out all the recipes and keep only a very discriminating selection of the ones we either have perfected, or actually intend to try in this lifetime. I think I am rambling but this may be exactly how "Vivienne" would approach all aspects of her life. I am still confused to whether that is your "nom de plume" or your friend in Paris. So thankful I found you.

    1. Absolument d'accord avec vous, l'harmonie peut aussi exister pour chaque poste important de notre vie. La couleur des murs de la maison ou de l'appartement, le linge de maison ou le choix des fleurs au jardin..