Friday, July 18, 2014

Before You Shop, Consider Rekindling the Romance with Your Closet

A corner detail from the Hermes scarf De Tout Coeur.  A gift from Belovedest at least 4 or five years ago?

As we get well and truly entrenched in summer, many of us find our minds wandering longingly toward autumn clothing.  There's something about that whole image of snuggling in front of the fireplace in a big squishy sweater, cup of tea in hand, Golden Retriever at our feet, book of poetry in our lap... (I'm only missing the fireplace and the dog!)

Retailers know perfectly well how we're feeling - in Chicago, autumn clothing is already beginning to hit the stores thick and fast.  It would be terribly easy to wander into a store and pick up a sweater, or a snuggly wool dress, or boots.  OOOOOhhhh, boots....

 (I'm sorry, Southern Hemisphere, it's not lost on me that all of this is backwards for you!)

Let me toss out an idea for your consideration.

Right now, it's entirely possible that you're dreaming/fantasizing about what you're going to buy for the upcoming season. If you're like me, there are one or two things that are really "top of mind" (as we used to say in advertising) that you're targeting.  You can see yourself wearing these items, and you know what you'll wear them with - the level of anticipation is palpable.

Now, go look in your closet, and pull out a cool-weather item. And think back to the days BEFORE you bought this item.

Was there anticipation?  Mental images of outfits to be assembled?  Fantasies about walking down the street wearing this lovely thing? Can you, in some way, recreate the enthusiasm that you used to feel for this item?

I'm the first person to admit that we make shopping mistakes.  We outgrow things.  And very occasionally, we actually wear out something.

But are you sure that there's no love to be found in your closet?

                        Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies


  1. Oh yes--I can feel the temptation rising. The Nordstrom sale for starters. and I have a post it reminding me..but I love your strategy of looking at some of the "Must have's" from last year. A few were geat ideas and the others? Ho Hum. I too want that French woman stance of "what, wait, wait"

  2. Great reminder, especially since I have been contemplating to buy one of those gorgeous Fishermen's sweaters. And just this morning I spotted my cashmere cardigan in that exact color. I am sure it will do nicely instead. Your husband makes great gifts. :) Have a lovely weekend.

  3. London's under a heat wave, so no dreaming of cashmere quite yet - but I do tend to make 'start of term' purchases in the autumn which are more stress-related than sensible, so it's a good reminder!
    Actually your starting from scratch series has kindled a closet romance. I've realised that I have a clutch of navy basics that I wore in the spring, with some green accent pieces, that could be built into your navy/geen/yellow capsule, and have collected quite a few basic linen pieces in black and beige, that with some coral and blue highlights is forming another capsule for summer. I'm keen to distill some 'themes' from my multicoloured wardrobe (I keep shapes very simple, but go bit mad when it comes to colour), before I make any further major purchases. I'm so enjoying doing this that it's quelling any urges to shop!
    So once again, many thanks for the series.

  4. I am relating your "Starting from Scratch" series to your "Travel Capsule Theory." Once we have a well thought-out wardrobe, it is easy to select the clothing items for our travels. This has been an educational and fun series. A few days ago I saw a link in one of the comments from someone who had created a Polyvore set based on "Starting from Scratch." She did a wonderful job--and your blog was her inspiration. She even had a Collection that showed her choices for the different steps of the series. Thanks again, Janice, for your tremendous efforts.

  5. I'm actually looking forward to greeting my cashmere and a leather-front, knit-back t-shirt. At one time in my life would have been avidly planning purchases, but that drive is much diminished, thanks to blogs like yours.

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I was ready to stampede toward the Nordstrom's sale. Now I remember I need to plan and assess first.

  7. I have spent a lot of time on the Nordstrom site today! In the end, I decided I didn't need anything except replacement panties. But it was a hard fight!! I really want to review the "starting from scratch" series and apply it to my existing wardrobe. I just spent the last six weeks traveling in a carry on suitcase with 17 pieces of clothing (9 shirts, 5 pants, 1 dress, 2 jackets) two pairs of shoes, pjs, and intimates. I felt I overpacked and could have easily cut back on a few pieces. I was never bored with my outfits and always felt appropriate. Given the extensive size of my wardrobe and my experiences traveling with much fewer pieces, I think I need to seriously think about my shopping habits!

  8. You're right about the Southern Hemisphere, although it is still too cold where I am to envisage spring. Nevertheless, even in these remote climes, as a teenager I read the Fall issues of Seventeen and Mademoiselle with tartan, woollens and autumn leaves...


  9. I have just found a great pair of trousers that I forgot i had.
    Love your idea shop from your wardrobe
    I see another cull is in order lol

  10. I have a thought about colors: do you wear the same accent colors in summer as in winter, or do you wear brighter shades during spring- and summertime etc?

    1. Exactly what I was wondering about a while ago. For myself I decided no, cant do turquoise in winter but love it in summer. And would like to try and use wine for winter.
      And over the last couple of weeks I have seen some comments stating the same conclusion. But I guess you could do it, depending how much you love the colors in question. Yellow and snow can be great or not so great depending whom you are. Next question is then how important it would be that the four (?) accent colors match each other. Would make the transition easier...

    2. I don't think that your accent colors, summer to winter, need to be able to be worn together, but then need to reflect a consistent personal style preference from you. What I am trying (quite badly) to say is that your should be able to wear the same jewelry, the same scarves, the same kind of footwear, the same general wardrobe (albeit in different weight fabrics) with the accent colors.

      The most important thing is that the colors you choose, for whatever season, are colors that resonate with you on a fundamental level; you love them, you are drawn to them, you don't get tired of them, and you feel that they reflect a certain truth about you that you wish to show to the world.

  11. I'm craving a pair of Manolo (made to order) calf-hair leopard pumps. They have been on my shopping list for a l-o-n-g time. It may be time and these may be my big purchase for the season. I am thinking about it and will make my mind up in a month or so. So, I am thinking about autumn in Chicago and about putting my best foot forward.

  12. It's way too hot in England to be thinking of autumn clothes yet. I'm just kind of shopped out as I don't feel like buying more summer clothes but I'm not thinking next season yet. I kind of like the 'high summer' holiday can't be bothered feeling...