I was contemplating what a ‘good’ buy was after reading Debbie’s recent post over at http://recoveringshopaholic.com/best-purchases-of-2014/#comments. My mind drifted to the conclusion that these days it’s just two main types of purchases for me. Needs and loves. Anything else is just wasted money and time at this point. Gone are the days of, “oh this looks fun and is flattering” without further thought put in. I have more than enough of that stuff. Sure, some of that is okay. I’m at a point where I want to improve my wardrobe, not just add to it. More of that isn’t going to help me.
In the past, a main driving force for picking up that kind of stuff was a need for variety. I still have a higher desire for variety than a lot of folks. I’ve said before, I can’t do neutrals only, or a select number of items (10 a year or 33 a season) and be happy with it. BUT . . . I’m becoming ever more aware that the subtle things we see as variety within our own closets, the casual observer does not.
Let me explain. We all know of basic fashion formulas. Tunic over leggings with boots would be one. A pencil skirt, blouse, and jacket or cardigan with pumps would be a common work wear formula. Jeans, tee, and a jacket might be another for more casual lives. Most of us find a formula or two that we like and stick with it. We vary the colors, or the cuts a little, or maybe the fabrics and patterns. But it’s the basic same formula.
If I buy 10 cuts and washes of jeans to vary my look, I am still, at the core of it, just wearing jeans. How many pairs does it really take to satisfy my need for variety? And just how different does one pair look from the other to the person I pass in the grocery store? Same could be said for white knit tops, or black boots, or whatever your fancy. You might see all the subtle differences, but that’s from your own, probably self-centric, viewpoint, sorry to say. Sure, a high heeled boot looks different than a flat and dark wash jeans are noticeably different than distressed with holes. But I bet we can all bring to mind a bunch of ‘in between’ items in these categories that get collected but don’t really pack a visual punch. That is fine if you want a ton of stuff. I don’t. I want what I can and will wear. Not much more.
So, for me, buying different versions of similar items is dangerous territory. I used to find a thing I liked – casual cotton blazer for instance – and then hunt down every color or weight I could find. For ‘variety’. Sigh. This is partly why I began to try and stop at one light neutral, one dark neutral, and then one color or pattern. The rule of 3.
You are free to shop however you want. I’m not here to say what is ‘right’ or wrong. Just be aware that the 12 grey cashmere sweaters you have don’t really look any different to the average Joe or Jane! If they make you smile, great. If you are like me, and want to control the excess in your closet, think twice about the variety you are seeking. It may be a bit of a fallacy.