Tuesday, 20 April 2010


For the past few days I have been wondering not only why I buy new things, but also why I end up buying the things I do. I stood in front of my wardrobe yesterday and picked out a couple dozen pieces of clothing that I bought about a year ago when I was going through a random trend-driven phase. I looked at my studded belt, my tough-ass gladiator sandals, ripped acid-wash jeans and neon-yellow jersey tops with just one thought on my mind: what the hell was I thinking? There was no power on earth that could make me want to wear this stuff ever again.

I do actually happen to remember what I was thinking at the time. I had a new edgy haircut, and I thought I needed to look a certain way in order to pull it off. I felt that the new stuff I saw in stores was interesting, and I made a semi-conscious decision to steer my style toward what I saw around me, because to me anyway, it seemed to suit that particular look I was trying to achieve. To make things worse, I wasn't in love with any of the stuff I bought, but I bought it anyway. Why did the clothes appeal to me in any way, I still don't know. I didn't think the stuff I bought was beautiful, and what I was going for was probably (in the lack of a better word) the cool-factor.

What I wasn't even considering was the lack of staying power of these clothes (not to mention my haircut), and the fact that I didn't really even like them all that much. I didn't even consider that I might not want to wear that stuff a year later, that a year later these pieces would look very dated, boring and the worst of all, just like every other person's clothes. These, my friends, are the typical characteristics of my bad purchases, of my style mistakes. I have done it before, and I am sure I will do it in the future as well: I buy things that characterise a certain style or trend, and things that for a split second seem to make sense. I really ought to know it by now that every piece I don't fall in love with ends up being a thing I don't wear!

How is it with you guys? What types of mistakes do you make when buying new things - do you buy the wrong styles, wrong colours or wrong sizes? Do you follow a pattern? Have you managed to get to a point when you don't make mistakes anymore, and if so, how?

Luckily I was able to make something out of this particular mess. I raided my closet, took two big bags of stuff to Plato's Closet (not the crappy Closet I visited recently), and after ooh-ing and aah-ing over my horrible mistakes, they gave me $246 (!!!) for it. That's just about enough for me to indulge myself in a pair of Swedish Hasbeens. And yes, yes, clogs are just as trendy now as studded gladiator sandals were a year ago, but right now I am able to pause, to think with the right kind of emotion, and to realise that there is no way that beautiful clogs are ever out of style in my eyes.

Just a quick request: have our sweet Willow in your thoughts tomorrow - the lump in her belly is growing, and she has to have it biopsied tomorrow.

Blouse: second hand / flea market
Trousers: Max&Co.
Ankle socks: Dockers
Shoes: Vagabond
Scarf: second hand / flea market, I think
Earrings: second hand / local craft fair


The Patersons said...

I received a number of packages yesterday, thanks to an indiscriminate ebay spree (hangs head in shame). Out the lot, there was 1 dress and 1 pair of vintage oxfords I absolutely love, and one really great and practical wool turtleneck.

The other 3 dresses...are mistakes. One of them is a little too big, one them is a little too tight and one of them, is too enboobening (credit to Sal from Already Pretty for this term!).

I don't normally make that many mistakes with dresses because I stick to the tried and true - in fact the one dress I love is the classic best shape for me. As for the mistakes, I was trying something new...except I tried 3 at once...my bad.

They will probably appear on ebay again soon. Hopefully someone with more sense buys them!

Shey said...

I used to just buy because it was cheap and I would buy skirts like crazy regardless of whether they had a nice fit, I also used to buy things to fix, even if they were 3 sizes too big, I would buy and buy and buy, take out and but again, until a few months ago I bought shoes that now I don't have the sightliest idea of what to do with them. This only worsened during Spring break, I think I shopped more because I was bored at home. Since then I kind of became sick of it all, I still frequent thrift stores as much as I can but I'm okay leaving things behind because I make sure I don't buy unless I'm going to wear it a lot and it's something that will fit into my wardrobe. In the past few weeks I haven't bought but almost anything and every time I leave a store empty handed I feel proud of myself and I give me a pat on the back. It's hard not to want to buy especially when everything is so cheap (at thrift stores) but my closet is small and I don't have any more space for much junk. Another thing I'm doing is trying to do other things instead of going to stores, I read a book or go to the movies or sew or even take an extra gym class, anything to keep me occupied.

Ru said...

I really like this idea of considering our mistakes.

My mistake types have changed over the years. Sometimes I chose based more on price than how much I liked something. Sometimes I wanted a certain look but it just didn't work with my body type. I have started to pay way more attention to that - like now, I avoid items with very high necklines and manage to catch myself before buying them.

Now if I make a mistake it is usually because I choose something with a lot of personality or edge, and find it too hard to wear. I think it has to do with a mismatch between who I am and my current Midwestern casual environment. I don't fit in where I am...so I'm hoping that once I find an environment that suits me better, my own "suits" just might too.

Teeny said...

Biggest mistake I make...is liking someone else's style and then buying items that they might wear....and not realising it until I put it on and say to self "oh this doesn't look good on me, but it would on (insert name)". I ended up giving away those clothes to the people i was inspired by.

La Loca said...

Oh, good vibes to your kitty!

I tend to make purchasing mistakes whenever I try to adhere to someone else's "basics" list. For me, a basic is something that gets worn a lot, and that's not necessarily a black pencil skirt.

Eline said...

I've gone through phases buying the wrong sizes, and "cool stuff" too but now that you remind me I haven't bought anything I regret in the past two years. (Except one thing just recently because the colour was amazing, I hope I can sell it, sigh.) But unless I am tired I always ask myself, will I really wear this? Am I drawn to this piece for valid reasons etc.?

Love your blouse! & I hope your kitty will be okay!

mirattes said...

When i decided to do my shopping activity in second hand and vintage shops there are no mistakes in my closet. So far.

joelle van dyne said...

those clogs are SO pretty!! i'm glad you were able to trade in all your old stuff for them. your cropped pants are the perfect thing to show them off too!

i think my biggest clothing mistake is buying too many 'basics'. i have so many blah cardigans and plain tees and plain v-neck sweaters. but the things that want to wear everyday are not plain basics- usually i reach for either vintage finds, or things i've saved up for that are special. so i'm trying to remember that i have plenty of basics and should not be tempted by the next sale on perfectly nice, plain wool sweaters or tees. ~joelle

NYC Fashionista said...

Well who doesn't make mistakes? I want to say that that's why pencils have erasers, but it would sound quite lame and doesn't help when your closet is overflowing as it is. That said, I don't make that many mistakes anymore. I am a sucker for designer items, and most of my mistakes were items that I found in sale from certain designers I like. (Like the 5 pairs of Marc Jacobs shoes I once bought for 90 percent off and NEVER wore even one pair!!) Anyhoo, I have almost completely stopped shopping (helps that I am pregnant) and so it is pretty easy not to make mistakes when you're not buying anything :-)

Charlotte said...

My bad purchases are almost systematically substitutes -- I know exactly what I want, but can't find a "perfect" version of it, or it's out of my price range, etc. I end up buying something *almost* as good... and hating it.
My other classic mistake is falling in love with a garment that requires more care than I'm willing to give it (dry cleaning, thorough ironing etc - it will be months between wears).
It doesn't help that I am not a patient shopper either: I love clothes but I hate shopping.
Many good thoughts to your kitty and to you!

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem, as you well know :),but maybe not so much these days...with age comes wisdom, hahaa. And thrifting. Style periods, choises.. for me,clothes have everything to do with being safe. When I look back, I see myself as a 20 year-old-happy-hippy-mum with long skirts and bare feet. Then the edgy-rock-survivor-single mum ("don't come close to me, I'm heart-broken and don't want anyone to see it"). And what about sneakers and baggy trousers, just to fit in my "gay-enough"-world. And then back to 50's dresses and heels because I felt a sudden urge to be feminine, and thought somehow that it was expected from me.(I hate wearing high heals, really). It's easy to see now why I made "mistakes" then, but how can one know if it isn't the case this time too? I try to see things as a whole. I've noticed that I tend to keep something from each style-period... And from some reason, I'm now really drawn to everything ethnic, so here comes the hippy-mum again, after 14 years! So to keep this "confession" from becoming way too long; I think the best way is to dress the way one feels, not take it too seriously, have fun with clothes and try staying true to oneself, not trying to fit in or please someone else. And for those days when feeling low, or extremely happy, wear something that makes you feel safe and happy, something you've picked from flea market and loved from the first moment you laid your eyes on it. Like listening songs that you can sing from start to finish, or reading a book you know by heart. Or hanging out with someone who also loves strong russian tea, and knows every single soft spot in you.
Miss you! Hope everything is going well with sweet Willow! Sis.

Eyeliah said...

I made many mistakes back when I have disposable income (oh boy did I) but since moving out to Vancouver 3.5 years ago I really cannot afford to waste any money so I’ve been very picky with my choices. Sounds like it all worked out thou, that some pile of change for your closet rejects – wow!

Andrea Eames said...

I'm trying to buy only things that I LOVE - that speak to me, that call my name, that make me happy in the same way a perfect evening or a great cup of coffee make me happy. :) My closet is over-stuffed, too, but it is over-stuffed with things I love and wear regularly - if I haven't worn it in a year, and it isn't a 'special occasion' thing, I get rid of it. It's hard though, as I have a tendency to buy things because they're cheap and hoard for the sake of hoarding. Ongoing battle!

Sheila said...

Aw, good vibes to your poor kitty - mine is going for an x-ray tomorrow because he's stopped eating and we don't know what's wrong with him.

I don't have this problem so much anymore, since I did a whole year using the "one in, one out" rule. I really had to think about what I was willing to give up in my closet (skirt for a skirt, not skirt for a pair of socks) and if this purchase I was considering was worth it. A lot of times the answer was "no", but surprisingly, I had a lot more "yes" than I thought I would. Obviously I had some mistakes hanging out in there!

I still make a few mistakes (buying because of the price is a big thing for me), but a lot less than before.

mr. pineapple man said...

wow! you must have had really good clothes! I might make a visit to plato's today~ wish me luck!

Meshawn said...

Omg....I notice that I to do that alot...make those kinds of mistakes all the time....its usually the sizes where I go wrong. I love the flowy tops and I'm a size medium..sometimes shirts are small are huge so I think they would fit right on me, its like a hit or miss sometimes they do and sometimes they don't and I'm stuck with the shirt that don't flow right..lol
There is a good thing that I currentl work at platos closet. Now I could just sell the stuff that wont fit.I love it its the best because there stuff there is sooooo cheap, when I sell my clothing I just go pick out other cute stuff..and basically get them for free.......YAY
check out my platos experience:
platos blog