Tuesday, 27 January 2015

How I buy (thought process of wardrobe development)

Some reflections on wardrobe development I started questioning my wardrobe intensively approximately three years ago, or to be precise, in Feb 2011. We were at a dinner with a dear friend who just told us of his engagement to one of the most loveliest person I’ve ever met in my life, and we got talking about clothing, wardrobe and the like. I wanted to take my style up notch, that’s what I said.

That was an inaccurate statement on my part. What I really wanted was and still is, to be able to dress with more ease. You know when people say it has to look effortless? I actually want it to be effortless, not just appear to be so.

I started reading into this a little bit more closely, starting with evaluating my shopping habits, and then my wardrobe. One of the lessons that I found is that realising the mistakes that I’ve made after a lifetime of somewhat mindless shopping can be disheartening.

Because this is how I used to buy: hey, item looks good, price looks good, buy. No consideration was given at this point in time in terms how I would wear it or whether it would integrate with the rest of my closet. There were items that I’ve bought that still have price tags on them (ugh, cringe).

One of my goals is to make less purchase errors over time. The beauty of a shopping ban is that when it’s in place, it means I make less error, so it’s a nice shortcut to achieve the goal. I can either put myself on a permanent shopping ban, or learn how to buy properly.

This is like one of those things in life that you don’t learn in school: how to buy, how to determine what you really need, how to curb your wants, how to determine a good deal, how to maximise your utility and the like. Life skills that are useful, but no one actually thinks about putting these into the curriculum because, well, it is so … personal.

[I get that parents are supposed to teach their children these skills, and this is not a criticism of my parents. It is merely an observation on my part that I have never reflected on these issues until recently, and that is all. On the grand scheme of things, all parents struggle with parenting related issues on a regular basis, so I’d say, cut them a bit of slack, okay. They cannot and will not teach their children everything they are supposed to know.]

How I buy 

These days, I follow this year's shopping guide and apply the wardrobe principles describe in into-mind.com, get inspired by the wardrobe choices displayed by extrapetite.com and read the musings of the incredibly talented the-nife.blogspot.com.au.

I don’t have any gaps in my wardrobe that I’ve identified so far (which means I probably do have some, I am just not aware of them). So, if there is anything that I do choose to buy, that’s because (1) I am ‘upgrading’ or (2) I am exploring a new style/silhouette or (3) I am adding an accent colour. I sort of know what style works for me and what doesn’t, and I’ve chosen my colours and I make a point to stick to neutrals (this, I think, is a side effect of getting older). Most importantly, I try to stay true to my style as often I as I can, rather than being sucked into trends.

Once I’ve identified the items that I would like to buy, I give priority to quality of construction and material, and of course, price. It has to fit within my budget otherwise, well, it’s out. I purchased my very first 100% cashmere jumper this year and it is a dream (ok, late to the party). Since then, I am constantly on the look out for anything cashmere.

How do you buy?

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