Two “rules” I try to follow when shopping for clothes are:
1) Buy clothes you’ll wear on a Tuesday afternoon, not a Saturday night — few people lead Saturday-night lives. I originally read this on Susan’s website, and it jumped right off the page at me. I am SO guilty of buying for Saturday night! A beautiful silk blouse, 4-inch heels, denim that requires 4-inch heels to wear…sure, these are absolutely fantastic items, but they don’t represent my life. (I WISH they represented my life, but no. Not right now.) For the most part, my day-to-day grind involves writing from home, errand-running, park playdates and school drop off. As much as I love Saturday night clothing, I’m just not sure I’m getting a return on investment from them at this point, and have become much more mindful of that when buying new clothing.
Another phenomenon that baffles me is what I’m willing to pay for certain items. I’ll completely rationalize spending $200 on a silk blouse that might be worn once every few months on date night, but balk at $80 cotton canvas pants (like below) that I could wear several times a week. Explain that ridiculous line of thinking, will ya?
2) If you love something, buy in bulk. I know, I know. It’s just so UNROMANTIC. Of course I want to have a closet full of unique, finely-curated items that I’ve procured on trips around the world, but once again, I need to be realistic about what I’m comfortable wearing on a daily basis. However, this isn’t to say that I don’t love unique pieces. I seem to make up for some of my more “conventional” clothing with shoes, jewelry, scarves and the like. I guess my line of thinking is that if I find a shirt or pant that looks and feels great, I’m going to buy it in several colors.
Like these pants. I would have never given these pants a thought had I solely seen them online, yet, they instantly caught my attention while poking around my local J. Crew. I tried them on, liked what I saw, and decided to make the plunge and buy all three colors. (At $74 a pop, I admit to balking. I mean, they are COTTON SURPLUS PANTS.) Let me just tell you, I have worn the hell out of these pants this summer. Grocery store runs, kindergarten volunteering, lunches with girlfriends, even to an evening of cocktails.
Here, let me show you. (Click thumbnail for full photo.)
Who would have thought, right? And I could have shot 12 more outfits easily. (But my room was starting to look like bomb full of accessories had detonated.)
Now, I’m not saying these exact pants are right for you, but I feel they perfectly exemplify the point I’m trying to make. Be realistic about how fashion plays a part in your day-to-day life, and if you find something that really works, buy a few. (FYI – If you DO think these pants are for you, they are on final sale with an additional 30% off. Um, that breaks down to $17.49 for a pair. Final sale is a risk, though, since you can’t return, but sizing is true to size, if not running a little large. I waver between two sizes at J. Crew, and bought the smaller size in these pants.)
What are some of your fashion rules? Do you find yourself drawn to “Saturday night” or “Tuesday afternoon” clothing? How do you find the balance between expressing your unique style and being realistic about your day-to-day grind, i.e. – moms handling dirty kiddos and/or stains galore? (I should own stock in Tide To Go pens.)