"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, February 22, 2013

We Like What We Like

Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 RTW, vogue.com
A Nice Looking Coat
All this week I've been thinking of an article in the NYT style section that I read on Sunday morning.  I actually set it aside so that I could read it again.
Do you ever read Cathy Horyn?  She writes so well, and if you don't subscribe to the NYT you can certainly read her blog posts over at On the Runway

In her Sunday morning article she explains her thoughts on Marc Jacobs Fall 2013 show, a collection he insisted was a "no-brainer".

This is what Cathy Horyn had to say about it:
"...we like what we like.  We like our pajamas.  We like a nice looking coat and, sometimes, a glamorous silk gown that feels as comfortable as a slip.  Basically, we want to be with our friends and not have to think about what we are wearing.  It's the last thing we want to think about."


This sums up everything I've been thinking about clothes.  I know I've been blathering on for weeks about wardrobe edits, replacing uncomfortable shoes and re-working frocks with new, breathable linings.  I've been paring down and gifting items to friends, donating shoes and coats, and really just giving everything the old steel eye, evaluating it all with: will I really want to wear that? Wear it and not take it off in 5 minutes because it doesn't "feel right"?
I think that in building our wardrobes and paying attention to a retail cycle (which includes new items every 2 weeks or so) it is so easy to get caught up in something pretty and idealized, the newest "must-have" colour or shape.  We often want to improve on what we have, but sometimes the improving comes by having less of it, and of having things that we will really want to wear.  As our Coco said, elegance is refusal.



A Skirt and Sweater
My best things are my nice looking coats, my sweater and skirt combinations, my dresses in natural fabrics like silk, cotton and linen, and my two pairs of pajamas.  
Our Pajamas
This is what else Cathy Horyn had to say about the Marc Jacobs collection:
" What makes him a great designer, among other things, is his sense of timing.  Fashion is bored to death with itself.  People who love this world, who love design, know they are not going to get a high from seeing any more faked stuff- faked talent, faked genuineness.  It has to come from a deeper sense of pleasure."

We like what we like!

Have a great weekend,
xoDani

59 comments:

  1. Dani, I think you are figuring out the clothing analysis. I think the question, "Will I really want to wear that?" is the right question to ask. I can look in my closet and see a perfectly nice top. It's nice--but not my favorite. And, I may have three other tops of the same type or which would serve the same purpose. Why would I choose to wear the one I haven't worn in a long time? Of course weeding out does entail a lot of trying on. Sometimes we find that we haven't been wearing an item that really is comfortable and flattering. But sometimes even if an item is comfortable and flattering, it is just not a favorite and does not get worn. That's how it ends up hanging unworn in the closet in the first place!

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    1. Susan it is the right question, not do I love it or does it look current!

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  2. I so wish I had figured this out earlier in life. All the money I would have saved!

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  3. I wonder why it took me so long to actually figure this out. Like Desert Flower I have wasted money and time.
    I think fashion bloggers like you Dani helped me find clarity.
    Thank you.

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    1. Hostess I feel like I've only confused everybody including myself so thanks for the voted of confidence!

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  4. As said earlier I wasted so much money with buying things I found pretty but not things I would really wear... Worst were shoes, so many, many high heels shoes, and I almost never wear heels... I am still continuing my clearance and my heels are slowly leaving the house... Any one interested in lovely heeled shoes? (smiles)
    Take Care
    Steph

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    1. Steph, me too, the shoes I couldn't wear, they've all gone but somehow they are hard to part with aren't they!

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    2. Yes they are!!! I have those Anay Hindmarch sandals I am hanging on, and those bright green Avril Gau... They will sold next week via my special blog (I've set up a blog to try to sold some of my clothes/shoes...), if not, they will go on Ebay...

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  5. I know I'm very over saturated when it comes to fashion right now. I don't care what the new "thing" is at all anymore, I just want to wear what I like, what I'm comfortable in, and move on to other things. I think it's very easy to become a fashion "victim" - just read that round, mirrored sunglasses are the "it" shape for the season. Really finding it all ludicrous and so wasteful. I'm not pretending I don't love clothes, I do - to a certain extent, but I'm just less and less interested.

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    1. Kathy I think many of us feel that way now, the web is screaming at us with emails, new things every week, the lack of a concept of investment dressing, and even the little "in" things are so expensive, it is ludicrous!

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    2. You see, I never knew about this kind of non stop buying till I found J Crew, that monthly catalogue drives people insane, setting up the expectancy and 'normalcy' of buying new clothes every single month.
      I really felt it's pull too, it's exciting and makes everyday life less dull, but it's not a healthy way to be.
      I usually shop in early spring and then in early autumn for the few things I need and and that's it but as you say now the damned shops are just a tap away and it's become a way to pass time.

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    3. Tabs that's why they call it the Crewlade isn't it. There are the other tricks too like the % off sales and early-morning web updates and "pop-backs", it's all a retail game, whoever gets the most consumer dollars wins.
      It does make everyday life less dull and is a stress-relief too because it is a momentary happy distraction.

      Early spring and early autumn are the best times to edit and refresh, and for the rest of the time leave it alone. But now we have to be disciplined to stay away and resist, online retail has really changed things hasn't it!

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  6. WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE I've been wondering if it's a time of year (the Dark Ages), a priorities, a boredom or simply an ageing thing? So much of fashion/ retail seems really deriviative (versus inspired by), recycled and copycatted at various price points. Maybe because I'm now old enough to have goggled at it in Vogue in my early 20s and now get glazed over at almost the same again, two decades later? I liked when more people in the "pages" felt comfortable to be quirky, individual and expressionistic in their clothes (instead of just daring, scandalous, side-boobed.) At the end of it all, I've decided I want to make the most of what I already have and who I am, instead of what some stylist, editor or web writer says I "must-have" next. But in all things sartorial I think the best words are, "to thine own self be true." Aren't there all kinds of words of wisdom about fashion and trend being "of the moment" but true style, whatever it looks like for you, enduring?

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    1. Oh and Dani, you can't forget your much culled and curated collection of bags, shoes, treasured scarves and baubles.

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    2. GF, you're right and that area really illustrates the process: I'm down to 2 real handbags and a straw for summer. So easy and it feels genuine and less confusing!

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    3. GF, I think the rise of "street style" has had a big influence too - now so many people are adopting these overly stylized looks and I think it's ruining a lot of originality as well as regionality in style.

      There's a good NYT Style piece about developing your personal brand in terms of looks - it all starts to feel so terribly contrived.

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    4. Abby, one of the things I really used to enjoy about travel was the opportunity to shop something special and different, unfamiliar or different stores, when I was in a new place. Can still do that, but it's becoming increasingly "boutique and market." The web and global retail mega-brands, fast fashion really are making things very ubiquitous. Ditto fact that most fashion brands and houses are owned by fewer and fewer conglomerates who are slapping their label on all kinds of items, difusion lines, in order to enhance the bottom line.

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  7. I love clothes, and though I keep wedding, I always add a few pieces each season, and I love browsing to see what is new in stores and online. Over the past year or two I have been ruthless with asking myself "where are you going to wear that?". When my boys were still in a double stoller and I was trying on a fabulous leopard (faux fur/acrylic-not long fur) coat my then 4 year old Slugger asked the very same question. How could I argue? I wish I listened to him more over the years :-) I've always laughed about that - and never missed owning that coat.

    I'd absolutely wear the coat and the skirt outfit above for years and years, but the PJs in public - that would never fly for me - though I appreciate and admire the look. My taste and style is also changing - and I find myself bored as well with what is out there - I have enough of it. If the shopping mood strikes I find myself most willing to buy accessories to update what I have, not a new outfit or even a top, unless I'm certain it will be worn often.

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    1. Julie I think you've been really sensible and how funny, out of the mouths of babes!

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  8. Hi Dani - great, thoughtful post. I am going to build on others' comments, especially Kathy and hope I don't bastardize their sentiments!

    As you know, In my opinion I was a fashion victim in 2012, due to a combination of getting ready to leave my 40s, too much work and stress, and getting caught up in the "hoopla" of the everything new every two weeks syndrome you describe above. I certainly couldn't wear all that I had on a regular basis and I couldn't understand why I was never content with what I had. I sort of felt like the kid who gorges on the candy apple at the circus only to see the popcorn and the cotton candy and realizing that most of all, I really only like popcorn, but once a year, I MUST have cotton candy.

    I live in a VERY small city. There are more chain stores in my city selling more or less the exact same clothes, which are more or less knockoffs of the next store up the food chain and so on and so on. Clothing has become disposable and recreational. WHen I was growing up, my mother would go, twice a year, to our local shop, which I think was called The Top Hat. She would spend about $200 or $300 (that must be around $1000 now), the owner would have prepared for her in advance and laid things out, and they would have made sure that she had coordinating items and shoes to do her for the next two seasons, building on her purchases from the seasons before. My mother would have heard of high fashion and couture labels, but she would not have paid too much attention to them. Shhe got lovely quality things that worked on her body, were well constructed and fashionable, but which were in the main timeless basics, because she probably bought only 8 items a year besides socks and undies, maybe one or two pair of shoes and only a coat every two or three years. I think her vavoom piece every season was a new dress with a pattern and a lovely long skirt.

    I think we all see so much on the internet, on TV and in magazines, that we have become programmed to believe we must keep up and that if some celebrity or model can wear this or that, well dammit, so can I. Out of curiousity, I took the last issue of Instyle magazine and decided to turn down the pages that contained things I loved and thought I would wear. I turned down 3 pages out of maybe 400 pages! It was quite telling. I am with Kathy - I love fashion and clothing, but my budget has really been a blessing for me this year, as has sticking to my list and holding myself accountable. And I do think that we do all inherently "like what we like" and we usually only stray when we we are dressing like others or out of our comfort zone. My list of giveaways continues to expand and I am getting more and more content. And tellingly, the loveliest purchase I have made in the last 6 months from J Crew arrived this morning - the cashmere sweater in heather flax I purchased for $23. It is beautiful and simple and doesn't make me feel anything other than classic. Just like my mum. And with everyone else: why did I take so long to get this?? In my mother's defense - she couldn't help me as she has been gone for 12 years! Sorry to ramble Dani, but I really loved this post and this topic!!

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    1. Hi WMM, thanks for the excellent comment and for telling us about your Mum and The Top Hat! She must have loved those outings. I think that online shopping has changed things for better and for worse. For better because we do have access to more, for worse because we have access to more! Retailers vying for our dollars are constantly inundating us with emails and flash sales and final sales, free shipping on and on. We see things in a style guide or on a blog and think that we have to keep moving through all of this stuff to look better, be current, have the right things etc.
      We like what we like and we should just stick to this, and realizing why we DON'T like what we don't like is key to the whole thing.

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  9. Like Kathy, I just want to wear what I like, when I like and not have to care about it once the initial choosing is done. I do love looking at clothes but I have many more things in my life that I find much more interesting.We all go through phases, I think. I had an occasion recently where I had to wear an apron, Dani. Thanks to you I was able to confidently whip mine out and put it to good use! It would have been a proud moment for you!

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    1. Sulky I would have been so very proud, I bet you were even more capable and powerful wearing your apron!

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  10. Hi DaniBP, you and Kathy and Sulky expressed my sentiments exactly, although I would like to gradually add a few more pieces to my wardrobe.

    It's interesting Coco is quoted saying "elegance is refusal" because a biography of Diana Vreeland I have quotes Diana saying the same thing. She must have been quoting Coco!

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    1. Susan I think she was, that quote is attributed to Coco Chanel and Diana Vreeland, I think Chanel muttered it first!
      I've been wanting to read that biography, she was a very interesting woman.

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  11. All you really need in life is clean underwear and a good haircut.

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  12. I agree with everyone's comments here and I too have wasted so much money on clothes & shoes that I hardly ever wore! Or I would wear something often and get sick of it. I love one of a kind items that not everyone else is wearing...that's what makes me happiest.

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    1. LR it's realizing that and sticking to it and you've got the battle won!

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  13. "Basically, we want to be with our friends and not have to think about what we are wearing. It's the last thing we want to think about."

    This is practically my mantra. As I always put it, "I do not want to have to fuss with my clothes." They must fit properly and look good all day, every time, no intervention required. Dressed properly doesn't mean uncomfortable. Even a suit, if well-made and properly tailored can be as comfortable as your favorite casual outfit.

    Trends are a real detractor for me most of the time. When I shop I am always asking myself if I could wear the item tomorrow without additional purchases and then ask if I could/would wear it 5 years from now. The result is that I have a lot of the same basic styles in different iterations of fabric, color, season. But as you say, we like what we like, and that's what works for me.

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    1. Xoxo, your comments on your blog about not wanting to fuss with your clothing, and being able to rely on them, have had a big impact on me. It made me realize that some of the items that I have that make me feel flustered do so because I have to worry about them - a gape here, something riding up there, etc. I have a lot of dependable clothing, and the other items I am either altering or getting rid of.

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    2. xoxo you taught me to really examine clothes from the inside out which made me realize why some of the dresses and things I have bought (thinking that they would be perfect) ended up being so disappointing because they were just uncomfortable. I hate feeling fidgety and clammy in my clothes yet I like to always look and feel appropriate, I must be very picky about what I keep in my closet.

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    3. Aw shucks. Thank you both for the kind words. I like to think I can offer some details on quality that should be considered when shopping, especially for the prices retailers are asking these days. It's not as fun as buying just for the fashion end of it but once quality becomes part of the equation I believe it results in more overall satisfaction and less want in the long run.

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  14. Hi Dani, another great post, and thank you for pointing out the Horyn article.

    Yes, I think it really is about feeling appropriately dressed at all times - at part of that is feeling like oneself, which I think is the "personal style part" - and then being able to focus on other matters!

    As many have said, the pace of fashion has become overwhelming. I think that it has always been fast, but the average consumer was not wrapped up in it before. And chains like Zara et al have also sped everything up.

    Personally, I have found that considering the environmental impact of my clothing has also influenced how I want to shop. The simple matter is that there is just way too much clothing out there, and that donating or re-selling is not a complete solution.

    Less is more in a multitude of ways when it comes to our wardrobes.

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    1. Abby you make a good point about Zara as well, it is so so popular but the brand produces new lines every two weeks, it's totally crazy. People love it! I've never shopped there, I went into a store once and instantly had a headache from the noise, the lights and all of the stuff everywhere.
      My big mistakes have been shopping JCrew sales and KateSpade flash sales as well (though only a couple of times at KS thank goodness). I've been lucky to get back some of what I spent at consignment and I've been able to gift some of it which has been good, but I regret the time I spent returning things for sure.
      Oh well move forward is the only thing we can do, and good point about the environmental impact of all of this stuff, when you look at the resources it takes to process fabric and ship things everywhere it really makes the case for having less and feeling settled with it!

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  15. "It has to come from a deeper sense of pleasure." Oh, this can mean so many things: the joy of admiring craftsmanship and perfection in fabric and notions, the contentment of knowing that your clothes are becoming and appropriate and won't let you down; the occasional thrill of stumbling across something that perfectly fits your life, body, style, the selfish pleasure of possessing something wonderful. Fashion and style should be pleasure, not work, not fighting over changing prices, misleading descriptions, absurd styling advice, not falling over because your new shoes turned out to be miles too wide...

    Reading Cathy Horyn is a pleasure. Reading your blog is a pleasure.

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    1. Thanks Fred! Reading your comments, another pleasure. Hey I've fallen over on my own shoes, they're long gone thank goodness!

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  16. Pompom cheers for wearing what feels right and looks good. Cafe capris do not fit or flatter me and I can't wear heels because I walk a LOT every day and I rarely wear dresses and every more rarely wear skirts (they make me fidget). It took Strong Will and Effort for me to give away my clothes and shoes in those categories. Then I noticed there aren't any never-worn-heels in the way when I go to grab one of the 8 pairs of shoes I always wear. I feel a bit more grown up and started ironing my shirts.

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    1. LTee how excellent and why is it so hard to get rid of the stuff we don't even wear? I guess it's like admitting mistakes. It's kind of embarrassing!

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    2. Yes, slight guilt at all the pretty purchases rarely worn, especially when my sweetie notices and points out "bags come in, bags go out, equilibrium, I hope?" Ah, love.

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  17. Excellent post Dani and I'm trying to ask myself questions before making unnecessary purchases. Since following your blog I've stopped buying Crew sweaters and purchased Brora on the summer and winter sale. Guilty as charged for the flash sales at K.S.
    You've saved me a lot of money as once I saw the bag and now two I haven't bought one since. I'd rather wait for a special treat then go around in circles. Remember when they said "Less is more".
    I'm older than you but I remember when I'd shop Spring and Fall with a few pieces in between. Hopefully I'll get back to that but I realize it's a process.

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    1. Marsha, me too and no more going around in circles for us! It is a process but honestly I think we are well on our way. Brora cured me of buying junk, I really enjoy wearing my Brora skirts and sweaters over and over again, I enjoy caring for them and it's amazing to see how well the fabrics hold up. As it should be, they were expensive but if we want to look at cost-per-wear they are not expensive in the end.

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  18. great post Dani. How many style evolutions do we all have to go through? I think we do have to be gentle with ourselves. We change, the demands on our lives change--and we're not well fortified to resist the strong campaigns retailers assault us with. Pretty things DO make us happy and it is hard to keep your head when you've got a million things going on.

    I resisted this weekend against $50 cashmere sweaters, lovely shoes and bags, sweet baubles. Instead I made, by memory, a list of 30 different outfits that I can wear to work! With only the pieces I have. Do I need anything else? Does it matter how inexpensive my recent loot from JCrew was? Back it goes. How can I justify it when I already have a month's worth of clothing? Aren't I trying to make my life more simple? Closet less full?

    Can we cure ourselves of the need to satisfy with a retail purchase?

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    1. Dannie, I think the cure comes from realizing we are being duped. And we are busy and those little satisfactions, something new, are very tempting because it is a momentary lift.
      The other side of it is that it is very important to us to be dressed well and in a way that reflects our selves, some work (and shopping) has to go into that too.
      Good idea on formulating outfits using the closet you have, it does make shopping sales seem ridiculous doesn't it! I think we need to curate and refine what we have so that we can go through those sort of mental, and ultimately money-saving, exercises.

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  19. Hi Dani,
    Great post. My closet if full; though I do keep my favorites forever. Right now to me it is all about comfort and an easy, put together style that appears effortless. I find the accessories tell the story. Gorgeous earrings, a few bangles, and great scarf.

    xoxo
    Karena
    2012 Artists Series

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    1. Karena, I'm all about the scarf right now too, well it's freezing here so really it's al about a big wool stole to wear with my sweaters!

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  20. I agree Dani- we like what we like. Although, I think it is important to keep things in rotation, because even though your basic preferences may not change, nothing is static. I found recently that I was trending toward wearing more heels- which I haven't reached for in a couple of years, and was glad I had kept. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have said that I was finished with heels(not high ones btw) and was happy with my ballet flats for everyday use. I am not a collector, and I like to keep things edited, but I know that I rarely buy outside of my comfort zone, and even that when shopping my wardrobe, I can be fickle. Although you and Ema may have convinced me to look at those wonderful pajamas! Brooks Brothers sells them as well.

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    1. Hi KnitYarns, as long as you generally don't shop outside your comfort zone I think you're making good decisions, and it sounds like your closet reflects this. I have made my mistakes by shopping final sales online and buying items that looked good on others or were for an imaginary life that I don't have.
      Well you can't go wrong with pajamas in my opinion. Always useful!

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  21. I wanted to comment on something that Tabitha said. I also (being of another generation) used to shop for clothing/shoes, etc. - twice a year. We shopped, purchased, wore what we had, and forgot about it. The internet has increased this shopping frenzy so much, I worry about it. Sites like Net-a-Porter and others, have "new items" 3 times a week, and very expensive items sell out so quickly it's mind boggling. I've sort of bought into the fear that if I don't shop and grab stuff quickly, I won't find anything left in the stores. Not sure where I'm going with this - but I don't think it's a healthy obsession. Curious what others think?

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    1. Kathy I agree completely. I think there's a real disconnect that happens when we shop online as opposed to in-person, in-store. I actually think it's very unhealthy, this sort of frenzy that's created around it because I do think it is a manufactured frenzy.
      I have never bought anything from Net-a-Porter but I get emails it's true THREE times a week with new items that have been selected using my profile (which is basically just my preferred designers). I can't afford any of it so it's just a bit of window shopping, seeing what Lanvin is up to etc.
      I get emails from more affordable retailers on an equally regular basis and they use my profile and search history to send me items. I was looking through Brooks Brothers and LLBean last week for coats for a post I'm doing and now I get the latest outerwear updates from those retailers. It's getting more and more sophisticated and specialized to the shopper. Scary!

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    2. Re-targeting (Internet ads and links based on things you've previously searched, items left in a shopping basket or links you've clicked) is an invasive, slippery slope and a hot topic even inside the marketing industry as to what constitutes TMI and invasion of privacy.

      Even though I live in a city, I don't like the mall, used to be very pressed for time, and many stores don't carry petites, so I mostly stopped going to stores. However, I was musing to WMM yesterday that the click/buy/ return doesn't seem like real shopping-spending (maybe like credit cards vs. cash were to a previous generation?)

      So, other than replacing basics on my list (that I know I can get with discounts, free ship and returns etc.) I have stopped trolling the online roll-outs. If I bother to go to the store I also notice many of the colours and fabrics, shapes are not what I thought, I so avoid that PTTO syndrome. The only fix I don't have is a few foreign loves like Brora, but the price of that makes it once or twice a year for me anyway.

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    3. Oh and Kathy I think there will always be another similar coat, shoe, bag, whatever - another retailer or next season etc. Sure there may always be a (very) few patterns, or colours or styles we wish we had clicked/ sprung for, but we aren't exactly running around starkers.

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    4. I have also come to the same conclusion as GetFresh. If I miss out on that "must-have" item, chances are good that it will come back again in the next season in a similar design, or something even better will come along, so I shouldn't drive myself crazy trying to hunt it down. I can't say how many times in the past I have pulled the trigger on something because it looked like it was about to sell out, only to regret it later... and then something better would come along the next season and I would be kicking myself for wasting money on that first panic-driven purchase. This is a terrible habit and one I have been able to shake off successfully this past season.

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  22. Hi Dani, great post, so thought-provoking. I am also guilty of being sucked in by the Crewlade, and wasting way to much money on trendy items seen on the big-name bloggers. I am still in the process of selling it all off, but I do feel quite sorry for myself sometimes when I think of all the money and effort I wasted on things that I never really liked or reflected my on style. Oh well, a tough lesson learned. I have been focussing very hard on what I do really like and trying my best to avoid the siren call of the J. Crew website in the morning. Reading your blog will help keep me on the straight and narrow!

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    1. Hi Louise, the crewlade is powerful and part of its strategy is those early morning updates, when we are bleary eyed and I for one am not thinking straight. Well we'll keep each other on the straight and narrow! I hope you are well.

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  23. Hi Dani-I've had a busy few days and am just now catching up with this ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS POST! Wow-it makes me feel better knowing that so many of us are trying to figure out what went wrong with our closets and how some are making their way back to wardrobe sanity. I must admit I've had much better success buying plants and trees for my garden over the years than I've had outfitting myself. It surely must be because in my garden I know what works and I know what I like. My thoughts mirror those of Tabitha, Kathy and WMM, there is a certain mindset to shopping just a couple of times a year and building on past purchases. You and your blog are such a blessing in so many ways!

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    1. Thanks David Darling! I hope you've been busy with good things. We're all for wardrobe sanity and haven't the comments been great on this post, including yours and I thank you.

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