Alas, Alack, my fickle fashion heart!

I've always thought of myself as somebody who (ideally) would like a small to moderate, well-curated wardrobe of good quality essentials supplemented by fun accessories and seasonal "extras." Sort of a Vivienne Files girl.

I was never really in a position to purchase the good-quality essentials...or not many of them, anyway, but that didn't interfere with my ideal. I figured I would buy these pieces slowly, over time, replacing my lesser quality pieces as I could afford to, and eventually I'd build a solid, functional wardrobe.

Well, this is my second autumn on YLF. And I am discovering something about myself that sort of disrupts my sense of my fashion self and as a result, I'm not sure this is the best plan for me going forward after all!

Here's the deal: I'm beginning to think that I might be a candidate for yearly wardrobe overhauls vs. small tweaks and additions/ rotations.

Here's why: I have learned that what I tend to do each season is pick a couple of favourite items and literally wear the HECK out of those items. I mean, I will wear these babies cheerfully several times a week, sometimes more. And I really don't want to wear anything else.

So what's wrong with that, you might say. What's the problem?

Well....the problem is, that when it comes round to the next year, I have ZERO interest in wearing these old favourites. I want nothing to do with them. They languish unworn in my closet and I don't care a fig for them. Instead, I want to wear my NEW favourite items all the time.

Okay...I admit, there *are* certain essentials that I will wear happily into season 2: denim, black trousers, a plain pencil skirt and sheath dress, my coats. Footwear (mostly) and also a few other accessories like scarves, plus layering Ts and a few button downs and blouses.

But when it comes to anything that has standout colour or pattern or any sort of distinctive or interesting cut (pretty much) I just don't want to wear it again!

Below are some pics of items that were total favourites last year, that I have yet to wear this year:

9 West Tweed jacket (consignment)
Patterned A-line skirt
Cropped cord jacket
High waisted ponte pencil skirt from Anthropologie

Okay...I admit, looking at these pieces I can see that to some extent my distaste for them now arises from my heading in a more minimalist, streamlined and modern style direction. I seem to be moving away from whimsy and the retro elements and towards a sleeker, more urban style.

"Distaste" is probably too strong a word, too...I still *like* these things in theory and might be attracted to them in a store. I just don't feel like wearing them.

Is this just a sign that I am refining my style direction? Should I just consign or give away these items and make room for the new, without regret, or should I worry about this tendency? Going forward, what would it say for my shopping? Should I still aim to build a wardrobe of simple classic backbone essentials, adding in a few "standout" pieces per season, and resign myself to the fact that those standout pieces might not last in my wardrobe very long? Does that mean I should seek them out at a lower price point? Or, on the contrary, is my current dislike of last year's "standout" pieces just a sign that these were cheap and cheerful finds, *not* particularly high quality, more "make-do" than truly aspirational. Maybe I should be seeking *true* standout pieces - one or two - each season, and maybe those would end up lasting me much longer. But how would I know in advance whether or not I would tire of them? I am afraid to spend a big chunk of money on pieces that might end up in next year's donate bag!

Yours in confusion....

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • rae replied 7 years ago

    I don't think you're fickle at all - I think we all need to be refreshed in a new year, and some of us need more of it than others. You mentioned our similarities in wearing the heck out of a few favorites in my other thread. I feel like I am finally wrapping my brain around this, letting the no-longer-favorites get resold to fund my new favorites and such.

    As you've already pointed out, this doesn't have to mean an *entire* new wardrobe every year. In my case, maybe it means 1-2 great new jackets. In yours, maybe refreshing your statement colored items... I guess we will live and learn what works! :)

  • Raisin replied 7 years ago

    Well Suz I think I have a lot of the same confusions as you. So I'm interested to hear the responses.

    I wasn't here last Fall, so looking at your style then, I definitely think yours is more refined, minimal, chic now this year. So it may be a matter of you just moving into a new style. I think if you are wearing the heck out of a few pieces each year, then your wardrobe must be fairly small, and it's probably not a bad thing to replace many of them each year. You will wear them out and get tired of them, it's only natural. And that allows you to have some more expensive items that you will get a ton of wear from, even if just for one year. And maybe some of those are going to stay around longer, given that you seem to have moved into a new style.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Suz - I think this is a perfectly healthy approach to a wardrobe and a fantastic realization to come to. I'm also noticing a bit of this tendency in myself - like my black leather blazer - I want to wear it constantly!

    I also think your style is evolving and these pieces from last year just don't feel like you anymore. Nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't necessarily toss them yet though - put them into the "holding zone" and if you haven't worn them say by mid January, then consign.

    I am also slowly coming around to quality over quantity - I have a few things I still like but feel "cheap" on now (not cheap as inexpensive, but cheap as in poorly made) so am not pulling them out to wear.

  • Jenava replied 7 years ago

    Knowing that you are a fellow INFJ, let me say this: Life is a journey! Of course you can have a backbone of very basic items - black denim, layering Ts etc. However, you should work with the fact that your preferences are going to evolve - you are going to get bored with your statement pieces. You are a person who thrives on change, no? Wouldn't the same be true of your wardrobe? I do love the Vivienne files, but I am afraid that such discipline would be short-lived in my closet - and that is perfectly acceptable. I think Miss Viv may be more of an ISFJ or even ISTJ. (-;

    ETA, I went shopping with my mom yesterday. She wanted a pair of black trousers and tried on a fab pair that were well over $200! She left them in favor of something about 1/4 that price that was much more I'm not even sure if the "backbone" items really need to be spendy, to tell the truth...leave some room for buying the really fun stuff!

  • Vix replied 7 years ago

    Hi Suz --

    Nothing wrong with buying a few select items, loving, wearing tons, then moving on if that's what feels best to you!

    I tend to do the first 3 but then hold off on getting rid of items; after several years that means my closet has grown to a size that still feels manageable to me but might be too big for you. ;)

    Like you I do find that I am naturally drawn toward wearing the new stuff together -- or the new stuff with more "background" items -- more than the older more exciting favs (a bit of BTDT). But that's why I bought the new stuff, ha!

    One thing I will ask/note --

    I'm sure I've missed tons of your "WIW"s, but what I've seen has focused more on neutrals and less ornamentation/detail whereas the above 2 photos flip that.

    I go through phases where I love wearing more color-color, more neutrals with a bit of color, and more straight-up neutrals -- and phases where I skew more minimalist and more...not that.

    Personally, I like having that variety for mood dressing even if I'm not wearing a specific item tons.

    If you don't think you need that, or you want the option to add the more colorful/detailed stuff season-by-season, then by all means be "fickle!" You can always try the process out and back off if needed.

  • harmonica replied 7 years ago

    as shannon said - i think this is a healthy approach. i thought i was going to build a classic timeless wardrobe and *not* add items when i'd completed - well, i've realised i'll never complete because i love clothes, i love shopping and i develop style wise as well as on a personal level. my solution is to keep my shopping habits low (or at least try to be as restricted as possible), think wisely when i buy, and keep a quite small wardrobe and edit along the way

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    These are really helpful thoughts. Thank you!

    Jeneva, I never really thought of myself as someone who thrives on change (I am super loyal in personal relationships, stress out over my travel capsules, etc.) but I am learning that maybe I DO like change in my wardrobe, after all. So you are right - it is a journey.

    I guess what's surprising me is that apparently I like change in a very different way than I'd imagined and different to a lot of others in our group here. Some people like to wear a completely different outfit every day; apparently I don't care about that and will happily wear the exact SAME outfit multiple times per season. I just don't want to wear it the next season. Even outfits that I loved.

    Shannon, that is wise advice, to put my "meh" pieces into a holding zone and make a decision a bit later in the season. And I guess it is okay to acknowledge a style shift. And to let go of those pieces that don't feel fab because the quality is poor.

    RunnerRae, you are also right - I should relax a bit about the price. These things that I am thinking of consigning are down to pennies per wear (or negative amounts, in fact!) so really, I don't need to feel any guilt about them. I do have other items that I wore much less that I'm also tempted to get rid of, but again, I guess it is a question of learning and growing.

    Rae, I think for me it might mean a couple of great new jackets per year, too, since those are my statement items on the whole. I sure would love to go jacket shopping with you!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Vix,'s true...I think I'm heading away from embellishment and ornamentation. I think it's pretty permanent.

    Harmonica, I know you are right about this. I still lack a strong sense of what my best purchases are going to be, if you know what I mean...what my workhorses might be. So that makes selective shopping quite difficult. Maybe I've had too many years of not trying any trends, so I can't imagine whether I will like something unless I've given it a shot? I wonder.

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I actually think you and I have had some similar style evolution process over the last year. I also have pieces I wore the heck out of last year that I have no desire to wear this year. They don't really feel like me anymore somehow. I do find it frustrating in a way because, of course, all clothes cost money, and I don't like to feel wasteful. But I am also wondering if I'll feel differently about my newer clothes *next* year too!

    I see what you're talking about in the photos you posted. They're lovely outfits and there's nothing wrong with them, but they don't seem to be in line with what you're posting more recently. Your more recent style seems more effortless, more minimal. I have no good answers for you, unfortunately. Just empathy. In a way, it was easier when I paid less attention to my style. ;-)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    So, true, Janet!!

    Well, I guess it really *is* a journey.

    I feel badly about wasted money, although it is not *such* a waste if I recycle them to friends who might love them here on YLF, or to consignment. Hmmmm. I think I may have to examine my closet a bit more carefully!

  • Jenava replied 7 years ago

    I didn't mean to imply you aren't loyal! (-:
    I guess what I was thinking is that I tend to really enjoy "the journey", or "the process" or whatever you like to call it, which of course means things change. And I think this is an INFJ thing? I enjoy learning about where I am now, but I also am quite happy to know that I am still learning about myself and growing, which means next year the things I like will be different.

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 7 years ago

    I am in the same boat with you Suz and paddling away. I have few items that survive season to season and the ones that do are usually not my absolute favorites that I wear incessantly (yes I meant it to be that strong). I also find that I buy a few things each year that I literally wear weekly. This year it is the ponte knit pants and linen blend sweaters.

    They are rarely the higher priced items I buy either. They are usually just really easy to put with different items I have already and are very comfortable to wear when it is cold out.

    Interesting observations.

  • ironkurtin replied 7 years ago

    Suz, expecting your style personality and taste to stay 100% the same year after year is (IMO) not reasonable. Having a foundation that you then switch up makes perfect sense to me.

  • Mo replied 7 years ago

    This makes sense to me, especially in the first year here when we are feeling out our style direction. I (maybe luckily) only had so much budget to put toward new goodies and so my first year lessons are not terribly expensive. I am on my 3rd year here now and feel more settled in my style. But I will say I don't want to wear all my new lovelies several times a week all season long. I like to ration them out. Sort of how I do with a bag of candy. :)
    So for me, wearing my 'paper bag' dress 4 times in one month was astounding frequency. Similarly, my wine cords seeing 4 wears in a month is also fast rate for me. The flip side of that is that I don't get burned out on items in one season usually, and feel perfectly okay with more like a 3 year turn around on most things. This does mean I have 100 to 150 items hanging around at any given time, but I like that. I suppose we all have our own levels of need for variety and that will affect our purchasing patterns and rates. If you know you are for the most part a one season wearer, I would have fun with it and buy what tickles your fancy more than obsess about investment type pieces. Go with it!

  • annagybe replied 7 years ago

    I find my oddball purchases get the most wear. Lately it's been my Eugenia Kim cream knit headband.

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    I agree with Janet - those two pictures don't seem to reflect your current style, so that could be why you don't want to wear those pieces any more. So I think you need to give yourself some time to see if things settle on the more, cheaper, new side or the fewer, more expensive side. Next year will be interesting:)

  • Freckles replied 7 years ago

    Suz I can see why three of the four items from last year don't interest you any more. Is it possible that the high waisted ponte pencil skirt has too much drape which you now don't feel comfortable in but with the right statement jacket it will again become a boring workhorse?

    The Vivienne Files also interest me as I tend to wear favourites for years on end but every time I look at the complete wardrobe pic the first thing I think is that if I looked in my wardrobe and saw only that it would drive me batty. Not sure what is up with that as most of my wardrobe is black... The red part of it is in need of replacing and I haven't found anything suitable yet.

    It might be possible that in your style evolution the artistic part of it doesn't hold nearly as much weight as you thought it did in the way you thought it did. Perhaps having four statement pieces per season is the artistic part just not necessarily in line but in thought process.

    Really no help but best of luck.

  • Ariadne replied 7 years ago

    I'm super super tired right now (fighting a horrible weeks-long cold, hence my lack of posting!) but this thread really caught my attention.

    Those 2 outfits from last year seem very far away from what you've been posting lately. Even your hair was different (longer, more ALGO in a way, like those 2 outfits). I think your style is just continuing to evolve and be refined. That's a really GOOD thing, right? Your more recent, more minimalist and urban looks seem more self-assured, somehow, and very "you". Your creative side still comes through in things like the bold color of your fuschia blazer or the tough but funky edge of your Doc Marcies. It's a stronger creative style rather than a whimsical one, which correlates with the writing I've read of yours. That's probably where the change will continue to come in. There will always be new looks and trends you'll want to try. That's balanced out by the classic elements of your style, which express the loyal side of your personality. It all makes perfect sense to me.

    (Wow--it's so much easier to analyze other people's styles than to analyze my own!)

    Do you have a Dress for Success in your area? I've found that it's a lot easier for me to pass on clothes that I'm half-heartedly hanging on to out of guilt or "what ifs" when I donate them to DFS rather than a more questionable re-seller charity. It lets me feel good about my "mistakes" or styles I've just plain outgrown, because I know that someone else will truly benefit from them. The items you mentioned would be very useful at DFS and the one here, at least, is always low on smaller sizes. If not DFS, maybe a women's shelter?

    I'm an INFJ too (three)--I wonder how many of us there are on YLF? We seem to congregate on the Internet, I've noticed. I think Angie said she's an ENFJ, which makes so much sense.

  • Kari replied 7 years ago

    Suz, having seen that tweed jacket on you at the Toronto meetup, I sincerely hope that you don't give it up and find some way to have it mesh with your minimalist style - the colors look SO beautiful with your complexion and eyes. I actually like it with simpler outfits than the one that we see here - perhaps with jeans and a black top, or with your taupe skirt & sweater - to play up the texture and color.

  • Kari replied 7 years ago

    (That being said, I wouldn't want to push you to keep something that you no longer love... I guess this is just me being selfish, because *I* am crazy about that jacket on you!)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Kari, thank IS a fun jacket...and truth be told, even last year I would rarely have worn it with the Aline skirt....that was a bit of a departure for a specific purpose. It was actually an outfit I wore for the Bicycles giveaway challenge and was deliberately a bit more costume-like than my regular style.

    I will hang onto the jacket for a while, anyway. I must remember that part of the reason I haven't been wearing some of my pieces is that I only recently returned home.

    Ariadne, another INFJ!! Yay! I think you might be right that we congregate on the internet. It is a place where we can indulge our love of writing and have a fun social experience but at a safe distance! And it would not surprise me to learn that Angie's an ENFJ, either.

    Freckles, I think you might be onto something about the Anthro skirt. Very astute. I will try it again; it truly is quite comfortable, which is a good thing!

    Anna, you hit the nail on something. Often, the things I end up wearing most and loving most are my oddball purchases - off the cuff, last minute, impulse buys, even...things I'm not expecting to get a lot of use from. Maybe I just need to trust my instincts more.

    Mo, what you say makes sense; I totally understand that others would get bored of wearing the same stuff all the time within a season. I don't know why I don't, to tell you the truth. But it seems I only tire of my favourites once a season is over.

    IK - that does make sense, put the way you put it. I just need to figure out what my foundational pieces will be.

    Dianthus, I hear you on the unexpected favourites. And the need for comfort. I do think that drives a lot of my decisions in the day to day. I will reach for the item that's most comfortable.

    Jeneva, you're right - that thirst for constant growth and learning is definitely an INFJ trait and one I would not want to give up. So let the journey continue!

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    I think that makes perfect sense and is part of realizing that you can't necessarily reduce your fashion strategy to a single cliche.

    You may be going for a wardrobe that is still curated but with a shorter turnover. The curation then would perhaps require having less depth & duplication so your CPW ( not calculated compulsively, but just, did I wear that a lot?) you are also correct in that it may affect your price point, but not limiting yourself to " disposable" clothing, but perhaps just finding your value sweet spot.

    This is such a timely post for me because I'm ending my first year of intentional wardrobe overhauling and outfit- making and had some revelations as well. I learned FIT FIT FIT. If it fits well I want to wear it a lot & don't care as much how often. Iearned that though I love blazers/jackets and always have, I don't TRUST them to stay current- looking( for me, anyway) for as long as I thought and more to the point, i dont find that one jacket looks great with all pants & skirts-- you know, toss this over anything. So that affects my thinking-- not as much room for a Hugo Boss ( or Armani!) " 10- year

    That said, I'm also interested in learning more of Angie's tips, or studying photos and street fashion , on how to take an item or 2 and freshen it into a current look. Again this would be mostly for a great-fitting item that's not dated of itself but that I might tend to wear in a dated way. That helps in economizing but it's not just about $$- it's the time $ energy. So like Kari said, holding on to a few things can be good if they still pass certain tests but you' re not sure where they fit in now. For me it's fit/ fabric/ constrction. I'll save some of those things from cull-o-mania just in case a year from now i see a great way to wear it, and not feel like I've broken some curation rule.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    That's a good point, unfrumped. I definitely prefer my well-fitting items, and (perhaps unfortunately) I also tend to prefer (or keep preferring) my more expensive items. I might wear a cheaper item like mad for one season, but that's the one I'll toss later.

    For the examples I gave...they ALL fit really well. No problem with that. Construction is good, too....although the skirts might be starting to pill a little bit with the constant wear they got. Those jackets are indestructible. They would outlast the apocalypse. Ha!

  • JR replied 7 years ago

    I can tell you where I am thinking of trying to head, if that helps you at all. I plan on keeping the core of my wardrobe neutral essentials (black, white, grey, a little taupe, for me) but each season picking some favourite new colour or up-to-date fashion, and wearing them a great deal in their first season. This fall I was particularly drawn to rust, now it seems to be cobalt. I've got a hankering for medium pink, so that could be spring's colour. Summer is a bit different, of course, because it almost needs a separate wardrobe around here, as you know.

    Basically what I'm saying is that I think it's possible to have your cake and eat it too on this question. I mean, where would your fuchsia jacket be, without your neutral essentials to wear it with?

    The "trendy" items and "hot new" colours could be bought with less regard for durability and long-term styling, while the wardrobe essentials they play with could be of greater quality and more classic cut. Am I making sense here?

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I totally understand this and know how you feel. I am not wearing very many of my purchases from last year the way I'd expected. And when I look back at those WIWs, I have to wonder WHY I thought they were "me". On the positive side, however, I believe I've developed a much more refined sense of my own tastes since then and feel the items I'm picking now will be worn more and longer.

    One sign of this is that I'm not as into the novelty effect of purchases. I used to buy something, wear it once and then be done with it. It was like "Okay, got that out of the system. NEXT!" Now I'm more interested in remixing items I love, especially with keeping track of CPW and how I wear things in my new notebook.

    To make a writing analogy, you know how a story doesn't care HOW it gets out, as long as it's told? Often, once I tell someone an idea, it's no longer so urgent to write it down. I'm actively seeking out for my wardrobe only those pieces that are like stories that can be told over and over without losing their appeal or energy. :)

    At the same time, you must give yourself room and permission to grow. FWIW, I am a huge admirer of your style and style journey, as well as your ability to share your thought process. :)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Una, that's it - I would like to add those pieces that are like stories that can be told again and again (and seem more interesting with every re-telling.) But so far, I've been buying stories that seem like cheap jokes by the end of the season, instead of classics! ;-)

    Oh and learn. And I do think some of this is because I need some time to truly understand my own wants.

    You're right, too, JR - I can buy my "basics" in my neutrals. Taupe, grey, navy....but I would also love my "extras" to be high quality, and to last for more than one season in my "want to wear" pile....I think maybe the quality is key. I need to buy higher quality. Scary though that is.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Chiming back in - your last comment about needing to buy higher quality totally resonates with me and is something I'm coming to realize for myself as well. I'm wondering if it's less likely that you will want to stop wearing an item in a year if that item is of excellent quality and was more expensive?

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    Thank you for another very interesting thread Suz! A lot of wise comments. My take away from your original post is that actually you are continuing to use a lot of your essential wardrobe items (jeans, coats, tees, etc, are the basis of the Vivienne style). It is the twists that are changing, and that reflects your evolving style self. I think style, even if it remains fairly constant, does interact with the environment and our growing and changing selves, so there will always be a need for a certain amount of update with the things that really set your style apart. In other words, I think you are doing just great!

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    Wow, Suz, what a thread!

    I wanted to take a minute to comment on something. I have a high need for variety -- in clothes and in life. I'm a creative too, like you, only much nosier (music -- and a solid ENFP). If you're like me, your work is very "project" based --- moving from one intense creative assignment to the next. I've found that I live deeply into music and then must put it aside when the performances are done -- at least for a while. Over time, I learn that some of the repertoire is part of my permanent self, and some I'm ready to let go. I'm much like this in my closet, too, although I must confess that my wardrobe has far more mistakes and dissonances than my music!

    I love your current evolution, Suz. Keep on the journey!

  • Mochi replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I'm really whizzing thru this fascinating thread, haven't read most of the comments and am not giving it the thoughtfulness the topic deserves for now. Maybe I can slow down and have more to say tomorrow. That said, my impression on glancing at the pics this morning: Your style has apparently changed, which would explain a great deal.

    I feel that way especially when I look at the second pic.

    WIth the first pic, I see that the jacket looks very you in the moment. I'm finding it strangely juxtaposed with the other components like the skirt. I mean, it's a perfectly fine and spiffy outfit. It's just that, at least to me, the entire combination seems less sophisticated and well-thought-out than what you're now putting together. And the jacket seems totally salvageable in regards to your current look. I don't feel that way about the other components. And for all I know, you are sick of blue. Or dead sick of this jacket under any circumstances.

    I promise I will take another look at your and everyone's thoughts later. I really have been thinking about this a lot myself.

  • Deborah replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I'm at work so dont have time read all the responses until later but I find this an interesting conversation.

    My initial thoughts are:

    1. If you purchase a bigger ticket item and wear the heck out of it, then are you not getting to cost per wear (that is is you feel the need to justify the expenditure).

    2 Just how many clothes do we need? I have scaled my wardrobe down immensely and I still have more clothes than I can possibly wear on regular rotation, and I like variety.

    3 These items in the photos, don't seem to fit your current direction. I would store them until you are sure you are ready to pass them on.

    4 Is there a reason, aside from financial, that you feel you need to get a 'certain' life span out of your clothes.

    Prior to YLF I had two wardrobes stuffed full of clothing. Now, everything fits (with room to move) into my walk in robe. I have noticed that in this process my mindset has slowly changed too. I used to feel I had to 'hold on' to garments (Im still not sure why) but now I feel free to wear and enjoy until I am no longer enjoying them. I don't seem to need as many clothes because I am now buying with much greater intention. I also was looking forward to being 'there' with my wardrobe but I realise I will never be 'there' because my wardrobe will always be evolving because my life and lifestyle will b changing at different times. Personally I find quality can come at many price points and big $ does not always guarantee a wise investment. For example my black and white foral blazer was bought on sale for $40.00 and it wasn't ridiculously expensive to start with, but it has already proven itself to be a bit of workhorse, a statement piece, and while it is polyester, so were a number of similar jackets I looked at for $300 plus?!?!?

    Apologies for possibly going way of tangent, but I think the point I hoped to make is that our style journey is just that, a journey and I see it as something that is fluid and ongoing. I think you have really found your base style in recent times and I can see that foundation remaining constant, but what you add to it constantly changing. Does this make any sense?

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks, Nancy - you might be right about that jacket. It's the highest quality item of that bunch, for sure....and so might be save-able on that score alone.

    Beth Ann, I was VERY struck by what you said. You are absolutely right - I get caught up in a project, one project at a time....and then I'm onto the next's like this even in my paid work...deep immersion followed by deep immersion in something else and I almost forget the one I was working on before, so wow, that WOULD be like my wardrobe!! Hmmm. this is important food for thought. Thank you!!

    Shannon, I think it is absolutely true that I would probably tire less of high quality items I had paid more for. That has been true in the past. The trick for me is in picking the *right* high quality items. And I guess if I did not know my own style direction, that made sense. Now that I'm slowly refining my own style a bit better, maybe I will make better choices in the year ahead. I do know that the retro elements of my style are taking a back seat at least for the moment.

    I wonder if this means I'll eventually be moving out of my 1860s house and going to live in a 21st century condo???

  • Mochi replied 7 years ago

    I've heard it happen!

  • Carole replied 7 years ago

    I can't wait to read through all the responses here, Suz, but just wanted to tell you first, I feel so much better today reading your thoughts about feeling fickle with fashion. I'm experiencing some of the same confusion at the moment. Sometimes I feel like I'm experiencing fashion schizophrenia and other times I feel very confident in the direction I'm headed. Part of the exploration process for me has resulted in some mistakes and missteps but I suppose that's part of the style journey.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Deborah, we posted at the same time -

    Yes, what you say does make sense.

    And your question #4 is a good one. Is there are reason (aside from financial) that I feel I need to get a certain lifespan from my clothes?

    This goes to my sense of not wishing to be wasteful or profligate in any way. Of not wanting to be self-indulgent...buying things I don't even wear or need when others are in such serious need.

    In reality, when it comes to those four items I showed, at least, there really is NOTHING for me to feel even remotely guilty about.

    I bought that 9 west jacket for $35 on consignment and must have worn it AT LEAST 50 tiimes last fall/winter.

    I bought the little red cord jacket at a thrift store for $7 and wore it about a dozen times ore more.

    Both skirts cost around $50 each and were worn at least 20 times or more when we figure CPW there is nothing to be ashamed of.

    And yet to donate these items after only one year still feels somehow wasteful.

    I purge quite easily as a rule; if something no longer fits or is worn or REALLY doesn't express my style, out it goes without a pang!

    Perhaps I am worried more about spending to replace these former workhorse items! Hmmm. Now we are onto something!!

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    What a fun discussion! I've haven't read it all, just wanted to chime in to say that's something that I'm learning about myself too - that I aspire to a small wardrobe, but I like variety soo much (and in a similar way to you - I can repeat lots, and want to, but once I'm tired of that item, I don't wear it for a year or two, unless I suddenly think of some new way to mix it up).

    I tried, this season, to reduce my wardrobe to 33 items for 3 months (the 333 challenge). I failed miserably, but did reduce it to about 60 items, and it taught me which things are my favorites. (And I'm keeping my 'out' big here until the season is over, to see if I really had any idea what I would want to wear). In that experiment, I learned that I like to wear different colors - not one color more than a couple days in a row. So I kept lots of different colors. Having the color variety makes me happy. At least right now:) Who knows what it'll be next year!

    Learning new things is so much fun!

  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago

    I had to comment on this thread, Suz, because it sounds so much like what I was going through last year.

    The proverbial light came on when MaryK made a comment about thinking of clothing as a "consumable" as opposed to an "investment. That really clicked with me. My thinking now is that I'll spend serious money on items that I don't want to replace on a yearly basis--like coats, basic pants, a LBD, basic shoes/boots, and cashmere sweaters. I think of these as "investments" so I choose classic styles and neutral colors. That means I can think of my other clothes as "consumables".

    I now set a budget for my consumables and plan out a capsule for an upcoming season. Since I like to wear things over and over, my capsules don't need to be very large. I do recycle some items from a former season into my new capsule but only if they work well with the direction I want to go in for the new season, still fit and look good, and, most importantly, still give me that happiness quotient when I try them on. Otherwise, they get purged. Because these capsules are consumables, I buy both inexpensive and more pricey items, but always with my overall budget in mind. For example, I find that most T's last only a summer, so I'm reluctant to spend more than $15, with most being around the $8 mark. But I will spend more for a pair of navy linen trousers that I know I'll probably wear for a couple of seasons before I get tired of them.

    I find that dividing my clothes into "investments" and "consumables" works for me. By the time I have worn a "consumable" item fairly constantly for several months, I can think of it as having served its purpose and don't have to feel bad about purging it. On the other hand, I can also justify spending $1000 on that perfectly fitting, classic coat that I am quite happy to wear over and over for many years. But that timeline means that I don't bestow the term "investment" on just any item; I really think long and hard about how happy I will be wearing that one item for several years. If there are any doubts, it is a "consumable".

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Gaylene, this sounds like a brilliant solution to the dilemma; thank you!!

    I guess the issue then becomes figuring out which items are investments and which are consumables in any given wardrobe. And that would differ depending on lifestyle, dominant climate, etc.

    For us in Canada, good coats are clearly important and so I did invest last year in what were, for me, two fairly expensive coats (a puffer and a dressier wool coat); I know I will be wearing them for at least five years each. But this year I supplemented with a "consumable" short wool coat for wearing with will probably last at least two seasons. It might even last longer, but I won't feel badly if I purge it after two years, at the price point.

    From that example, I think I understand the process you are describing.

    One point that does confound me a bit....I think I would always want some classic items as a core (e.g. well-fitting jeans, a LB (or navy) dress, certain simple style of trousers, etc. BUT, at the same time, I might want more current or even trendy cuts of these items as well. Those are the times when it might be difficult to decide whether this is an investment or consumables purchase. In the past I have sometimes bought an inexpensive version of an item first if I am not sure (either waiting for a sale, or going consignment or thrift or fast fashion.) I guess this remains a possibility.

    I think, too, that because I love jackets so much, and because there is so much workmanship that goes into making them, I had assumed they HAD to be investment pieces. But in fact they might be consumables for me. I will just need to get a good amount of wear from each one, per season.

  • replied 7 years ago

    I feel your frustration! I'm struggling to want to wear many of the items I picked up last season. I'm attempting to style them in a way that feels a bit more current since I don't feel like I can let go of them yet. I will be interested to see if you can "reinterpret" any of your less loved items to fit your current style :)

  • Ingunn replied 7 years ago

    I'm on my way to work in a minute, but I just want to say that your post really resonated with me, Suz. I haven't had time to fully read all the comments, but the first impression told me that I must go back and reread this. I can see myself in exactly the same position: Wearing a few favorites to death each season, and I crave more variety than a basic minimalist wardrobe can provide. I do have a few pieces, though, that stands the test of time. Maybe that's not so bad after all? You had to replace everything due to weight loss, didn't you? Then you haven't had time to find out which pieces that will resurface in a year or two in your wardrobe. You might get surprised.

    This is my first year here and the first year of consciously trying to create a functional wardrobe, so I'm excited to find out what my next leg will be. I suspect it will look a lot like yours.

  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago

    Just a couple of other thoughts, Suz.

    I don't feel that price is the major determinant of whether or not an item is an investment or a consumable. Generally, I do spend more on my investment items, but I'd also include my inexpensive, vintage evening bag in this category as well as a $50 LBD that fits me perfectly. To my mind, the key element is that I can see myself happily wearing all my "investment" pieces for several seasons.

    And, I'm careful about using the term "classic" too loosely, especially when it refers to an item, rather than a design. To my mind, anything that has a design or silhouette that changes fairly often would be more of a consumable to me. For example, I find my jeans tend to change from bootcuts to skinnies to straights from season to season. That's why I have hard time of ever thinking of a pair of jeans as an "investment". The same goes for my black pants. To me, both of these are consumables because the shape and styles change quite frequently. On the other hand, my current V-neck cashmere sweater looks a lot like the one I wore 20 years ago; to me that makes it a "classic" in a design sense which makes it easier to think of the sweater as as "investment" piece that I'll wear for several years.

    For me, the key was to figure out what I was happy to wear from year to year without feeling dated or frumpy or bored. I guess, in one sense, my "investments" are so useful for my lifestyle, or so much a part of my style, that I couldn't conceive of my wardrobe without them, making these items my wardrobe "core". But this is a very exclusive category.

    I consider most of my clothes as consumables. Because consumables may be around for only a few seasons, cost and budget are important factors to me. I'll look for bargains and carefully consider CPW if the item is pricey. For example, if I know that I'll likely wear a $100 jacket a couple of times a week from September to March, a CPW of under $5 seems quite reasonable, and, if I don't want to wear the jacket next season, I'm willing to let it go. I still make mistakes and sometimes will spend more than I ought to on a single item that doesn't end up being used as much as I'd thought, but such is life. As long as I've stayed within my seasonal budget, I don't beat myself up about it.

  • Anne Boleyn replied 7 years ago

    I think it;s totally legitimate to get sick of certain items, provided you wear the heck out of them. That's where consignment stores and donation comes in. I'd see it as an "entertainment" expense, like going to see a movie or the (large) fraction of the iPad price that is essentially spent on games and other non-productive enjoyments - if you have the money to spend on a really pretty piece that warms your heart for a season, then that's money well spent on something that makes you happy.

    Like you, I also get obsessed with certain items, but my obsession lasts more than a season... I usually wear my things until they fall apart, mourn them, and move onto the next exciting thing. Since I'm pretty broke, I buy almost everything thrifted, so generally by the time something falls apart its cost-per-wear is somewhere in the pennies - but that's all I can afford at the moment, haha.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    These all all important points for me to ponder - thank you. of my "investment" pieces is a LBD that was actually free -- donated by a friend! Others would include my evening clutch bags (given to me by my mom and MIL). Scarves (because while I'll certainly pick favourites year to year, I could simply add to my collection and not purge very often).

    I am wondering if some of this might also be fashion-persona dependent. Someone with a strong classic bent would happily wear the same cut of essentials year to year for about five years. Someone with a less classic bent would want new shapes. And I am not entirely sure which category I fall into.

    Jeans, for me -- I don't change the silhouette every year. Instead, more on the lines of those who prefer a large wardrobe, I actually like to own several cuts of jean every season, and I wear different silhouettes. But jeans are SUCH an essential for my work at home life....they are the pencil skirt of my working life, I guess....and most people who own pencil skirts own at least one A-line, too, or one pleated skirt, or one midi....

    Thank you have really given me much to think about!

  • Mochi replied 7 years ago

    Hi, Suz. I thought I'd start up a thread to say a few things I have on my mind concerning this (maybe tangentially--it's a topic that encompasses many different thoughts for me).

    I will therefore stick with something that came to me regarding your outfit in the first pic, and this isn't even on-topic either! Neither did you ask for my opinion. But I thought I'd offer it :) I'm seeing that in this outfit you're wearing a bunch of blues that have completely different values (if that is the correct terminology). The jacket, the skirt, the hat and scarf--one is warm, the other electric, one is a cool blue; they're clashing to my eye, as opposed to the similarly-valued blues in the pic I linked to recently:

    Now I realize that this completely bypasses what you're concerned with overall about moving on and feeling like you're giving your clothes their due respect (not to mention the question of "respecting" yourself in how you decide to purchase an item of a certain "value", "quality" and price point).


  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    This is such an interesting thread, Suz! Not least because I had an 'analysis attack' yesterday where I sat down and decided that I need to budget for about six new garments in certain categories for every year... and that I need them to be able to swap out last year's six. So I need six new shirts, six new tunics, six new pairs of shoes each year.

    This came from realizing the same thing you did---I am more than happy to repeat the same outfit on a weekly basis, when it becomes a favourite for reasons of comfort, colour, silhouette (usually all three). And I am reminded that this is an old pattern for me---my mother used to get SO exasperated at my teenaged self because I was always picking the same things out of the laundry basket to wear twice or thrice a week... completely overlooking the last season's equivalent in perfectly fine fetter still!

    Like you, I still held on to last season's favourites because they made me feel wasteful otherwise---how can I throw out something not only serviceable, but something that actually isn't necessarily outmoded, and spend some more replacing it when the budget is tight to start with? And so I ended up with an elephantine wardrobe of clothes I no longer wanted to wear or knew how to freshen up.

    Indeed, my decision to have a smaller wardrobe in recent years comes from this precise place---if it's smaller to start with, a turnover won't be that expensive or irresponsible (I hope!).

    I notice the four garments you show as examples are all pretty distinctive. In that they aren't 'background' or completer pieces. Does there very *presence* militate against longevity, do you suppose? To my mind, it is sort of a meat and potatoes thing (or perhaps, in context, rice and curry)---I don't expect the potatoes or the rice to change form; but I'd be pretty cranky even if you served me my favourite steak or curry for seasons together, even though they are 'favourites' and I'm happy to repeat them frequently through a fortnight. For me, I show favouritism for---as well as finally tire of---pieces that are decidedly NOT neutral (not in terms of colour; in terms of character or distinctiveness). Which means those are what Gaylene calls 'consumables' in my wardrobe.

    In fact, the usual holes in my wardrobe are the bland neutrals that should be staples and links and completers. I barely 'notice' them when planning or shopping---which is why I'm often missing them... But I've realized THOSE are pieces that need to be 'investments' for me. I either need them in duplicates (or triplicates even), or need them in a more long-lasting quality; but above all, I need them to be NEUTRAL. Does that resonate at all? Maybe the items you love most and tire of soonest are the ones with maximum visibility, that read as one 'project', like Beth Ann said?

    One thing to accept about the investments too, I think, is that they can be on 'repeated refresh' at a lower price point as well as a solid one-time purchase. What works will depend on the individual's lifestyle and environment too, as well as budgetary or style considerations. I can use the same pair of jeans for five years and keep at those 'neutrals' till they are hole-y because I don't wear them every day and don't crave variety in the silhouette or wash of them. My SO buys five at a time, all different, because he wears them every day and replaces them every couple of years but doesn't like to wear an 'uniform' (variety). Mine see laundry more often; his see more work and wear. Both represent investments; both sets are worn threadbare (workhorses); mine are usually mid-range while his are a mix of mid-range and budget because he replaces more and often. Our approach is exactly reversed when it comes to shoes... Maybe jackets are like that for you? Perhaps they need to be both workhorses as well as investments, so you need a mix of price points there to satisfy both variety and budget? And maybe, conversely, you need just a few skirts a season to favourite and then forget about?

    Sorry about the long ramble. Guess I'm grappling with a wardrobe issue of my own and waiting for that elusive epiphany too... :-/

  • replied 7 years ago

    Hi Suz, I'm late to the party but followed a link here and cannot be silent! :)
    So many great things have been discussed and I wanted to chime in too. I'm in the same boat as you and many others are, and I realized it a while back when I was in my dominant season. You know how all the fashion mags talk about your "New Fall/Winter Wardrobe" (as if we all throw everything out each year and start from scratch)? Well, I'm starting to see their side of it! At the end of each season I seem to cull all of the really memorable --what MaryK called consumable (bright, printed, trendy, cheerful) things that I've worn to death and *loved* but that I don't really want to see again next year. What remains is the backbone of the next season's "New Fall/Winter Wardrobe". And it really does begin to take on an entirely new shape, even though the favorite jeans, shoes, a jacket or two, layering T's and pencil skirts are still there.

    I don't know what you decided to do about replacing your bright pink blazer, but when you mentioned loving it so much that you wanted one in a higher quality fabrication, I couldn't help but wonder if your love for a bright pink blazer would strong enough next year to warrant buying it in "investment grade". Then again, that could become a statement piece for you that transcends the seasons.

    Thank you so much for starting this thread. I love the way you think and inspire everyone else to respond! It seems there are a lot of us creative types that crave change in the artistic areas of our lives.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I will keep it short - still on arm rest.

    Your feelings happen to me every season. SO NORMAL! I have stuff that I want to wear over and over again year in year out. I have stuff that I wore the heck out of one season and do not want to wear again the next season. I have stuff that I leave to hibernate for a year and rediscover a few years later. It all makes sense :)

    I still adopt the one in one out principle. I usually LOVE my higher end stuff forever. It's the cheaper stuff that I want to pass on. Like from Zara. Do I stop buying from Zara because I am sick of the items after a year? No way. Where is the fun in that? A high-low style allows me to turn around my wardrobe each season while I hang onto my pricey treasures along the way.

  • celia replied 7 years ago

    Suz this is a thought provoking post.
    I have to admit that I didn't read all of the comments but taking at least your last one something came to mind.
    For me there is a difference between memorable because it represents/showcases you at your best and memorable because is trendy.

    Although I know that I do have classic tendencies and maybe I won't be able to wear certain items in 10 years, if a certain item has a great color or cut that makes me look good I don't care much about how much it cost(I do care if it looks cheap or too old).
    I might put something on the back of my closet for a year or two but if it does good things for me I won't purge it.

    What I tend to purge are the items that give me too much trouble styling, the things I have to babysit and encourage to behave with the rest of my wardrobe or with my skin tone.

    (somehow I have a feeling I went out of topic here....)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Angie, thank you for weighing in on this even with your sore arm!! It is a relief to know that this happens even to you.

    I think perhaps I was surprised it was happening to me because my base wardrobe (if I can use that term) is still quite incomplete (missing some essentials for some capsules) so I am really not at the "one-in-one-out" stage....and yet I AM at that stage, if you know what I mean, with certain, standout items! It really gave me a shock.

    But now that I am thinking this through a bit more carefully (and you've all helped me so much with your observations) I'm really not feeling so badly about this. I can happily "trade" a few of my older items for newer ones that will make my heart beat faster. And in the meantime I can slowly continue to build up the core wardrobe with higher quality things that make me happy and might get continued wear for many seasons. Or might not....but will at least get a lot of wear for ONE season.

    And I can supplement these with my "low" end Zara or H&M or consignment/ vintage finds. The little extras that don't cost a lot but add that extra zing of fun.

    Celia, you make a very good distinction. Some items are memorable because they really suit us. Some are memorable because they are the trend of the moment. I guess there is room for a few of the latter and more of the former in each wardrobe.

    Claire, so far, I haven't replaced the fuchsia blazer. I am just wearing it as is. I think next year I will consider purchasing a higher quality bright colour blazer in one of my best colours (not necessarily that one) IF the right one shows up. I didn't buy the red Theory jacket in the end; I was worried about dye transfer so left it alone. I figured another better one would appear eventually and in the meantime, I am not lacking for a jacket to wear.

    Manidipa, so lovely to hear from you! And you make some very good points here. I do tend to tire quickest of my "statement" items...or at least my constantly worn statement items. I do have some statement pieces that I never tire of, but those tend to be the more expensive, lesser worn pieces (i.e. dressy skirt). At the moment I am wondering if I would maintain my love for a high-quality, frequently worn item. That is, would the quality make the difference to me? I suspect it WOULD make some difference in my case.

    Nancy, very astute observation about the colour values in those pieces. You are 100% right, of course. I did notice it in making up the outfit and was consciously playing with combining values that ordinarily I wouldn't attempt to combine - it was a bit of an experiment for me that IRL worked a lot better than I had expected. (It looks a bit better IRL, I assure you). I think I was experimenting more last year and also working with a REALLY tiny closet of very, very few items, so I combined in ways I might not otherwise; this year I have a bit more choice.

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    Suz, the last few posts in which Gaylene added her analysis and your comment on "jackets" did a better job of saying what I was going for.
    There's still an investment vs. consumable concept, but for me it's not the same items that might be on the "top 20" hit list of wardrobe classics in a typical list or magazine. So the lesson Gaylene put forth was, part of the process is to define what should fall in these categories for each indivitual person.

    Jackets hit home because jackets are supposed to be in that category especially the "black blazer". I do wear black jackets--just works with so many things when you get down to it--but a single very expensive black jacket is not a good investment for me because a) the black jacket itself isn't my most flattering color (whereas a black T and a lighter or more colorful jacket works) and b) I don't find one black jacket is universal enough.
    But, other-colored jackets work great but might not stay my faves or might not be capsule-worthy over many years. So if I want to wear several nice jackets in flattering styles and colors each year, but maybe not the same ones for 5 years, I need to budget for them as higher-end consumables but not super-crazy $$$ items. To balance that I might buy less expensive knit tops --I don't usually find that "label" items give me better fit or colors--it's more shopping for the brands that tend be cut best for my shape and size, or I might have a narrower color palette, or for me, no "investment" handbags.

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