Mistakes were made...

I bought a lot this year. About double my usual. I also edited out a significant number of items that were around a decade old in some cases. This makes sense. It has been a full decade since I built my wardrobe from scratch ...and I was due for a real style refresh. 

Almost all my purchases, I'm pleased to say, have been hugely successful. I'm wearing all the things and enjoying them! Thanks to Angie and the forum for helping me refine my style to the point where I make fewer errors and even my "experiments" tend to work out well. 

Having said that...there were mistakes! 

1. The EOS sneakers. I am not beating myself up about this. They were so comfy in the store! I spent a good 20 minutes walking around in them to be sure. But IRL, they were torture, and no amount of playing around with insoles, socks, bandages, or moleskins would help. Sigh. 

2. Aritzia shell, bought on consignment. I have an identical top in ecru (no pattern) that I have worn a lot. So you would think this would be a no-brainer, right? Umm. Not so much. The cut under the arms is ever so slightly different (just enough to bother me because it shows many of my bras) and every time I reached for it, I reached for something else instead. Not an expensive fail or one that is so bad for the climate, since it was second hand. But still. 

3. Cole Haan Zero grand penny loafer. This was a case of jumping on board too far, too fast and wearing sales goggles. I loved the Cole Haan stitchlight oxfords so much and I loved my last year's Sarto at-home loafers so much that I thought -- hello, this on-sale loafer could be the perfect at home shoe this winter! But no. It is nowhere near as comfy as the oxford, to start, it slides off my foot (as most loafers do), it looks cheap (as the oxfords do. not) and I feel unstylish when I wear it. Passing it on. 

4. BR cotton top. This was not a complete fail. I wore it at least 10 times during the summer. But although it looks good on me (I think) I just didn't enjoy it as much as I had anticipated. LisaP commented on her own version of this that it just didn't feel like "her" in the end. It doesn't feel not me, if that makes sense, but neither does it fill me with joy. I think -- maybe -- it's the thickness of the stripes and the stripes going in different directions on the same piece and the piece being quite short and square. But I'm not 100% sure. Anyway, it's in good condition but I'm passing it along. 

5. Sandwich top. This was actually a massive success -- to the point that it failed. I wore it so much, I literally wore holes in it! don't think these holes can be easily or invisibly repaired since it is a modal knit. I'm going to try, though. This was on repeat all summer -- I must have worn it at least 3 times a week for 4 months. And I purchased it for $30. So it worked out to more than 30 wears in one summer and less than $1 per wear. But I'll be sad to dispose of it, since it was so incredibly useful. 

I'm not sure I have any smart takeaways from this except don't purchase just because you're making another purchase or you want free shipping. The Aritzia top purchase was made at the same time I bought the Dries van Noten pants. Why not just the pants? There was no reason to add to the bag with something that might have seemed more "practical." And I bought the loafers to get free shipping on another pair of shoes (that worked out much better.) The shipping costs would have been much cheaper than the shoes! 

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.


  • Runcarla replied 6 months ago

    Well, you get a pass on the failed shoes, because it’s just too hard to tell about shoes.  The top that was the same but not - that’s heart breaking ‘cause expectations were raised. It’s all a learning experience…grist for the mill, is it not?

    I’m currently deliriously happy with some turtleneck sweaters I picked up at Joe Fresh for under $25 each (on a sale) and afraid there’s a catch - though I’ve worn them all at least 5x, and one 10x and they’ve come through the wash with flying colours.  It seems too good to be true…

  • April replied 6 months ago

    Definitely with RC on this one - shoes are anybody's guess, so you get a free pass on those purchases.  

    Anyways, Suz, we're all right there with you and appreciate your style and candor about mistakes, always.  

  • Helena replied 6 months ago

    Thanks for sharing you fails Suz because you are such a masterful shopper that it's encouraging to know sometimes pieces let you down too :) Wise assessments of the pieces that didn't work and hooray for an overall successful year!

  • Dee replied 6 months ago

    Ugh! Shoes are so difficult and yes, throwing in that extra something just for the free shipping can lead to disappointment because its usually based on a last minute whim.
    I thought the striped top was cute on you but if you’re not feeling it, there’s no point leaving it to languish in your closet.
    Too bad about the Sandwich top but it has definitely served you well.

  • Cardiff girl replied 6 months ago

    Always interesting to read what has worked ,what hasn’t  and why.The shoes  just confirm that it’s impossible to know about some items until you have worn them at home by which time you can’t return them.Frustrating l know but it happens to us all.l liked the striped shirt on you but if you don’t feel fab in it you won’t wear it.Useful read.

  • Bijou replied 6 months ago

    These mistakes were all so close that it is testament to how you know your style and what works for you.  In a larger buy year, it is to be expected that the number of misses (even for a very discerning shopper) would increase. In particular, the Aritzia shell which had a gorgeous pattern was very disappointing, I would expect the cut to be exactly the same as your other top and the shoes also looked like they promised comfort. 

  • bella replied 6 months ago

    You are such a thoughtful shopper that I don't think there is any reason to beat yourself over these small mistakes. I'd much rather wear down a closet item to the point that it develops holes than pass it on because it's been hanging in my closet unworn for so long that I've grown tired of looking at it. So well done on that front! 

    Overall, it seems like it was a wonderful year!

  • Ket replied 6 months ago

    I would say those are all still wins. You discovered what you didn’t like. And someone else gets to enjoy them who may find it’s a total home run for them.

    Agreeing with all the other shoe comments: you never know with shoes until you get a full week or month with them. Still, I feel it’s not too many misses at all for all you purchased! You’re a very wise shopper which inspires me.

    Also—sometimes buying one item for free shipping is a total bust! Been there. Learned my lesson. I only bite when I can find something very small OR I know I need/want the extra.

  • cat2 replied 6 months ago

    I just took a look at what I donated this year, and nothing was bought this year. I do have a new dress that I don’t think I like, but will try it on again in the clear light of Spring and see if it’s my new top.

  • Dana replied 6 months ago

    Wow, Suz! I think overall you did really well! Especially since you bought a lot this year. 

    I'm wondering if you can take the Aritzia top up a little at the shoulder to eliminate the bra show. 

    I feel ya on the shipping...I HATE paying for shipping and have abandoned my cart many times because of it.  

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    We are really spoiled with free shipping in N. America (less here in Canada than in the US, but still...)  I am going to consciously remind myself that paying for shipping now and again is just paying a small fraction of what it costs us all to have things sent thousands of miles...

    Thanks for commiserating about the footwear. That is truly the toughest, right? I think we all get it wrong in that department sometimes. 

    Dana, I can take a look at that top and see if a shoulder adjustment might do the trick -- good idea! 

    Carla, every now and again we hit the jackpot with an inexpensive item and wow, does it ever feel good when that happens! 

  • SarahD8 replied 6 months ago

    Hmm, shoes that do not stand up to real life wear comfort-wise, inconsistently cut items...yes mistakes were made but are you sure you were the one who made them?

    I know, I know, a lot of this is inherent to mass-produced clothing but still, I see nothing for you to apologize for here.

    It's been a pleasure to watch you embark on this style reset with such confidence and self-possession!

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Aww, Sarah, thanks! That gave me a laugh. You are probably right. Ditto for the quality control on the Sandwich top. Although I *think* maybe that was user error -- I have a feeling the holes were made by the hardware on my backpack when I was in San Francisco, I think maybe I loaded the pack too full some days and made it so tight that the straps rubbed the top to the point of wearing it out. 

  • Carol replied 6 months ago

    I love the idea of loafers with sneaker tread…I would totally wear that. But not if they’re uncomfortable, like you said!

    They get you with that free shipping, always. Just add to your basket to feel like you’re paying for “something “ other than shipping.

  • Jaime replied 6 months ago

    Shoes are hard to predict, and your choices were as considered as possible. Interesting about the striped blouse - something about the juxtaposition of the classic stripes and the not classic, but not all the way to avant garde, design was just too lacking intention for you I suspect. 

  • Sal replied 6 months ago

    It’s okay to make mistakes - it happens to most of us.

    The stripe shirt is great - but I can see that it could be awesome and could miss the mark- depending on the styling. Sometimes things are just too hard.

  • Joy replied 6 months ago

    We all make mistakes.  Mine have especially involved do-it-yourself-projects.  I gave up trying to make my own clothes.

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 months ago

    I am very much aware of the free shipping thing now. We frequently can’t get it anyway. One place we often can is shoes, which I hate sending back because I usually order from Australia (Styletread) and feel so bad about the shoes going across an ocean twice! I did order 3 pairs in one order and ended up sending two back. One was slippers which I kept- first new pair for about a decade after the last ones were a $10 pair seen in a bathroom shop of all places, and the pair before that cast-offs from my son whose feet had got bigger than mine when he was about 12! I was really happy with those.
    The white sandals were sadly very much cream, which I did not want. Misrepresented on my computer screen as white and called white. And the cute wee green “jelly” sandals for my granddaughter, despite having had her feet properly measured 6 months earlier, were way too big for her all over and would probably have had to wait a year or more to fit her. So both those went back. I have felt better about paying for shipping sometimes when thinking of the time and money saved in not driving to a store, parking etc. I still way prefer B&M shopping though. Sadly your shoes are an example where even trying them thoroughly did not work :(

  • kkards replied 6 months ago

    Mistakes are a part of life…and if you didn’t make any that would mean you didn’t take any risks and what fun would that be.  

  • Writtenpage replied 6 months ago

    I've made a lot of mistakes this year since my shape has changed. I'm still not sure what works, so 2024 will probably be more of the same!

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