What Embarrasses You More....

Yay: the "not right" items you keep bringing home with you, and then can't style or decide aren't right for your body type and then rarely or never wear....

OR Nay: the same old, same old boring items that you continually buy, again and again, even while wanting to branch out and have more fun with fashion? And the fact that you can't seem to break out of your style rut?

ETA: OR - even when an item deeply calls to you and feels like "you" to the core, you refuse to bring it home because it is too expensive and you feel you can't justify the cost.

And....whichever category you fall into, what is one SMALL thing you will do next time you go shopping to help to remedy this problem?

Note: this question arises from some conversations on threads of Shannon's about her flowered jeans: http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....me-realize

I'll go first. I am a "nay" shopper who traditionally has trouble breaking out of a rut. So the next time I go shopping I vow to try on one item that does not seem like "me."

My other problem is refusing to spend on items that absolutely DO feel like me...in a very deep way. Just ignoring that call. My recent SW booties were my attempt to address that particular shopping mistake.

Over to you!

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.


  • Transcona Shannon replied 10 years ago

    Well you already know this answer from me - YAY. I bring home items that either don't fit right, don't work with my style, or that I know even in the dressing room aren't exactly right but convince myself that I can 'make it work" and then drive myself (and all of you) crazy trying to make it work.

    As for how to remedy this? If I don't know in the change room what I'm going to pair with the item or can come up with 2-3 different outfits with it, then it's not coming home. My gut feeling is pretty much always right - time to start listening to it.

  • Mochi replied 10 years ago

    Ah, Suz. What a thoughtful question.

    Nay nay nay for me. As a teenager I probably was a yay, bringing home a lot of things that looked strange on me or even literally couldn't fit into. (Shopping for future body...) I chalk that up to the intense peer pressure at my high school. Clothes were very much taken note of.

    And now, I'm fighting off the "Nothing looks good on me, why even bother" syndrome of the past twenty years, when I was, at my highest weight, about 40-50 lbs more than I weigh now. Even now that it's better I still look at myself and my shortness and odd proportions and want to sigh in frustration, and it's taking me time to work through that.

    So maybe because of those body issues, I'm not the right one to answer your question (which could be based more on psychological than physical issues). Aversion to risk, etc.

    I'd like to be more of a Yay person, and think it's ultimately possible.

  • RunnerChick replied 10 years ago

    Suz, this is a tough question because I am guilty of doing both! I'm going with Nay though, as that tends to be more of a pattern. My reent experiences with the tunic/ skinnies/ boots formula, however, have emboldened me and I would like to think that I am more open to experimenting (and having fun) with new-to-me silhouettes.

    The quality cry is one that I have not heeded well either, I'm afraid. Too many years pinching pennies, and I am yet to learn that buying for quality in some cases is more economical in the long run. I recently bought a pair of Gap skinnies rather than a pair of Joe's that I found at the Rack - the Gap pair were half the price, but the Joe's made me feel twice as fab! So, one little thing that I am going to do for myself - trade the Gap skinnies in for the Joe's!

  • Astrid replied 10 years ago

    I'm also a nay shopper and I like to be on the safe side when I spend my money. The few times I was more experimental were more or less mistakes. I'd like to think I would be more experimental next time, but when I'm honest I don't think I have the money for it. What I really need are some great new wardrobe essentials that can go with lots of things.

  • Janet replied 10 years ago

    Like Shannon, I'm a Yay. No surprise there.

    At another time in my life with less disposable income, and when i took fewer risks, I definitely fell more in the Nay category.

  • replied 10 years ago

    I guess I'm a Yay (with dated thrift store stuff). One of my main concerns is looking current, yet I kept going back to drink from that well! It's a serious and strange addiction, people!

    I like classic items, and it takes a while for my eye to adjust to new things (unless they are just classic things enjoying popularity again, then I jump right on board). I don't feel like I'm in a rut with the safe basic clothing I buy, but maybe I should. I feel like I'm a classic-classic. Not classic with a twist, classic with an edge or even a dramatic classic. Modern is like a vitamin pill that I take because I know it's good for me, not because I like it.

    The only risks I've really taken are with dated or retro (if you want to be really nice about it) classic items that I can't pull off with any irony at all. And yeah, I'm pretty embarrassed about my attempts in that area!

    So, since I've joined Shannon in her thrifting ban until March 1st, I'll shop only retail until then. That should be a good start for my "one thing" to get me in the right direction. Great question Suz!

  • modgrl replied 10 years ago

    I am a big time YAY person. But I'm not embarrassed about it. Part of my journey is being open to change and new styles. In the past I would look for things on extreme sale, end of season, thrift store, ebay stuff. I was always disheartened that I couldn't get the color, size or just the look I wanted. I didn't understand why. YLF changed my shopping habits completely. I now shop at the start of the season and mostly pay full price for the perfect thing in my exact size.

    It seems counter-intuitive but I think this is actually going to save me money and frustration. In the past I was never satisfied with my wardrobe. I couldn't put together outfits that made me happy. Why?? Why?? I was so frustrated with my wardrobe all the time I could just cry thinking about it. I never had the right thing to put together the look I wanted, and I kept buying stuff that I thought would fill the gap. Now I buy just the right thing in the first place and I'm done. I have the Perfect Stripe sweater. That means I don't have to keep shopping for another one. I have the one that fits me just right and is EXACTLY what I wanted. In the past I would buy one at the thrift store that was almost right. Buy another one on end of season sale that was almost right. By then the thing I really wanted was gone... and I was stuck with a bunch of things that weren't even what I wanted in the first place.

    Of course it helps to have some disposable income to devote to my hobby. It doesn't sting so much if I end up making a mistake or buying something for my fantasy lifestyle. That was a barrier to - I had to give myself permission to spend money on myself.

    It's really helped me to stay out of thrift stores and stop browsing sale stuff. When I see stuff on sale, I am drawn like a fly to %#(*. I can't seem to help myself and that is when I make most of my purchasing mistakes.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 10 years ago

    Rita -I wanna be like you!

  • Vildy replied 10 years ago

    In some ways, I"m looking for my style rut. :) I'm fairly experimental and I do my own alterations or even refashioning a bit. But I can't tell how I feel about something until it hangs right and I know how it feels on my body and when I'm putting it through its paces.
    Therefore, I buy as inexpensively as I can - trying to interpret interesting trends in a way that still feels like me - but I can't help feeling uncomfortable about even this little bit of cost of passing things along.

    What I've been trying to do is search my own past for common elements I like about my clothes. And often when I have successes I feel like duplicating them but I look at the one I have and most times am content to say, well, I already have the best one for me.

  • amiable replied 10 years ago

    Yes, I'm with Vildy - I'm hoping to find my style, whether or not it's a rut. Right now almost everything is experimentation, and it sometimes works. More often than not something is a little off.

  • Sara L. replied 10 years ago

    I'm a Yay shopper and I have a tendency to wear something even if it's not perfect just to convince myself that I didn't make a mistake. I don't shop as much anymore (too busy with work, kids, husband, etc) which leaves me less room for mistakes but I also get paralyzed now. I don't want to make another mistake so I don't buy anything at all. I don't think that's a great direction to be going in either.

  • Aziraphale replied 10 years ago

    If I had to choose, I guess it would be Nay -- I seem to buy the same things over and over again. I've found a few silhouettes that consistently work, and I keep wearing those. I'm not exactly embarrassed about it, though. I guess I must be a little boring! What I AM a little embarrassed about is having five copies of the EXACT SAME black sleeveless top hanging in my closet...

  • modgrl replied 10 years ago

    Shannon - it took a LONG time and ALOT of wasted cash to get to that lightbulb moment.

  • rae replied 10 years ago

    Good question!

    I think I'm a Yay. Sometimes I branch out *too* much and bring home something that is ultimately uncomfortable. :T

  • Gaylene replied 10 years ago

    Hmm, I guess I'd have to say Nay, although I've certainly had my share of unworn, "not right" items in my closet. My "stuck in a rut" tendencies probably come from my mother/grandmother's admonishments that "we are too poor to buy tat". So I've always felt vaguely guilty if I bought an inexpensive, fashionable item just for "fun"--like I was wasting my money on junk. Buying well-designed classics which could be switched around for variety, or worn in different ways, was the way I was taught to build a wardrobe.

    Old habits die hard and my biggest shopping challenge is even setting foot into retail outlets that offer inexpensive clothing, unless I'm looking for casual items like jeans, T-shirts, and sweats. It actually felt quite radical this summer when I bought a pleather jacket that fit beautifully in a gorgeous color. But, to be honest, I only bought the jacket when I convinced myself I wouldn't wear it for work or public appearances. I do get complements on that jacket whenever I wear it with my jeans, and even my husband was surprised that it wasn't leather, so maybe I need to adjust my attitude.

    ETA: OK, Suz, as you request, I'll go out on a limb here and say that in 2013, I'm going to designate a chunk of my wardrobe budget for inexpensive experiments as a counterpoint to my normal buying habits. And I'll quit referring to that pleather jacket as my "plasticfantastic"!

  • ironkurtin replied 10 years ago

    Rant incoming.

    TBH I see way too much energy on this forum spent on beating ourselves up for "mistakes." Good heavens, it's a shirt that we don't wear! We tried, it wasn't "perfect" - well, what IS perfect? Doesn't what is "perfect" change from year to year, month to month, sometimes even day to day? I see members berating themselves for lack of discipline if something isn't the holy answer to pantsdom and not knowing in advance if something would "work" - well good lord, ladies, tell me where in ANY of our lives this is possible?

    In short, yes, strategies on how to isolate things that will make us happy are good. But enough with the failure-counting! It is not "embarrassing" if something doesn't work. It means we tried. Trying is never a failure.

    - rant over -

  • replied 10 years ago

    @Rita: I may have just found my perfect striped Breton top (BR from Angie's store, will post later today). And that is after buying one at H&M (wrong neckline/too short) one at Walmart (low neck, too short), one at Target (not quite right, stripes too small), one at Goodwill (too short, dated striped pattern), another at Goodwill (fabric too thin, wrong colors, too short) one at Savers (wrong colors, too bulky) --wow,when I started this I could only think of three--and one from LLBean that I tried and returned because of the thick fabric, wrong color and 3/4 sleeves. Ouch, I just totaled them all up in my head and I spent more on the lot of them than the perfect one! In my defense, it did take me a while to figure out A) that a Breton top would become an integral part of my wardrobe/style and B) exactly what I wanted. But by now my learning curve should be much much shorter (or less curvy or what have you). Yes I think you're onto something!

  • Sveta replied 10 years ago

    I was firmly "Nay" pre-YLF - stuck in the rut of a handful of outfit options and bored to death. Now I am definitely Yay but a catious one. I branch out if I like the new style or trend on others and can somehow envision it on me. Then I shop returnable venues only so I don't have a pressure to decide in the dressing room if the item is right - this ususally leads to the mistakes. I really need to take it home, play with it in my closet and mull it over. I need to see if I am going to be as excited about this item the next day as I was in the dressing room. At least half of the items go back this way but I am mostly not embarassed of what is staying.
    The most of my shopping mistakes were done when I shopped online with an expensive return options (oh, it is not perfect but I will lose so much on the return I would rather keep it...) or when I shop away from home and cannot return the item. I am really limiting myself now where I shop now - if I cannot return i easily I don't shope there. Nordstrom is one exception for my " limit shop away from home" rule because of their excellent return policy - I usually go to US a couple of times a year and I can return something i bought year ago if it did not work for me - love this and willing to pay extra for this option!

  • Suz replied 10 years ago

    Interesting! The gays and nays are running about equal. But not too many have committed to one small change. Which is perfectly okay if your fallback shopping habits don't bother you.

    IK I take your point about mistakes not being a big deal and the amount of time some of us spend berating ourselves. And I really wasn't trying to encourage self flaggelating behaviour. Quite the reverse, actually.

    The thing is, like it or not, reasonably or not, some of us DO deal with guilt and shame about our shopping patterns. So to me it's worth bringing out into the open.

  • ManidipaM replied 10 years ago

    I'm a sometimes-Yay and a bigtime-OR! ;-D

    Seriously, the needing permission to spend thing started as a necessary thrifty habit, as there just wasn't the money to spend even if I found the perfect thing (hard enough: see Yay!). But now, I sometimes feel like I am anticipating privation and hence holding back on buying the right thing, because --- wait for it! --- what if all the other 'almosts' in my closet wear out and need replacing, so shouldn't I save for *that* eventuality instead?! Never mind that said 'almosts', um, don't NEED replacing if I'm not so keen on them, eh?

    What I hope to do for the Yay: Listen harder and look harder on the forum and on Angie's blog. Post a little more often (well, I'm going to have to try, at least) to get feedback on what works, what doesn't, and WHY. So I can build confidence and make fewer mistakes.

    What I need to do for 'OR': Take a deep breath. Go home and really think about how much I want the pretty little 'perfect' and whether the 'almost' is worth bothering with at all. And what exactly I can't buy if Perfect comes home, and also if Perfect comes home and morphs into an Yay! Is it worth the risk? Is another almost worth even having? Why?

  • shedev replied 10 years ago

    Bravo Iron kurtan. (stands up and applauds) I'm not sure what perfect means so I'm shooting for happy. I was in the Bebe store recently looking at a houndstooth moto. The sleeves were too long so I had to pass. The SA suggested that I would look great in a blazer. I could put together a ferfect outfit with a blazer. I love the look on others but blazers are orphans in my closet. The blazer might be perfect but the moto was definately happy.
    Sorry for continuing the rant Suz. I'm a nay. It's not always that the items are boring, its just that I have a few of them already. I've had to ban myself from looking at a few items, like black skinny jeans just to force myself to consider other options.

  • Suz replied 10 years ago

    BTW, I want to grow up to be Rita or Sveta. Given my temperament I think Sveta is more likely.

    I do think a lot of this depends on temperament.

  • JuneBug replied 10 years ago

    Suz, as opposed to a few readers here, I was a nay as a teenager and a yay now! Back then I lived in jeans and had every shade of blue and black. I now wear jeans only to the corner grocery store a couple of times a week! I forced myself to come out of the jean rut because I felt constantly unprepared in them. Like the morning of a big presentation and I just got to know! I figured that for myself personally, being well turned out would be the final boost needed to stand apart and propel my work in the right direction.

    My shopping these days often has a couple of things in styles I don't already own, like I finally caved in and bought a peplum styled top which I'll have to return because I have nothing to go with it and don't plan on buying new bottoms. Although this happens often enough, I've been inspired to try new styles and I like that my wardrobe has a good mix.

  • Raisin replied 10 years ago

    I think bringing home the not right items are what disappoint me the most. It's not so much that I'm embarrassed...more like I'm mad at myself for spending money on something that I will not wear. I did this recently....ordered a dress to be made and it looked so fab online. It arrived and was perfectly made, but it was a super thick tweed with full lining. Beautiful construction but so thick it felt really weird to wear and hard to move in. I decided instead of looking at it in my closet each day, and knowing full well I won't wear it, it went straight into my donate pile. But man was I pissed at myself for that $100 bill! Lesson learned: take more time to research what I'm buying online to make sure it's perfect, or else don't shop online.

  • RoseandJoan replied 10 years ago

    I'm in the nay camp and know this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. My present budget means that a risk is a big gamble as I will have to make the piece work and integrate it into my wardrobe.

    My budget also means that I have a small wardrobe which gets worn frequently, my items wear out and need replacing with something of the same ilk.

    The remedy. In trying to buy the best quality I can afford I am not really visiting the shops which stock full price items at my price point. I really should at least browse these stores to gauge the quality before dismissing the produce out of hand. In essence I should stop being such a bleeping snob.

  • Isabel replied 10 years ago

    I am an "Or"...... : (

    Mostly because I feel as if I just don't have anywhere to wear it. Though I have learned that a beautiful every day thing is a good thing. ( Like your boots......)

  • catgirl replied 10 years ago

    Suz, your posts are so thoughtful and require so much introspection (in a good way) - I feel bad that I don't have time or brainpower to answer them all right now.

    As far as this goes, I am most embarrassed by how long it took me to figure out my own style, and all the purchases I've "wasted" to get here. Hopefully I'm over that phase for now, although I'm sure something will shift and I'll be back to the "What was I THINKING?!" mode.

    Fascinating thread and such an important question no matter where one is on the journey.

  • Amy replied 10 years ago

    I was going to ask something along these lines. Great minds think alike, right?

    I'm definitely in the "nay" camp here. I want to break out of my rut, but usually end up buying staid old basics because finding trendy, fun items that fit and are constructed well enough to make it through my filter is nearly impossible.

    I LOVE fun, fashion-forward outfits, but my outfits tend to be rather conservative. Some of that has to do with where I work, but the fit issue is a challenging issue for me. Perhaps I haven't been shopping in the right places.

    Next time I go shopping, I'm going to try looking at someplace like H&M where I can try on something trendy, but not have to spend a lot of money on it.

  • unfrumped replied 10 years ago

    Nay mostly. Along with some "I thought this might be a good branching out at the time".

    My branching out has been more successful with non-work wear, because that is a wide-open field and there are lots of options for dressing up or down, accessories, and so forth. My rut has been more in work-wear because I don't seem to find things that represent a real change or improvement that still fits my workwear criteria.

    What to do?

    One small change might be to relax and stop trying to "fix" my work capsules if I'm just not finding anything that really makes a difference. Nobody cares but me, really--I'm not in any competition or dress code or corporate expectations.

    And, try some other brands/stores/venues to see if I'm looking in the wrong places?

  • Suz replied 10 years ago

    Unfrumped and Amy, I think shopping in stores we ordinarily don't try can be very informative and helpful. Even if we don't actually buy anything.

    I remember the first few times I entered an H&M I was APPALLED. I really mean that. I was overstimulated, choked, almost on the surfeit of goods, dismayed by the poor quality and what I considered the harsh dyes, and unable to discern ANYTHING that I might actually want to try.

    But I kept going in every once in a while, mainly because I saw people on the forum sporting nifty pieces they'd found there. And lo and behold, eventually I found something there, too.

    I'll never be an H&M dresser from head to toe. But if I need a little spark to make an outfit pop at the last minute, especially for special occasion wear, you can bet I'll head there for a quick fix.

    Una, it may have felt like a long time to find your style groove, but once you hit it, WOW!! You are a constant inspiration to me; I have seen you struggle. I have seen that it wasn't easy...and then I've seen it all fall into place. Thank you for sharing that process with us, and I hope you won't feel embarrassed for long.

    Isabel, beauty every day is a necessity. And you supply it here with your warm, caring, incredibly thoughtful presence!!

    Julie, I SO identify with what you are saying. I am a bit of a bleeping snob, too, as you can see from the above. But yes...it is worth at least checking the lower price point stores, because the merchandise does change over time, and even if it doesn't, one can get lucky!

    RunnerRae, I SO identify with what you say, too. Online mistakes are so frustrating, and maybe a fact of life for those of us who live in Canada (assuming we don't want to confine our shopping to the Mark's Work Wearhouse.)

    Junebug, it sounds as if you have come to a really good and more balanced place! A few mistakes a season is not bad at all, especially since you're also discovering new things to love. And if you can return the failures, that is just not a mistake at all, in my book. It's a try-on!!

    Shedev, I would rather shoot for happy than perfect, too. Jayne's "happiness factor" is such a great way to measure an item and an outfit, I think. And if the moto would make you happy, YAY for holding out for it!

    Manidia, you are always so thoughtful! And yes, please DO post more often!! It may be difficult right now, but we would love to see your outfits as pregnancy progresses and then motherhood ensues!

    Sveta, I so feel your pain about expensive returns. But I agree about Nordstrom's. It is just so great that we can return items there for full credit. And once again, I sure am aiming for the NAS this year!!

  • Jaime replied 10 years ago

    I love these thought provoking threads! That said, my first reaction was like Rita's and IK's - no reason to be embarrassed about a shopping habit. It is fashion! Fun! Ok, nonetheless I am definitely a YAY bringing home the experimental piece and then realizing it will never work for me. And so it goes into my consignment pile and I fund my next experiment. Fun! Of course I am quite spoiled in that I have time to pursue my hobby and live quite near some excellent thrift stores, and if I were paying full price I could never do so much experimenting. Like I said, Suz, love a thought provoking thread. Thanks for starting this one!

  • Joy replied 10 years ago

    Ack, just lost a long post!
    Suz, I'm guilty of all of the above, including your ETA. Too many black turtlenecks repeated, too much almost right but not perfect, and passing up the right stuff because i don't want to spend that much.
    My one small thing is to avoid January sales and wear my winter clothes like crazy, focusing purchases on the next season or possibly any really important wardrobe holes. As Angie says, high low is the way to go, but it will take extra discipline for me not to fall for a bargain that isn't quite right.
    Thank you for this thread and helping us ponder this enough to possibly make a real change.

  • Marley replied 10 years ago

    Hmmm . . . the idea of being embarrassed about my shopping habits/patterns is pretty foreign to me. I guess that I don't embarrass that easily - I've certainly made many "mistakes" with items that I've bought and those that I've passed up - but, hey - that's the way it goes! Now, if you were to ask about closet organization, wardrobe capsules - things that involve organizing and "thinking" rather than relying on my gut - I'd be a big Yay to Embarrassment. So, for me - what I want to do "different" is get my closet/wardrobe organized (I'm still working on it!)

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