The coat has a swing that you cannot deny
The fabric so soft it could make you cry
Is it the best coat ever?
This week I was on a shoot where the main attraction was a Giorgio Armani coat that retailed for $8895. MmmHmm. After tax it would be over $10,000. There were… reactions. Mostly surprise and disbelief with a little disgust thrown in. Who would/could pay such a price for a coat? A family of 4 could eat for a year for the price of the coat. I was slightly panicked that just by touching it I would somehow be responsible for purchasing it. I’m not judging–I would love to be able to afford the coat–but it did get me thinking about how we spend our time and money on our clothes.
One woman who is a particular coat devotee immediately saw the value in this coat. According to her, a coat is the easiest thing to wear to make you look instantly put together. I grew up in Florida and still have some trouble wrapping my mind about wearing any coat. But she has a job where she is constantly running in and out of stores so actually wearing a coat is her life, not just a way to keep the harsh New York winter from freezing her to death.
When I am working with my clients I can spend a lot of time convincing some that a certain price is a good value for something, especially if it is a purchase outside their spending comfort zone. This is based on a lot of things, not just whether or not they have the money for it or if it looks good on them. I consider how many times they will be able to wear it, what pieces it will work with in their closets. I have no blanket rule on what you should spend extra money on clotheswise except that like furniture it should be the best that you can afford and you must absolutely love it.
Many times when talking with people who know I am a stylist they automatically get defensive about buying cheap clothes. “I’m not going to pay X for just a top that I am only going to wear a few times.” Yes, you will only wear that cheap ass top a few times because it will fall apart and look like shit after only a few wears. Then you will have to buy a new one and then another—a constant (constant!) cycle of cheap disappointment.
Or they say they bought it just because it was:
Buying clothes “just because” anything is a very slippery slope. That is how you end up with a closet full of nothing to wear. I call it The Loehmann’s Syndrome. For those of you who don’t know, Loehmann’s was, until very recently, the place to go in NYC for designer discounts. Some of the things were so cheap that it was as if they were paying you to take home. As in most of the off price stores there were so many shiny labels and lush looking pieces that you became convinced that your life would be perfect if you had it. I would shop there for shoots and clients and come out with a huge bag of designer items. Yay! We would keep maybe 1 or 2 pieces after we tried it all on. Boo! The fits or the colors would be off, the piece would be hyper trendy or just plain useless. Buying “just because” anything is a complete waste of time and money. If you took the time to really consider your purchases like you would anything else I guarantee you would be much happier with your wardrobe.
But Carmen, you say, I’m ready to stop wasting time and money on my clothes but how do I begin? Don’t worry! Below are a few questions I have come up with to help. These are all things I ask myself before I purchase anything. Be patient—if you have a habit of buying your clothes “just because”, this process will take a little longer but eventually it only takes a few seconds. Stick with it and you will start to see changes in your wardrobe and your wallet!
When you go shopping and there is something you want to buy “just because”
- Walk away from the item and find a quiet spot. The bathroom will do.
- Take a deep breath and imagine yourself wearing this item.
- When you try it on does it make me feel crazy wonderful full of joy like everything is right with the world and always will be?
- Which and how many of your features does it enhance?
- Do you have anything else like it in your closet? (Be Honest)
- Do you have an idea of what else it will go with in your closet?
- Do you love it?
- Is the price something you can truly afford?
- Will you have guilt or shame because you have purchased this item instead of proudly wearing it because you worked hard for the money to buy such an amazing thing
- How often will you be able to wear this in your life? Once? Seasonally? Every day? Breaking down the cost per wear can be really informative.
Remember—these are just guidelines. The point of this exercise is get you to be more mindful with how you spend your money on clothes. This also does not mean that I am above retail therapy! I understand that sometimes our gathering instinct kicks in an we must fill our berry baskets with something amazing. When that happens I say buy makeup! The most expensive product tops out at around $50 and you can wear it right out of the store.
Do you want to stop wasting your time and money on clothes that don’t work for you? Could you use some style guidance? Find out if we are meant to work together! Click here to contact me and schedule a free 20 minute phoner!