Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Shopping List Thoughts

It's still far too early in the year to know how my goal of reining in some of the slightly careless, not always well-thought-out, excesses of last year's shopping will ultimately turn out. January was fine, but February was less promising. It's too soon yet to tell how March will be, though it's looking reasonable so far. When I first declared that lofty intention to rein things in a bit last December, I didn't have the clearest sense of how exactly I thought I should go about it. 

Well, fine, I did say one concrete thing, that a few-months' shopping ban might be a good idea, something that clearly has not come to pass. But I also did mention how that was an idea that had never quite worked for me before. Another thing that changed my intentions on that score was that certain plans shifted and were postponed, in part because I balked at what turned out to be a far briefer than expected downturn in the stock market (a protracted one would affect the market for legal services and, therefore, my long-term job stability) and when the federal government shutdown looked like it might be here to stay (if federal courts close due to lack of money, an event without true precedent, my work would be seriously disrupted). I still want to go ahead with my plans, am still very certain of them, but at this point, working around my planned vacation schedule, I'll only be able to set a date in July or later, more likely in September or October. Once the procedure has actually been scheduled, then I think a shopping ban (at least as to clothes for which the fit would be seriously affected) in the few months surrounding the formal date would be a good idea. 

Anyway, I think I have a clearer sense now of how I want to approach my shopping-related goals. Although I fussed about 2018 being a year of somewhat excessive "joy" in shopping, upon further reflection, something resembling "joy" can be good. A form of it tends to correlate with an item becoming one of my "best" buys, my most-loved and well-used items, which is about as ideal an outcome as I could want. It's just that, as I mentioned to Jessica a few months ago in the comments, I can't always reliably differentiate between the fleeting "joy" of a super-impulsive purchase that I will get tired of in a few months and the deeper-set "joy" of something that becomes a well-loved favorite item that I will wear for years, and will want to admire out of the corner of my eye, or every time I pass by a reflective surface, each time I wear it. 

I've also been thinking about how to organize and make more effective use of my one central, consolidated shopping wish list for my wardrobe, the only other particularly concrete idea I had for guiding my shopping this year. It's taken a bit of time to work out a method for making the board well-organized, and to find a way to keep track of things I've tried and rejected, or what ended up getting purchased. I still don't have a perfect system, it's definitely a work in progress, but I've now added more internal organization to the board, by making several sub-boards. Those sub-boards will track items in four different categories, and I'll be moving items from one to the other where appropriate. 
  • First is things I've now decided against, whether or not I actually tried them on first.
  • Second is items I ended up buying. To the extent that I originally picked a different brand's store image to portray a general category of item, or color and type of item, I'll usually swap those images out with ones of the item I actually bought. 
  • Third is things that are essentially "fantasy" items for me, whether because they were discontinued or are long since sold out, or, in some cases, if there's some highly impractical-for-me detail about them. Another factor is if I think the only realistic prices I think I could potentially find the item for, if one was available on the secondhand market, would definitely be too expensive for the purchase to be a good value to me. 
  • Fourth, the list that's illustrated above, is items I'm still thinking about possibly trying and buying, some of which are vague and extremely unlikely fantasies, and some of which are much more likely to be actual potential purchases. In some cases, for the much fancier items, I would need to cut a lot of other things out of my budget, both for shopping and for some other expenses, if I was serious about making room for getting the item. 

And I must say, I'm having a lot of fun using Pinterest recently! I was so very late to the party when it came to making active use of Pinterest, given that I've only really been using it in earnest for a year or less. It's just one of the many ways in which I've proven to be a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to new-to-me social media platforms. (I still haven't figured out Twitter, for instance, and am still mostly too shy to actually interact with anyone or even put out much of anything in my own words there. I pretty much just use it as a kind of weird, mostly law nerd-y, and less visual Tumblr.) Over the years, I used Pinterest only occasionally to find photos to use in some of my posts, and I did keep a personal style inspiration board since the earliest days of this blog, but I didn't log in often until much more recently. 

Please follow the link below for some additional thoughts on the current state of my shopping wish list!

As for how I decide what category each item fits into in my wishlist, particularly whether it's a completely unrealistic "fantasy" item for me or something which I could, potentially, seriously think about (though sometimes only after a long, hard look at my budget) that's a very flexible sort of thought process. 

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At present, there are actually very few items that are on my "fantasy" list solely for reasons of cost. Now, if I suddenly had a hankering for Hermes, Chanel, or Louis Vuitton leather handbags, or if I got really, really into the idea of fine jewelry, items like that would definitely belong on my "fantasy" list solely due to price. Instead, the list is mostly items that are sold out and discontinued, and that I think might be unlikely to return. It's a pity about those Mansur Gavriel floral sweaters this past winter, for instance. I thought they were so whimsical and chic, but they were definitely a bit too expensive for me when they were in stock, and very few size/color combinations ever made it to the post-Christmas sales.

Some of the items can be found now in a price range that I would consider, or that I've purchased at before, including the ancient Miu Miu Coffer (currently available in brown or pale pink on TheRealReal) that I was so into when I was much younger, and didn't know my own tastes as well. The secondhand prices are significantly discounted, but well, it isn't very practical for how I actually dress now, and they usually don't sound like they're in great condition because the design is just so old.

Some items end up on the list mostly because of other practical considerations, including that the item just wouldn't actually be useful or "worth it" to me, at almost any price. The Alighieri Broken Phrases necklace was one of the first designs of theirs I really loved the look of, but I don't think it looks practical because it wouldn't lay flat against the skin and I know I'd find that annoying. Their Over-Thinker hair tie is gorgeous, but it's sold out, and more importantly, because of my nonexistent hair-styling skills, I'm the last person on earth who should ever buy such a fancy hair accessory. I don't know if Elizabeth Suzann ever plans to bring back the Mara jumpsuit, but I know it wouldn't actually be practical for me. I'd hate jumpsuits the way I hated rompers back in the day. I'd surely find it annoying to get in and out of. That being said, it looks so chic on other people (like Elaine or Kathy) that I might as well have it on my "fantasy" wishlist! 

With the items I am actually thinking about, some of them far more concretely than others, that list really runs the gamut. One can sort of see that I'm currently thinking about certain broad categories of tops, skirts, or dresses for warmer seasons. For instance, I've really been liking the idea of midi-length wrap skirts or slip skirts recently, preferably in flow-y, warm weather-friendly materials like cotton, linen, or silk. One idea for that is a Uniqlo x J.W. Anderson Wrap Skirt in cotton (I like the navy blue one), though I also like the idea of the Vince knot-detail silk midi skirt. Some of the items on the list are mostly fantasy items unless I make a lot of room for them in my budget, such as the Gucci loafers or the Celine Seau Sangle (used, in green, here and here, though I think I'm inclined to get one new, in the unlikely event I ever actually decide to get one, as I don't know the brand or the product well enough to be fully confident in the authenticity of an used one). 

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