Thursday, June 27, 2019

June 2019 Shopping Reflections

As the months go by this year, I continue to feel as if I'm settling in to a slightly new way of thinking about shopping. The jury's still out when it comes to whether the results will actually look different, of course, but as of this month, I still feel as if my mindset has changed. This isn't a process that's completely without growing pains, however, and I still wouldn't claim to have a particularly noteworthy level of self-discipline about shopping. Regardless, things feel different from 2018. 

Among other things, I'm gradually becoming more accustomed to some purchases being "slow", including in the purely literal sense of the word of needing to wait a few weeks for an item to be made-to-order. I think I've also better internalized the idea that, if an item has the right details and meets my criteria, then it's worth a longer wait. But because I'm super-indecisive sometimes, a longer production time could also mean that I end up not being able to make a decision about something until such a late date that I definitely won't get it until after its season is already over. 

I was maybe still a bit disheartened this month by some of those "growing pains" I mentioned feeling. They felt like the thoughts of a person who might be a little addicted to some aspects of shopping, namely to that sometimes-fleeting excitement of receiving something new-to-me that I think is awesome and beautiful. (There have, of course, been times when I start off with that feeling and still end up realizing, fairly quickly afterwards, that the item actually wasn't as suitable for me as I first thought. So that early excitement can be a deceptive thing!) 

This past month, there were times when I found myself browsing retailers' websites for an extended period, and I felt some real disappointment when I realized that I wasn't going to find anything new to add onto my Pinterest "shopping list". My usual next step was to go back to Pinterest, browse through the section of my "wishlist" dedicated to items I've been thinking about more seriously, only to feel further disappointment that nothing there struck my fancy as something I could order to try on right now. These feelings are so silly, the only real explanation for them is that I'm definitely addicted to something about shopping, likely to the novelty and excitement of getting my hands on something new-to-me. And it's not even like I've been deprived of that feeling recently, given that I've still shopped each month of 2019 so far!

I don't think it's inherently a bad thing to enjoy new-to-me and shiny, pretty things. If I saw something really awesome, for which the price was right, which fit my preferences and criteria, and which I expected would be functional to me for the foreseeable future, I'd totally still buy it.  

But it might not be a great sign that I get wistful about not currently having more new-to-me things that I'd like to think about buying imminently. If the open market isn't currently presenting me with ideas for new items that would actually be functional and useful for me, at the right price for my budget, and that meet all my requirements for whatever category of potential purchase I'm thinking about, I shouldn't feel disappointed! Instead, I could spend that specific time or energy appreciating what I already have, or doing something else that's more productive than, er, wishing I had something new to buy right now, or soon. 

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That faint but sometimes recurrent desire to shop for the sake of novelty or entertainment is something I'll need to keep an eye on. I've at least observed that the feeling of adding a few pins to my Pinterest boards (most recently, on a board dedicated to more fantastical and larger-than-life "Abstract/Runway Inspirations" that I don't think would ever translate to my day-to-day life) can sort of scratch the itch just a little, by giving me the chance to think about something pretty and new, even if it's just pictures. Plus, I always have various wardrobe-maintenance and clothing-care tasks in my queue, including actually making use of that handheld clothes steamer I got from my friend when I traded away my full-size one during my recent bout of free-cycling

Fashion - (TOTAL: $356.46)
  • Elizabeth Suzann Georgia Dress in Midweight Linen, black, OS - $205.00 - As I mentioned last week, I received my Elizabeth Suzann order earlier this month, almost a week ahead of schedule. I've worn my items a few times, and I'm really enjoying them so far, though I still haven't spent quite enough time with them to feel like I can give a detailed assessment. Note that the midweight linen material is a bit too thick and heavy for this to be a "perfect" summer dress for me. When temperatures climb into the upper-70s Fahrenheit under typical NYC summer humidity, I sometimes start feeling a bit overheated in this dress if I'm outdoors wandering for a long period of time. 
  • Elizabeth Suzann Asawa Tie Belt in Midweight Linen, black, OS - $60.00 - I don't think I'd have become interested in the Georgia dress in linen if it weren't for this belt and seeing an Instagram photo of someone in this outfit. While I very much like the idea of voluminous, relaxed-fit items such as the Georgia (everything in this vein looks so comfortable!), I personally think that amount of extra volume is often not suitable for the NYC business casual office environments I'm familiar with. Plus, with linen's natural tendency to wrinkle, the unbelted Georgia would start feeling even more casual. With the belt, I'm comfortable wearing this dress to work on days without formal meetings, though I prefer to keep it mostly to casual Fridays. I find the shape and design of the Asawa fairly unique and special, it transforms the shape of the dress. I like how infinitely adjustable this belt is, and with the texture of the mid-weight linen, it stays in place reasonably well (no real wardrobe malfunction risk). Though I do still find myself slightly repositioning the belt maybe two or three times throughout the day, as the widest part of it sometimes folds down a bit and shifts a little, particularly if I spend most of my day sitting at my desk.
  • Ficcare Ficcarissimo Hair Clip, gold, medium - $40.49* - I had seen Ficcare hair accessories recommended in Corporette comment threads. This was the month I finally decided to try one, now that my hair is more recovered from a recent... situation... with a failed "magic straight" perm, and I can start growing it out and going longer between haircuts again. Because my hair is quite thick, and also because I have essentially zero hair-styling skills, I've always had trouble getting most hair clips or barrettes to stay on. Whomever recommended Ficcare must have said the hair clips were unusually awesome, and that no other brand had worked for them before. With my lack of hair-styling experience, I can't fully vouch for whether that recommendation is entirely true, but I've found this clip to be easy to use. All I know how to do is to twist my hair up; position the resulting twist of hair in a loop towards the middle or lower part of the back of my head; and use the clip to keep the loop mostly in place (which results in what looks like a neat-ish updo from the front, but one that necessarily has some ends of hair sticking out a bit in back). That style stays in place the entire day with both this clip and the Maximas. 
  • Ficcare Maximas Hair Clip, caramel, medium - $50.97* - The price here takes into account a promotional $10.00 "Nordstrom Note" I received out of the blue. After getting my Ficcarisimo early this month, I couldn't stop thinking about the more colorful enamel Maximas clips. I kept going back to both Nordstrom's and Ficcare's website to try and decide which one would best suit my wardrobe only to end up with this fairly neutral "caramel" shade in the end. (And I must say, Nordstrom's photography is much better than Ficcare's, and makes the colors look far more appealing.) Note that finding the right size with both these hair clips is important. With my roughly shoulder-length (sometimes a little longer) and fairly thick, somewhat wavy hair, the "large" Maximas clip is too big for me to style my hair the way I described. The hair falls out of the clip more easily when the clip's too big. The "medium" size of both is about the right size for my hair texture and length.  

*Includes sales tax. 

With the Elizabeth Suzann purchases this month, I should be done with my warm-weather clothing purchases for 2019. There are other technically warm-weather friendly things I'm still thinking about, including the ES Bel Skirt in silk, but I don't think of that skirt as being a summer-only item. Then again, it may be that a longer silk skirt wouldn't have the right look with tights, which I find to be a necessity when wearing skirts and dresses throughout the colder months of the year. 

My one potential weak spot for an item that I see as being definitively "summer-only" comes about as a result of LinenFox's recently debuted bright teal-looking "emerald green" shade, which I think is gorgeous. I don't need any more summer dresses, but I really want one in that color. Except that, after factoring in the naturally wrinkly tendencies of linen; my preference for designs without too much extra volume; and how I prefer a design that would mostly hide my bra straps, I'm not sure any of LinenFox's dresses are guaranteed to be suitable for my tastes. There are a few designs on my "shortlist", but nothing in that group really stands out from the rest of the pack.

Admittedly, I have recently been a bit preoccupied with other shopping that's not for my wardrobe. Specifically, Bloomingdales has two styles of Smythson notebooks on sale: a pale blue Panama notebook with "Notes" embossed on the cover for 30% off and the larger Soho notebook for either 30% or 70% off, depending on the color. (And there's also an extra "buy more, save more" discount for the rest of June, which will be applied upon checkout.) These days, after starting to keep my daily to-do list (in a vaguely bullet journal-like style) and other notes in a hard copy notebook, I'm a lot better about using my fancy stationery than I used to be, so if I ended up getting one of these ultra-fancy notebooks, it'd be a major indulgence, but most likely not a wasted one.

Anyone else sometimes feel that sort of addiction to the novelty or excitement that comes from buying new-to-you things? How does one go about learning how to style one's own hair anyway, without having a patient sibling, friend, or parent willing (and also able, which is not a given) to do the teaching? Youtube tutorials are probably helpful for most people, but alas, I'm truly hopeless when it comes to hair-styling!

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