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Friday, February 1, 2013

Baa Baa the Shopping Sheep


"Who makes himself a sheep will be eaten by the wolves" ~Proverb 

So you're out and about, and a gorgeous window display catches your eye…you wander in, see all sorts of beautiful clothes that you love. You try on lots of things, find several that you like, and blow up your plastic (and any budget you have) buying them. 

You get home, put the things away (in your already overstuffed closet,) and proceed to never wear them. What just happened?

What happened was the store had a savvy, visually oriented, artistic person (the wolf) do a wonderful job with the displays and atmosphere to entice people (the sheep) to come in and buy- so we buy because it's pretty and we like it and we get swept up in the loveliness of it all, not because we know it looks good on us and will work with other pieces in our wardrobe or- heaven forbid- we actually need it. Ok, the last one is weak, I admit. 'Need' is hard to justify most of the time. Let's replace that with 'want,' and add in the concept that the piece being considered will work very well with what we already have. That makes more sense, really. The long and short of it is, we get easily thrown off kilter (and off budget) if we don't have a clear sense of direction and visual identity.

Let's rewind and see what happens in the same situation if you've done your homework (we'll get to that in a minute.) You wander by the beautiful display. Unable to resist, you go in. You scan the racks for your colors- not a single one there except for black of course, but in this case the black doesn't interest you. It's just that the colors are arranged so attractively. And expensive. It's all very expensive. You look at the various designs- nothing here that really flatters your figure. And the style is most bohemian where your style is, say, firmly vintage rockabilly. Must admit, it's not looking good. But the store looks so pretty, the clothes are all so romantic…ok, so look for something small that you might incorporate- a purse, a scarf, maybe shoes. If it's a purse or shoes you can get away with a color you love that's not one of your best- maybe even one that's downright wrong for you. If it's not right next to your face, and it's only a small portion of the overall outfit, and you can make it work with what you've already got, then go ahead.  Maybe you see some shoes- you think about whether or not you'll actually wear them, what they'd go with, will they be comfortable for you…maybe you buy them, maybe you don't. Either way, you've avoided the disaster in the first scenario.  

The trick is to be aware that you're being seduced by the stores' display and general atmosphere. When you walk into that store you have to exercise some self control. This is where the 'homework' comes in. You've put in the time and picked your 4 or 5 very best colors- and you know just how to combine them. You've learned your design lines and committed to a handful that work well together. You've explored your aesthetics and decided on sticking with certain elements to express your style.  It's fine to look, ooo and ahh over all the pretty things- even try them on. Go ahead- try them all on if you have the time. But when you're done with all your daydreaming and it's time to part with your hard earned bucks, think about whether or not what you're considering buying will work within your existing wardrobe. Is it one of your colors? Is it a flattering design line? Is it your style? Also think about the space it'll take up in your closet or dresser, and the fact that because you don't have other stuff to go with it and it's outside your customary style, you're possibly- even probably not going to wear it.  Unless of course you want to start a whole new wardrobe....

Is it worth it? Hmmmm......

Happy Dressing!