Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bought Clothes... and Thought About It.

The Gap is getting all my money this month. It's weird, sometimes I just can't find anything there, and other times, it's like this weird planetary conjunction where somehow the shape of my body and my taste in styles and current fashion and the cut and sizing of Gap pants all miraculously work well together at the same time and I buy a certain pair of pants in every color available. This week was one of those good times. So I got 3 pairs of pants and a jacket that was exactly what I was looking for. Just in time, as it was really getting ridiculous to still be wearing summer linen most days!

But I was thinking, does your personal finance style ever cramp your fashion style? I think mine does! As I've discussed in my "Buy Good Things" rule and elsewhere, I think it's a good investment to buy quality clothes that are versatile and will last a few seasons, in terms of their construction and materials, as well as their style. But if you follow this rule all the time, you can end up with a really boring wardrobe! Here's an example of my internal dialogue:

"Hot damn! Those are some FABULOUS orange metallic strappy high heels, and they are on super sale marked down to $59!! But even for $59, what the heck am I going to wear them with? You need a really snazzy outfit, and a really special occasion to wear shoes like that. There was that black-tie event that the CEO invited me to a couple of years ago when I couldn't go, that I keep hoping I'll be invited to again... of course if they do invite me again it will be at the last minute, and I still haven't had that dress altered... and that dress is black and if I wear it with orange metallic shoes it might look like Halloween... no, what those shoes need is a dress with some color, something a little outrageous, like maybe something in a blueish-green silk, which since I am not on Project Runway and can't make my own clothes, will be the kind of thing I'll never find now that I'm fixated on exactly what it has to be, or it will be $7,000 if I do find it... and then my $59 shoes will end up costing me $7,059... plus the $250 or so I paid for that unworn dress that I never had altered which will go unworn for yet another year... and I'd probably want to buy some new eyeshadow or lipstick to perfectly complement the gorgeous $7,309 silk dress and shoes, and some kind of bag, and a nice wrap if it's in the winter, so now I'm pushing $8,000 for these shoes that I might buy, to go with a dress that exists only in my imagination, to wear to a party I haven't been invited to. And if you take into account the lost compound interest on that $8,000, when it all comes down to it, HOLY SHIT I WON'T BE ABLE TO RETIRE IF I BUY THESE SHOES!!!"

If you go through this thought process enough times, you end up with a closet full of rather dull clothes that are all black, grey and denim. Luckily, I do let myself break my own rules now and then. And yes, I know that theoretically you can buy cute clothes on the cheap at thrift stores and sales but somehow all the people who are good at that seem to have wiped out the nice stuff by the time I go!

15 comments:

Michelle said...

That's so funny, X! Two weekends ago, I bought 3 pairs of Gap pants, too! But, I remembered your Oct 3 post where you said you had only spent $440 this year on clothes, and I felt so guilty since I am way over that. AND, none of the Gap pants were on sale. I returned them all. And, instead, I bought one pair of pants at Banana that were only about $10 cheaper but they had been marked down from about $97 to $47, so I felt like I scored big-time, even though I'm now making do with only 1 new pair instead of 3.

Anyway, I just had to tell you how I had you in my head for a week, wagging your finger at me with that low per-year spend on clothes. And, then you went and blew it anyway! At the Gap no less!

Madame X said...

And the pants I bought weren't on sale either! I actually didnt' even look at the price tag until I saw the total when they rang them up, and I suddenly wondered if I was being crazy! But the jacket was 25% off. So that was still only about another $200 total.
But no worries, Michelle, I'm not a finger-wagger!

Single Ma said...

*big grin*

Please tell me you bought those fabulous, strappy, without a doubt sexy, orange pumps. Don't fret about color, my sista. It's nothing a few accessories (handbag, jewelry, belt, etc.) can't handle.

As for finding sales, I would tell you my secrets but I don't know you like that. Ha!

I'll drop this little hint though...you must study retailers like you study the market. LOL

A financially savvy fashionista never pays more than 50% of the original retail price. *wink*

Anonymous said...

If you can wear those skinny black pants well I hate you. ;)

Anonymous said...

Since I´ve become thrifty and frugal, my wardrobe is becoming duller and duller... I just can´t buy anything at normal price, everything must be in super-sale before I can even consider buying. Almost everything I have is "classical" and "timeless". In other words boring. Sad but true.

Save Sheila said...

I wish I had done that internal dialogue BEFORE I got myself into so much debt!! I've sold off all the really interesting shoes and bags that I had and now I just have boring, but good quality. When I worked I had to wear suits, so I have some really good ones that will last forever, but it would be nice to spice it up a bit!

MorningGlory said...

That comment about spending at most 50% of original retail is soo true! I've worked in several retail stores (Banana Republic, Club Monaco and Bloomingdales)-- and everything eventually goes on sale!

hazygrey said...

I also try to buy timeless classic items - this is how I ended up with two grey, four black work pants and 3 pairs of denim. But every once in a while I like to go to H&M or Forever 21 and get a cute, fun top or skirt. It may not be top quality and will be out of fashion next year but hey for $20 or $30, you can have some fun.

WH said...

I'm with hazygrey - when I get "bored" with my colours, I just drop by Forever21 and pick up a trendy, NOW-ish new something!

P.S. When my wardrobe starts looking boring, I channel Audrey Hepburn...talk about timeless & classic! =)

enoughwealth@yahoo.com said...

Be boring. Be rich. Nothing wrong with either IMHO.

http://enoughwealth.blogspot.com

IRA said...

Ha! I thought I was the only one who had these internal conversations with myself. And yes, my wardrobe is pretty boring. But luckily, I have friends who badger me incessantly about adding some spice to my life. And they manage to convince every once in a while to buy something outrageous.

Tired of being broke said...

Nothing wrong with having a tan, grey and black wardrobe. 90% of mine is that way. Occasionally I will go to a wet seal or a H & M and buy something funky and in the now.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

You are too funny! I actually have this very same dialogue every time I go shopping, so I'm very slowly revising parts of my shopping rules to try and spice up the wardrobe beyond Jeans + t-shirt/long-sleeve shirt.

hez said...

I actually don't mind being boringly dressed at work. In fact, I have a uniform because sometimes in the mornings when I have too much to choose from, and nothing seems to fit or look right, it can slow me down or worse, not be comfortable. So when I started my job a year ago I bought 5 pairs of the same black pants at the Gap, because I know they fit right and are comfortable, and then 3 3/4 sleeve v-neck t's, and 2 long sleeve thinish black sweaters and two black button shirts (I live in SF so it never really gets warm enough to require short sleeve or seleeveless shirts). I wear the same thing every day except for Wednesdays when I have a wildcard: I'll wear a colored shirt from my weekend clothes. Heh. It sounds silly but I am comfortable, I probably put out under $500, and didn't have to make any replacements AND I don't get stumped standing in front of my closet and rechaning clothes. I will admit tho, it can be a bit boring.

3bean said...

I've found my local Goodwill Store to be a great source for casual clothes. In my last two trips I've purchased 1 pair Gap pants, 1 paid Old Navy pants, 1 Express sweater, 1 J. Crew Sweater all for under $15-- and I'd say all are from the last 2-3 years. Obviously, you aren't going to find the most recent stuff at Goodwill (ie. the much hated skinny jeans... unless they are really from the 1980s), but the stuff is recent enough that people just assume I've bought brand new clothes.

My local Goodwill isn't good for professional clothes, but it's a good way to quench my clothes shopping fix for clothes that generally aren't worth their retail price.