Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Minimus maximae

Anna Piaggi via The Sartorialist

"If you become a billionaire, would you stop treating your wardrobe in such a pragmatic way?" 

The question popped from my younger sister during our family Thanksgiving dinner as I was explaining to my perplexed parents why I was wearing only "new" clothes at the dinner. I knew I should have worn something they already saw before to avoid that situation... Nevertheless, it was a good question and I didn't really know what to answer at the moment. 
"I guess no, why for?" I finally said. Why would I need to manage my wardrobe if I had a closet the size of my current apartment and money to empty Holt Renfew weekly? 

The turnover in my wardrobe has been indeed quite fast in the last few months as I am selling and tossing away a numerous amount of barely used clothes to replace them with new items from my wish list. The whole effort aims at creating a rather minimal but complete wardrobe of quality garments. 

I have often wondering if my recent attraction for minimalism as an expression of quantity rather than a form of aesthetics stemmed from my limited budget or from a genuinely desire to live with less.  But I never paused and frankly thought about it. My budget must have an preponderant weight in the balance. To what extend? I don't know, but I don't think it is the sole explanation...

Although I admire the uniqueness of fashion icons like Anna Piaggi and Anna Dello Russo, there is something in their ever changing electric style that triggers headaches in my migrainous mind. Something that made me uneasy when I used to have over 300 pairs of shoes and 30 coats... 

I used to think that it was culpability of my consumerist lifestyle, always wanting more and never being satisfied, while others are starving elsewhere on the globe. Although I found it is slightly plausible and praiseworthy, I have to be realistic with myself. I don't really have altruistic thoughts when I am looking at my closet or hesitating to buy yet another pair of flats.  

It might be that emptiness I am always talking about...Filling inner holes with materialistic things. Isn't this blog all about the catharsis of those inner demons pushing me to fill these holes in that rather shallow way? Time will tell. I am still in the midst of the process of healing to express a rational opinion on that...

What about the fact of filling the physical space in my apartment. My clothes used to take a lot of space in my bedroom...They were in the closet, in the cabinets, on the wall, under the bed, etc. The last time I moved, I had more boxes of clothes and shoes than anything else...
As a person whose mind ressembles a post-apocalyptic city in ruins, I need order around me to balance that inner chaos. I used to feel as overwhelmed in front my overpacked closet as I felt in front my disorganized desk when I had too much work to do. I didn't know where to look, what to pick, what to start with. I didn't have any structure. Any guideline to tell me where I am at.  Where I am heading.

I needed to minimize that wardrobe to know where I am going with it and how it serves me as a consider a wardrobe to be more than just a pile of clothes. And looking at a neatly ordered closet of items that have all been coveted, that I am well aware of the existence and that serve a specific purpose really soothes me. It soothes my morning routines.

I tend to think (to hope) that the volume of the sartorial preoccupations in my mind would decrease proportionately to the volume occupied by my garments. I cannot cry victory just yet, but I am heading in the right direction.

So even if I become a multimillionaire, I will probably never own Mrs Piaggi wardrobe. Not knowing everything that hides in there would annoy me. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Off the wish list: Dieppa Restrepo Dina shoes

Dieppa Restrepo Mint Dina shoes

Thanks to Ebay I was able to finally put my hands on these lovely shoes which were sold out everywhere! I was actually looking for the seafoam version, but mint was a good alternative. 
Dieppa Restrepo truly makes beautiful well-crafted shoes that are made to last. Their price refrains me from emptying the online store though. Luckily, I was able to grab this pair for a steal. 
Unfortuantely, God has punished the shoe lover that I am with feet of different sizes... My heel is coming out of one shoe and my toes are a bit squeezed in the other one.....
I love them so much that I will endure the discomfort for the moment hoping that time and wear will stretch the smaller shoe.

Off the wishlist: Vintage oversized long wool cardigan

The perfect oversized cardigan (Source)

The above picture of model Sasha Luss sparked the interest and so started the search. Suddenly, I wanted an oversized thick long cardigan for early Fall. 

Acne Studios Raya long cardigan

I fell upon several designer models including Acne Studios' Raya long cardigan which was almost perfect. However it is a bit too thin for my liking considering its price. Most of the cardigans I've found were actually way too thin for the weather we are experiencing above the 45th parallel.

And then I stumbled upon this beautiful on Etsy.
Really thick wool? Check.
Oversized?  Check.
Neutral colours? Check...
Waist pockets? Check!!
Long enough to sweep my ankles? Check !!!
Grad student wallet friendly ? DOUBLE CHECK!!!

 I don't understand why the 28 persons who "liked" it were waiting for. They will regret it later...I snatched it the minute I saw it! 
I wore it a few times since I got it. It is really comfortable and warm. It is actually a bit too much oversized for me though, but I'll get used to it...
The only thing missing for it to be perfect are 2-3 big front buttons. They make the perfect excuse for a future DIY project though.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Planning your sale shopping

From Breakfast at Tiffany's

Fall is my favourite season. The layering, thick wools, warm sweaters, furs, leather boots...All reasons to make my knees wobble. Coats and boots are my weakness when it comes to shopping. I never seem to have enough. I've been curating endlessly my wish list to only keep the items that will upgrade my wardrobe and it is hard.
My wish list has significantly increased in the last weeks and my online window shopping has become difficult to control. The itch to buy is slowly building up as the temperature drops and it will probably reach its climax between Black Friday and the first week of January as the word "sale" starts tinting the net and my favourite shops.

I don't think I will never be cured of my obsession for fashion and clothes, but I have found tricks to make my end of the year shopping less damageable for my wallet.

1. Set a price at which you would be comfortable to buy your items

In order to let myself go once the words "SALE" and "PROMO" start appearing on my favourite online venues, I save the whole year for that moment. I rarely buy anything full price. I cannot afford it anyways with my Ph.D. student wallet. So I usually set a price at which I would be comfortable buying the item. It usually ranges between 40%-70% off. This has to be done before the buying season starts in a pragmatic way. Because once the sale hunting begins, your head might become hazy with excitement and you can easily lose tract of your spendings, ignore your limits and break the bank...once more....

2. Save for your wardrobe

In our case, fashion addicts, clothes are not optional. They are an essential need. Being an essential need, we have to incorporate them in our budget just like food, rent and utility bills.

I have created a spending account to which I don't have an easy access. I have to call the company for them to release the funds within 24-48 hours and it reduces the amount of impulsive buys I make. They take an amount I am comfortable withdrawing without cutting in my other expenses at each pay. By doing this throughout the year, I can save quite a significant amount of money for that sale shopping spree and I know exactly how much I can spend for my wardrobe shopping. 

Please note, that if you spend easily in general, like myself, it is good to have a similar account for general savings. Accidents happen so fast...

Things are easily said than done though. But I am waiting. Waiting for these prices to drop...