The Shopping Dilemma

Wednesday 6 March 2013
Each time I cull and edit my wardrobe, it occur to me that I still need to fill in a few necessary gaps in my wardrobe, namely basics such as a pair of black ankle boots, waterproof parka etc. I've been buying and returning as they either don't fit well or looked utterly unflattering when I tried it on at home. After a few emails back and forth with my shopping other half, Laura, I'm beyond relieved to know that I'm not alone. Here's Laura's dilemma.

And forsaking all most others to obtain it?

Every year around the A/W fashion week(s) something happens to me. I watch replays of the shows. I comb the hallows of the Barneys or Matches or Nordstrom websites. I cyber-stalk Garance Dore’ and blog after blog and I see it. No, IT. IT could very well be that perfect Balenciaga Military wool coat or Burberry treasure that I’d reach for again and again for something close to forever. IT could be a stunning sweater with a beautiful detail. Or a sublime Phillip Lim jacket or Stella M. navy blazer. It could also be a shoe or a boot. Or a....

Yeah, you get it. But every year, I start looking at price tags and I give up. Since I don’t have the last name Hilton or Ecclestone or the shopping budget that comes with it, 
I usually move on. But I don’t forget!

This year, something called the Chloe Susanna boot hit me square in the jaw.

Chloe Susanna (Global here)

Although it was re-released more than a few months ago, this is the current IT. This is the PIECE.
It possesses game-changing super powers, a low (Laura friendly) heel, a leg lengthening fit but..... also a price tag FAR above what I’d normally spend on a shoe. It sits there in my mind, waiting to be filed away like all of the other previous PIECES. But then I realized something. 

 I’m gonna get real and show you what less than 2 months of shopping trips have yielded and some things I was ready and willing to pounce on:

A Marc By Marc Jacobs navy shift dress
A black and white ALC cardigan      returned
A pair of Paige gray jeans  - returned (I have enough jeans already and the fit wasn’t perfect)
The navy Kenzo snow leopard sweater I’m about/was about to buy
The Isabel Marant Noah sweatshirt I pick up and put back every time I walk past it. But keep picking up!
The probably 3-4 J Crew pieces like button-down shirts or cute cardigans or various things with stripes I’d normally buy
Stuff on SALE. This or that from Hautelook or Rue-LA LA  emails, random trendy statement “stuff” from Zara and H&M that satisfy temporary cravings but don’t have any real staying power in my closet.
And so on.
Sam Edelman Serena Wedges

When I added all of this up, it’s well above the price of the PIECE. I’m keeping the Marc dress and Sam Edelman shoes because they fill a real need. But, I realized that if I took back the cute Pedro sandals (that I sort of, cough cough, have something similar to already in my closet) and quit impulse buying and collecting and re-buying multiple upon multiple versions of things I already own, I could swing the boots. 
Dare I say, easily?

Even though I’m pretty careful about purchases, I could be more careful. I could be smarter. I could stay out of Nordstrom for awhile! And I could wait and save and save a a little more and come home with the Chloe boots that only require the simple wardrobe accompaniments I already own six times over!

I could also make this more of a habit and actually purchase that gorgeous investment coat for next fall that I say I’m always going to buy. 

Am I crazy here? Can I really do this? Can I really pare down and stick to the things that  I really need or that really stir my heart? 
What do you guys think? Have you ever given it all, or most of it up for the sake of one piece? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
Meanwhile, I’ll be in the return line.


  1. The Sam Edelman sandals look really cool. I have seen so many imitations of the Susanna boot that I am over it now.

    See you in my blog, maybe.

  2. This looks like an isabel Marant so I can see why you would love them. I have told myself no more sleeveless tops (I only have to buy a cardigan to go with them or dresses (don't want to shave my legs). Really what I live in is cardigans and jeans. Somehow high shoes still keep on sneaking in there!

  3. I don't think it's so crazy - I think if a big ticket item stirs your heart that powerfully then it's worth setting aside the money for. Especially the money is going to spent on lesser items anyway! (If the money was meant for something meaningful like travel or something crucial like rent, that's another story.)

    This time of the year, when new things start arriving in stores, is always the time I feel like there are a million fantastic things I want to get, and that's when I feel like opening my purse and buying things I like but don't love. I've been holding back so if something major comes my way I can buy it without hesitation because I'd know that I've been fiscally responsible and can afford it. It doesn't even have to be an expensive item - I'll feel happy "splurging" on a $45 top because I know I haven't been casual with my money.

  4. Yes, I have for major purchases and I don't regret it (my LV Sofia Coppola being one of it). To me, it's better to have one well-loved piece than to have many other well-liked pieces, so it was well worth it!

  5. Good luck! I have done it before - saving up for an Isabel Marant jacket or my DVF duffle. It's always been worth it to me, since the waiting has only strengthened my instincts about that item. The waiting is a good way to know if you really want something or not.

  6. I definitely relate to this (in fact recently posted about a similar dilemma!) - I'm saving up for a Givenchy bag that's more than my monthly rent and in the meantime am trying to avoid purchasing other things I love but not LOVE and NEED. I've only purchased 2 clothing items so far this year (and am pretty proud of myself about that) but I've definitely been so tempted! It's not easy, but I think generally worth it for the "it" purchases!

    1. That's great and you will love the bag so much more because of it!

  7. I lack the will power to save so I can splurge on my heart's desires. What I really want is a pair of Rag and Bone Harrow booties, they're not really in the same league as the Chloe ones but that's just how horrible I am at saving. All it takes is for me to take back two or three items to be able to afford it and even then I still lack the will power. You'll have to let us know when you do purchase those booties Laura, maybe then I will be inspired to finally save and splurge.

    xx Jenee C.
    {camo meets couture}

  8. I've done this many times, sometimes I think it's worth it to splurge on an IT piece you really want. Like my PS11 or when I bought my Celines (which in hindsight, not the best since they kill my feet). But something like that, that you will wear everyday, well I suppose the question is, why not? Besides, I can tell you that they are the BEST boots to wear with jeans. Seriously.

  9. I love those chloe boots and stalked them at sales time. I didnt think they would go on sale but they did. Unfortunately, my size was gone. I guess it wasnt meant to be, maybe next sales time? :)
    I lack the will power to save as well, so i will often splurge and sometimes return. It doesnt help either when i have a shopping partner in crime, who's motto is enjoy life, you cant take it w you when you die, lol!

  10. I returned a bunch of stuff for my Newburys - well worth it - less is more:) The Chloes are worth it!

  11. I used to be exactly the same, but over the past few years I made a real effort to buy quality not quantity. Seeing as I don't really follow trends & most of my wardrobe is quite 'classic' it seemed silly to keep wasting money on cheap things I didn't love as much. The turning point was buying my Balenciaga city, it seemed like SUCH a lot of money to be spending on a bag... but then 4 years later & I have used it practically every single day since & it still looks as good, if not better, than when I first got it, so I think it was easily worth it. I'm still easily swayed into buying yet more black boots that look identical to 20+ pairs I already own though! Haha!
    I hope you get the Chloe boots Laura, they'd definitely be worth going without the other things for! :)

  12. I think it's something we're all guilty of. Believing that we can't afford the special pieces, yet spend the equivalent on bits 'n pieces that simply don't last. You've certainly given me something to think about ... or rather, think about again. I know the items that I really invested in, are the items that are still going strong in my wardrobe. Helen

  13. I can never manage to edit my closet. no matter how much I have, there is always some new "MUST HAVE NOW" piece that will come my way. and the more I want it, the more I'm willing to spend. Even when I though it would be crazy to do so before, I often find myself being a hypocrite in the face of the next thing i've fallen madly in love with.
    Chic on the Cheap

  14. I really wish I could be a quality over quantity shopper! When you think about what you spend on all the cheap items - madness!

  15. This is my whole struggle for 2013. Less is more and certainly if you want a pricey piece. It seems so costly when you just think about it, but if you stop impulse buying and decide you really need ONE stripe T shirt and NOT the sweat shirt and dress version etc (um, that's me here!) and don't need another pair of summer sandals (Kjacques or equivalent), well you add things up and realize that it won't be too hard after all...Hope it works out for you...I nearly got a pair then backed off:) Hugs

  16. Definitely something I'm guilty of doing. I've been much better though at not getting lots of items and saving for the bigger items that I've lusted over for ages. I have to say, these are the items that are well worth it. I end up wearing them for years. I've got the Chloe boots (after skrimping and saving for ages), but they are truly gorgeous boots. You will honestly love them! I'm sure you will get your perfect pair.

    xx Mandi

    1. The shots on your blog sent me over the edge!

  17. Good luck Laura! It seems like you really love those boots and it's not a passing whim, so go for it. Sometimes waiting and saving for something can really make you value an item even more.

    I definitely have soul stirrers in my wardrobe that are big ticket items. At the same time, I'm such a discerning shopper and an editor at heart that even the most inexpensive items are carefully considered.



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