Tuesday, November 06, 2012

My solution to the style problem

I got a couple of good comments on my review of The Truth About Style, and I realize that it sounds a little more extreme than reality to suggest that I'm not buying new clothes until I hit my weight goal. I have bought some pieces, and I've realized lately that the big problem is not that I don't have enough clothes, but that I don't have the right ones.
The solution is to stop shopping the way I have been shopping. That means, no more browsing the clearance rack and buying more of the same stuff that I already have just because it's my size and on sale. That is such a dumb trap, and I keep falling into it over and over. Doing this means that I end up with a bunch of stuff I don't really like and don't need.
The purchases I love and use most are the ones where I target something I need to complete an outfit or something I want to fit in with a trend I like. Then I go buy that item, whether it's on sale or not.  I bought a bright tangerine cardigan at J.Crew this way and it's one of my most-worn items.  Even though it's far from a neutral, it seems to work with everything. If I had bought a sweater I liked less just because it was on sale, I am sure I wouldn't have worn it as much. Or if I didn't, I wouldn't feel as happy in it.

In that spirit, Friday I bought a pair of great black boots. I have been wanting low-heeled black leather boots for years. They don't really go on sale, because they are a classic. About three years ago, I bought high-heeled fake leather boots instead, because they were on sale. Every time I have worn them, they hurt my feet.  Stupid. Something that looks good on me in the store and is on sale is not at all a good deal if I can't actually wear it.
What I love about these boots is the detail. I had originally chosen a different pair to try on, but the salesman brought these too and I like that they are unique. Now I need a few great dark skirts that I can wear with tights.
It's amazing how hard it is to go against the "It's on sale" demon and it's corollary, "Only suckers pay full-price." The reality is that I wear a size 10 shoe and a size 14 in clothes right now (sometimes 12).  Stores usually only get one or two of each item in my size, especially since the recession. If I wait for a sale, I'm going to be left with only choices that other people my size didn't like, probably for good reasons. You know what's left in these sizes on the clearance rack? High-heeled shoes, because women who wear size 10 tend to be tall.  Shoes that pinch or rub or are ugly. Clothes that look great on thin women but not so much on women my size.  Items that fit strangely.  Ugly colors. I usually skip over that stuff, but I do tend to buy things I don't love. Yet another t-shirt. More sweaters that aren't quite the right length.  Jeans that go on and zip but don't do much for me. Buying this stuff is a big message that I don't deserve better. And I do deserve better.
I need to keep reminding myself, "fewer but better clothes." I don't need a lot of things, I just need the things I really love, want and need to replace the ones that just sort-of work.


  1. Yay you!! I love that you think you are worth it NOW instead of waiting till you're at the "right" size to buy clothes that fit you well.

    I love those boots. You will look great in them with tights & a skirt. You are tall enough & are the right shape for that look. I am jealous. :) Pears with short legs can't do the skirt/tights/boot thing. At least, pears who still have 20ish pounds to lose can't.

    I have never been a bargain shopper, to my shame. I'm horrible about not buying things on sale & then feeling guilty about how much I've spent. But I do (mostly) love my clothes. I wear the same things over & over. I started shopping at Christopher & Banks 40% off sales this year, and I like their stuff but it is not holding up well. When I get back to the size I want to be & feel I can maintain, I'm going back to buying better quality & less quantity. I'm pretty much over finding "cute" clothes. I just want to look good & wear the classics.

    I have no problem spending $100 on a pair of great shoes. They last and I have them for years. I buy the kids good shoes b/c I think it's important for their growing feet. When Sophie was a toddler I bought her cheap shoes once from Target & she came home with blisters. I never bought her cheap shoes again (shoes she wore all day, anyway--she had cheap sparkly shoes for church). When our Stride Rite went out of business, I started shopping from Zappos (after buying Sketchers from JCPenney, which lasted all of 3 months). If it weren't for Zappos I don't know what I do for them.

    1. I don't always agree with the rules about who "can" or "can't" wear certain styles. I have much more to lose than you do. If you like the look, try some boots on and see what you think.

  2. Those boots are fab!

    Once I made the decision you did--fewer, better clothes--I hooked up with a personal shopper at Nordstrom's. She's been great for me. I've spent a ton of money (some on clothes that only fit for a few months, but I'm sure I made someone very happy at the thrift shop). I really think it helped with my weight loss journey because I was sending the message to myself that I was worth it.

    Joy's Book Blog

  3. I never wanted got the whole designer shoes until I met my best friend. She's been slowly collecting shoes one by one and keeping them in shape by having a very good relationship with her cobbler. She gets the soles replaced as soon as she buys them. Her mom hasn't bought a new pair of shoes in 20 years. It's just amazing how long the things last. Granted we're not talking athletic shoes, which you burn through in 6 months.

    And you're right, great classics don't go on sale. If you buy things frequently, then sure, go for the cheap stuff. But if you only buy something once in a blue moon, go for exactly what you want and never walk in the store again.

    The mentality "only suckers pay full price" is one that I've followed a lot, but have replaced it with "only suckers buy what they don't need". And I don't need crap that is going to fall apart prematurely. I'd rather have the space it would fill instead.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07