If there were a spectrum, and on one end of the spectrum were the people who are completely and utterly bemused by the obsession with and idolatry of French women, and on the other end were people reading Parisian Chic and How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, I would be much more on one side of the spectrum than the other.
So take this post with a hefty pinch of francophilic salt. Or sel, if you will.
I think I mentioned recently that I read somewhere or other (probably Who What Wear, honestly) that les francaises (I’m too lazy to do accents, shoot me) keep a wardrobe of basics and then limit themselves to five items a season (Spring/Summer being one, Fall/Winter being another) to revitalize their options. Obviously, a hard and fast rule is not going to adequately encompass a nation’s worth of spending habits, but I thought it was a worthwhile concept to consider.
When my family’s financial status improved and my anorexia-derived self-denial cleared up (i.e. the period following my sophomore year of college), my spending increased. And now I have many lovely things that I really value and appreciate. And while I still enjoy shopping (very much) and have things I want, I’m also strongly recognizing that there are ways I would rather spend my time, a heavy shopping habit is expensive, and I don’t want my belongings to increase significantly (if at all) beyond what I have.
I would talk a bit about Marie Kondo, but I think that’s a post for another day.
Most of my shopping in the past has been done at Boston’s consignment stores (also a list for another day) so I’ve also developed a taste for good quality that I don’t always have the money to back up. My clothing collection also came together somewhat haphazardly, as you can never guarantee what you’re going to find with consignment stores- thankfully, my taste runs toward the classic and neutral, so I’ve fared pretty well. And don’t get me wrong: consignment is great. It’s a less expensive way to get excellent clothing and it has less impact on the environment.
But as the gaps in my wardrobe become smaller and my desires become more specific, consignment shopping becomes less fulfilling. So I find that I’m seriously considering changing my shopping habits toward fewer (5 a season seems a good number), more well-reasoned, and perhaps more expensive purchases.
Which was all a very long introduction to my current (and irritatingly specific) wish list.
- Red lace up espadrilles: probably the worst thing to start off this list, as it automatically qualifies me as hopelessly determined to be French. To which I say, aren’t espadrilles Spanish? But really, I’ve been looking for years but hate ordering shoes on line. Otherwise, these seem pretty perfect.
- Flatforms, either sandal or sneaker: I’m probably not going to go for this one because it’s in the neighborhood of fashion victimhood. In that it’s one of those things you may like after having seen them a lot, but most people on the street are going to think you’re a moron. The dream is these Stella McCartney ones, but I think I may be happier admiring than owning.
Still, these less expensive Steve Madden ones are beautiful, especially in rose gold (apparently a trending color 😛 )
- White jeans: Because she looks awesome and with years of looking I’ve not come up with the perfect pair of white jeans. But to be fair pants are really hard to fit on me because my butt to waist ratio is a bit ridiculous. I really like how those Mother-cut jeans look on her, though I’ve been avoiding them. Maybe I shouldn’t?
- Cropped flare jeans: Speaking of potentially unflattering jean cuts… I posted an article about these in my most recent links post. When I was in NYC I found pair from Paige which was a size too small for me (in a consignment store). So I checked for them online but buying the same type new is prohibitively expensive. But I’m going to keep my eyes open because even tight I was liking how they looked.
- Denim skirt: Basics are things that are pretty difficult to find in consignment shops because when someone finds the perfect coat or pair of black flats or leather jacket, they’re not going to give them up. I wouldn’t. When I find a perfect basic, I wear it until it has holes (at least three holes, empirically). Ideally, a button-front high-waisted denim skirt hitting from mid- to low-thigh. If I had found the perfect one, I would include the link.
- Gold men’s watch: I need to marry a rich man and get his Rolex. Or Cartier Tank, if we’re going for classic. Or Omega. I’m not picky. 😛
- Summer straw hat: I’ve been looking for the perfect straw boater for years and failing everywhere. If anyone knows where to find the perfect straw boater, do let me know. Too bad I can’t ask Audrey.
- Silk slip dress: I like the trend for silk slip dresses happening this year, particularly the longer, slinkier, and more formal ones. Equipment’s Raquel dress is an excellent example. I have a few slip dresses that I wear for sleeping but they are very much ~for sleeping~ (read: short, lacy, kind of sheer).
- Leather shorts: Another thing I’ve been looking for for a long time. And again, hard to fit because leather (and even faux leather) isn’t often stretchy (unless you’re going for spandex, which I’m not). But with a flow white top? With a thick sweater once it starts getting cooler? With a men’s button up shirt?
Really the thing is I should just get a cheap pair at H&M or Zara or Forever 21 but given that I go in so rarely I’m never going to know if they have them.
- Floral maxi dress: this is kind of worrisome because a flowy floral dress is something I’ve been working for for a while but I can feel the amount that I believe myself willing to pay going up in my head. I just need to hold onto hope (and my wallet) and be persistent. It doesn’t even need to be floral, it could be abstract.
- Denim dress in a sundress silhouette: You know, fitted down to the waist and then A-line? Surprisingly difficult to hunt down.
- Tan turtleneck sweater: i don’t care that it’s summer, I’ve worn through two tan wool turtleneck sweaters in the past year or two and I’ve loved them both to death and I am lost without a tan turtleneck.
And I guess this isn’t an exclusive list- I want to reserve the right to fall in love with other things. I guess that’s the big problem with the well-reasoned purchase: less room for spontaneity and happy accidents. Or sudden obsessions and impulse purchases. So maybe it’s a good thing?
But I’m tempted to add to it so that I can defend myself and have some justification if I buy something else (like a pair of track pants). And because I know myself well, I already know the rationale I would use to try to ‘game the system’. If we’re adding items to our wardrobe of basics, do we have carte blanche to buy basic items? I rather want an oversize white blazer. Or cropped silk pants. What counts as a basic? Does a turtleneck sweater count? Jeans? What about a floral maxi dress? I think I could make a legitimate argument for any of the above being a basic except flatforms or leather shorts.
So that’s my thinking. Working on amending my habits for this *new stage* of my life (i.e. post-college) but also not sure that I’ve sown all of my wild fashion oats, as it were.
And with that tortured metaphor, I leave you.
PS- Where does jewelry fit into this system?