Do you repeat the same wardrobe mistakes year after year?

Discussion in 'Personal Style' started by lucy92, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    Do you repeat the same wardrobe mistakes year after year?



    Maybe someday I’ll stop making wardrobe mistakes. But when I gaze into my closet, I often wonder who chose these clothes. What look was she going for? Agent 99 from “Get Smart”? I should shop with a note pinned to my chest: “Do not sell this person another: trench coat, pair of jeans, or black turtleneck.”




    Actually, I shouldn’t go anywhere near a store. Buying new clothes seems like the thing to do only when you’ve got nothing to wear. But, then again, maybe not. With the high-stakes fall-fashion season upon us, and with apparel sales rising, I conducted rack-side interviews around the city, heard woeful sagas of bad shopping habits and various personal theories about why so many keep repeating the same mistakes. But one thing seems clear: Friends shouldn’t let friends shop — they should stage interventions.




    Hear Kristen Calvo, 23, an intern at Karmaloop, an online retailer in Boston. She’s a fashionista who’s unable to resist new trends. “I’ll want the style so much that I can’t stop until I get it,” she said. She recently bought three tops with of-the-moment cut-out shoulders. That’s a look recognized by fashion editors, but not Bostonians.

    “A man on the T told me my clothing had a hole in it,” Calvo said. She also asked herself a question. “What was I thinking?”

    It’s the same story in Weymouth, where Karen Donovan periodically buys bright colors to perk up her mainly black wardrobe, and then can’t bring herself to put on the pinks and blues she’s paid for, seemingly of her own free will. “This isn’t me,” she thinks even as she’s handing over her credit card.

    Many of us confess to questionable shopping habits, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing us down much. US apparel sales hit $199 billion in 2011, up 4 percent from 2010, according to the NPD Group . Marshal Cohen, the market-research firm’s fashion-industry analyst, attributes the growth to “frugal fatigue” after a handful of years of recession.

    The NPD Group doesn’t track the ups and downs of the unworn-apparel market. But the challenge posed by the seemingly simple act of purchasing clothing is so enormous that a clinical psychologist has written an entire 272-page book on the subject.

    In “You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You,” Jennifer Baumgartner argues that what seem like superficial wardrobe issues are actually manifestations of deeper life issues. “Over-shopping,” she explained, “can be a form of avoidance, from facing an immediate stressor or chronic emotional difficulty.

    “Dressing the same you did in high school can be a way to hold onto the best time in your life when the here and now is not a happy place,” she added. “A disorganized wardrobe can indicate a life in chaos.”

    That sounds pretty sad. But perhaps it’s a good thing. Recognition may be the first step toward persuading employers to offer the sartorial version of mental health days — “wardrobe days” — for those times when you just can’t stand to put on one thing you own.

    Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist at EHP Behavioral Services, LLC, in Maryland, with a wardrobe consulting firm on the side, warns that once a shopper gets into a bad habit, purchase-wise, it’s hard to break free. “As with rote learning,” she said, “the repeated task no longer becomes something that requires any further mental energy. It’s practically an involuntary response.”

    And who has time to think outside the box — or the black cardigan? Not a lot of working moms, Baumgartner said — or the president of the United States.

    “I’m trying to pare down decisions,” Barack Obama told Vanity Fair in October, explaining why he keeps only blue and gray suits in his closet. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

    I wonder if that’s really true, or if he was pandering to the crucial “nothing-to-wear moms” voting bloc? How do so many of us go so wrong so often?

    Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School who studies clothing’s psychological effects, has a theory. He says stores are very good at creating their own worlds, and shoppers get sucked right in. “We get into an adventurous mindset when we’re shopping,” he said. “But when it comes time to wear things, we’re not in the same mindset.

    “My guess,” he added, “is that we buy the things we’d like to wear in a perfect world, but then we get back to our world and realize it’s not possible. Unfortunately we hold on to that [mistaken] idea past the 30-day return policy.”


    Vivek Patel, co-owner of Vira boutique, on Charles Street, is among those who get sucked in by a store’s atmosphere — even though he’s in the business himself. “Music is a big thing for me,” Patel said, “so if the music is really happening, and the people in the store seem happy and cheery, I might not even have money but I need to leave with something. I want to bring the fun home.”

    “It makes me feel better,” he said — except when he realizes what he bought doesn’t really fit or he doesn’t like it. “Then it’s a different story.”

    I love the idea of blaming retailers for my own failings. Or better yet — individual garments. And, I’m apparently not the only one. That phenomenon is so common — and misguided — that a marketing expert has a term for it. “Scapegoating,” is the term used by Alastair Tombs, a lecturer in marketing at Queensland University in Australia. “People do transfer their emotions to their clothing,” he said in an e-mail.

    (As Shakespeare might have said: The fault is not in our 7 for all Mankind jeans, but in ourselves.)

    For example: One woman Tombs interviewed wore new clothes to go on a date with her boyfriend, only to have him end the relationship that night. “When she got home she threw off her clothes into a corner, and they sat there for about a month,” he wrote.

    “She said she would never wear them again. This behavior appears to be a coping mechanism where people will transfer the negative emotions to their clothing in some form of cathartic experience.”

    Back in Boston, Lauren Beckham Falcone, a WROR radio personality, also has a very charged relationship with her wardrobe. “All mistakes,” she said of the many unworn miniskirts, skinny jeans, and endless satin and ruffled tops, which she keeps buying and not wearing.

    “It’s like dating someone, breaking up, and getting back together only to realize you are terrible for each other,” she said. “Then you see each other across Macy’s and you think, maybe this time. My wardrobe’s soundtrack should be a Taylor Swift CD.”
    Beth Teitell/Boston.com
     
  2. Psylocke

    Psylocke Active Member

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    Those kind of statements always sound so pseudo-psychological. :P

    I sympathize with the woman that says she tries to incorporate colorful pieces into her all-black wardrobe and knows the moment she's purchasing them that she's never going to wear them. I've been doing the same for years. Sometimes even buying expensive items like leather jackets or dresses in colors that I can't actually bring myself to ever wear because they're so not me. :unsure: I do think my wardrobe mistakes are getting fewer over the years, though? Not sure it is because I'm getting more conscious about what I want to wear and what I want to spend my money on or if it's just because I've been buying less clothes overall ^_^

    I don't think that '30-day return policy' mindset is as popular outside the US so I don't think most people outside the US buy something with that excuse in mind. I find that amongst my friends it's mainly the trend-oriented shopping and just being very impulsive in general that makes them buy things they won't end up wearing. Good deals on designer clothes are always dangerous, too :angel:
     
  3. Street_a_Licious

    Street_a_Licious Active Member

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    my only mistake over the past few years was that i always ended up buying my 'safe' color (my navy is everyone else's black lol)

    i've really put my feet down now and stopped buying navy/blue. i need colors. strongly going towards burgundy and olive.
     
  4. lucy92

    lucy92 Mod Squad Team Leader

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    my mom keeps buying unfitted beige garments even though i think it is a fashion disaster for her. unfortunately she wont listen to me.

    i keep buying cocktail dresses even though i dont go to that many cocktails.
     
  5. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    the only mistakes i make is that sometimes i shop for my friends instead of for me...

    ie- i find an item that reminds me of one of my good friends, and i think "oh, so-and-so would love that top/blouse/whatever"...
    so i buy it...

    but i never wear it because it really isn't my style, it's theirs...
    and then after keeping it for years in my closet with the tags on it, i will realize that i should just give it to my friend...

    so i do...

    :lol:...
     
  6. ssgghh

    ssgghh New Member

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    My main mistake when shopping is whishful thinking...like:
    they are sooo reduced but its a size smaller than my shoesize- oh it willstretch, its leather...and then i dont wear them because who wants to stretch shoes with blistery feet...
    Or, i never wear skirts, i should, this one is cool, ill buy it and i bet ill wear it because its nice....and then i of course dont because im not a skirt person and i should just accept and remember that the next time im about to buy a skirt...
     
    #6 ssgghh, Dec 27, 2012
    Last edited by moderator Clemencia: Dec 27, 2012
  7. eizhowa

    eizhowa Well-Known Member

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    I never remember to buy jeans one size down:( Result: baggy skinny jeans...
     
  8. cestmagique

    cestmagique you set the scene

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    I do that too... :lol: I also get into these weird modes where I'll only buy clothes in certain colors, not intentionally but that's what appeals at that time; so I end up with a closet full of blue tops, or cream, or black.... :ermm: I also get too comfortable with certain items in my closet and wear them all the time, like one boring jacket over and over and over lol. So I guess I need to mix things up more. :P
     
  9. silk skin paws

    silk skin paws doldrums

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    A disorganized wardrobe might not indicate a life in chaos. It could be disorganized because they lack a personal style or just want to wear it all. I don't dress the same as I did in high school. My choices 'matured' with me. I can see how one can correlate an adult way pass high school/teenage age trying to 're-live' the best time of their lives. My teenage years wasn't good and I'm sure not eager to go back.

    Fashion and personal style isn't just thinking outside of the box. I'll admit that most would settle for safe over risk taking. Then safe becomes boringly predictable and seems more like a standard uniform more than anything. My fashion mistakes are becoming lesser and lesser. For one I'm less impulsive and two I usually plan or have a clearer idea of what I want or need. I also step away from the usual solids and added some prints.
     
  10. Sheeam

    Sheeam New Member

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    Maybe I'll cut back on wearing turtlenecks 70% of the time during the colder months.
     
  11. ssgghh

    ssgghh New Member

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    I also do that, i end up wearing one pair of trousers alot that become my favourite and although i dont feel like its a boring piece of clothing, the way i like to wear it ALL the time is boring....but I just allways end up really liking one pair. It happens with bags too....from all the bags i own i end up wearing one bag most of the time until the bitter end
     
  12. olive

    olive Member

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    I tend to make the mistake of finding something that works and buying variations of it. So my wardrobe is filled with multiple pairs of ankle boots, because that was my go-to winter footwear for the past few years, countless navy tops, because I decided navy is the perfect non-black neutral, slouchy t-shirts, because I can't find anything else that I like for the summer months, etc. It's difficult to not end up feeling like I wear the same thing every single day because every outfit I put together looks like everything else I've already worn. I'm slowly trying to ease myself out of my comfort zone by only buying things that are nothing like what I already own. Of course, in the past, I used to make the opposite mistake and just buy things that I liked the idea of, or liked on someone else and would end up never wearing them because they just weren't me. So apparently I need to find a middle ground...
     
  13. Jinadaze

    Jinadaze Active Member

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    I usually wear things I bought recently, with exceptions of bases I own from before.

    By recently I mean they are mostly from current season and though I'm not much into trendy clothing, but still ... I really should mix things more and get more combinations out of them.

    I mean, why would I wear an old jumper if a brand new is looking at me. That's my thinking.
    :blush:
     
  14. musicjunkie

    musicjunkie New Member

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    I have a major problem buying shoes that don't fit properly (too big, too small, or ridiculously high that I can't walk in them) just because they are cute and my size is not available. So I'm left with a shoe rack full of pretty shoes that I cannot wear.
     

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