Tuesday, March 5, 2013

on investments

I've mentioned my old shopping habits many times before. My previous shopping "plan" was the following: walk into store, buy everything I like. TA DA! Finished. That was how I purchased clothing and that is also how I ended up with a closet where I don't like and or wear many items. I don't have three closets full of unworn clothes, but I do have enough clothes accumulated over the last 6 years that I often times ask myself why I ever even considered buying something that. Many times I purchased something because it was the only thing I found that shopping day that fit me, so I purchased it just to have something go home with me, or I saw someone else wearing something similar and thought it looked cute so obviously it belonged in my closet as well. My closet a year ago (and still currently during the clean out) was full of pants I felt uncomfortable in, shirts that were either too short or too long or too tight, and a shoe collection that no one would consider a collection. It's not that I bought a bunch of ridiculous clothing, or came home with 30 bags a shopping trip, or went into serious debt because of it, but I had no direction and no limits. There would be many times where I said "gosh, I wish I had that to actually make this outfit work" but I never actively looked for that piece. It was just easier to buy another flimsy cardigan at Forever 21 than to think about what pieces I'd really like in my closet.

It was really blogging that made me take a look at my shopping habits and the clothes in my closet. Read any blog or article about shopping, and they hammer in the point of buying "investment pieces". I've read so much about "investment pieces" that it honestly gives me anxiety now when I shop. I feel like I should set an example for you guys, and for myself really, about being selective of what I buy. I shouldn't buy a bunch of clothes from Old Navy or Forever 21 because guys! it's fast fashion and cheap and you won't be wearing that in 3 months! Bad blogger, go buy that at J.Crew, that's an investment. 

Is buying that Old Navy chambray popover, something I know I will really wear a lot, not an "investment" for my wardrobe anymore because I got it for $12.50 on sale? Should I have purchased the J.Crew version instead at full price although the Old Navy version may fit me better just because it says J.Crew and we consider J.Crew an investment store? Is J.Crew now considered an investment because it costs so damn much? Is it because bloggers insist of owning everything from the catalog, and therefore : investment.

I have a list of items I would like to add to my closet, but are those investments? Can a red sweater really be considered an investment or is that just something you'd like to have in your closet? How much are you supposed to spend on an "investment piece"? Does the price define how significant it is? Is the price what indicates an investment or is it the number of times you wear it, or is it the cost per wear? What makes something investment worthy? Is anything you buy from the mall NOT an investment because they are "mall clothes" and everyone has the same piece? What about something thrifted from Goodwill - is a $400 jacket purchased for $8 an investment now, even though you paid next to nothing for it and weren't exactly looking for it, but this extravagantly expensive item happened to cross your thrifting path? What about that leather tote you bought because you fell in love with it on a different blogger - is it not longer considered as much as an investment because one of the most popular blogger also has it? Are no-name thrift store finds not an acceptable "investment", but something of a similar quality from Banana Republic is now an investment, something you'll cherish because you got it brand new from the mall?

I was thinking about this on Saturday when I walked into the Gap and wanted EVERYTHING. It was all so pretty and bright and cheerful and look at that beautiful dress and those fun shorts! But do we consider the Gap to be investment worthy? Is buying a $60 dress an investment or is it more "I want, go put yourself in my closet please". What if I buy it when it finally goes on sale, or with a coupon? Does that cheapen it? Even if I wear it every other day this coming summer, the only summer I have where I get to wear shorts for a full 6 weeks?

I think the struggle for me is having to categorize it. I tell myself that everything should be an "investment" into my closet, not just filling needs or wants. At the same time, maybe not everything I buy has to be an "investment" for the next 15-50 years of my life. If I buy a pair of coral shorts and wear them a ton for two summers, would we consider that an investment? A fun, bright, cheerful investment. I think at this point in my life and income I probably can't make true "life long" investments - everything will have a shelf life, and I think for now I have to be okay with making "investments" for my current life. Maybe I should just do Kimmie a favor and not call it an investment because as she says, what's the financial return? Besides joy and something to cover my ass with, those shorts aren't going to give anything back. 

Maybe I just need to think of them as smart purchases. Smart purchases that I'll enjoy and actually wear. 

Linking up with the pleated poppy and random wednesday.