December. The holidays. While this is a favorite time of year for many, its not the best time to be a resident. Winter time is dreary to begin with (well, at least in Minnesota), which makes the long days (or nights) at work seem even longer. But what makes it so much more depressing is knowing people are out enjoying “normal people” things. Things I wish I was doing. Decorating, cooking, getting dressed up, visiting with family and friends… that type of stuff. There are reminders everywhere of what we’re missing out on.
I don’t do a lot of gift giving with my family (only small gifts for immediate family), so the holiday season is a nice time for some guilt-free retail therapy. I’m trying to avoid buying (or keeping) items that I’m not 100% in love with. Its not easy to find items that qualify! My #1 criteria for clothes and shoes is comfort. If its not comfortable, I’m never going to wear it, no matter how amazing it looks! And especially for winter clothes, comfort is tied closely with quality (and frequently price). I have difficulty finding comfy, quality items at typical “blogger” retail sites (Ann Taylor, LOFT, J. Crew, Zara, H&M, etc). Items so often look amazing on bloggers. But then I try out the same item and am completely underwhelmed. Fabrics are itchy, cuts are unflattering and ill-fitting (especially at the bust and shoulders on top and hips and thighs on the bottom), threads are hanging off, buttons are falling off… yeah. I suppose I could wear the item for a few pictures and style it in a flattering way, too. But its not worth it. I don’t want to fill my closet with one-time-wear items that sit in my closet after their sole debut. I want items that I will reach for in the morning and feel good in all day.
I wish I had a long list of amazing, good quality, affordable items that I could share with you. But honestly, I don’t. You already know about my J. Crew Elsie pump obsession (in all varieties… suede, leather, metallic camo, and the fabric pair shown in these pics). These pumps were by far my favorite purchases this fall. The Chateau parka was a noteworthy runner-up, and the Boyfriend flannel shirt and Shearling-lined sweatshirt made it home with me, but in retrospect were too expensive for what they are. I have a couple of Yoox orders in process at the moment, but the problem with recommending items from yoox is that they’re sold out so quickly! I haven’t even received my orders yet and the only items that are still in stock are this John Richmond “face” top and this Cruciani cardigan.
The majority of my purchases continue to be pre-owned and likely many seasons old. This is the only reasonable way for me to afford quality items. Sure, many of the items will require a dry cleaning trip or some work at the tailor. But the overall cost of a pair of silk Chloe crops, for example, is still only slightly more than a new pair of Zara pants. And the extra cost and effort is worth it! The fabrics are so much nicer (way more comfy) and the fit is immensely more flattering. How do you feel about buying pre-owned?