“This may shock you but I have a lot of clothes,” I announced to my
fashion friend over the phone recently. “You’re kidding” she shot back
sarcastically. “So that’s what all those coloured things hanging in
your giant wardrobe are. Who knew?” “No, seriously,” I persisted, “I’ve
decided I’m going to wear my clothes.”
This conversation was not as bizarre as it sounds. You see, I’ve
recently had a seismic shift in my fashion world because I’m on
maternity leave. Not going into the office every day, not being on the
front line of fashion, not working surrounded by the next season’s
trends and the trendy people who are already wearing them and not
having any baby-free time to go shopping has rocked my wardrobe. I
haven’t bought anything new for almost 12 weeks.
Mentally, I’m cool with this shopping hiatus because I find it hard to get excited about buying winter clothes anyway. Practically, it’s forced me to style from my existing wardrobe which is surprisingly fun because I own many things I’ve barely worn. This is because I’ve discovered something significant about my fashion self: I’m a saver not a wearer.
When I buy something new, I won’t wear it. Instead, I’ll smuggle it into the house, hang it up quickly and hide all evidence (tag/receipt/bag). I’ll look at it fondly but I won’t try it on. I won’t wear it the next day. Or even that weekend. In fact, I probably won’t wear it for weeks, even months and sometimes never. Why? Because I’m saving it. For what? I have no bloody idea. Possibly for the perfect occasion although what that occasion is remains unclear.
This delayed gratification is unusual because I’m an instant gratifier in every other aspect of my life. I like things immediately if not sooner. I order dessert before the last bite of dinner has been swallowed. I read my gossip magazines before the newsagent has even handed me my change. But with clothes, I’m forever on hold. It’s not unusual for me to get dressed in the morning, decide I love my outfit and then take it off to “save” it for a more important day; a day when I’ll need it more or when its fabulousness will be more meaningful or necessary.
I thought everyone was like this until I mentioned it to SHOP’s editor, Kerrie, who thought I was bonkers. She thinks people who save new clothes are the same type who hoard all their Easter eggs and eat them bit by bit so they last a month, instead of gobbling them up over two days. This doesn’t apply to me personally because I am a gobbler of all chocolate but there’s truth in her theory.
Kerrie is a wearer, not a saver (a good quality to have when you’re editing a fashion magazine). “When I buy something new, I wear it straight away – that night preferably – and then as often as possible until two weeks later I hate the sight of it and never wear it again.”
My friend Luisa is the same. “I buy things, wear them immediately, get bored with them and crave something new. It doesn’t help that my work and weekend wardrobes are the same so I end up wearing my new purchases hard and fast. This invariably leads to fashion burnout and is probably why I always have nothing to wear.”
I felt quite smug for a moment when she told me this because the upside of being a saver is that you can’t get bored of clothes you don’t wear. Oh wait, yes you can. Because another stupid thing about saving your clothes is that you DO still get bored of them. When they’ve been hanging unworn in your cupboard or sitting silently in their shoebox for long enough, they lose their excitement sparkle.
Is there word for the buzz you get the first time you wear a new purchase? Whatever it’s called, it’s significantly diminished if the gap between buy and wear is longer than a week. Not to mention the date factor. If you buy a trend piece (which I invariably do), then saving it is even more self-defeating. I know this because the wooden, Chloe rip-off strappy heels I bought and “saved” are now as obsolete as Sienna’s chunky Moroccan coin belt.
The other time I save things is when they’re expensive. This is moronic. As a fashion editor once explained to me, the only way to get value out of an expensive purchase is to wear it to death. If a frock cost you $200 and you wear it twice, the cost-per-wear is $100. But if you wear it 20 times, it’s a bargain at $10 per wear. 200 times and it was practically free.
My friend Amanda is such a wearer that she doesn’t even wait til she gets home; she wears her new purchases out of the shop. “It’s part of the shopping ritual for me and it’s easier to sneak into the house past my husband, “she says. “I’ve been known to wear five inch snakeskin heels with track pants after spying a SALE sign at Miss Louise after a gym session.” Now she just has to wear them every day for the next six months and they truly were a bargain.