Waiting for backup

it happens every time i love what i bought. i take it home, it goes with everything, i feel terrific in it and then it hits me, this absolutely perfect item is precious. oh so so precious. in fact, it's too precious to wear. i must protect it! it has to last forever. i should have bought 2, or 3! i'll never find another.
no, i won't find the same thing, drama queen, but i'll find another equally wonderful garment another time.
if i had multiples of my favorite things, yes, life would be easy, but i would be the style-equivalent of albert einstein with his alleged identical suits. he had other more important things to think about, but i don't.

let's say you don't take it to that extreme. let's say you have a more well-rounded selection. is there still really such a thing as the perfect item? can you have an entire wardrobe of perfect items? if you believed you had the perfect wardrobe and never bought another item, you would in essence become your high school government teacher who was stuck in a wardrobe time-warp because she was, at one point, so wildly satisfied with her sartorial choices that she decided never to ever make another. now i ask you, did you ever spend one single solitary hour of government admiring your teacher's stunning sense of fashion?
the point of selecting clothes for ourselves is not to end the process entirely some day. a wardrobe is never a finished project.
i spent some time today doing some shopping and knowing that it was for the purpose of building a wardrobe, my standards were set quite high. i think this is a good thing, but i also have to remember, when i do find something that i think is wonderful, i should congratulate myself, enjoy it, feel smug, and wear it to shreds. then get back out there and hunt down a new trophy, and repeat.

what do you do when you find perfection? preserve and protect? use and enjoy? buy backup?


Anonymous said...

Lol, buy backup and then more backup. I am guilty of haunting Ebay for that very special something or it's facimile even though I already have two. Sick, I tell ya!

La Primavera said...

"preserve and protect? use and enjoy?"

A combination of those. I enjoy and use them, but take very good care of them and try to preserve them almost fanatically.

editor said...

weirdly, when something i love gets stained or shows signs of wear, i am then most comfortable using and enjoying it. imperfections make things more accessible for me.

what are motivations for protecting clothes? love of the clothes, or protecting the financial investment?

La Primavera said...

I say half/half. I am more prone to take care of the financial investments though.

Iheartfashion said...

Most definitely, wear and enjoy and don't worry about preserving the investment! I eat pizza off my best china and feel the same way about clothes and not saving the good stuff for a special occasion.

laurieann said...

I used to save the item for a special occasion. This was of course back when my husband and I did have a lot more special occasions to attend. Now I look for items that will give me the same pleasure during the day that I used to feel dressing up at night.

As a middle-ager with a weight problem I have also missed the opportunity to wear beautiful items because I could no longer fit into them. That's another reason for my wear it now and enjoy it philosophy.

Carlene said...

I, too, have bought backup garments on eBay. Which have eventually found their way to Sal's, so obviously they weren't perfect forever.

"what do you do when you find perfection? preserve and protect? use and enjoy? buy backup?"

My "perfect" garment is my shearling coat. I love it like I've never loved a garment before. It's unnatural. Anyway, I spill coffee on it every year, and when I do, I die a little, but it always comes back looking great. Helps that it's sort of coffee colored. For a couple years, I rode the subway every day in winter, so it's got some mileage on it. It still looks beautiful (I do try to protect as much as I can, if not preserve). I have no children, so no one (that I know) is getting the shearling when I'm gone, and not to wear it to shreds (and I will) would be tragic.

That first coffee spill did make me cry, though.

Anonymous said...

I bought backup jcrew tees last summer. I felt they were the best fitting most flattering and most comfortable tees ever!
after wearing them for awhile, I started questioning the neckline being too high, are they not flattering to my torso....
then i hated myself for getting 4.

no more backup for me.

GenX Theorist said...

Hi! I just discovered your amazing blog - love it! :) Can I add you to my links?

I am slowly building my fashion-blog community. Though I am a lot about Generations Theory, Fashion is a big part of my thought process as well (and as far as I'm concerned, fashion along with music, is the greatest indicator of a generation).

OK, so I am a definite Use and Enjoy. I buy spare-ingly, and usually high end. Not because I'm rolling in dough (I'm not) but because I caculated a few years back that buying a few well-made pieces every season equates to buying loads of lesser items financially...for me.

This said; I spend a lot of time figuring out if something is worth the money, structure and integrity-wise.

Then, I wear it. I don't lead an exciting event-oriented life, so I wear my Dries and Jil Sander to work, on the weekend, all the time. Currently, I don't even work with a lot of sartorial-types (sadly) so I'm not ever dressing for others. Always for myself only.

As a result of this daily-wear approach I've become expert on the talents of a great dry-cleaner, good shoe repair people and alterations folks. My dream-team of fashion preservation! ;)

I agree with you about the need to purchase each season...a fab wardrobe is always a work in progress - it's half the fun.

I often equate my fashion process to some of my guy-friends who like to restore old gorgeous cars. It's their hobby. They spend a large portion of their income buying parts simply for the joy of the activity, for the art. For me, fashion and my closet are the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I spit tea all over my monitor. I'm so suffering from Back-up-itis. My husband swears I have so many multiples hanging in the closet that he's nicknamed me "Monk"...

Goes and cackles some more.

editor said...

genx theorist - would love to be linked by you. :)
oh, and by the way, may i have your wardrobe? lol
do you still buy sander now, since her departure from the co.? dries is delicious, but some of his stuff is fragile - the embroidery and woven details - it gives me pause. aesthetically, worship the stuff though. re. the car analogy - i had someone ask once, "oh, do you have a meeting or something?" because of the obvious effort to my ensemble. i explained that no, this was just what i do, i like clothes. it only just occured to me about a year ago that i could acknowledge and own up to this. i think fashion is fascinating and fun and stimulating and... it's just what i do. :)

laurieann - i try to keep in mind the "life is short" philosophy and made myself wear a shorter skirt once in a while a few years ago just so that i could reflect fondly, decades later, and think "eh, those were uncomfortable; i'm not missing much." :)

anonymous - that's my fear, what stops me from buying backup - the idea of regretting something i did buy, versus regretting something i didn't buy... i don't know which is worse.

carlene - you are a fine example of loving AND living with an item.

GenX Theorist said...

Yay! Makin' the blog-friends! Finding fellow Fashion Nerdistas is so exciting. :)

Editor, the feeling is mutual - I can see that you have a wardrobe to covet dually!

I always adored Jil Sander back in the day, intellectually, but wasn't at a fashion-investing point in my life...so you can imagine my thrill when Raf came on the scene with the breakout Fall 06 collection. I love what he's doing.

I agree, the Dries containing beading and threadwork is very delicate and while I too take a moment of reverence for them, those pieces don't come home with me. But his button downs, skirts and knits - solid.

Dries, Jil and my #3 favorite Mayle are my "Top 3" for a few reasons. 1. Fit - the cuts work for my body type (some designers, like Marni, I adore but her shapes rarely work for me) 2. - Sartorial style (these designers say what I want to say about who I am) and 3. Limiting myself to 3 major labels gives me some purchasing boundaries and keep me from getting overwhelmed with choices and having an identity crisis. (we laugh, but it's true). :)

That's not to say I don't nerd out over my Vogue every month - what would I do without my Mags to keep up on trends. Hours of entertainment to process...is this classic or of the moment? Will this last? What does it mean about our society?


OH and Carlene - I love your coat story. A piece like that is you in every sense, for it's travelled your life. True poetry.

fashionista-ta said...

I definitely use and enjoy, and also buy backup in the form of the same item in other colors (though sometimes the additional color proves to be not as useful as the original).

I think there definitely is such a thing as a perfect item, though they're not encountered all that often. But I don't allow my wardrobe to become precious--it is all there to be used. (Things for my house ... that's different ... some of them are meant to be only beautiful, not useful. But in the closet I am ruthless!)