Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Lure of Beauty

Today I was sharing some of the items in my Poshmark closet in a "wardrobe goals" party, and I was struck by how many of descriptions say "worn once" or "only worn twice."  How could I have purchased all this clothing and jewelry, hung onto it for (in some cases) 30 years, and never used it?

I blame the Lure of Beauty.

I'll bet you know what I mean.  The color, the fabric, the design was just so amazing I had to buy whatever it was.  The feel of the soft silk!  The saturated colors in the paisley print!  The stunning asymmetrical neckline!  Then when I took it home, it didn't go with anything else I owned.  Or it was gorgeous, but not really cut right for my body.  Or, in the case of my most recent wardrobe mistake, I realized too late that I don't feel comfortable displaying my booty in maroon pants, even though they're well cut and go with most of my other things.  Beauty on the hanger or in the jewelry case doesn't always translate to wearable.

When I was an insurance executive in New York, I could afford to buy clothing and accessories I wore only occasionally (or never).  With retirement staring me in the face, that is no longer the case.  Now before I buy something, it has to pass through these filters:
  • Is it an item I really need?  Does it fill a gap in my wardrobe AND do I anticipate wearing it frequently? 
  • Do the color and style flatter me and coordinate with the rest of my things?
  • Does it fit my body really well, or can I have it tailored cost-effectively?
  • Will it be easy to maintain?  (I rarely buy "dry clean only" any more.)
  • Can I afford it?
  • Does it make me feel fabulous?  (Those maroon pants were never more than "yeah, OK.")
I actually tried to ask some of these questions in the past - particularly "does it coordinate with the rest of my things" - but then a luxurious cashmere or a particularly beautiful semiprecious stone would convince me that surely I could wear whatever it was with SOMETHING in my closet.

Oh, the lies we tell ourselves when seduced by the Lure of Beauty.  Now when I am in danger of succumbing to it, I watch a few videos by slow fashion and sustainable style blogger Alyssa Beltempo, and eventually the moment passes.

"Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There's no how-to road map to style. It's about self expression and, above all, attitude." —Iris Apfel

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