More, more, more. And cheap always looked good.
But in the last 5 years, that has been a serious issue for me - cheap clothes are for the young, who can chase trends and move on, and on whom cheaper materials and less flattering cuts are more forgiving. I no longer fit into that category. But I was hanging on!
I do have some clothes I would describe as expensive. But I have not been a discriminating shopper and I have been wooed by the frivolous, the shiny. I have shopped without a plan and I have bought some things on sale that I would never have bought if they were full price. Furthermore, I bought cheap versions of the basics and then when I did not wear them, blamed it on their banality. (For an excellent post on the basics, please see AJC's thoughtful post here.
I wanted to buy less and have greater quality, but would balk at the prices. I lacked a plan and spent too much on items that eventually were given away or donated to charity. In other words - I was cheap. And I was treating myself as though I was cheap as well.
I know intuitively that spending wisely is a good thing. But my actions have not supported that. I have bought 4 trench coats in the last 5 years! None cost more than $40 (and no, they were not some amazing JC final sale item). And none made me happy. And so the cycle began again.
This fall, on my journey to the truly elegant WMM and a truly elegant 50s, I knew the cycle must stop.
For me, the first battle was the trench coat.
As you know - I was unsure about the J Crew icon trench versus the BR trench. But here's the thing: one of the things that started me questioning my choice and moving towards the Banana Republic Trench last week wasn't because I loved it any better but because it suddenly went on sale for 40% off in a one day sale! "Ye Gods!" I thought, "A nice trench coat, and CHEAP!!!
But I held back, since that was the same thought I had had about a Banana Republic necklace in April that I bought on a similar 40% off sale and which I have never worn as it isn't me. It does not fit how I want to appear. It was on sale all right. But it cost me dearly. I might just as easily have lit the $40 and tossed it away.
This fall must be different. I was resolved that I would get what I loved, regardless of the price. Well, not any price, don't get me wrong! I actually visited the Burberry store in Boston en route to the J Crew and I could easily have dropped a cool thousand on a similar coat..."Settling" was no longer in my vocabulary. I must love what I buy or not buy it at all.
I visited the BR first and liked their trench. But then, I visited the JC and tried on the icon. And I KNEW..... While I had planned to buy it in September, I bought it on the spot, since it was $50 less than the CDN price and it was tax free. In other words, had I ordered it in September, I would have paid close to $400 CDN. Instead, I paid approximately $300 CDN. Remember - I am cheap...
This is the coat which could conceivably "see me out" (not sure if you are familiar with that term, in the part of Canada I live in, when something is really great quality or you are 80 and buying your last car, you will hear people say "That car will see me out"...) or at least get me to 60!
On the deck this morning, pretending to be all hunched up for the cold, although it was already nearly 80 degrees! Looks very odd with white legs and nude pumps!
Do you like the byzantine blue wool JC scarf! Such a pretty colour! I do not see it online yet. Perhaps it is an in-store only item? Cannot wait to wear this with my Cole Haan riding boots or with jeans... or with anything! Worn open and wandering the streets of my town looking chic and elegant, my hair blowing in the breeze, I will be a 21st century Atlantic Canadian version of Audrey or Ali! If I see another woman with a matching coat on the street, we will nod conspiratorially - we are wearing quality and we are feeling good!
So happy! So classic! Money well spent....
Underneath the coat, I am wearing the JC herringbone blazer in the neon pink, which is still available on sale here. Underneath is a four year old Jones New York dress in a pink paisley and some nine west nude pumps.
This blazer was a good buy this year. I have worn it many times. I almost sent it back as it was PINK, but family convinced me it was a keeper!
Look at the nice Adirondack chairs behind me - they are waiting for me to start vacation this Friday....
So.... to sum it up. In my first sortie into the trench warfare of shopping with a plan and buying only quality, I have come out triumphant. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks??? of course, there could be slides, and I must be ever-vigilant....