I’ve been hunting for a pair of shoes for my wedding for months now. What I’m looking for is a pair of kitten-heel sling-back sandals (or d’orsay pumps) in either red, blue or purple. I have found nothing to my taste. This proves – if proof was still needed – my shopping theory that you will never find something that you urgently need. You will find a million and one other things, including 734,899 things you really like (only 3 of which you can afford), but not the one thing you really need.
The last time I was in this sort of predicament, I was in need in pants. I confess that, in the last few years, I’ve really reduced my pants use. No, I don’t go around in my knickers … it’s just that I’ve come to prefer skirts and dresses. I find them more comfortable, especially when you take the pantyhose out of the equation, and I think it’s pretty apparent that I’m big on comfort. A few months ago, I realized that I was down to two pairs of dress pants, one of which was ancient – and uncomfortable to boot. This was a bit of an emergency situation. As much as I may dislike pants, our climate makes wearing them (at least occasionally) a necessity. So off I went in search of pants. For months, I couldn’t find anything that was not made of unlined polyester and did not hate my hips with a vengeance. As I mentioned before, buying pants is somewhat tricky for me, proportions-wise. Finally – finally! – I managed to find some pants that fit at the Banana Republic Factory Outlet. I would definitely recommend giving their pants a try if you’re in the market. They offer a number of “fits”, with a variety of rises, so the chances that you will find a suitable one are pretty good. [Mine is the “Martyn” fit, for any hourglass gals out there].
Experiences like that have taught me the importance of snapping up wardrobe staples whenever and wherever you come across them. For example, last year I found a beautiful black Tahari pencil skirt on the clearance rack at Winners. The fit was superb. A few weeks later, I found the identical skirt (in a lighter fabric) on another Winners clearance rack. You see where this is going, don’t you? I bought it. I was initially going to wear one and save the other one for the future (to use when the first one wore out), but I abandoned that plan in favour of wearing the heavier one in cold weather and the other one in warmer weather. This way, the shelf-life of both skirts is extended. And (as an hourglass shape) you can never go wrong with a well-fitting black pencil skirt. The best part was that I got both skirts for less than the full retail price of one. Score another one for the bargain queen!
I know … it seems silly to buy multiples of things, and I don’t advocate it for all clothing. First, you have to know which pieces are worth the investment. This will depend on your personal style but, generally, things like a good coat, pair of black shoes in the preferred heel height, black pants or skirt, and black or white shirts, tee-shirts and tanks are good places to start. They will need to be pieces that are simple, whose style (and colour) you won’t feel the need to change from season to season. There is no point in buying two pairs of yellow formal shorts today, if next year you decide that you prefer orange pedal-pushers … or buying the same cap-sleeved cardigan in 5 colours only to decide that you hate cap sleeves … well, you get my point. Second, buying multiples should make sense from a financial perspective. A $500 pair of shoes may not be a good candidate, no matter how wonderful, because chances are that you will always be able to find a pair of shoes that you like for $500 (or less). Buying 6 fine merino wool V-neck sweaters (in different colours) for $30 each, is a much better bet – as my V-neck-sweater-loving fiancé learned … eventually.
In shopping, as in life, you will generally come to regret the things you didn’t buy (or do) rather than the things you did. That is another important lesson to remember, especially for, ahem, frugal shoppers like me. As much as I pride myself on being a good bargain-spotter, I’ve missed out on some great deals simply because I hesitated at the wrong moment. Life’s too short to second-guess love at first sight – whether in matters of the heart, or of shopping. Not the worst mantra to live by.
Now, if only I could find some damn wedding shoes to love!