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  • Necklace: Swapped
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Tweed Sweater (again!): Ralph Lauren, mommed
  • Black Jersey Dress (again!): Ann Taylor
  • Boots (again!): Born “Mallory,” gift from husband D.
  • Black Nursing Tank: Bravado Designs via Figure8Maternity.com

I’m breaking several style-blogger rules at once here, using such oft-remixed elements, but I’m hoping it ends up being more “positive testament to unexpected wardrobe versatility” than “wow, could you wear a different sweater?” In my defense, these photos were not taken on consecutive days (sorry: performativity alert! Where’d that pesky fourth wall go?). On the other hand, it’s hard to blame yourself for wearing things you love in different ways: this dress is a constant standby, this boxier-than-usual sweater has been an unexpected postpartum superhero, and the necklace is precisely the right shape to keep baby m. intrigued without a huge risk of her accidentally choking me whilst expressing her enthusiasm for it. (Who said getting dressed with a small child wasn’t exciting?)

But there’s a broader point, lurking behind this meta-remix of an outfit, and it’s one worth reminding myself of: even my old-favorite-ist of old favorites still offers new possibilities. And in a way, that’s both challenging and comforting.

And well-timed. Although I’m not doing anything as organized as a 30-for-30, I am taking a little break from shopping this month. Time and budget are part of the reason, but not all of it. I’m hoping a little time consciously resisting the desire to acquire will give me a little mental clarity and re-energize my creative muscles a bit.

When you’re surrounded by fashion inspiration (thanks, bloggy friends!), and when your body is in a state of flux (not such robust thanks, pregnancy), it’s easy to convince yourself that things that are really “wants” are needs. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve looked at something and thought, “if I just had…” I’d never need to shop again! My wardrobe would be complete! But it’s like the myth of the last big score (okay, okay, we’ve been watching to much White Collar): the house always wins. And that’s fine! It’s the great thing about fashion, the idea that there are interesting things out there waiting to be discovered and to be used as raw materials for creative styling. But it does mean that the idea of wardrobe completionism (or its more insidious cousin, wardrobe-completionism-as-sense-of-self-completionism) is pretty unhelpful.

The much-ballyhooed piece in this weekend’s WSJ about the superiority of French parenting referenced the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, where young children were offered two marshmallows if they would wait, in the presence of a single marshmallow, for fifteen minutes. While I’m not a small child with a desperate urge for a sugar high of painful proportions, I have been feeling my own sense of fragmented distractability lately, a strange desire to be constantly adding new things and doing new things. Not shopping isn’t really the solution to this broader problem of needing to be able to sit still and focus on just. one. thing. in a more effective manner, it’s a piece of the puzzle, somehow. I’m hoping that the discipline of the exercise will give me a little breath of fresh air, though, a sense that for a few weeks, nothing new will be jammed into the sometimes-hopelessly-overfull of my days, that I’ll learn to say “that can wait,” or “I don’t need to.” Or at least, I’m crossing my fingers that that will be the case.

Have you ever taken a hiatus from shopping? Just for clothes or for other things? Did you find it clarifying?

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  • Beth S.

    First – love the remix! I shop almost never if I can help it, so working on breaking out of set combinations with the clothes I already have is high on my fashion priority list.

    I think taking breaks from all sorts of things can bring new focus to my life. It can be a month with no coffee to focus on adequate and restful sleep (well, okay, haven’t tried that one since my son was born, but come on, I’m only human!), or a day with no self-criticism, whether intended positively or negatively to relax and just be, or a weekend away, meaning a hiatus from everyday get-stuff-done life. I think the key is remembering that conscientiously not doing one thing should make time for consciously doing another.

     

    • http://narrowlytailored.blogspot.com S. of Narrowly Tailored

      Thanks, Beth! And nice meeting you!

      My least successful attempts at restraint are the ones that start with giving up coffee! But you’re totally right that the key is making time to do something you’d rather be doing (even if that’s just relaxing!), otherwise it defeats the purpose a bit.

  • DestrehansDaughter/Sarah

    I am doing a shopping hiatus right now after feeling like I need to cool it down a bit.  My closet was getting really full for me and I wasn’t really wearing everything I had nearly enough.  I told myself two months of no shopping unless it’s with a gift certificate and I have been going strong for six weeks with no purchases since I hit the post-Christmas sales.  I didn’t actually pick up much then either.  I am hoping to do a bit of a closet purge as well as I try to figure out what I really love and what I am just holding onto because it works.  Great post.