Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shopping Like a French Girl - Part 1

Picture from Kelani Fabric

The way to shop…

If she can’t afford it, she won’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she’s got), she won’t wear it. If she can’t find it, she won’t compromise. If she loves it, she won’t toss it. She reuses it, rethinks it, lets it age.When a French girl shops, it isn’t a solitary act of buying something new. It’s part of a lifelong process of editing her environment, making small but meaningful additions to her home, her closet, her life.When you shop like a French girl, you buy only one of anything – and make sure it’s the best quality you can afford.- from Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl

Right now, I am having one of those moments where I wished I shopped more like a French Girl. 

I just splurged again on a dress, leg warmers, a new leather belt, and some socks. Sometimes, it feels like I am on a constant quest to: A) Obtain the biggest closet in the world or B) Dance around the edge of debt or C) Fill a void deep within me. When I get really overwhelmed I shop. When I feel down I shop. When I am happy I shop more… It’s a vicious cycle. 

However, I feel as if my shopping choices are now gravitating towards more quality items. Things I know that will add to my wardrobe rather then be one time stand alone items. I barely shop for jewelry nowadays because I always end up losing at least half of my earrings. I only buy statement piece necklaces I cannot make. 

Everything else, I know I in one way or another am able to make. Clothing is a little more difficult as I am consumed by a fire when I create clothes. Unfortunately, it’s the fire of perfectionism. If it isn’t perfect I can’t touch it. If somethings off - I can’t feel good about it. But, once it has reached that high standard I just love wearing it. That is a rare occasion because I know exactly where I have made a mistake were something is just a teensy bit off. 

Buying is so much easier on my psychological health. But, understanding this ‘French’ way of shopping has definitely allowed me to appreciate high-end brands more. I love reading about how someone’s mom or grandmother had a (insert old high-end brand here) for this many years and how it was so classic and versatile. I really wish I could dump the $500+ on a quality shirt that I could use my whole life. However, there are two things that trump this notion: “instant gratification" and the inability to forever stick to a brands “aesthetic appeal”. 

If there is one thing I love about fashion it is this constant recreation of my physical appearance. Being a 20’s-something means that I have not quite settled on the idea of buying into a certain ‘look’. Which is exactly what high-end luxury brands do as they tend to be associated with a lifestyle. I don’t buy Versace because I find their whole Italian look so distinct and in your face. I don’t invest in Louis Vuitton because the amount of time I would spend saving for a purse would have meant I could have bought at least 2 vintage purses at the fraction the price and be totally one of a kind instead of being a diluted form of luxury that many people can attain. Perhaps, when I am older I can appreciate this more. 

Until then I can only attempt to set goals to ‘Shop like a French Girl’:

  • Buy only what I need that will accentuate my current wardrobe.
  • Invest in quality pieces but never buy full price. Shop timeless luxury during sales.
  • Buy items that make me feel good and I will not be tempted to donate after 1 year. 
  • Shop from the heart not from fast fashion trends.

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