In my latest sales post, I mentioned that I didn't feel like buying any of my "unticked garments" in my wardrobe list. I decided to elaborate a little on that, as my relation to the "desire", "wish" and "need" of clothes has changed a lot since I started editing my wardrobe.
When I started my editing process, I made a list of the contents of my ideal wardrobe, per category. This list contains basics/essentials, an ideal number of garments that covers all seasons, social situations and in-between laundries, and a few wishes of mine as nice complements to the whole thing.
Then I ticked the items I already owned, culled those that weren't in the list, created a "to be replaced" list with items I owned but showed signs of wear and tear or didn't meet exactly the requirements. And then, there is the unticked list. The items I see in my ideal wardrobe but don't own yet, even in a "to be replaced" state.
And I am not in a hurry to tick them off. Here is the list below, and some reasons why I am taking my time to tick them over the years.
- Unticked items - As of February 2013
Black silk shirt/blouse
Small print/liberty shirt
Khaki green T-shirt (short or 3/4 sleeved)
Light grey (plain or striped) short sleeved top
Chocolate brown top (short or 3/4 sleeved)
Evening/Wedding guest dress (simple enough to use in any formal soirée/occasion)
Camel/Dark beige pants
Camel/Taupe swede ankle boots
Tan summer sandals
Medium sized black satchel bag
This list changes over time, when I buy something obviously, but I also revise it at each season beginning to see if I still need/want all of it. Sometimes I realize I had forgotten about one of the items so I didn't really fancy it, or on the contrary my latest inspirations gave me new ideas.
- Why Don't I feel like buying them now?
In a way, you could consider this unticked list like my global wardrobe wishlist of sorts. So you could imagine I'd be eager to buy these things as soon as I can to "complete" my wardrobe. And I used to be: when I started editing my wardrobe, my objective was, within my budget, to tick off as many items as possible to reach my ideal "capsule" wardrobe. But this has changed, for several reasons.
I let go of the need to "complete" my wardrobe
The first and main reason for taking my time to introduce new purchases is that I don't feel that need to "complete" my wardrobe anymore. First, because I have already made great progress these past two years and my wardrobe is functional and satisfactory as it is now.
Second, because I realized and accepted the fact that I will never be complete. It is in human nature to desire new things, and our tastes evolve over the years so there will always be something to change/add/cull, although in a much more measured scale than my first editing two years ago.
I don't settle for second best anymore
I already mentioned this common purchase mistake of mine here, but this need to complete a list as soon as possible actually caused most of my early purchase mistakes. Because I don't like looking around for hours, I had this tendency to set off with the objective to buy a particular item (say, khaki green top), and I'd settle for the first "OK" one I'd find.
I have learned from these mistakes and now, I keep this unticked list in the back of my mind (or notebook), and prefer to wait until I stumble upon the perfect item, rather than frantically searching for it in a limited time period.
Do I really want this?
This point is less true now that I have defined my style more precisely than at the beginning, but I still like to give myself the time to verify if I really want something, if it really fits my style. Maybe I'm just influenced by the year's trend, or maybe I saw it too many times and my brain is tricking me into believing I want it. Or maybe I like a specific detail that draws me to this item, but I really want something else with the same detail.
So now my rule is to never buy a recent addition to my unticked list. I like to take the time for the wish to form, to bloom, and to stick at the back of my head for a period long enough so that I'm sure I would really wear it regularly.
Figuring out the details first
In some cases, like the shirts for example, I have decided to put off the purchase because the last ones were purchase mistakes and I haven't quite figured out why yet. So I'd rather wait a little, make some experiments with a cheap purchase, and figure out what cut/style/fabric I really want before hurrying toward another mistake.
The pleasure of eagerness
This is something that does not only apply to clothing, but to any purchase, material or otherwise. I realized that buying everything we want right now makes us forget the real pleasure of saving money and wait for the purchase, of being eager to get it. If you wait long enough to get something you want, the purchase, and then the moments using the item, take a different value.
For example, when I was a teenager, I saved money for one year to get myself a PlayStation 2. I still remember the day I bought it, the trip to the gaming store, when I opened the package, the first time I used it, and I valued the moments I played with my PS2, even years after the purchase. I felt grateful for having it, and I never got tired of it (until it became technologically obsolete, that is). And I want to apply this same approach to clothing. I want to feel happy and grateful wearing something years after the purchase.
In the end, how I handle my unitcked list now is simple. It is written down in the notebook I carry around, and when the occasion presents itself - shopping with friends for example - I look around stores with no particular goal in mind.
But if I stumble upon the perfect item from my unticked list (like the khaki parka this sales season), I purchase it. It also goes for the perfect replacement for example. And I noticed that these items, found by chance and purchased from the heart, now make most of the core essentials in my wardrobe...