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deciding if something is 'you' or not?(32 Posts)
following on from another interesting thread on subliminal marketing I have considered the possibility that I have bought things over the years as a result of reading these boards, that I would not have necessarily considered otherwise.
I love shoes, and am currently looking at doc martens voss sandals and doc martens iridescent boots. The sandals are very chunky and the boots are traditional docs shape. I never would have thought id be looking at buying these. No particular reason for that, but why am I now considering this to be something I'd wear? I used to dislike the docs sandals as being too heavy and blokey in the 90s, and while docs were fine on other people, they just wouldn't have seemed right on me. Especially the brightly coloured 'fun' ones!
I've always been happiest in adidas superstars or similar, jeans and t shirts.
So why, at the age of 40, am I suddenly considering doc marten boots and sandals, at the same time as wanting to have a simpler wardrobe and dress a bit more timeless and generally smart?
Have I been that influenced by reading threads? Or am I just looking to find the 'me' that fits right now? Im not sure doc martens go with simple breton tops and bobs.
Do you have a particular style you stick with or do you mix things up? How will I ever reduce whats in my wardrobe
When I was about 14 or 15 I took my pocket money to the Co-op in town and bought the Genesis album Trick of the Tail. Carried it home and played it endlessly.
I cannot stand the album. I didn't like it then, I never grew to like it. Why did I buy it? Because the sixth form girls at my boarding school played it in their common room.
Not a single one of them would have given a damn about my sudden conversion. They barely spoke to me.
I'm still about my behaviour. But these days I choose music I like.
I generally only buy things I think look nice.
That's true. I buy things that look nice. But do they look nice for me or is it that I've somehow been slightly conditioned to think they are nice?
Its like I haven't got the conviction to decide anymore! Maybe I never did. Sometimes I use the test, would I want to be seen by work colleagues in this? Would I feel a bit daft? But then I'd never try anything different would I?
I've even got some white stan smiths in the box. Nice trainers, very simple. But. I haven't worn them. Its like I woukd feel i am trying to be something I'm not by wearing them. Trendier than I really am. Or maybe just following the crowd. But they also feel a bit shiny and plastic, too bright. Maybe they aren't me either.
To answer your question less obliquely - I like frayed tweed and wellington boots, difficult, expensive perfume, emeralds. I don't give a fig for threaded eyebrows or gel nails so I don't have to think about them. I tend to shop only for the most enjoyable ten percent of my life at any given point - so spend most of my life (particularly in lockdown) dresses in inappropriately extravagant rags.
Sorry, crossed you, OP!
Right - pretend I'm giving you £300 for some footwear (since that seems to be what's troubling you). None of your colleagues will ever see your purchase. What do you really, really want to buy?
The docs! 🤣 they're black and iridescent, almost holographic. They are ridiculous and Christmassy and I'd never have true cause to wear them.
That or some really really nice timeless brown leather boots that I would always love and feel good in.
not slightly 'wacky' like the docs
There you have it. I like the joy of the docs but I'd feel slightly silly in them, and possibly not as empowered as I'd hoped. Hmm. This really is sending me on a bit of soul searching. Stylish or just joyful? Classy or a wee bit silly?
Like you Perdita I don't give a fig about threaded eyebrows and gel nails. Its just not important to me and actually I generally dislike the over done look they give. But I do take pleasure in wearing good shoes. But I would rather not be seen as silly.
and after years and years of impulsive buying, I want to stop and know that what I spend my money on is going to be a long term friend and not an expensive mistake.
They are nice and very classic. I do have Chelsea boots which will never go out of style. They are docs too (flora) and a bit lighter looking than usual docs. They have got a bit scuffed unfortunately but they are a shape I always feel smart in. Definitely a perennial favourite of mine, like a wool peacoat or a perfect denim jacket.
I'm starting to think these docs are a fun distraction and not necessarily something classic I'll always feel nice in. Hmm.
I am terrible for being influenced and buying into a lifestyle I don't have. I often wonder if I didn't do enough make believe dress up play as a child! I buy something and waft around in front of the mirror imagining the scenarios I would wear it. Not so much MN but I'm terribly influenced by Instagram even though I am critical and very aware of all the gifting and covert advertising.
I have to be very careful to keep in mind the lifestyle I have. I WFH, walk dogs, do a lot of outdoor sports. Have a very casual social life and live in a city which is also laid back and creative, so any dress style goes day or night.
I do not go to dinner parties where women where pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, or smart restaurants or wine bars. I walk around 10km a day so pretty, sparkly ballet pumps and strappy sandals will not work.
Shallow, but I also try and imaging how I'd feel if I bumped into someone I admired, or fancied, while out. Would I feel an idiot in my outfit, or super confident and happy with my projected image?
Anything I don't rip the tags off and wear almost immediately I try and return, and take it as a sign it's not right. If I unbox and toss in a corner with the tags on to review later, it's is almost always a sign I won't wear it.
However the long returns periods at the moment are giving me more pause to procrastinate. I have a pile of stuff and packaging I really should make a decision on!
I think it’s fine to have something that isn’t what you would normally wear as long as it makes you smile. It’s also fine for your style to shift a bit. If something makes you smile on the inside when you look at it, if you can afford it, you should buy it. It will make you happy every time you wear it (or them in this case) and everyone looks great when they are happy.
How will I ever reduce whats in my wardrobe confused
Just... stop buying stuff. Don't buy any of the shoes you're looking at now. Going by this comment, you really don't need them.
So often clothes shopping is aspirational - if I buy those leggings I'll be fitter, if I get that handbag I'll be more successful, those trainers will make me cooler, that dress will make me younger, that new top will mark a watershed in my life and when I get it I'll go to a lot more parties... It's complete superstition. The most ironic is "I'll have a much smaller, sleek, easier, modern coordinating capsule wardrobe where everything goes with everything else... if I just buy these 10 new pieces of clothing". Then there's the moral conundrum of the organic/low water usage/fair trade etc etc garments. Yep, less harmful than fast fashion, but it'll be even better for the environment if people stop buying stuff they don't actually need.
To reduce what's in your wardrobe - wear what you have until it falls apart. If you then find that you can't manage without, buy a replacement. It's easier if you unsubscribe from all shop emails and stop reading fashion articles.
Of course you are influenced by others unless you live in a cardboard box but unless you end up buying stuff you do not wear and you can afford the purchase does it matter? I am not influenced for example by the Lucy and Yak dungarees lovers on here but I am by those who show me links to brands like Grenson that I'd not heard of but really like the look of ( can't afford mind you). How do you decide what washing machine to buy? What car? ( for me it's colour, always). I don't see it as a problem if you can afford and you use what you buy
I see style as continually evolving - if I wore the same style year after year, decade after decade, how would I differentiate between the different stages in my life and trigger memories. Sometimes just a few tweaks can freshen me up and invigorate me with new enthusiasm for my day to day life. I think in order to not be swayed mindlessly by every new trend, I have a strong opinion of what I fundamentally like. So for me for footwear, I love a distressed chunky boot for day, kind of italian style, or a v front shoe boot for night. My head is never going to be turned by a doc martin trend or brogues for example. But I will switch up the color/style of my boots. And so on for the rest of my wardrobe. The problem is when what I love becomes a trend again and it's hard to resist buying lots as there's a panic feeling that this won't be around for much longer. I'm struggling not to buy ALL the satin cowl neck camisoles at the moment as they are my go to summer top and have been for years and I'm loving that it's a trend again so I can have all the colours I've ever dreamed of.
Your style sounds fab - I'm picturing you as an I Capture The Castle character. Tell us more about the expensive difficult perfume.
Surely being influenced to consider different things is ‘fashion’ though? Fashions change and part of the fun is trying out different things, sometimes things that you wouldn’t have considered or didn’t even like before.
Reading a board like this means you must be open to some level of influence and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that if you do buy something it is because you like it and have use for it, rather than that you think you should have it.
Speaking strictly for me, life changes, my body changes and I get bored wearing the same style. Yes I'm influenced by other posters, as I am by people all around me - sometimes it's to try an unfamiliar writer or film and sometimes it's to wear something different. If it's not really for me, I soon realise but I'd rather make some mistakes than stay in the same lane all my life.
I'd rather make some mistakes than stay in the same lane all my life.
Absolutely! What I described is what I like now, rather than in the past or perhaps the future.
JMAngel1 Much of the difficulty I mentioned is in actually sourcing the stuff. My DM and I seem to share a knack of killing off perfumers. (Pre-COVID, lighthearted ...) The minute either of us falls in love with a perfume they either cease production or the maker dies and there is no more.
I think its partly a psychological thing of wanting a 'treat' and ending up going out looking for something to fill a gap. Its not a good thing really. This is possibly why I dont have full confidence in those types of choices. Its more a 'should I' than 'this is going to be absolutely loved'. What other outlet do people use for the feeling of wanting 'something'. I do like the docs, but they are definitely outside of my comfort zone and not something I am genuinely in need of. Its a treat.
I need to find some way to address my attachment to inanimate objects and emotion over clothes and shoes! Perhaps its a low self esteem thing. Trying to bring myself up by having interesting 'stuff'.
I think it may depend on whether you regard clothes as purely functional or as a way of expressing yourself. If you're in the first camp then I can see how you might believe there's something inherently wrong in having more than you physically need.
Me, I'm very much in the second camp. I have little creative talent so for me, clothes are an outlet. I take on board ethical considerations about how and where clothes are made and I try and be careful where I shop. But I feel no more guilt about owning a lot of them than I do about having loads of books.
I find when im going through a thing i make unusual clothes choices. Wanting to be someone else or reinventing myself sort of thing. Sad but true.
I've just passed a milestone age and I do wonder if there's a bit of the throwback in me coming out. Like I dont wantbto fully let go of the 18 year old me who would live in indy styles.
I mean, I want to be stylish now and glitzy doc martens don't really fit that bill do they? 😄
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