Friday, April 23, 2010

What's the Allure?

When you see a pair of python Jimmy Choo sandals in the window of Saks as you pass by after work, and your heart leaps into your cheek, do you ever stop to think why exactly you have this visceral reaction? Harper's May issue features an interesting (although chauvinistic) article written by the husband of a socialite fashionista, expounding on the pros and cons of women's dressing, and examining just what exactly it is that makes an outfit 'likable'.

I agree with a few of Christopher Brooks' points (wedding dresses don't do women any favors) but, as any good lawyer, I strongly object to others (painted nails and flats should be eliminated for their lack of flattery). The core of his commentary centers on defining the tangible quality that causes us to lust after a fashion item. For some I imagine it is fit, flattering one's shape, or attracting possible mates (for just how long correlates inversely with the length of the chosen hemline). But it is nevertheless a contemplative inspection, and inspired me to search inside for my motivation as a peak inside the psychology that drives the multi billion dollar industry in which I work.

I rarely pick something because I think someone else, including my husband, will like it. In fact, I've read that men find the biggest trends in women's fashion to be utterly ridiculous (oversize sunglasses, harem pants, neon). Something that fits well is always nice, but not enough to pull my wallet from the bottom of my bag. Comfort? Also a bonus but doesn't seal the deal. Color and pattern often leap from the rack and snatch my attention, but at the end of the day, I usually end up with gray, khaki and ivory for spring. So what then? Perhaps the image of slipping the silk sleeveless top over my head and looking instantly fresh and new. Would the same allure still hold 4 weeks later once the top is no longer 'new' and instead hangs among its companions in the closet?

This visual exercise of placing the object in my wardrobe and fast forwarding a month has saved me several purchases this past week alone (though it did not spare the 5 new pairs of shoes I carted home from work today). In the interest of buying only what you truly love, practice this game and take home those pieces that will make you just as happy in August as they do in early May. And do not worry what the boys will think, they'll like anything that you look happy wearing (with the exception of Harem pants. They don't look good on anyone.)

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