Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

The strange world of me


I have a deadline. The deadline is actually tomorrow but I managed to get an extension to the end of next week. The deadline is for the book of The Thoughtful Dresser and I have been stuck in London all summer finishing it, and a cold, wet and windy summer. It's not been good or memorable.

But I have done something I have never done before, I have now almost completed buying my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I broke with the habits of a lifetime and instead of going into a shop and saying, 'Ooh! I like that', I sat down and thought about what I needed, looked to see what was coming in to the shops and then went and got it. Yesterday I bought knee length boots, the day before, ankle boots, the previous week, winter coat. I bought scarves on eBay, a coat-dress at Jaeger and I've ordered a bag which will be in mid-September. One more item and I'll be done. I bought stuff when it had just arrived in the shops, and the sales were still on. They had not sold out of my size.

The clothes are all hanging in the wardrobe, unworn, under protective anti-moth covers, so it makes them feel old before I ever wore them. A little of the joie de vivre of life has gone, the impulsive purchase. I have far greater confidence in the capsule collection of clothes I've chosen. I have some marvelous investments in there. But it feels old. I feel old.

I realise that what I really want is to be rich enough always to wear new things. Change keeps the heart light.

17 comments:

Chic Nicola said...

But with a good capsule wardrobe you can make impulse purchases that you know will work with what you've got. What bag did you get?

Linda Grant said...

It's the Jaeger Tilly in faux snakeskin.

Linda Grant said...

I already have the Anya Hindmarch Perry in black, but I didn't pay for that so it doesn't count.

nicky said...

I know what you mean, but there's something nice about the anticipation of wearing lovely things that takes some of the sting out of the long, cold, grey winter to come.

Geraldine said...

I love your winter coat, Linda. I too bought mine - a fair bit cheaper than yours, though! It's the red and black check jacket that comes up when you go to Hobbs' website. Great for me as I'm always cycling and a nice bright colour for my face.

I too am an impulsive buyer but it works for me. I only have one rule (well, apart from only buying my colours and for my shape of course) - never buy anything in the Sales you wouldn't pay full price for.
Oh, and I won't be buying ankle length trousers.

greying pixie said...

Linda, it's the 'I've been stuck in London ...' that's the clue to your mood. Don't blame it on your lovely clothes. You've obviously been working very hard at a time when everyone else is in holiday mode. What you need is a few glamourous occasions to wear the new garments and your spirits will lift.

Meet the deadline and glamourous occasions and impulse buys may follow!

P.S. Seeing your beautiful coat has inspired me to have my Maxmara winter coat shortened to just below the knee - I definitely can't afford a new one this year.

P.P.S - When is the book due to be published? My thesis will be finished in September 2009 and I would very much like to include it in the bibliography.

lagatta à montréal said...

Linda, isn't that how people shopped in postwar years, when we were little girls? (And in Britain I imagine there were still a lot of shortages; sweetie is from continental Europe where that was certainly the case until at least 1960). Perhaps that could be why that rational way of shopping would make one feel "old"... despite all the excitement of the Booker, book fairs etc. There were certainly fewer sales, not all year long.

geraldine, love that jacket, and it would be perfect for cycling in chilly weather. I presume you are up on all the "chic cycling" sites popping up; CopenhagenCycleChic and its friends round the world.

Linda Grant said...

Early March

Geraldine said...

Lagatta, I don't know the chic cycling sites. Oh, no, more sites to suck away my income and leech away my time. Just dashing off to find them!

Deja Pseu said...

Linda, as someone who has a closet full of "just so" stuff purchased on impulse (because I needed a lift, because it was on sale, because I was afraid I'd never find another ___ that fit me) I admire your planning and restraint. My intention has been to quit buying the so-so and save up for some really great pieces, but the combination of cobbling together a decent wardrobe yo wear NOW, my deep-seated resistance to spenging over a certain amount for any single garment, and my decades-long impulsive habits have so far proved too much of a challenge for me. So my hat is off to you.

Just think how lovely it will be on the first really cool, crisp day of autumn to pull out that coat and the knee-high boots!

Deja Pseu said...

that should be "just so-so"

Linda Grant said...

My cousin in France rang me this afternoon to give me a good talking to about this post.

Deja Pseu said...

And she said...???

Rollergirl said...

This is so true! Shopping should be fun which is why I prefer 'live' shopping to online shopping too. I like the thrill of seeing it, touching it, trying it on, deliberating over whether I can afford it and going home and configuring new outfits with things I've already got. Online shopping and this sort of practical shopping doesn't work for me. It does for certain things on occasion but not all the time. For me the fun is in the discovering and stumbling-upon.

fran martini said...

Perhaps there is something a little depressing about shopping for winter clothes during the summer you've never had. One's heart and soul does need those few weeks of sun on skin, the freedom of light fabrics and unfettered feet.

desertwind said...

How funny, Linda. Your new bag has my name! And a very good name it is.

As far as your new clothes being "old"... that will justify the sure-to-come impulse buys.

I hope you have something fabulous planned to celebrate finally delivering your manuscript.

desertwind said...

How funny, Linda. Your new bag has my name! And a very good name it is.

As far as your new clothes being "old"... that will justify the sure-to-come impulse buys.

I hope you have something fabulous planned to celebrate finally delivering your manuscript.