Do I really need this?

Hi,

Over on the Chameleons Forum, someone – Pat, I think – asked if any of us had been buying clothes during COVID19. Online or otherwise, but purchasing new threads, cosmetics, shoes, etc.

It’s a tricky thing shopping, IMO. On the one hand, finding a bargain or an item that complements or updates an outfit is rather nice. Yesteryear’s skirt and shoes made stylish by a new top or mixing up a much loved tunic with different jeans. Whatever the item, if it works with you and feels good: that’s a win in my book.

The flip side is shopping because we are bored. Maybe we’re looking to distract, validate ourselves, a treat because we’ve been working hard, or the (perceived) need for something new.

There was an article many years ago saying that the shopping thrill isn’t about the having, it’s the looking and finding. There was a similar piece that the Ever Lovely Mrs J passed on, stating that when some folk embark on a new hobby, they buy new things before actually doing the activity. While it must be tough to start running or painting without anything, I think there are ways to try the hobby before spending a mint on stuff. Classes, clubs, help from a friend, etc.

On a related note, I think it was Lauren Laverne who said that at one point she was desperate for either yoga trousers and/or the shoes. She went on to say that it wasn’t so much the look, as the lifestyle that went with that look. I wonder how many folk are looking across at the greener grass, thinking those on the other side have it better? Has it always been thus? Furthermore, if the thought that buying into the uniform gets you into that world – even if only as a temporary identity – does that explain my leanings towards the office look? To join the rat race, only in slightly fancier garb. 🙂

I still buy stuff, but I’m beginning to think of these points.

  • How often will I wear this?
  • Does this go with anything else I have?
  • Am I replacing something that’s seen better days?
  • Is it a bargain if I need new shoes or a new top to make it work?
  • Am I buying into the lifestyle?

All of the above and that’s before we get to is it too trendy? (and likely to date terribly) or will this suit me?

There’s been a number of styles over the years that look amazing on some folk. Yet, on my frame, it seems like a sack of potatoes wrestling for control over a column of badly stacked broken bricks. 😛 Witness also the micro trend of either very tight sports luxe or the other extreme, paper bag style dresses and skirts with little to no shape.

So, no. I’ve not been buying much. Perhaps that will change when we start to meet up in September. Plus, I’m more of an Autumn/Winter person in terms of colours, looks, and layers. Here’s to cooler weather and enjoying wrapping up against the chill. Maybe I should simply ignore the things that don’t quite work for me, try a few new ideas once in a while, yet stay with variations on the styles that do.

L x

12 Comments

  1. So much of what you say resonates, as so often. In terms of hobbies it sometimes seems that the pursuit of kit is three quarters of the hobby – I am thinking of coarse fishing and cycling especially ,🙂 – although in some cases new hobbyists almost take a pleasure I think in not investing in kit. I am thinking now of those ( typically men) who run in great flapping shorts, an old rugby shirt and whatever sporting footwear they haven’t thrown out. It’s a kind of deliberate amateurism, rather like our great leader’s public presentation.
    I’m sure we who crossdress are susceptible to the temptation but in our defence I would say that if we weren’t and we didn’t explore all the delights and disasters of clothes shopping then we would not be ourselves. Our kit is not just kit.
    I read a lot about the capsule wardrobe and it makes a lot of sense to have all those classic pieces and dress them up a bit. But we all have to go a bit mad as well and buy things we will regret – isn’t that what eBay is for? 🙂

    1. “Our kit is not just kit…”

      Very much that and how would one cross dress if you only had things off your birth gender? 😉

      It is, like much in life, not black and white. To start running in an old sports top or yoga in some comfy troos (stretchy sports bottoms or leggings), why not? Why do we need loads of new things if the old is fine?

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy things if they are needed. Flip flops on a hill walk or cycling in a suit, they don’t quite work, although they do add a certain eccentric charm. 🙂

      I think it’s avoiding buying things for the sake of it. Shopping with a purpose in mind, I think that’s the key. If you want to explore a bold lip, enjoy. But do you need a basket full to do so?

      Maybe, with careful purchases, we will enjoy what we have and learn to mix things up to make things work.

      1. I’ve been pretty desperate for a few items over the last few months… And the building excitement of chameleons has only accelerated that.
        Had a couple of days off this week with a little shopping and while I’m thrilled with my first decent wig and a new dress and shoes… The experience was awful with all the rules and measures.
        Back to online I go.
        But how to get a decent makeup consultation?

        1. Pace yourself, young padawan 😉

          What colour and style is the new do, BTW?

          As to makeup, good question. Some stores will offer help away from the shop floor. However, with the COVID19 situation, ringing in advance might be prudent. I think it all depends on what you mean by consultation.

          1. Lol, I am ready for the council’s trials, master.
            Oooh, I’ll have to take a picture, maybe for reddit. It’s surprisingly nothing like what I had in mind; a Raquel Welch classic cool in dark chocolate, like a messy bob with rough fringe and makes me feel fantastic!

  2. I haven’t bought anything since well before lockdown.
    Shopping – even just and browsing -definitively has (had) an aspect of retail therapy when I’m feeling down or at a loose end. It doesn’t need to be clothes. Chancing on an old or obscure CD in a charity store can make my day (once it lasted the best part of a week when I found three old King Crimson CDs on the same rack).
    I also tend to get fixated on a look. For ages I scoured shops for a particular style of tan skirt. It probably took almost four months before I found one close enough to satisfy.

      1. That does seem to be the trick. Of course, having most of the charity stores closed for several months also helped stem the potential closet overflow.

        1. Well, maybe when things settle down a little, there will be much to look through. Plus, it’s recycling and money to those in need. Oh, and I don’t mean shareholders 😉

  3. Then there is the face mask. The fashion and health accessory must have. Now there is a guilt free excuse to add to our wardrobes.
    Hopefully it will not remain in fashion for more than two years but it might be the one item that we can justify buying to discard asap.
    Stay safe everybody.
    Geraldine

    1. A modern necessity, the face mask. Partly for you and partly for others. I felt a bit odd when I wore one a few months back, but now it’s just habit. I seems a bit like when the UK switched to charging for plastic bags. When you leave the house to buy food, there’s that mental checklist of mask, cards, keys, and shopping bag.

      In some ways I’m surprised that certain folk made not wearing a mask political.

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