My Fashion Dilemma: The Dress or the Skirt

August 5, 2010

Recently, I stopped into one of my favorite stores – the Studio in Brookline, MA to pick up something they were holding for me.  Shopping in July is nothing short of hit or miss (often more miss than hit), but they had some inviting sales going on throughout the store, so I had to take a peek.

Our summer has been unseasonably hot, hot, hot!  Very little rain, temperatures topping 90 and humidity hovering around the miserable level.  As a result, my sleeveless tops haven’t seen this much action in at least 5 years.

It also makes wearing pants rather unappealing, so one of the things I have been looking for is more casual skirts. The fashion world, however, has had other ideas, and the pickings (overall) were slim.  Dresses, yes…skirts, not so much.  (The Studio actually had one of the best selections of skirts of any store this past spring.)

As I perused the racks, I thought I’d see what (if anything) they had left for cute skirts.  Two items caught my eye right away. One was a green/yellow/brown jersey skirt.  The other was a dressy dress.  Ooops, not what I was looking for, but hey, there it was.  It was a gorgeous ombré (gradation of color from dark to light) design of blue floating down into a shimmery taupe.  I was intrigued enough to try both on.

The skirt was nice but the dress was amazing!  My first thought was, “Well, the skirt is practical and the dress isn’t.  It’s also comfortable and a great price…”

Then, I asked myself the most critical (and revealing) question of all, “Do I love the skirt?  Am I excited to wear it?”

The answer was a resounding NO!  Practical, yes.  Comfortable, yes.  Great price, yes.  Fabulous…no!

In my heart I knew that if I got it, it would be okay.  But, as I tell all my clients, okay is never good enough! Do that often enough and you end up with a ho-hum wardrobe (one of the reasons many women come to me in the first place).  It’s a slippery slope so you have to be vigilant.

The dress, on the other hand, made me smile.  It felt great (very comfortable), was a great price, and I felt like Grace Kelly wearing it!  I admit I even had to squelch the urge to wear it home.

Yes, I have no occasion to wear it right now.  But, there are two things I tell all my clients:

  1. When you find a dressy outfit you love, buy it – even if you have no dressy event on your calendar!  If you wait until you need something, you can’t always find what you want and often end up settling for something second rate.
  2. If you buy it, the universe will eventually reward you with an occasion to wear it. (Or, as I talk about in Chapter 7 of “Who Taught You How To Dress?” – there are all kinds of creative ways to wear something you are saving.)

So, what do you think is hanging in my closet now?  That’s right!  The dress, and I know I’ll be wearing it before too long and will feel great.

Do I miss the skirt?  I miss the idea of a skirt but I don’t miss that particular skirt.  I’ll just keep looking.  I learned first hand a long time ago that it is never worth it to settle for something you don’t love.

Have you had a similar shopping experience?  If so, which choice did you make and how has it worked out (or not) for you?

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