During a conversation with a friend yesterday about wardrobe edits and closet purges, I realized there’s another category of item that often winds up in my donate pile: Substitutions.
You know, when the thing you Really Want is on the spendy side, so you go hunting down The Look For Less. Maybe you find it, and are completely happy. It scratches the itch.
The Problem With “The Look For Less”
But more often, I’ve found when I try to substitute, it almost always backfires on me. Maybe there’s a noticeable difference in quality. Or maybe the one element of the original design that caught my eye is missing in the “dupe.” Whatever, the reason, the substitute item almost always feels like settling. And it never become something I love.
When the goal is to refine my wardrobe, and to have fewer-but-better pieces, the substitutes can trip me up. Like eating rice cakes when what would really satisfy is a few bites of cheesecake, we often end up consuming more than if we’d just had the thing we wanted.
Above, once I tried these Paul Green ankle boots, I knew that the others I was considering would be a pale second. Between the style, the incredible comfort and the rich color of the leather, they were the better investment. Now I can tick a pair of brown ankle boots off my wish list!
And don’t forget cost-per-wear. In the long run, you’ll stretch your wardrobe dollars further (and help the environment) by keeping pieces longer and wearing them more often.
I’m not suggesting you completely ignore your budget. And to be clear, nor am I suggesting that you should always spend more to be satisfied. (For example, some of my favorite jeans are well under $100!)
Rather than hunting for substitutes, it can be worth bookmarking pieces you’re interested in and watching for markdowns. Some pieces we drool over may be forever out of reach, at least new. In that case, you may get lucky shopping second-hand. Sites like Thred-Up and TheRealReal can be a great place to start.
Or, you can keep eyes and mind open for something original and unique that ticks all the boxes, makes you forget all about The One That Got Away…and will becomes a treasured favorite.
Have you been editing your wardrobe lately? Have you noticed certain types of items get purged more often?