Thursday, February 4, 2016

Three Questions To Ask Before Purchasing a Specialty Piece For Your Wardrobe

During my hiatus from fashion at the end of last year, I did purchase one new piece: a blue chiffon dress with a pattern of angels. It’s a lovely piece in its own right, cost me very little, and will be a great addition to my wardrobe.

Then, while I was swooshing around in the dress and wishing it was warm enough to wear it, I was struck with a bolt-from-the-blue idea: pairing it with a Robe al’Anglaise. I love a good rococo style outfit, and I especially love the idea of pairing the soft blue chiffon dress with a structured overdress in a gold or ivory hue.

It would certainly be a specialty addition to my wardrobe. It would also be a fairly costly piece at the onset, so I needed to do some thinking about what I would do. In thinking about this, I came up with three questions that helped me to decide whether or not the addition of this particular specialty piece would be a good idea at this point in time.

How Often Will You Wear This? (Be Honest…)

I know this can be a challenge when you’re faced with something very pretty, but it’s still important to consider. In my case, I’d not wear the dress as often as I would like, no matter how excited I was at the idea of the outfit I could make with it.

How Many Outfits Can You Make With it Without Adding New Wardrobe Pieces?

This is huge for me because sometimes you simply can’t use a piece without adding something new to your wardrobe. If you are getting your first few Lolita pieces, this might not be an issue, but I have a wardrobe. In my wardrobe, the rococo jacket simply wouldn’t work with many pieces. I might be able to pair it with a skirt or two, but other than that it would require the purchase of new pieces to really get the number of outfits out of it that I would like.

How Many Other Pieces Could I Purchase for the Price?

This is the biggest party pooper question, but it’s important to me. In order to get a nice rococo style jacket/overdress, I would have to spend a good deal of money or time. If I were to spend that money on other pieces, I could expand my wardrobe in ways that would better suit my lifestyle. More importantly, I could spend less on a single piece, leaving more money for other things I wanted or needed.

So what did I choose? I chose to forego the pretty but impractical and instead purchased a dress that I can dress down a bit for the office and dress up for something frillier.

Am I terribly disappointed? No, not really. I have a lovely piece coming soon that I will be able to wear in the office (a prospect that I am quite excited by) and I have money left over that I can use for craft supplies, student loan payments, or other important purchases.

That, to me, is worth more than this particular specialty piece.


  1. Those are some very good "rules" to go by. I'm trying to get better at applying some practicality to my future purchases/sewing projects so this actually serves as a good reminder for me.

    1. I actually wrote this in part because I needed the reminder, and codifying my decision-making process was a good way of keeping it in my head. :) It's always a little odd, trying to mix alternative fashion with practicality, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one working to make my wardrobe more practical.