Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rocking the Pre-Shop

That first cool morning sets me yearning to begin making my fall wardrobe purchases. But, the minute I start itching to get out the door, inching toward it so I can start spending some of what I've been fiercely saving since July, I manage to put on the mental brakes.

"Hold off," says I, sagely. "The best stuff isn't out yet. "

"True," I reply to myself. "All I saw last week was the dregs of summer sales and a few, sad looking, fall-ish separates."

"First, we gotta go through last year's stuff ..."

I resist my smarter and better-self with muttering, moaning and complaining.

Ignoring myself, I continue, "And figure out what we'll wear again this year."

"Awww! Nice to see old friends again!" I add, perking up a bit.

"Then see how we can freshen it all up with some new pieces!"

"Excellent," I reply, congratulating myself on my wisdom and restraint.

"But right now, we can go PRE-Shopping !"

"The BEST ! " I shriek, running for my cash and keys.

It stays hot here so long that over the years I've adopted the technique of pre-shopping to keep me feeling like I'm doing something other than just window-shopping for fall things. I wrote a little about this last year, but I've got it down to a science now. I mostly just prowl my usual haunts, seeing what's starting to come in for the new season.

But to make it more fun, I make a contract with myself containing the understanding that if I find something spectacular that I can easily afford without breaking the bank, I can bring it home if it's 1) True Love 2) tried on in-store, 3) an item that will help me transition from hot summer to the slightly cooler fall temps with stuff I already have. And finally, 4) it must possess enough utility to go with me deeper into winter.

(The exception to the wait-and-see part is footwear. I've written about my creative rationalization for fall shoe shopping in previous posts. I buy early if I possibly can because I have a common shoe size and they go fast. Really.)

This DIY-brainwashing cuts out all of the impulse shopping, allows some few but intelligent purchases and lets me feel like I'm doing something proactive. It keeps me from spending too much ahead of the arrival of the best stuff when fall weather really gets into full swing. I've even found I can begin thinking of Pre-Winter-Shopping and retain a bit of cash to spend on myself when the grooviest holiday items appear.

In the last few years, I've discovered another particularly satisfying and handy use for the process. There are occasions when I want to ride the escalator up to the Better Floors in our one upscale-ish department store. When I'm feeling particularly hedonistic, I treat myself to a trip through the racks where there are items by designers I see in the glossies, the names we all recognize, but that I rarely can afford. In Pre-Shopping Mode, I can easily make the trip a fact-finding tour to see what the local 1% types will be wearing, how a good cut looks, what I might wish to find in a more affordable version, and so on. Invariably, a sales woman will come and offer assistance. Instead of ducking my head and replying "just looking" and getting the side-eye and tight smile reserved for lookie-lous, I smile confidently and say, "No, thank you. I'm just Pre-Shopping the season." You'd be amazed at the response you'll get. "Ah!" she'll softly exclaim, and smile knowingly as she drifts respectfully away. Complete pony-poo, but fun and effective. You should try it.

Some Items From My Fall 2015 Pre-Shopping List :

I'm pretty well set up with ankle booties from an obsession I indulged last winter, but I'm looking for a pair of nude or blush or warm beige booties. (Google "nude blush bootie," then click on Images and see what you come up with. I dare you.)

Excellent with winter white jeans, yes?

        Or maybe something more dressy like these pretties?

And I'm sort of pining for a pair of rougher, strap laden ankle boots to toughen up the look of some feminine silhouettes I have in mind.

These are a little sleek, a little tough ...

but these are closer to what I'd really like.

I loved seeing all the well structured, tailored, long sleeveless coats and blazers last year, but none appeared here until this month. I've actually already found and nabbed a long one and a shorter version, both in black, that met all the standards listed above for Pre-Shopping purchase. I'm glad I did, 'cause they went out of the store fast. Satisfaction is sweet. I've begun wearing them with some summer tops for the transition, but see them with tees and long sleeved tops and tunics and weightier shirt dresses for winter. She shoots ... she scores.

         Similar to mine, and a bit shorter,
but I'd love one in this navy!

Again, similar ... and I only aspire to 
bring this much attitude.

Speaking of long and shorter tunic tops, asymmetrical hem sweaters and blouses, and traditional button-down shirts and shirt dresses, see the following candidates:

We're finally seeing some of these faux layered sweaters/shirts and they are becoming yet 
another minor fixation of mine.

This brings us to the sub-category of plaid shirts.  They're everywhere, and I didn't do them when they were grunge basic in sturdy fabrics.  The current iterations, though, include some gauzy styles that work niftily for the transitional weeks now upon us.  I have these two already.

This one actually has more drape and shape 
than shows here, and the colors are richer!

This Mossimo for Target dress I wear differently; open all the way, minus the belt like a duster-vest. Over a black leather-ish, high-neck tank and black skinnies, ankle boots or with  black heels.  Loved wearing it to work recently ... swirled elegantly as I sashayed around.

I'm declaring a moratorium on any more plaid shirts for the moment. I suddenly love what I can do with them ... but stay tuned.  I can turn on a dime.

Another idea that I'm allowing myself to obsess over more than just a little is the completely attainable and surprisingly cool looking skinny scarf ! I can get swallowed easily in traditional winter scarves, and often forgo wearing them at all as I get too warm to keep them on after coming in from the cold. I've left them behind to be lost permanently.

Enter the new kids in scarf-town; they can lend a cool androgynous edge, and function as much like a necklace as a scarf. A skinny scarf can become that illusive third piece without a bit of bulk or fuss and prettily hide a neck-ring wrinkle or two. They can work as well in summer as in winter. They can be easily made at home without looking home-made (a major virtue here in rural Mid-Nowhere, the absolute dead-end of the fashion supply chain) and I stand a pretty good chance of keeping the long ends out of my dinner plate when we go out!

Not with shorts for me,  
but the rest is doable and fresh to my eye!

I'm sure more ideas will take me as the season wears on, but this is my current Early Fall Pre-Shopping List for F/W 2015. Stay tuned, 'cause I know I'll want to show off some results soon ... Autumn always takes her sweet, slow, southern time transitioning into fall, y'all. 

Please don't hesitate to tell me about your own Pre-Shopping adventures, if you have them!


Flying late and low, trying to get to the
Color-Happy Patti's
Visible Monday link-party.  Join us!


A special note to all those who sent their astonishing support and empathy for all my summer-time-bloggy blues: 
You've made me feek all better now.  I'm blown away by your efforts to perk me up ... it worked!  I'm still trying  to answer all your notes, and will finish them ASAP.  To all of you, especially to those of you who haven't heard fro me yet, I send my best thanks and massive affection.  

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