Fashion and Restrictive Choice

When I walk into a store, I walk directly towards the dresses.  A few years ago,  I decided to grow my dress collection, at least larger than the two dresses I owned at the time.  I love the way I feel when I’m wearing a dress and I wanted to secure that feeling every time I got ready.

Shopping for dresses.  Photos taken in fitting rooms.

Since committing to purchasing more dresses, and hence restricting my fashion choices, I’ve become a more efficient shopper.  I buy dresses that flatter and items that complement dresses.  So, when I enter a store, I rarely feel overwhelmed by the explosion of choice.

Explosion of choice in a typical off-price store.

I’ve been reading The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar and the book has provided a new frame for thinking about my shopping.  Iyengar says that “choosing is a creative process, one through which we construct our environment, our lives, ourselves,” and she goes further saying that with “…more and more choice, we’re likely to end up with a lot of combinations that don’t do much for us…”

For me, restricting my fashion choices largely to dresses has made me more creative with my style.  Do check out how I style and restyle my dresses for every occasion.

I also find the following questions as raised by Lifehacker (adapted from Sterling’s The Last Viridian Note) crucial when considering adding a new item to my wardrobe:

Is it beautiful—something you’re proud of displaying?
Is it emotionally important to you—help you establish who you are or who you want to be?
Is it useful—and something you currently (or definitely will) use?

How do you approach shopping and your fashion choices?


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  1. March 19, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    I actually just did a big purge of cheaply made dresses. I'm looking for classic investment pieces at this point. If I do a trend, that'll be on the cheap. Same with handbags. I'm growing up I guess. lol

  2. March 19, 2012 / 3:33 pm

    @Sing: I totally get it, Sing. I too have shifted my approach to "bargain shopping" over the years. I'm much more interested in having a well curated wardrobe with classic pieces of a great quality. If that occasionally means spending more and having less, I'm okay with that.

  3. Cheri
    March 19, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I was on the fence about a fuchsia pair of Vince Camuto pants and although they are beautiful; they are definitely not useful!

  4. March 20, 2012 / 12:09 am

    You are certainly a dress conneisseur!

  5. March 20, 2012 / 11:42 am

    I don't have much space left in my wardrobe. Thus a new item must be worth the space. A new dress will find room if …
    – it is made of natural fabric,
    – I find it useful,
    – I like it.
    Dresses and skirts are the items that I am willing to squeeze into may wardrobe at all costs.

  6. March 23, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    @Kish: I appreciate that, Kish. I do love a dress.

    @Kinga: Wonderful way to approach a packed wardrobe. I'm also way beyond the building-a-wardrobe phase, so my taste now is much more discriminating than ever.

    @Mica: Sure! Let me know how the questions are working out for you too.