Wednesday, June 5, 2013


A friend has embarked on a diet nutritional lifestyle plan in which you cut out most of the foods you normally eat that might contain system irritants (dairy, gluten, sugar, preservatives), and then slowly add them back in to see how they make you feel. During the initial deprivation, and believe me, giving up gluten would make me feel deprived, the author suggests that the thing you crave is likely to be the thing that disrupts your system. Or that makes you fat, to call a spade a spade.   Oh look, bagels.

Where was I?

I often feel closet cravings. And sometimes that craving seems to be the solution to a lot of wardrobe dissatisfaction. For example, last year, an ivory jacket seemed like a wonderful, albeit elusive, chimera.  Not stark white (I already have sweaters and jackets in pure white), but ivory, and dressy enough for work. Note that the many similar things in my closet couldn't possibly work.

A craving for color led to the Box O' Pink episode last year, in which I ordered multiple pink things. I love pale pink, and the Talbot's soft rose seemed like the perfect shade. So I bought everything they sold in that color. I still have two tops and one of the pants, though I returned one pair of pants and a linen sweater. I loved the sweater - so silky! - but it snagged AS I WAS TRYING IT ON. These color cravings are stimulated frequently, as a new color suddenly seems to be everywhere, or I see a great color combo in a catalog. This is when I troll the Talbot's and Ann Taylor sites, because they pick up new colors every season in the well-made basics I love, like pima tees and linen skirts.

Sometimes the craving is pure wish fulfillment. If I find the perfect ivory jacket, I will have dozens of new outfits and life will be great. It's true, I've stood in front of my closet thinking, "A pale jacket would be FANTASTIC with this." However, now I've had a perfectly lovely ivory Boden jacket hanging in plain view for a month, and I haven't worn it yet. I'm thinking about trading it in for a different craving - the sailor stripe hoody. Perfect for crisp Rhode Island walks! Yes, that is the thing I REALLY need!

Or the craving is for the Platonic Ideal of an item you already own. "Boy, that fuchsia cardigan is a great color and fits you well. If only it were a little nicer fabric, like cashmere for winter." Oh, if only. Garnet Hill was created for cravings like these.

Perhaps an item works so well that you want to get a spare, because that black velvet jacket isn't going to last forever, you know. This always reminds me of eating that brownie today, since there may not be brownies tomorrow. Unfortunately, closet cravings have led to many duplicate skirts and jackets, several scarves that seemed like perfect solutions and yet never get worn, and enough boots to wear a different pair for the entire Great Flood.

When the cravings strike, I have my own little dieter's checklist.
  • Craving color? Wait, don't you already own yellow shoes? Heels, flats, check. And don't you have a yellow scarf, a fantastic yellow bracelet, and THREE yellow tees? Work with what you got, sister. And if you truly don't own any turquoise shoes, maybe there's a reason for that.
  • Craving the imaginary perfect solution? Try that incomplete outfit with a similar piece. Maybe that white jacket would be just fine. At least you'll be able to figure out whether you need a long jacket, or a short, fitted jacket, fall or summer weight fabric, and won't buy the first thing you see online.
  • If you're shopping out of fear of loss of a favorite item, think instead of finding something wonderful and different, because if you try to replace the perfect brown skirt, you'll just end up with five slightly different brown skirts. Plus, you run the risk of getting stuck in a particular style.
  • If you just want to upgrade, well, that might be OK, if you actually purge the "inferior" sweater. If you can't bring yourself to throw it away, maybe you don't really need to upgrade.
These are all things I tell myself when I just WANT something, and many times, it works. Often I pick something out of my closet that I haven't worn in a while, and am reminded of why I bought it in the first place. This is when my closet has the power to make me foolishly happy. But sometimes, I just order the turquoise sandals. :-)
"Evanston" sandal at Lord and Taylor, $60

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