A few weeks ago I was reading Fashionista and came across another article called “How I Shop”. Turns out it’s a series they are running, and I have to admit I am intrigued by it.
“We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend, and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in the fashion industry with our column, “How I Shop.”
I’m so glad I came across it, and I’m glad to see that it was thought of as a topic to explore. I’m always curious about these questions, especially when it comes to people who are themselves a part of the fashion industry. As a person who cares about consuming ethical fashion and slow fashion, I also am curious to see if that’s something that people who are within the fashion world think about it, too.
Here are some of my observations.
- Net-A-Porter was mentioned a few times as a place to shop online. I’ve personally never shopped there. I’m not sure why, but my impression of it has always been like it’s a deterring combination of too expensive and too fashionable for me. While I’m sure that’s not necessarily the case, I haven’t spent too much time on that website. I may need to revisit it. Not sure how many slow fashion/ethical brands can be found there, though.
- Christene Barberich, the co-founder of ‘Refinery29’ mentioned thrifting and eBaying, which are certainly activities I take part in as well. However, we differ in the amount of shopping we do, unsurprisingly:
I buy something I would say twice a week. Sometimes once a week, sometimes more if I’m prepping for fashion week. I want to feel like I have what I need, and things I love. There’s nothing worse than like getting dressed in a hurry and hating what you’re wearing when you’re going to be surrounded by people who are dressed to perfection.
Am I a shopping addict? I think the word ‘addict’ evokes really negative perceptions. I love to shop. Because I don’t think it’s the act of shopping, it’s about finding the one. I think people who love fashion are in constant pursuit of finding the things that make them feel like it’s made for them, that have eluded them their whole lives, like a great pair of jeans or a bathing suit that feels transformative. It’s a hobby and I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I don’t think it’s gender-related, either. I know lots of men who shop more than I do. I think there’s something about the thrill of the hunt. That’s why I love Ebay so much. I’ve only bought two things on Ebay that cost more than $1,000: a vintage Hermes sterling silver necklace that I treasure, and a Proenza Schouler dress from a few seasons ago that was sold out in my size [in store].
I copied this whole section because I feel that it’s a quote that needs context. At first, reading she shopped so much was a surprise to me since I didn’t think anyone would shop this much. Then I read the rest of it. For one thing, our professional lives exert a lot of pressure on our shopping habits as is certainly the case here. For another, shopping is definitely not a one-size-fits-all type of habit. Personally, I feel it is important to note that there’s no judgement here. It may not work for me or thrill me the same way, but it does work for her and her lifestyle.
- I was immediately attracted to the pictures showing the style Melissa Rubini of InStyle, and was happy to read her shopping notes.
“I tend to shop by category. Each weekend I choose [one] and shop for that, and I do it at the same time for me and my daughter — she’s 9. Maybe it’s activewear, just as an example, and then I go through my closet, organize that category, I see what I need and then I do the same for her. Then I go online and I shop for what is missing.
…I edit everything down. I am usually just in black or navy or gray. I don’t have color in my wardrobe so that facilitates a lot of the shopping aspect of it.”
Comparing the way Christene Barberich shops with the way Melissa Rubini shops, you can see their different personalities and perhaps needs reflected. Comparing Melissa Rubini’s shopping method to my habit of making shopping lists ahead of time, I certainly found some similarities. We also seem to like the same notion of having a monochrome wardrobe. I find it intriguing that her plan is to not have her clothing stand out due to her line of work, which reminds me of the notion that clothing can and should serve a purpose that suited to a particular moment.
- Another article that shared a familiar shopping habit was that of Jane Bishop, of ‘Jean Stories’.
“I am a uniform dresser, to a certain extent. Everything I wear is a version of a theme. I tend to dress in a blue, white, black, gray color palette, sometimes red. I remember around the time that I was turning 30 and becoming more confident in my own personal style, I had just left Vogue or was just about to leave Vogue. I had been there for six and a half years and seen a lot of trends come and go. I observed enough of fashion to know what was me and what wasn’t me. It was at that time that Phoebe Philo came to Céline and minimalism became the catch word, minimalism was having its moment…
… The two things happened sort of simultaneously — minimalism really came back into fashion and I came of an age where I felt like figured it out, didn’t need to experiment anymore and knew myself really well.”
This seemed like another way one can personalize the idea of using a ‘uniform’, and I really like how easy it can be to tailor this concept to a variety of situations and tastes.
- Finally, I’m embarrassed to admit I only learned about ShopStyle from the interview with Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo the co-founders of Of a Kind. I think there’s something to be said about waiting for an item to go on sale when you aren’t in a rush to buy it, and I’ve always wanted an app for that! Just be aware, they do tend to send a lot of mail once you do sign up to an alert. Luckily, one can opt out.