OOTD: A Tale of Obsession

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Silky camisole top with lace trim, $10, H&M; lacy shorts from Papaya; my Grandma’s pearls.

I am obsessed with fashion, like CRAZY obsessed. Looking at it, reading about it, shopping for it and of course, wearing it takes up a huge amount of my day every day. I believe clothing, and the way it is put together into a unique style, is truly wearable art. I drool over designer and couture collections every single day. Often, there are pieces that I would just kill to have. Literally. I don’t usually get obsessed over them, though, because I know that realistically, with my budget (or lack of one) I am never going to own them. So I just dream.

If I get truly obsessed over a look, I will spend huge amounts of time trying to find a more affordable version. Often, I’m quite successful, and it is this thrill of the hunt that drives me and the euphoria when I score a great deal that makes me happier than anything in the world.

Nothing is better than finding affordable fashions which make me drool just as much as the luxe lines. I love being able to buy something I can’t wait to wear without feeling any guilt. Now, I am a true cheapskate. I don’t buy anything unless it’s a supreme bargain, or I love it SO much that I can justify spending a bit more on it. For the past several months, I have had very little income to operate on. In fact, not even enough to pay all the bills. But I still shop. Because if I can’t spend $10 or $20 here and there on something that makes me truly happy, what is even the point of living? I refuse to spend my days in misery, and that is where I would be if I could not update my wardrobe a little bit from time to time. It’s just my thing. It’s what keeps me calm and gives my heart a rush of joy.

I have managed by financing most of my purchases on store credit cards, and every now and then with something inexpensive from Target, H&M, Zara and the like. Now, I know that this makes no financial sense. I don’t need a lecture from an accountant or financial planner. I am smart enough to know that using credit cards and making minimum payments means that I am paying buttloads of interest and ultimately spending more than the purchase price of what I buy. Logically, I get that. BUT, I also refute that logic, and here’s why:

Because I only buy things with my cards when they are on sale or clearance for a good amount off the original price and when I have coupons or get extra store discounts for using the card. So really, even factoring in the interest, I am never paying more than what the item was originally priced. And this way I get to keep my wardrobe fresh, do some shopping to keep myself happy and only spend $25-40 per month on payments. It’s like layaway, only better, because I get to have everything before it’s paid for. This is called Fashion Math, people, and it makes perfect sense to all of us fashionistas on a budget, right?

I know money-savvy advisors would tell me it would be smarter to save up my money and spend cash when I find something I really want. But that doesn’t work in fashion. Because if you don’t grab something when you see it, especially when it’s marked down to a good price, chances are it’s going to be GONE. Forever. And that is just unacceptable.

Which leads me to the original point of this post, my latest tale of obsession. I was browsing in H&M last week and came across this simply beautiful silky cami with lace trim. It took my breath away. AND IT WAS ONLY $10!!! Amazing. I could instantly see myself wearing it…it has that perfect 70’s boho vibe that is my favorite style. But here is where the problem, and my obsession, began. The store only had sizes up to 8, and then one 14. The 8 was way too small. The 14 was too baggy. Plus, I decided that it was the back that made it so pretty, and I couldn’t possibly wear it without a bra, which is a problem with spaghetti straps, and would probably wear a jacket over it, so not worth it after all. So I decided to think about it and see if my size would be in stock later.

But after I left, I just couldn’t stop thinking about that top. It was so perfect, and such a steal. And I realized I do have a pretty bra I could probably wear underneath that would look okay. And it would look so classy and chic underneath a blazer. I had to have that top. I would not rest happy until I owned it.

Then I got sick for several days & couldn’t leave my bed. By the time I got back out to H&M 4 days later, all of the tops were gone. There was something new already in the front of the store where they had been displayed. I finally managed to locate a couple of leftover size 4’s shoved into a rack with something else and from the looks of it, I didn’t think they were planning to restock. I went home and checked online for the top. Sold out. Crap. I kept checking online for a couple of days. Still sold out.

My obsession over this top became non-stop. It was about all I focused on for the next few days. I went back out to H&M a couple of times. No luck. So yesterday, I decided to drive to the next closest H&M in Northridge, which meant fighting traffic and navigating freeways, which I loathe. And it was already 2:00. I told my husband he would have to take my son to school for his afternoon class (my job, but this was more important) and took off. Half an hour later, dismayed to find no trace of the tops in Northridge. Decided to drive another half hour to Topanga. No luck. By this time, it’s 4:00 rush hour, I’m stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway trying to get home, and then there is some kind of unexpected construction which has closed the alternate highway I decide to try. I have to backtrack, drive all the way around town, and spend over an hour and a quarter tank of gas on a trip which should realistically take only 30 minutes at the most. This is why I hate driving in LA and never go anywhere. Total nightmare. And I still have no top. Shit. I was literally in a depression all evening.

Checked the website one last time last night just after midnight. It was back in stock! Finally! I put a size 10 in my cart and went to grab my credit card to check out. Now, like I said, I am a major cheapskate. I hate to pay shipping fees, especially when it’s half the price of what I’m buying. Suddenly, the top is not as great of a bargain, and that takes the fun out of it. So I decide to find a coupon code. While I’m doing that, the top sells out in size 10 again. I’m not kidding. Literally, in like, two minutes. I try a 12. Before I can check out, it’s sold out, too. At this point, I’m so desperate, I decide — screw it, I’ll pay the shipping, get the 14 and live with the bagginess. It sells out too. I am not joking. I felt like H&M was deliberately playing some kind of cruel joke on me. Went to bed enraged.

Today, I made one more trip to the local H&M to check again. Lo and behold, there they were. A whole rack, restocked in every size!  I have my top! Without paying shipping! And I love it. And I’m glad I went in and tried them on, because the 10 fit weirdly, and I had to go up to a 12. Word of advice, if you plan on purchasing this top (apparently, it’s very popular) and you’re large-chested, go for the 12 or 14. The seams on the smaller sizes hit right at the nipples and make it look like they’re poking out, even if you’re wearing a thick bra and they couldn’t possibly. The larger sizes have the seams moved off to the sides more, so the front lies flat properly.

For today’s outfit, I paired it with a pair of lacy shorts from Papaya and my Grandma’s pearls. When it finally cools down enough, I plan to wear it with my slouchy army green pants (mine are from Forever 21) like was shown at H&M, and with my black blazer by Bisou Bisou or maybe this velvety one from Axcess to really play up the hippie vibe. (Suede mules by GUESS).

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I probably spent twice the price in the end, when you factor in all the gas I wasted yesterday. But I am choosing not to think about that. I have my top, and that’s all that matters. I am finally at peace. Until the next obsession strikes.Tell me….am the only one who goes crazy like this over scoring a piece of clothing? What are your obsessions? I’d love to know!

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