I’m not that much of a packrat but you wouldn’t think so if you saw my closet, though I prefer to call myself a fashion collector, archivist…ahem.  Fashion is a ferris wheel, going around and around in cycles. So if you have a good eye for quality, whatever you bought ten years ago can be relevant today with some merchandising of accessories.   And if your accessories were well purchased, they can be the key to your signature style, and that should always work.  So in CHANEL I trust.  At least this is my mindset in buying designer items now, especially in this economic climate. Long gone are the days of frivolous, impulsive consumption of disposable albeit trendy fashion. For the last 8 years or so it’s been about buying labels that work with my body and lifestyle and not what looks fabulous on the runway or reinterpreted by fast fashion franchises (which I love dearly, but like with fast food, you gotta stay away from too many fries).  And for the last few seasons in particular, it’s been about trying to edit my closet–a task I wouldn’t wish on my enemy–and buying only what complements what’s already in there as opposed to buying for the sake of owning.



I have this “one-in-one-out” rule that I’ve been trying to live by. Basically, I’m not allowed to buy a new bag or pair of shoes until I’ve sold or given away another item of similar value.  This is a tough rule to follow though and given the endless price increases by designers, it really should be one-in-three-out, but who has that kind of discipline…so then I’d slide and weasel myself out of the rule by rationalizing that by factoring in some depreciation, adding two counts of inflation, and multiplying it all by some algorithm from the deep discounts of recent sales, somehow I’m coming out on top.  It’s no wonder I’m not working at the World Economic Forum.  But these last six weeks in Europe have retrofitted my thinking.  After spending time with friends there and observing their lifestyles and values, I have come to the realization that my consumption-driven mentality is not fuel for my drive to work (then play) harder but rather the  cause of the increasing weight of my carbon footprint.  And that more is more. More is too much. And less is the new more. Whew, got all that?



So as I unpack my suitcases and repack them for an upcoming trip this week, I think about how all the news about the crashing global economy will change not only my own but all Americans’ buying habits.  I also wonder how the fashion industry will reinvent itself to respond to our new fears; how do design houses sustain themselves if customers will not even buy at 60% off?  I wonder if the massive inventory and choices we have here in the US will shrink to what I saw in places elsewhere around the world.  America is for sale, Americans aren’t buying, and as we go on a collective consumption diet, where does that leave fashion? Where does that leave me, the archivist?



Well, I’m not sure.  All I know is that I was pretty freaked out walking around Saks this weekend. Along with the CHANEL silver 5 Euro coin I’d ordered online, I received my Saks reward card in the mail when I came back from my trip.  I’m pretty stoked about the amount of the gift card but when I toured the store to see what I would spend it on, I found a ghost town haunted by sales associates with long faces.  I’d blogged about feeling blue on the biggest shopping day of last year, but this was worse.  I had a gift card with an expiration date  that I needed to spend and yet I was afraid to use it.

And this is only the beginning. Let’s hope the Pollyanna in me and somewhere in all of us rises to our challenges.


  1. awbrat

    wow larkie, you took the words right out of my mouth. scary times.

  2. shoogrrl

    Larkie — What an insightful and thought-provoking post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. scholastican

    WOW MissL…sobering thoughts indeed.

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