Yes, we all experience some form of this silent epidemic… It expresses itself in forms like overspending, questionable styling, premature destruction of certain wardrobe items, and extreme eye-rolling by friends and family.
Don’t despair! It’s totally treatable and you’ll quickly regain your confidence. Here’s my guide to understanding the manifestations of Fashionitis and how to make a full recovery.
Symptoms: A big event, a wedding, a Bar Mitzvah, a milestone birthday… looms on the calendar. Instead of heading to the shops you count on, with plenty of lead time, you massage, edit, and perfect a list of reasons NOT to shop. I don’t know what to get. I don’t have time/money/energy. There has to be something in my closet ready to wear! Then, at the last minute, you panic. Racing to make a purchase, you plunk down extra cash for express shipping ending up with something pricey that you don’t love and will never wear again.
Cure: As soon as you receive your invitation, schedule time on your calendar to decide what to wear. When assessing your own clothes, realize that with the addition of some new accessories, your perfect outfit might be right in front of you. Now, if you’re certain that nothing will work, try renting rather than buying. An evening dress for a wedding can rent for as little as $30 on Rent-The-Runway. If you’re determined to own something new, make sure you haven’t imbued your outfit with magical qualities (If I don’t get the perfect dress, the day will be ruined.) and happy shopping.
Symptoms: Sales and special offers incite insanity. Budgeting and all your good sense take flight because retailers know that you’re comparing the new price to the original price… Look at all the money I’m saving!
Cure: Bargain prices are the number one reason that people end up with useless items, and flash sales only heighten the risk. So, before you click “BUY” or bolt to the cash wrap, pause. Reflect. Compare. If this were full price, would I still want it? Imagine what else already in your closet you can wear with it. Are there other items you’d rather spend money on? If you’re happy with the answers to these questions, then swipe that card.
Symptoms: Failure to take preventive maintenance and regular rehab of footwear. Results in displays of trashed soles, torn leathers, scuffed suedes, and premature shoe death.
Cure: Treat new shoes with a lightweight, breathable water- and stain-repellent spray before your first wear. Then, depending on how often you wear them, give them another spritz every week. It’s like putting on deodorant. It’s not a one-and-done situation. When leather-soled shoes and boots are young, have a skilled cobbler add thin protective rubber soles. Your look won’t be compromised and your shoes will last much longer.
Symptoms: You’ve fallen in love with a piece of clothing, but the sleeves or the hem is a touch too long. Or there’s gaping at the waist. Telling yourself it’s fine, no one will notice, is alteration aversion. Besides, you already paid SO MUCH for it, how can you justify spending more on tailoring? Or the opposite… I only spent $25. Why spend another on alterations? It’s just plain laziness.
Cure: Take advantage whenever a store offers free or low-cost alterations with purchase. What you lose in the instant gratification of taking it home, you’ll gain in compliments because even the most inexpensive items look a hundred times pricier when tailored to fit. Ask around for trusted local tailor so you’ll always have someone at the ready.
Symptoms: Your panty lines aren’t just visible through your skirt, they’re directing traffic. You’re spilling out of the top/sides of your bra, and the lace cups are making your blouse pull where it should slide. Your shapewear has you in a sausage casing clutch, and you can’t remember the last time you didn’t have a wedgie. No wonder you feel deeply unsexy.
Cure: Our bodies are constantly changing and you need to see a professional bra fitter at least once a year. Skilled guides are at your service, for free, at Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, and the mall stores Soma and Intimacy employe well-trained fitters with the know-how to address everything from back bulge to gaping shirt buttons. Know that shapewear should not torture you. The key is to opt for breathable, lightweight raw-edge pieces and select the size that you really are. Remember that underthings that a limited life span, and stretched out elastic and wires that poke are signs that it’s time to let go. As you restock, think I am pretty and I deserve to be comfortable, confident, and attractive. Buy accordingly.
Symptoms: Carrying your everyday bag to a wedding. Schlepping your work tote to a weekend party. Sporting a black leather bag with a bright and airy sundress in July. You tell yourself you can’t be bothered. You’re above being so girlie I have to have a bag with every outfit, but you look like a stiff. And, it’s such an easy fix that will make a huge difference.
Cure: It’s so simple… your bag’s color, weight, and material, like your clothes, should reflect the season’s temperature and spirit. Darker and heavier for fall and winter; Lighter and brighter for spring and summer. And, you want to be occasion appropriate (work = tote; evening = clutch; weekend = almost anything but a briefcase). Create an annual collection with two or three for cold weather like a black/brown leather satchel for work, an easy shoulder bag for weekends, and a beautiful clutch for evenings. Plus, two to three for warmer months such as a light linen tote for work, a bright handbag for weekends, and again, a clutch just says “after-hours.” Shop your own closet first because you might have exactly what you need; you just forgot about certain bags. But if you don’t, come see me! 😉