In the last few weeks I have spent quite a bit of time on Ebay attempting to get rid of some of my more impulsive and never-worn purchases. I found myself frequently describing the unique qualities of each item e.g. “the variety of colors and patterns in this shirt make it a head-turner,” or “stunning black and purple dress with interesting neckline,” or “the hem has slits all the way around but each panel is a different color and I can’t really explain it so please see the photo.”  The difficulty I had in describing these items made me realize that while I enjoy looking at unusual clothing (please see the Comme des Garcons show at the Metropolitan Museum for examples), I don’t want to actually wear it. Here are some questions to ask yourself before purchasing that next eye-catching item.  

1. Do you look at it and think—“hmm, that’s really cool! I wonder how it works.”

2. Have you been trapped in a dressing room strait-jacketed into a twisted garment that you cannot figure out how to remove?

3. Are you thinking: “I’ve never worn anything like this before, but…”

4. Do you justify your purchase by giggling to the salesperson, “I have no idea where I’m going to wear this but it’s so much fun!”

5. Does it require a special type of bra that hasn’t been designed yet?

6. Are you at a craft fair and there is no dressing room but the artist tells you that you are welcome to crawl under her table where it is 110°to try it on?

7. Are you at a craft fair and the artist tells you that women (or men! or any gender!) of all shapes and sizes look great in it?

8. Are you on vacation in a foreign country where it will be impossible to return the item, especially once you have received your VAT refund?

9. Are you in a foreign country and thinking “wow, I’ve never seen anything like this in the U.S. and I am going to be a fashion leader!”

10. Does the item inspire an equal mix of awe and confusion?

If you answered yes to any of above questions, you may want to take a breath before pulling out your credit card next time, even at the risk of losing that one piece of clothing that is going to tell the world how original, creative, confident, and yet sophisticated you are.

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