Shopping behavior (like a Parisienne?)

Recently I was asked a number of times where I like to go shopping, but I didn’t dare answer. Because well, what woman doesn’t like shopping? The answer is: Me!  Don’t get me wrong; I love beautiful things and find it very important to look good and always choose the items of clothing I wear with the utmost care. And I love to go grocery shopping in a pleasant street and drink a leisurely cup of coffee. Or to walk through a beautiful city, take a photo here and there and have a nice lunch.

But shopping as in busy shopping streets, going from shop to shop, spending hours looking for clothes, checking tags and sizes, and the worst part of it all, trying things on for size!  Because with my slight fear of contamination I find it really unpleasant. Who knows how many people have already tried this on before me?

Anyway, this has not always been the case. In my adolescent years, I too was guilty of taking a Saturday afternoon stroll with friends through a crowded Kalverstraat in Amsterdam. Always looking for the umpteenth perfect sweater or dress to wear to the disco that night. Because I had already worn everything that hung in my closet and it was unspeakable to wear the same outfit several times. And so we liked to go out. Shop in, shop out, every potential new purchase examined and then taken to the fitting room. We shopped until we dropped.

When I think back to that time, I remember how we all looked the same, because what you absolutely didn’t want was to stand out and be different from the rest. Just be safe in the group with the latest boots, bomber jacket, jeans and all long blond hair. Well, that was then. Too funny.

Recently I was asked a number of times where I like to go shopping, but I didn’t dare answer.

Because well, what woman doesn’t like shopping?

The answer is: ME!

Over the years, a huge shift has taken place in that area. I have developed my own style and that’s very important to me. It’s a style that is actually very simple and consists of timeless classics; high quality items you can combine effortlessly and where you can always rely on, so that you don’t have to keep looking for something new.

Don’t get me wrong, of course I also like to add something new to my wardrobe every now and then, but then it really has to be an addition. And that’s why I always first check whether I could still wear this in five or ten years. And well, it must also be slightly different from the crowd. Because I’m not that teenager anymore!

Anyway, you don’t put together such a timeless wardrobe in one season. At least, I don’t.  Mine is still not complete, but I am getting closer and closer.

About fifteen years ago I bought a beautiful classic trench coat. I have worn this with great pleasure (and which has received a lot of compliments) for years!  At one point it ended up in the closet for a number of years as I was just not in the mood for such a coat. Last year I pulled it out of the wardrobe again and yes, within one hour I had received another compliment; “What a beautiful coat you are wearing. It looks really beautiful.” I stifled a giggle and almost repeated that well-worn phrase, ‘what, do you mean this old thing?’!

I also remember flared jeans, which were very “in” before the skinny jeans era. At the time (more than 15 years ago!) I had managed to buy a nice pair of flares in my favourite brand of bluejeans, of which every model was always perfect for me. And still is. With an accompanying price tag, of course. But strangely enough I already knew that this would be an item for life. If I went to tidy up my closet over the years, this classic would always end up in the “keep” pile. And fortunately the skinny jeans fashion has now given way to flares again!  A few weeks ago I suddenly felt like wearing my old fashion jeans again. But I had originally bought them to wear with heels, because they make my legs look much longer and because it gives such a wonderfully elegant feeling. Anyway, that was also the time when I didn’t have children yet and spent a day at the amusement park in heels (believe me, I really did ;-)). In the meantime, sneakers have become indispensable to an outfit and my beautiful collection of pumps has ended up in the closet over the years.

And so I chose an office day for the return of my flared jeans and pumps. I could handle those heels behind my laptop;-). I combined it with one of the many white blouses that hang in my closet (short, long, fitted, oversized) and a turtleneck sweater over it. I immediately received a number of compliments about these really amazing flares. You couldn’t make me more happy! How wonderful that only I know that those cool pants recently woke up from a very long hibernation in the closet!

And actually my shopping tactics are as simple as my style. Before each new season, I first determine which items (mostly classics) I would like to add to my collection. Then I look, preferably online, for the different choices and consider the various options. I would like to know what material something is made from and whether it’s a classic that I can use for a long time before considering whether it’s really an addition. Because those classics have often saved me in situations where I didn’t know what to wear. And also during the periods when I didn’t buy so many new things. Then I could always fall back on that one “old” blouse that I hadn’t worn for a few years, but that was now completely in vogue once more. And yes, I can be sure that after a few hours of wearing it I would receive flattering comments. And the best thing about it is that only I know that the garment is already ten years old. Something to promote the ‘buy less, choose well’ approach!

So before I go out to buy something new I already determine exactly what I want to buy and where, so that I can go very specifically to shops to buy that one specific piece. And I prefer to waste as little time as possible on that. For me, the satisfaction is precisely in wearing it. A hundred times.

I recently read the book by Renée Koudstaal in which she describes the shopping behavior of the “Parisienne”. And although there is of course a myth about the “Parisienne”, I secretly thought it was really cool that my shopping behavior seemed so similar to hers. Because gosh, the “Parisienne” has a lovely, simple style and she always looks good. Cared for down to the last detail, but it seems like she’s not even trying hard to achieve it. And through this book I found out that she doesn’t like shopping at all, just like me. Also, that she does research in advance and then walks out of the pre-selected store with a bag with a new acquisition in her hands. Exactly how I go about this.

Am I more “Parisienne” than I thought? Well, with a grandfather with Parisian roots, the apple might not fall that far from the tree, right?!