So, I've been a little bit obsessed with suits since I started law school. I think this is partly because they're a visual symbol of the difference between legal and academic culture (which is a bit of an exaggeration, since profs certainly CAN wear suits - though the only time I usually saw anyone do so was at conferences - and many lawyers only wear suits if they're going to court - out here, at least, which is a pretty casual part of the world). But it's also partly because I actually needed suits, for interviews if nothing else - and of course I didn't have any (not having been the kind of academic who wore them). So my first suit (inexpensive) was bought on short notice because holy crap, I had an interview and I needed a suit! And so I took what I could find, which is black (fine), and polyester (fine, although this is not an especially fine varietal of the fabric and is starting to look a bit shiny/rubbed along the seams) and fits okay (the jacket is quite cute, but the skirt is weirdly big in the waist and pulls across the hips, which is usually NOT a problem I have, but the problem bits are hidden by the jacket). But it has not an ounce of stretch in it, which I especially prefer in jackets (because they get so confining under the arms), and in warm weather it was like wearing armor.
And it always felt like the interview suit. The suit I only bought because I needed a suit, not because I saw it and liked it and wanted it. The suit that I only wore when I was dressing up because I had to.
(My second suit got bought much the same way - I bought a really inexpensive suit from the Jones New York outlet because I desperately wanted something with stretch that wasn't so heavy, and the first time I wore it I realized that because of the stretch, it bagged out and became shapeless after about an hour or so.)
But earlier this semester I got the Talbots spring catalog, and lo! there were suits! that I liked! and wanted! because they were pretty suits, not because I needed a suit then and there! (This was especially exciting because last year Talbots was going through a wanna-be haute couture phase and had maybe three suit-like items that were on the, um, interesting side.)
I drooled over various of those suits for a few weeks, doing the usual agonizing about mixing and matching (I love that jacket but they don't make the matching skirt in the color I like; I love that skirt but they don't have it in my size; I love that skirt but the jacket that matches is hideous) (as an aside, who on earth thinks patch pockets look good on a jacket?? the only thing that's worse is patch pockets on a skirt). But I finally made some choices.
The first jacket that arrived didn't work at all. Lovely color, lovely fabric, made me look like a barrel. So I gritted my teeth and tried again.
And now? Now I am the ecstatic owner of a beautiful navy suit. That fits me like it was made for me. And is made out of a natural material. And has a nice little leavening of spandex. And feels like clothing that I wear because I WANT too, not because I HAVE to. I feel like ME in this suit.
The only damper on my joy? It was a pants suit, which is actually lovely for wearing and feeling like me in, but if I have interviews in more conservative quarters, I'm happier wearing a skirt.
And then tonight, as I sat awake surfing (the downside of the 2 hour nap in the afternoon), I took one last tour through Talbots' webpage and figured out that, glory be! the skirt I thought came in putty, gray, or black, actually came in putty, gray, or NAVY!! (Note to self: don't trust tiny swatches on computer screens.)
It's probably not a good idea to get in the habit of Internet shopping at 1:30 am, but this time round I'm really glad I did so.
Which is all a long-winded way of saying that I know money can't buy you love/happiness, but that occasionally there are those moments when you buy something that just makes you feel good - secure, confident, prepared, comfortable, happy - like at least one of your problems has been solved.
What about you? What was the last thing you bought (clothes or not) that solved a problem and made you happy?