Hunter or Gatherer?

By Elle

In my blog post, How NOT to Shop, I mention that you should never shop when you actually need something. Look, I know emergencies come up: You’ve been invited to a last-minute soiree and need a special something, or that guy you met the other night actually DID call, you have a date Saturday night and there’s not a dang thing in your closet. Yeah, I get it.

These circumstances require you to hunt, which is bad. Hunting is an aggressive mission with a vague goal: “Find something perfect that I’ll look stunning in.” Off the bat, that’s a recipe for disappointment. And frustration. Think about it: When you’re hunting, you’re stressed and easily angered because you’re fixated on finding that “perfect” something, which of course doesn’t really exist. This is why most hunting trips result in a long face and an empty game bag.

So take a deep breath, put down your weapon and swear off hunting.

But do take up gathering, a kinder, gentler sport. Here’s how: Whenever you have the opportunity, swing by a local boutique, thrift shop or mall and just take a look around. Remember, you’re not looking for anything in particular, just something that might catch your eye. Could be a pair of skinny jeans on sale or a velvet scarf in a bright poppy red.

The trick is to take your entire closet with you (in your head, of course) when you gather. This way, you can mentally mix and match things. You may not find anything every time (in fact, you probably shouldn’t – there’s probably another name for that), but it’s good practice and allows you to keep your eye on the latest trends.

Grey gloves and matching scarf

Grey gloves from Anne van H. Boutique and matching scarf that Abby bought me!

On my latest “gathering” trip to Anne van H. Boutique, a fabulous shop in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood, I picked up a pair of lacy ecru capri tights and a pair of classy grey gloves with black and white bows — both on sale! I didn’t realize it at the time, but the gloves perfectly match a scarf that Abby bought me several years ago for the holidays. What serendipity!

Not sure just yet what I’ll pair the lacy ecru tights with, but that’s sometimes half the fun!

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