Single-Minded Shopping: Pursuing the Perfect Outfit

August 23, 2008 • Magazine

Single-Minded Shopping: Pursuing the Perfect Outfit

Single-Minded Shopping: Pursuing the Perfect Outfit

Sat, 2008-08-23 07:00

Rachel Yeomans

Wandering the discounted aisles of Saks Off 5th, swooning over discounted Armani and St. John, I found myself caught up in the discount shopping surge — throwing everything in my cart because it all was just that good. I met up with my girlfriend in front of the fitting rooms — my cart overflowing. However she arrived sans cart with two sole pieces over her arm. I was immediately skeptical — isn’t going (a bit) overboard part of discount shopping? After my friend tried on her items and decided on a gorgeous blue cowl-neck wool dress, I left the fitting room performing the price debate: “I love all of them but what do I need??” [Translation: What am I willing to spend?”]

Fast forward — still debating my friend led me all around the store to find the ideal accessories to her new dress — earrings, shoes, and an exhausting search for a belt. During her search, I asked her why she was concentrating so hard on finding the whole outfit versus pieces that may work with others she already owns.

Her response: “If I don’t, then I won’t have an outfit — just pieces.”

Dear readers, after reviewing my wardrobe consisting of many-a piece without an outfit to contribute to, I learned that day to appreciate the power search for the perfect outfit.

For guidance on changing my shopping habits — I look to the most obvious place I can think of: the runways. Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2008 line reminds me that a simple dress can be jazzed up merely by adding a belt and pumps. Then I took one more step outside the box — this Marc by Marc Jacobs trench on the runway was the sole source of focus. For me it can be the perfect piece tying my jeans and some chunky jewelry together for my “Saturday errands” look.

After researching my new epiphany, I embarked on my hunt. My task: a work ensemble that can transfer into evening cocktails. The ingredients: top, skirt, pumps, and the accessories to pull it together.

Now I gave myself a caveat with this “shop only for the outfit” policy — I wanted to use the pieces in this outfit to perhaps create additional outfits from my previously-purchased items. So I kept my palette simple. Besides, this is my first venture with my new mindset, and I wanted to take it slow.

I settled on some pieces by dIETERbENNET. I’ve always admired this designer duo for their simple outlook but extremely classy look. Perusing their fall 2008 line, “Look 3” had me sold. What easier way to find an outfit than add to one already created? Granted I did pick a slightly different skirt, but I was still off to a strong start. And what better way to make a statement of the already bold-colored top and black skirt than with a pair of “power female” patent leather sling backs?

I’ve been of the habit to select simple outfits and play with statement accessories. So for this outfit, I decided on this fantastic Marc by Marc Jacobs cuff and a pair of large glass square earrings by Lee Angel. Tying it all together with a Jimmy Choo snakeskin bag makes this outfit worthy of a promotion—or a complimentary cocktail.

Speaking of cocktails, since scarves are the “it” accessory of the season, a sequined scarf would be the perfect item to fling around my neck for an evening edge to my ensemble. And let’s not forget that statement trench coat ideal for maintaining a statement while running between meetings.

After that day of discount shopping, Saks Off 5th left my friend with a receipt totaling a scant $120 for her entire outfit (including dress/bracelet/belt). While following in her footsteps during my recent shopping venture, I noticed when I looked for just one outfit, I wasn’t distracted by other items that would result in the emptying of my pocketbook.

Not only is this new method of shopping a much more productive way to locate looks, but it’s a fantastic way to stay fashionably forward in today’s economy.

1. Alexander McQueen Kimono Belt Sheath Dress Shown from Spring/Summer 2008 Collection. Pair with Jimmy Choo heels, Phillipe Audibert bracelet, and Christian LaCroix clutch.
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs Patent Trench Coat Shown from Spring/Summer 2008 Collection. Shown with Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes, Notify jeans, and a Marc Jacobs bag.
3. dIETERbENNET Outfit of Choice. Shop for items at
4. Meteor Slingbacks by Rupert Sanderson
5. Marc by Marc Jacobs Crazy Bow Cuff
6. Jimmy Choo Saba Python Bag
7. Lee Angel ‘Lucy’ Faceted Glass Square Earrings
8. Bajra Sequin Embellished Scarf
9. Cyndi Chan Short Satin Trench Coat

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