Wow, what an amazing thread. So I will be a busybody and go straight to advice before actually answering your question. L, I think you need (in the psychological sense, none of us needs anything when you get right down to it) a pair of current jeans. I think too much choice is debilitating in this situation, so perhaps pick one CA retailer with a good return policy (Nordstrom CA?, Ariztizia? I don't know) and focus on mid-waist wide leg jeans, order at least 5 and try them on at home. Keep "the one" or return them all and repeat the exercise. It will take a bit of time but afterwards you will stop coming back to it and therefore save time. (Of course, I expect and respect that you will ignore this advice .)

As for me, obviously, my shopping process is an example to no one. I imbibe fashion content, go to second hand stores and see what I find. Or I become obsessed with an idea and stalk it online at second hand stores. I spend tons of time on this, find it a perfect distraction from everything else and have an enormous closet .

I keep a small wardrobe that I refresh as needed/desired. I love my clothes but I have no sentimental attachment to impede the turnover.

Pants and tops are worn so often I rarely keep them beyond the season. I anticipate replacement and I usually have a very clear idea of what I want.

I don't buy out of season unless I'm duplicating and that's very rare, and while I might search for a better price for an item I've identified, I never randomly shop sales. I don't randomly shop at all, actually.

The most expensive items in my wardrobe are shoes and bags, outerwear and knits and these are almost always held over for several years, sometimes longer, so I usually choose classic styles in relatively neutral colors.

I think I felt like being more impulsive, not having a plan, not having a theme, was somehow more valid, creative or exciting. Maybe ironically, it's been very freeing to apply the conscious, deliberate thinking that I believe I've learned from Angie.

Phoebe, what do you mean about usually finding exactly what you had decided to look for? I’ve had a sustainably made sweater that’s between periwinkle & indigo on my wishlist for a couple seasons now, haven’t come across one yet, though I’ve seen similar. Is that more specific than what you look for? More weird? Do you just spend more time on it than I do? Because I literally can’t imagine deciding i want x, walk into a store or open my browser, and there it is.

I cannot give you any advice on this topic. Reading this thread had me Googling “puff sleeve pink sweatshirt” my new want thanks to Rachy! I try to add discipline to my purchasing through setting style goals. If the jeans at my local retailers are not quite right, I decide it will be a season where I wear skirts, dresses and trousers, I try to not make any want a need.

It's the double whammy of no time and a reduced budget that's tricky, I have always found a lower budget leads to increased energy required for the search.

FWIW Lisa, I now purchases from very few stores, online or bricks and mortar which drastically reduces my search time.

I shop for pieces rather than a whole look.

And I focus on one item at a time, at the moment it's a leather jacket.

When I find an essential I like I will duplicate in another colour if the budget allows.

I have to admit, I am really anal when it comes to shopping and wardrobe analysis. I am religiously tracking wears and that helps me with deciding what I need. I am also not very patient and very indecisive which is not a good combination. I get easily overwhelmed with amount of choices so I need focus when I shop. My current system will work only if my weight is not fluctuating, we will see about that in the future. Currently my whole wardrobe is from 2019 and above (not including accessories and bags) .
Couple of years ago I calculated how many of each category I actually need and that was u turning point for me. I will give you example with jeans. I don’t wear jeans that much, I don’t wear them to work, don’t wear them in high summer or on coldest winter days. There are 52 weekends in a year, and I will wear jeans maybe half the time, so I have about 60 potential wears per year. If I wear each pair 10 times per year, 6 pairs in total will be enough for me. To get some variety 2 of them are white, 1 light wash, 1 medium and 2 in dark wash. All in different cuts. I also calculated that if I replace 1-2 pairs each year I would keep a pair between 3-6 years and get between 30 and 60 wears which seems ok to me. So when I plan my shopping for the next year, I will check if there is a pair that didn’t get a lot of wear this year. Currently this is a pair of medium rise bootcut jeans in dark wash. Reason why I didn’t wear them much is that I am so used to higher rise now that they feel wrong. And my tops are now mostly cropped and I don’t have much tops that go with them. But I still like bootcut silhouette in dark wash so I will replace them with high rise bootcuts in dark wash. I will repeat the process with every category when I start planing my shopping for the next year in December. I will also prioritize purchases, end every month next year I will choose something from the master list created in December that fit the monthly budget. Some months I will choose few smaller items, and some months I will skip completely to save for some big ticket item in the future.

And to answer your more specific questions, so when I have identified what exactly I need - example high rise bootcut jeans - I would check all the brands that I had luck with before- like Levi’s, 7 famk, True Religion, Frame, G-Star to see if they have something in that style, hopefully on sale I would order a bunch to try at home and compare but we have option here to pay later only what I keep. Klarna, AfterPay - do you have such options if you don’t want to put it on the card?

Stag, maybe you were building on this?

"I anticipate replacement and I usually have a very clear idea of what I want."

I would have to personally research company claims of sustainability, and the effort required would probably severely limit brand options but I do have my own search parameters.

My color choices are pretty easy to accommodate. I am almost exclusively an internet shopper although I sometimes pick things up in local stores and if the exact item imagined eludes me I will search a different style in the same category. Fabric is limited to highest possible content natural fibers and is both the most important and the most difficult to find.

Phoebe, yes, that’s what I was looking at. Sounds like we have similar criteria, but on first read I thought you meant you can always find just what you’re looking for

Hmm, I'm not much help. My shopping style is similar to Jaime's :). I can get obsessed with finding just the right thing (especially this time of year, when I feel like my fashion and clothes energy shifts into really high gear, lol), but I usually return stuff if it's not what I want, and then eventually the desire fades. This happened to me with snakeskin booties (with a very specific look), which I sought for years, couldn't find, and eventually gave up on. I enjoy the hunt, however, and find browsing for clothes and footwear online relaxing and fun.

I also try to have the wabi sabi/beauty in imperfection mantra firmly in mind, so I can be content with what I have and what I buy, especially since I buy a lot of my clothes via consignment, e.g., TheRealReal, and I am sort of hard to fit as a large person with broad shoulders, long arms, and a very high waist that isn't well-defined. So even if something isn't perfect (and I'd say that 80% of my wardrobe isn't!), I can still love it and relish wearing it.

Can I ask: When you say you settle for second best, do you acknowledge you are settling at the time, or do you think "this is it, finally!" and then only realize later it's not exactly what you wanted? Each scenario leads to a different solution, IMHO.

Jonesy - settling for second best , in my case, means I know it’s not great but I’m frustrated and eager to stroke the task off of my list . Sometimes I *do* think I’ve scored a winner only to realize after a single wear that I was wrong .

Thank you all for taking the time to chime in with your thoughts here. If nothing else , it’s good to know there is no perfect single way to shop . I don’t think I was able to articulate my real issue here - which often happens - but that’s ok . I’ve enjoyed and appreciated all of the stories and comments !

I don’t have to plan or think about what direction I’m going in for any given season. That is usually organic and intuitive . I love to reap the rewards but usually resent the work that needs to go into it ;). Lol! I think I have to accept the fact that getting the right thing does take time and energy . If I’m not willing to put in the time - then I get what I get .

We really don't know how things will work IRL. The shoes that are comfy in the store, but hurt after an hour, the jeans that fit right, but are somehow too loose or tight once those tags are off. The color that looks quite different in the light of the store than outside...etc. :/

I don't think I have great advice but have some jean story to add.
I am currently looking for a pair of jeans that is the perfect medium blue, high waist but not too high wasted, looser on the hips but more tapered on the leg without looking too baggy.
I have found a pair that is too light, another that is too high waisted and a third one that is too baggy. I have them, I wear them once in a while but they are not the perfect pair that I can just trow and have a feel that I want these jeans to have.
I don't like to roam store after store trying on jeans to find the perfect one and it is dificult to judge the fit of a jean online even when you know the brand.
In my case I also don't like to return things by mail.
So, I will choose a couple of brands that I am comfortable with the price point, from time to time check online to see if something that seems to be what I want is availble, or someone here has recommended it and go to store to try it or order it online.
Not a perfect strategy but takes out some of the frustration from the process for me.

Coming late to this, but re: your revised question "how do you find what you're looking for?" -- how much time do I put in and does it become an obsession? Sometimes I am looking for something, can't find it, maybe do a few rounds of order-and-return but still nothing workable -- I definitely get burned out on the search, and will give up in frustration and maybe (especially if it is something important like a bralette to wear in summer, which I FINALLY found a workable version of this year and the company promptly discontinued, THANKS FOR NOTHING) revisit it some months down the road. So, all that is to say, I definitely relate to the frustration. In your situation with the jeans, after trying the usual brands and finding nothing I might try to pinpoint what wasn't working about the options I had tried and then do a google search with whatever parameters I had homed in on (like: maybe the rise needs to be 10-11 inches, that sort of thing). And then if that didn't work I would give up! :-/

Re: sitting down pre-season, planning, and then getting it done -- I have not really done that in the past and I think my wardrobe has suffered for it, so trying to find a different approach is what has been behind a couple of my recent threads about planning and prioritizing purchases. I also found this recent post by Bridgette Raes talking about her fall wardrobe plan very useful. Inspired by her approach I am making a list of my fall clothing in each category (pants, tops, etc.) broken down by: Have, To Mend/Alter, Looking For, and Looking At (meaning a specific possibility at a specific store that fits an item on my Looking For list).

It all definitely requires a fair amount of time and introspection but I actually enjoy that part of the process -- though I do struggle to find the time to sustain my efforts through to the end.

I REALLY like what La Ped says -- really her whole post but especially "you can "settle" for what you already have, and add/replace when you find just the right thing." I am committed to having a medium-size wardrobe, which maybe sounds odd -- I'm saying it that way because I often feel like I *should* aspire to a minimal wardrobe, but that just does not work for me for several reasons. And being able to "settle" for what I already own is one of them.

It sounds like having trendy/updated jeans is important to you. If that's not working out at the moment, I wonder if there are other parts of your wardrobe that would be easier to update/freshen up given current trends on offer, and maybe you could focus there while you wait for the jeans situation to improve? I'm finding lately that if there is some particular aspect of my wardrobe that feels new or interesting to me (whether that's a new item or rediscovering things I already own or finding new ways to style things), that provides a lot of pleasure that I can focus on and makes the other shortcomings of my wardrobe fade into the background a bit.

I think Sarah makes an excellent point about perhaps waiting out this round of jeans fashions. It seems that wide leg is the new thing. Here in Berlin they look kind of funky and fresh, but from what you have said, and from the one person from anywhere close to you I've known (a high school gym teacher from Edmonton), I think that cut will be difficult to wear in a stylish kind of way, sort of like wearing trendy cowboy boots in Texas or whatever.

This is such a great question and forced me to recognize I no longer really have a strategy myself and maybe I would do better to develop one, LOL.

I haven't read the conversation yet but will go back to it after this preliminary response.

I did, at one time, have a strategy. When I was younger and on a very strict budget and before online shopping was a thing, I shopped twice a year, first for what I've since learned to call "essentials" at the start of a season, and then in the second hand shops for my fun wildcard and completer pieces. (Second hand was my method to stretch my budget). I did this for years.

Then, when I was raising my kid and step-kids, I didn't have a strategy except, hey, go by Winners or Old Navy and see what they have. That went on for about a decade and got depressing.

Then I learned to shop online. I still do most of my shopping that way and I send a LOT back. I don't find it difficult. I just box it up right away and pop in in the mail (or to the courier). I do find it helps to focus on retailers whose fit models tend to work for me and the only way I found that out was by going to the big city and trying on a lot of stuff by different makers in person.

I actually find the trying on a lot more fun when I am not in a rush and have no real need to buy something in that moment -- if I go there with the attitude that it is a fact finding mission.

I know I'll continue to shop online but now that stores are open again, I would also like to explore more in person shops in my new city and figure out how to make shopping fun again.

I have some fundamental strategies
-a ‘do not buy’ list, based on past experience and current wardrobe contents
-ask myself where I will wear something; I need clothes for work and home, so my need for clothes for other occasions is v limited
-does it fit with my preferred style of “airy modern ease”?
For fit issues, and how they intersect with approach to shopping, I find there are items where fit is less tricky and so online shopping is ok. But for things where structured fit is key, I find try-ons probably waste less time, long term or I only shop online with a retailer with solid returns policy. I will often research online what I think I’ll like first, and check if it’s in stock if the retailer provides that detail. So shoes, jackets, fitted trousers and fitted tops.
The other thing is that I dislike malls- there is an enjoyable shopping street about 30 mins from where I live, so I often start with the retailers I know have a shop there.

It's such a great question, "How do you find what you're looking for?"

And the answers here range from the strategic to the random. I'm strategic in that I know in my head what I'm needing. But I'm random in that the answers to that need often show up in the oddest of places, either online like a blog or instagram post, or in person. Like how I found my needed chino's in the men's workwear section of my town hardware store while having keys made!

Jean searches can be the hardest of all! Have we had a recent thread of the best jeans lately??

Ah, ok. I went back and read all the commentary (what a great thread! Fab advice and interesting perspectives!) and then read your follow up clarification. You're talking (in part) about what do you do when you can't find the essentials you really need? In your case it's the great pair of jeans but there will be others.

I feel this.

To be completely honest, I don't have a great answer here. I look and look and order and send back and go in store and try on and often, eventually, if things are really bad, I just CAVE and buy the thing that is an almost and immediately feel guilty and sometimes get smart enough to return before it is too late, but sometimes wear the darn thing and hate it and have to start again.

For me, this almost only ever happens with true essentials like (for me) jeans, casual boots I can walk in but that are not gear and can be worn with actual clothes, and white or navy tops needed for the season (sleeveless cotton or linen in summer, merino in winter.)

I had bad experiences with all these items in the last few years. I bought a BR linen top in 2020 that I wore precisely once -- the buttons were fiddly and the shape was too boxy and did not work on me. A cream coloured faux wrap top that was WAY too "muddy" a cream to work on me (but it was sleeveless -- you have one in black I think?). Dreadful on me. Ugh.

I bought jeans from BR last year that were a complete bust. In desperation I bought them. I wore them, too, but hated them and eventually resumed the search. I still don't have "perfect" jeans but I have a few styles that work okay for me -- not the most current but comfortable and useful.

I also bought an Angie recommended BR sweater. The sweater was fun and a good weight for the climate and a decent quality. But I forgot that I really only like patterns that have white or light grey in them -- I didn't like this sweater with blue jeans, nor with white because I wanted a white stripe to brighten and tie the look together. So I wore it for a season a few times and passed it on with some guilty but not a huge amount.

I also bought a merino navy sweater from J. Crew that was less than perfect but the very best I could find last year. I did wear it and will continue to wear it for a year or two but am now on the lookout for its replacement. (This is one strategy -- start looking before it wears out.)

Items I bought in error below....

So what I like to do is overthink the whole thing, then spend 100 years online doing research, and then go to the mall and buy something totally different from what I was planning (just kidding ... but not totally kidding ...)

What seems to be a better approach for me right is to wait until something niggles at me ... some need or real want (i.e. not driven by excessive Instagram time and/or someone advising that 'everyone needs item x') and then go physically shopping with a flexible idea of what I might be looking for to fill said need or want (unless it's a super-practical item like a winter puffer, in which case I might nail down tighter parameters around function). The more I try to plan and control my wardrobe, the less it works ... a lighter hand seems to render better, less fraught results and enable a bit more serendipity.

An example of this is, last Christmas I was really bothered by my holiday capsule and wanted a satin skirt to wear with simple tops to create a festive outfit. I came home with cropped textured pants with a sort-of-plaid pattern on them. Not at all what I had in mind, but filled the function (essentially, a statement bottom to wear with simple tops that would work for the holidays) perfectly.

Suz’s reply takes me back to how one decides one’s style. If it comes organically, it will be the result of picking up things you like. As long as you have reasonably consistent tastes, I see no reason why they shouldn’t all go together, like my palette which has come together over a quarter century. Instead of searching for that specific thing, you ask whether your latest craze has a place. But if you are trying to force things, then you will have a very narrow spectrum of items you must find. Making substitutions will be difficult, because they can’t be based on what you are just drawn to if that’s not how you came to the original.

Making sure one doesn’t have a closet entirely full of blue dresses or tank tops only or whatever your thing is, to me, is the best use of lists and plotting. So I vote firmly for letting your emotions be your guide to what items you consider adding to your wardrobe.

Note: I recently watched this movie, and May have identified a bit strongly with the main character’s euphoria.

Helen, were we posting at the same time? I didn’t see your comment, but I totally agree. Getting hung up on the item, rather than the function, makes things hard.

I'm so impatient minded I couldn't even make it through most of the other comments. Ha! I have a limited budget for clothes as a personal choice because I want to have enough to live on in retirement mainly. I do buy quality when I can. Just bough a new Coach purse and wallet for example because I think it's important to have quality for something I use every day. I did shop for a new one on/off for quite a long time as I had a couple that were still "usable" that tided me over. I also have a *very* casual life style so most of what I purchase is clothing others would only wear on the weekend if they weren't "going out."

I like to have maybe 5 or 6 pair of jeans that are well fitting and feel good to me. I don't buy trends for these, I know what I like and stick with it. Levis, Lucky jeans, AG, and KUT all hang in my closet and last me for years. And it is VERY hard replacing them sometimes I have to admit so I do without until I find the right pair. I rarely order more than 2 pair to try. For jean shorts, I often buy jeans on sale or use my older ones and cut them off because I know they will fit and last.

Tees and tee-like tops are my next biggest purchase. I will let myself buy quite a few of these because they are lower priced and I wear them so much, mainly opting for 100% cotton, v-neck and loose fit that I can semi-tuck and not show off a little belly (at my age it's just a fact of life).

Color is one of THE most important things to me for both tees and other tops and toppers. I do buy seasonally because colors change with seasons so availability is a question. I am very picky and set on "my" colors. Anything outside of them probably won't get worn. I usually shop by color first, then by style. I know which necklines I like and don't like so there's that too. I wear very few patterned tops, I think I have maybe 8 total in my closet. I do have a few graphic tees.

Shoes I will pay for but again, I'm so casual that I'm buying high quality sneakers and slip ons, quality sandals and such - nothing "fancy" or "trendy" really.

So I guess I'm a bit boring when it comes to clothes but I've learned I am much happier sticking to the things I know I like. I do sometimes buy a wildcard just to try it out. Faded jean jacket for this fall as an example. And I still have the deep olive embroidered cargo pants that I enjoy.

There are so many ways to set your "style" so once you know what it is, it seems like just forcing yourself to stick to your guns makes it easier. I don't shop that often but I do browse for a few mins. every week I guess. I don't want to let myself get completely out of fashion, even if it isn't a huge important part of my current life.

I think the pursuit of perfection can rub both ways...for the good and the bad. For the good, we hone our shopping skills, get knowledgable about better fits and our own personal style. But for the bad, it can also kind of drive us crazy, finding the perfect _______ whatever. Are the chino's I found in the hardware store the "most perfect ones ever"? (horrible saying!...just like "living my best life"! ). No...but for the price...$25.00...they are so perfect for right now. And they have brought me so much joy to wear in the last month. And isn't joy the point anyway? I've had no experience of having settled. Not every piece of clothing, like not every meal, or every movie, needs to be a masterpiece, does it? It meets the need in the moment and something I recognize myself in. It's not the last pair of pants I will ever buy...and we all know that the perfect one today changes any way, and becomes the "I'm tired of this now" or "I've changed" in the future. It's a bit like the horizon, it's always out there, moving as we move. And we can take that as torture..."I'll never get there"...or we can take it as one more clothing, of course :). Just my take!

I really like what Helena said about going out looking for a satin skirt but coming back with pants that filled the same purpose,

For all kinds of reasons I might never find a specific item I envision, so I'm much better off when I can identify the role I want a piece of clothing to fill and then keep an open mind when I shop.

One could say my 'strategy' (rather an ambitious word for what I do...) is lots of trial and error. I find something I think might have potential. I bring it home and play with it. ad infinitum.

This is a great thread. How do I find what I am looking for?

I shop online because I have no choice. There are limited B & M stores where I live.
I buy all my footwear from an independent store in Montreal. I limit myself to a couple of retailers that work for me. Aritizia for jeans (Citizens of Humanity), The Bay, Lululemon, Nordstrom's, Banana Republic and a couple of independent boutiques. Sometimes I buy from places like Power of My People and Jesse Kamm. I like to do more of that, but I would need a bigger budget.
I have used Everlane in the past, but I was unhappy with them the last few times.
I stick to a few brands that I know fit me. All my denim is Citizens of Humanity. Out of necessity, all my footwear is Birkenstock, Finn Comfort and Saute Mouton.

When I shopped at B & M, I would go out to get a pair of shoes and come home with jeans and a sweater. I still needed the shoes.

Thanks again for more thoughts and suggestions here! Suz , your experience mirrors mine , which actually makes me feel better . Haha.

I think it helps to keep in mind that certain items are like finding needles in haystacks: Flattering wide leg jeans for one and any other item that is not conventionally flattering on most bodies, assuming you seek a reasonable amount of flattery. With those type of items expect to kiss a lot of frogs.

Since I am short with short arms, I expect to kiss a lot of frogs. At the beginning of this season, I wanted to get a machine washable medium weight or lighter black blazer that didn’t look too corporate. Not gonna happen. The stance is always too low and the length too long even if the sleeves don’t have buttons and can be shortened. But I think I will keep the washable(!) cropped jacket below that I bought on a whim. But no bare midriff, thank you.

Due to my pancake caboose, finding jeans, much less pants, that don’t get deep horizontal folds down the thighs in back is a ‘mare. Stretch helps a bit. High waists with similar front and back measurements are even better. Still a lot stock photos to study and frogs to kiss.

The other thing I have learned since joining YLF is that wearing a variety of silhouettes on the bottom makes a difference on what looks good on top —which leads to a larger wardrobe.

There is method to most of my madness.

1. Seasonal wardrobe holes: First I try and do a review for season appropriate wear. I have neglected summer clothing in the past for work and sweltered in my lightest fall/spring jackets. This year I searched out 2 VB resale light weight blazers which were immediate workhorses. Second, I hate buying tops. I don't have enough or enough variety. So I'm stuck doing a column of navy. I like fitted knits so I found the theory regal ss merino which is pretty much an all seasons and I just ordered a ribbed med blue tank from MM la fleur because nordstrom carries that brand now to see if that works.

2. Wardrobe transitions: I'm feeling pants for work more than leggings. So I added the vince cigarette pants and the paige ponte black jeans which can wear to work.

3. Shift in focus - Tall boots - building my fall/winter/spring around adding in more tall boots so I bought the weatherproof aquatalia cambia at NAS which had their first outing. They are going into big time rotation.

4. Replacements. My black calvin klein trench has 10 yr of hard wear. I ordered a long fog in two sizes. I'll see if it works. I shop totally online now so it's tough but I'm still off the grid. Otherwise this will be a hewi - knee length, hood, detachable lining, double breasted big list tough to find. Last year I replaced old puffers and dress winter coat. Each year I see if there is a big ticket I really need to replace.

5. Duplicating high rotation items - second pair of vince coin pocket chinos as they are workhorses.

6. Luxury items - boots/booties are my jam. The wardrobe hole was knee high water resistant which was filled. I am thinking about the theory knee high lace up lug sole boots which are on sale.... But there is only one indulgence per season so I'm still debating. But boots are a high wear item and would up the style game. Last year it was replace unloved leather moto with perfect motos. On poshmark resale got two one for dress one casual. Done for the foreseeable lifetime.

7. Life requirement pieces - covered for weddings, funeral etc. Yes I do that and I'm prepared for black tie to exercise. So no formal pieces.

8. HEWI - always looking for the tux blouse, lace blouse, perfect trench

Don't know if that helps but that's kind of the way I approach shopping now. Not easy. GL!!

Yeah. Helena expresses it well...the function is key -- but alas, it is much easier to be flexible when what you need or crave is a new statement item. When you're after an essential, it's more difficult.

Stag Fash
-- were you suggesting that my style is not organic? I wasn't sure what you meant.

In any case, to clarify further -- I am looking for the function when I seek a pair of jeans and a summer (or winter) white top or a plain navy one.

I'm not after some illusory "perfection" in the item itself. The item is only perfect in its context. To work for me, the top or the jeans I search out do have to fit, feel comfortable, and be consistent with my style persona. (So, for example, I am not comfortable in jeans with rips all the way through or pink glitter all over them even if the fit happened to be fantastic) .

Most of us have some fit issues. Jeans are notoriously tough for a lot of bodies. Comfort can also be elusive if one has sensitivities to specific fabrics, etc. And consistent with style persona can be difficult in some years as well. It all becomes more difficult if you have a restricted budget, you live in a small town or city or outside a city or a place without generous return policies, etc.

To me, there's no other pant that really fills the place of jeans in my wardrobe, though I like wearing other kinds of pants. And ditto for tops in my key light and dark solid neutrals. Without those, my outfits don't come together and my style falls apart, pretty much.

That's because my style is a lot more neutral dominant than yours. I'm a fan of colour and I enjoy pattern mixing but typically I prefer to ground my outfits with my key neutrals. LJP's style is even more neutrals dominant, as a rule. That's why a really good black top and a pair of jeans could prove absolutely crucial for her and there really is no other way to fill those functions. Unless she decides she will forego jeans entirely in favour of a simple black pant or an olive cargo pant (if that's easier to find and fit) -- which, I suppose, is always possible. It's tougher to give up on core items in your essential neutrals, though. I don't look good in beige so I will never exchange it for one of my other neutrals. Just won't work. I need those white and navy tops!

My stuff does all "go together" as you put it, in the sense that it all reflects my style priorities and much of it can be mixed and matched into new outfit combinations. But if I'm missing the key backbone essentials, that's not going to happen. And shopping for those can be difficult at times -- for example, finding navy has been tough in the past few years dominated at retail by earth tones.

For statement shopping, I'm led by whim and even whimsy -- it is not a chore but a joy. I also enjoy shopping for essentials because I have less guilt about purchasing them. In fact, I'm much more likely to overload on essentials than on statements -- there seem to be two types of shoppers in that respect and that is just my personal fall back, but I don't mind this -- if they are available. It's when you can't find them that it becomes a chore and a problem and strategies could help.

Phew, that got long! Sorry for the digression, if it is one.