Five Things I Will Never Buy Again

by Erin on September 24, 2006

After moving, I have come to the realization that I have actually achieved a gracious sufficiency (and more) of most of the things that it is possible to have (the two notable exceptions being dresses and books, of which too much is never enough). For instance, I really, really do not need to ever buy another pair of patterned shoes (even ones like this):

delman flats

I believe now I have a pair of patterned shoes in most possible colorways and I barely, if ever, wear them.

I'm also not buying any more barrettes or hairclips. I could probably outfit an eight-year-old's slumber party with what I've got now, and my hair has been short for at least a couple of years. Not even sparkly Hello Kitty clips from Japan. Really. I swear.


Neither am I buying (or hopefully, causing to be bought) any more THEMED SOCKS:


I never wear them. I mean, NEVER, unless the house is freezing and nobody's done any laundry. I have several pairs that have never been opened. I think I have come around to the philosophy that funny socks are not for me. (Actually, I've always thought so, but, as with the bananas, I gave into other people asking me to try them. How do you turn down a five-year-old boy giving you Supergirl socks? You do not.) I like white socks, and I like (when necessary) black trouser socks, but considering how long it's been since I wore *trousers*, that hasn't come up in a while.

It's still open season on patterned tights, though. Those are always good.

And speaking of trousers, I don't think I'm buying any more of those, either. I don't wear them; I don't even think about wearing them, and yet I moved half-a-dozen pairs. I have a pair of wide-legged black wool, no cuffs; a pair of narrow-legged black wool; a pair of wide-legged gray wool, cuffs; and a pair of black silk toreador pants. And a pair of tuxedo pants. And a couple of pairs of jeans in various sizes, ranging from "only in your dreams, dress-girl" to "you and a friend can wear me." I think the pants just hang in the closet and look sulkily at the dresses. The last time I wore the gray ones I wore them with a chunky chartreuse wool short-sleeve turtleneck — that should tell you how long it's been.


And this last is more of a "shouldn't buy" than a "won't buy" — NO. MORE. BEADS. At least until I finish making something, anything, out of the drawerful I moved (and, of course, spilled). No more beads! Not even ones like this:


There. I think, instead of keeping a "Want List," I'm going to start keeping a "Don't Want" list. Think of all the things I could put on it! No more knit fabrics until I sew what I have. No more bad chocolate–wait for the good stuff or nothing. Nothing with a logo (that's been on my list FOREVER). What would be on your "don't want" list?

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane and the ducks September 24, 2006 at 7:46 am

I love this post… so funny and true. I feel the same about fabric and yarn… a big NO MORE until I use at least half of my enormous pile!


sdn September 24, 2006 at 8:08 am

ha! you can always send your beads to elise matthesen, who is an amazing jewelry artist.i got rid of a bunch of clothing yesterday (hello, 1990, goodbye), and would put on my list:- white (and, worse, navy blue) t-shirts- hanna andersson dresses that look like bags- weird ebay findsi don’t know why i persist in thinking that i will somehow find matching shoes in my closet for a wonderfully cut dress in an unusual color. somehow it never happens.


Erin September 24, 2006 at 8:13 am

Oh, navy blue! I will never buy anything navy blue again. I can’t match it, and I can’t wear black with it (although I know you’re supposed to be able to “now”), and I have horrible school-uniform flashbacks in it. I have quit the Navy for good, I have, and not even impressment will get me to return.


oracle September 24, 2006 at 8:54 am

I hope I don’t buy any more patterns or clothes that seem to be more about an image I think I should be, rather than through which I just express myself. But playing with images can be fun, too. I just don’t want to get hung up in them. The way I was raised, image was the only thing that counted — one was supposed to hide one’s expression of self at all costs. And it cost a lot.


Bellaleigh September 24, 2006 at 9:12 am

Yes, BEADS!!! I have drawers and drawers full and I have made exactly one pair of earrings and embellished one top. That hardly is worth the space they take up!Also, MARBLES in every color. You know, the decorative kind where you put them in the bottom of the glass with a plant on top and a fish floating around in there? (I say floating because they always die, poor things.) That’s a fad that thankfuly has passed, but the marbles live on because I just MIGHT need them someday. Or not.


Stephanie September 24, 2006 at 9:40 am

This post comes at a good time for me, since I’m in the middle of a serious closet clean-out. It’s been interesting to see what I haven’t worn–anything with a crewneck, for instance. I only go higher or lower. Anything thematic, like over-the-top vintage western shirts. Anything unflattering (duh, I hope). I’ve declared a moratorium on beads too, and really should give away most of what I have on hand. My “don’t buy” list includes logos, stilettos, clunky shoes, ruffles, anything white (I spill), cheap-looking tweed, drawstring pants, cropped anything…


sdn September 24, 2006 at 10:14 am

Oh, navy blue! I will never buy anything navy blue again. I can’t match itokay, if (even) you can’t match it, then i truly feel justified and redeemed. oh, and i almost forgot:NoPlaidEverhee.


nora September 24, 2006 at 10:20 am

I’ve been in closet-purge mode lately, too: for example, I just recently threw out a BAGFUL of holey socks and underwear that’s lost its elastic. They were clogging up my socks-and-underwear drawer because I felt guilty about throwing them out! I kept thinking, oh, I’ll make toys or sachets out of those socks or something…also, it seems like one really ought to be able to recycle cotton fabric, SOMEWHERE (you know, into nice recycled paper or something).So, on my list of “no mores” are panties in the wrong style (such as those adorable boy shorts, which might work IF I had a boy butt), and anything second-hand or on sale (everything I buy, except sox, undies, and shoes fall into that category) that:*fits but is an unflattering color*is a great find but nothing I would ever wear*is a good color or fabric but needs alteration, a new zipper, etc. NO MORE I say!!! (At least not until my sewing skills improve and it’s a TOTAL find, and something I kind of need.)I’ve also got a moratorium going on t-shirts. I’m trying to teach myself how to sew blouses, in an effort to look slightly more (gracefully) adult.White and navy are out for me too: I spill stuff also, and navy is so the color of the Man (the cops, bankers, etc.) I’d make an exception to both for a new look dress in navy silk with white polka-dots (though I’d never have shoes to wear with it); to me that’s taking two things I don’t like and turning them into something I can’t resist.Oh, and I’m with you on the good chocolate. Totally different animal than the cheap stuff.


robertajune September 24, 2006 at 10:25 am

Flannel nightgowns are at the top of my “don’t want” list now that hot flashes have taken over my nights!


Diane September 24, 2006 at 10:58 am

I’m with more fabric! I can say this with conviction after my recent purchase of many yards of silk for 6 bucks a yard.


Nadalia September 24, 2006 at 11:11 am

Black skirts. I love them, they are versitile, but I need another one like I need another hole in my head. I have one short tiered, a long tiered, a straight long plain, a straight short plain, a straight long w/embroidery, and I’m sure there are others lurking in there that I don’t remember I have.


oracle September 24, 2006 at 11:33 am

Any clothing made from polyester. Polyester can turn a molecule of sweat into a stink in a hurry. When food that contains any kind of oil tumbles down onto it, it holds the stain for ever and ever. It can melt to your skin and cause severe burns if it catches fire, whether you’re loading logs into the woodstove or sauteeing summer tomatoes with green pepper and onion on the stovetop. And it is an oil product. From the oil companies. Like gas. So it has politics. I learned this last one years ago when I was doing filing as a temp for one of the big oil companies.Aside from all that rationalization, I just plain can’t stand the stuff. Although I can allow that it can gorgeously mimic silk, from time to time!


La Rveuse September 24, 2006 at 1:15 pm

If you don’t want those Goonies socks, I’ll totally take them! Tell me where to send postage. ;)I wear my “weird” socks, usually under boots, which I wear a lot in the winter. Boot-heels are comfy (I don’t know why), and I wear a lot of wool trousers as well. I love dresses, but when it’s -30 degrees, and when I have to be squatting on the floor adjusting clarinet embouchures, pants are just more practical.Most of your “don’t wants” are the ones I totally use! For me, don’t wants are undies (I recently did a second culling–I have a tendency to buy lots on sale, and then wear the same ones over and over. I could go months if I washed my undies seperately), little summer tops that I don’t wear too often because I’m well-endowed and never feel quite comfortable when I’m showing too much, and hats/mittens/knit scarves that I always feel guilty about getting rid of (guess that’s the North Dakota gene rearing its ugly head.) Let me know when your garage sale is held! I’m in the market for more wide-leg wool…(was Mrs. B in Paris)


lazylol September 24, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Great post!I need to do a ‘Don’t Want List’ too. I could start with fabric, patterns, yarn, magazines……


Robinson September 24, 2006 at 1:35 pm

I love wide leg wool pants. I never feel better than when I am wearing a well fit pair of wide leg wool trousers. Perhaps I need to find an A Trouser a Day site.


Jezebella September 24, 2006 at 1:42 pm

I had to quit buying any article of clothing unless I know exactly, precisely, head-to-toe, what it went with and where I could wear it. This has helped diminish the orphan population in my closet dramatically. (Orphan = cute something that goes with NOTHING, or that I never have a reason to wear). I also try to get rid of one article of clothing for every article of clothing I buy, since I have teeny closets in a small house. Outside of the clothing realm: I also had to put all of my stationary in a nice box, look at it, and determine that there was no need to buy any more for a long, long time. I did the same with soap, incense, and moisturizers. Whenever I look at nice stationary, I flash to the lovely box of cute or lovely stationary I ALREADY HAVE, and almost always resist the temptation. Oh, and cutesy socks: I love wearing ridiculous cute socks under boots when I’m dressed like a grownup. I find it totally entertaining to wear a suit or dress, boots, pearls, and pink tinkerbell socks.


Anonymous September 24, 2006 at 2:24 pm

oh, but themed socks (ESPECIALLY Supergirl ones given by a five year old) are so comforting when you’re in bed with a cold. You put them on, plump up the pillows, cuddle the mug of Lemsip and watch reruns of Bilko. It’s something no trouser sock can offer. If they’re taking valuable space in your sock drawer, keep them in the first aid box.With you on the logo stuff. Avoid it all together. I remember reading that the late Jackie O used to remove Chanel’s logo from her belts and handbags. Snobby, but classy at the same time.Esther A.


Anonymous September 24, 2006 at 2:29 pm

Great post today! I just moved, and gained a lot of closet space. It’s not full, and I love it that way! Space to move things on the racks, enough shelving to separate long sleeves from short, no switching clothes from closet to box at season’s end. Therefore, I’ve also adopted the 1-in-1-out rule. No more for me:-Vintage dresses that are too “young” for me to wear, no matter how adorable-Dresses without waists (Good riddance, Coldwater Creek! And J. Jill!)-Dresses or blouses without darts-Cheap but cute clothing (cheap-but-was-once-expensive from the thrift is fineit’s quality that counts)-Acrylic anything!


Hecate September 24, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Um, if you’re not going to wear those shoes . . . .


Mina W September 24, 2006 at 3:30 pm

Oh dear, on the Facehunter link from the last comment section, is a picture of how not to wear an almost-Duro. All 3 of them are loosely overlapped to the high waist, without the vertical part of the bands. But the other two ladies have another garment underneath. Very beautiful lady, red dress. Presumeably I’m too small-town. I need to go scrub my mind out now.


Mrs. Melody September 24, 2006 at 4:15 pm

Neat blog! :)


Anonymous September 24, 2006 at 4:54 pm

Hello Kitty anything should not be worn by anyone over 12, unless you’re Paris Hilton…and that’s not an encouragement.


Julie The Vintage Goddess September 24, 2006 at 7:06 pm

Love the idea of a list of what I won’t buy.-No matter what is thrown at us by designers I will not buy leggings…or formal shorts…or highwaist shorts/pants-No huge shoulder pad tops or dresses (I know they will soon come back with the rest of the 80’s dreck)I’ve decided to follow the rule that if you wore it the 1st time it was a fadone should not wear it the 2nd time around.- Denim jumpers-Bag dresses-Anything without a collar, I do not look good in collarless dresses and tops and it is time I realize it and avoid those items no matter how cutethat gypsy top looks or how badly I want to buy something new…..


sewinggirlfromtheothersideoftheworld September 25, 2006 at 2:39 am

I’m also with you on the Navy Blue. It has lived on my ‘don’t want’ list since school days as my uniforms were blue and now my work scrubs are navy blue as well.


Sarah September 25, 2006 at 2:50 am

Nora, if you want to feel your holey socks are going to a good cause, I have a friend in San Francisco who is doing an art project that requires lots and lots of socks!Erin, I am currently on holidays (vacation!) in my native Australia, and am seeing Duro-esque dresses and tops *everywhere*. Some are lovely, some are ugly, some are just poorly worn (no matter how cold it is, long-sleeved undershirts are just not appropriate under such a dress), but they’re everywhere. I wished many times I had a camera so I could put them up somewhere to show you. :)There were so many lovely dresses while I was out shopping for myself today in Melbourne, but I couldn’t quite justify so much expensive designer wear… :(


Valerie September 25, 2006 at 10:43 am

My list is things that I used to buy that I now have too many of, or things that I just hate and know I don’t need. No acrylic. Pills the instant you put it on, and never recovers. No solid color knit tops. I have a million already. Since I have a lot of solid bottoms…this is a recipe for a million boring outfits. No flat shoes. What’s the point, really? No silly 80s trends. I have no need to relive 5th grade. And never any logos or tags on the outside of clothing. So ugly.


Nora September 25, 2006 at 11:01 am

Hi Sarah,I’d love to see my holey sox become art! Does your friend have a website or some such?


vespabelle September 25, 2006 at 2:14 pm

1. no thrift store/estate sale fabric in wild colors and prints. My eyes are drawn to them but even my six year old can’t wear lime green/orange/blue polka dot fabric!2. gold shoes. I don’t know why I buy them? A coworker told me they were neutral, but really 1960s gold sandles go with NOTHING I own.3. Thong underpants. (even at $.77 on sale, those thongs were not a good deal!)4. Fun Japanese stationery. I have enough! 5. striped socks! I’m beginning to feel a bit too much like a pirate! (six pairs of striped knee highs is enough!) but I will buy some patterened tights if the opportunity presents itself.


enc September 25, 2006 at 4:07 pm

Okay, this may sound pessimistic/defeatist, but no more garments bought specifically for dates. It’s like they’re jinxed as soon as you spend the cash. I bought a few things last year for dates with a certain guy, then the (cough) “relationship” ended quickly, leaving me with garments I really couldn’t be bothered to wear again. Frivolous, I know, but I had to get rid of them. Off to Goodwill I went. Is that too horrible?


lucitebox September 25, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Great topic! I never need another pair of shoes that don’t fit well. Even if they’re on sale or exceptionally cool–I CANNOT BREAK IN MY SHOES. That is a myth that needs to be squashed today.On that note, I’m not very fond of shoes that don’t bend or flex at the ball of the foot. No more Clompy Shoes.Novelty or fun t-shirts no matter how cheap or how cute. I think I’m done with those for awhile.Patterned tights. I’ve had one pair out of five that I liked. The rest make my legs look fat. I don’t care which magazine tells me that textured tights are in style. They make me look like I have rocket (not Rockette) legs. Earrings–I want one great pair that I haven’t found yet. After that, no more. Never wear ’em. Red shoes. I will pick another color when one is available instead of red. Suits–I have great vintage suits. I never wear them. No more for me until I actually wear the ones I have. I shudder to add this, but I could do without vintage full skirts that have pleating or gathers at the waist. I might actually make a move to outlaw the 50s full skirt for myself for at least a year or two. And please, no more sparkly, sequined, or jeweled evening vintage pieces for myself. What I got don’t need beads.


Shawn September 25, 2006 at 8:02 pm

No more shoulder pads, no more half-shoes, no more tattered jeans, no more silly patterns


yara September 25, 2006 at 8:09 pm

I love this post! And agree totally with navy blue…it is so difficult to combine and you never actually look classy or modern or anything. One should identify which colors don’t go with you no matter what (orange tee-shirts, for example).


Anonymous September 25, 2006 at 10:14 pm

At last count I own 56 t-shirts. I don’t need any more… and they make me look sloppy, anyway.


isabelle September 26, 2006 at 6:52 am

Grey wide legged trousers with cuffs? What size are they? I am a 29-30 inch waist, email me Erin I’d love to buy them… I have long legs though.


La BellaDonna September 26, 2006 at 5:29 pm

What I don’t need: Lydia Bennett purchases (Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better. … and when I have bought some prettier coloured satin to trim it with fresh, I think it will be very tolerable.)I need to stop buying things that just need “a little alteration” before I can wear them – and that would be virtually everything I buy, since I was apparently assembled out of scrap pieces.Don’t feel bad, Nadalia, I have at least as many different leopard skirts as you have black skirts – and I must have twice as many black skirts (hmmm: ankle-length full black suede skirt, ankle-length full black leather skirt, black suede trumpet skirt, 2 crinkled black silk circle skirts, 3-tiered black peasant skirt, long black devore floral silk velvet skirt, long black bias skirt, long straight black silk georgette skirt, long straight black stretch velvet skirt…)Mostly I need room. Heaven help me when my piles of fabric actually get translated into piles of clothes.


enc September 26, 2006 at 5:42 pm

I love the comment by “Shawn” about half-shoes. I move that we now and forever refer to Mules as “half-shoes.”


Minya, Warrior Seamstress September 26, 2006 at 6:46 pm

No more black boots until I wear out the ones I have. No more black clothing, I don’t care how stylish it’s supposed to be, unless I’m going into mourning. Avoid print bras unless I really like the pattern; they’re hard to wear under light colors or match an outfit to. No more pink/lipstick/mauve/raspberry/berry/magenta/fuschia jackets or tops.


busy91 September 27, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Let’s swap. I’ll give you my dresses you give me your slacks. LOL! Oh wait, I’m 6 feet tall, that may not work!


Mary September 27, 2006 at 8:57 pm

I want the patterned shoes. I love them. I am collecting them eventhough I know I can’t wear them all. :)


Laurel Alanna McBrine July 9, 2008 at 8:39 pm

1. No uncomfortable shoes, period;2. No navy since I prefer black and you really should pick one;3. No pants or jeans without stretch;4. No nylons;5. No more cosmetics with toxic chemical ingredients;6. Absolutely no thongs (and I don’t mean the kind you put on your feet :) – tried this once for about five minutes before ripping it from my body in horror;7. No more cute single items that end up never leaving the closet because they do not go with any other item in there;8. No more ruffles and frills – I feel silly in them even though I am attracted to them on the hanger;9. No more black skirts – I already have every shape and length in every fabric!10. Stop shopping for entertainment – recipe for disaster and closet chaos. Click here for my blog on living well!


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