During the summer of 2020, I became enamored of a simple Ulla Johnson blouse — a cheetah print on silk with puffed sleeves. I can’t remember the original retail price, but whatever price it was, I adjudged it grossly disproportionate to the material and labor evident in the blouse itself and was unwilling to pay. But no one stood firm with me; the blouse sold out at Ulla Johnson, Shopbop, Nordstrom, and other locations without ever going on sale.
Fast-forward 15 months and what should appear on The RealReal but my heart’s desire — now available for a fraction of the original price.
I don’t have any bright-line rules on spending, but if there were a formula, it might look something like this: the sum of (retail value of material) + (wholesale value of craftsmanship) reduced by (projected cost of alterations) multiplied by (number of times I am likely to wear it in a year x number of years it is likely to be in style) ALL MULTIPLIED BY (assigned value of intensity of love for garment).
I can do this calculation in a matter of seconds without articulating any of the specific values.
This blouse earned high marks from me for value of material and intensity of love and received no deductions for alterations, but it didn’t score high on labor/workmanship because the construction is very simple. And its value wasn’t increased by projected usage because it isn’t likely to be worn often (it can’t be worn under a blazer or jacket) or for many more years (because the sleeves have an expiration date, I am guessing, of 2023).
But as we’ve discussed before, the heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes the heart wants to pay less.
In case you are wondering why I am wearing this blouse with my gold pants, there is a pale gold (in addition to camel) in this pattern.*
Note the poorly tied (by me) bow that tightens the neckline. Very cute!
Two posts this week to make up for lost time! Sunday/Monday’s post is here if you missed it. I may even post my holiday shopping recommendations this weekend. May. I also must procure a Christmas tree and decorate it. It’s going to be a busy weekend.
* For those of you wondering when my love affair with these pants will wane, the answer is NEVER. But I do have a new pair of semi-ludicrous pants — skinny, elasticized cuff, camouflage print — that are giving Gold Pants competition. You’ll see them soon.