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.
8 thoughts on “Good Things Come to Greedy People Who Wait”
Thank you for posting! I just discovered your blog about a month ago and was intrigued with your fashion (and now fashion procurement) sensibilities. I bookmarked (you must know is a high honor because I don’t often do so) and then there were no more posts. Thought you had given up. So glad I didn’t erase the bookmark. Loved this calculation. I may have to consider it for future purchases.
Welcome, Georgia! So glad you found this blog. I am always curious — how did you find it? Was it an organic search for something?
I actually know the answer! One of my younger friends talked about hard pants and I didn’t want to acknowledge my ignorance so I googled it. You provided a very helpful description in one of your blog posts. Anyway, love your style…fashion and writing.
I would think the offkilter sensibility of this blouse exempts its puff sleeves from the more general expiration date on puff sleeves?
I’m so pleased it worked out for you! Blouse is very lovely. I would have paid full price because I like it so much.
This is a great post! I really like the formula for purchasing a clothing item. Would it apply to other categories? On the purchase of shoes I buy inexspensive dress shoes , but will over pay for the ones that work hard such as sneakers and hikers. The blouse is cute. As for the pants …….
I’m digging the blouse. Good things come to those who wait…
The blouse looks great with those pants.
I have some pants that color and while they go with a lot, it’s nice to have a non-solid top that doesn’t introduce too many other colors with them.
Cheetah prints seem to always be popular. I think if you decide the sleeves are dated you can still get mileage out of it underneath something. They’re silk, they’ll settle down. You could substitute a ribbon for the elastic in the sleeve and let it slide further down your upper arm, which would probably take some of the poof out of the sleeve.
The neckline is unusual. Both the puffy sleeves and the gathered neckline, presumably a bit adjustable would take more yardage than a straight sleeve and a faced or collared neckline.
It was probably overpriced to begin with, so secondhand I think it seems like a good buy.