There is a story of the late Jackie Onassis buying her fashion items likes tops and jumpers in bulk. A later version of the story has her returning most of them for a cash refund. True or not, I was reminded of this when I recently bought two pairs of jeans exactly the same for a future holiday.
Have you ever started to wear an item of clothing and realised how comfortable, versatile and flattering it is? Then you think ‘I wish I had bought two of these’. If the opportunity has been lost, you are left with a twinge of regret every time you wear it, especially as it starts to fade or slowly fall apart.
Here are my tips for Baby Boomers and women over 40 on the joys and challenges of buying two-of- a-kind fashion items.
Identical clothing items are best for basics like jeans, pants and skirts that are modern classics and can be dressed up or down in a number of different ways. They are great for Plan B occasions when you spill or stain one of them and need to change quickly. Black, chocolate brown, grey, navy or stone colours will mix with all of the colours and patterns in your wardrobe. These identical items are very useful for women who don’t want to think much about what to wear.
Identical dresses are rare (black ones are a different topic). White or coloured identical tops, shirts or jackets are also great for Plan B dressing. If they are quality, versatile items you will feel comfortable and smart wearing them for years. Because people notice more what is on the top half of your body, these items can more easily create negative feelings of boredom, feeling stuck in a rut or that everyone has seen you too often in this item.
The advantage of fraternal fashions over identical fashions is that, because of the colour or pattern variations, you will probably feel happier with them for longer. You may favour one more than the other but you always have a colour choice. Whether basic or modern classics, if the fit and style is right for you, you will wear them often.
The danger comes in accessorising them both the same way. While this makes for comfortable and easy dressing, you may not shine as much as you want to. Buy them only if you can mix and match your accessories to make each look unique or you will get bored with them.
Sometimes a fraternal twin pops up years later. I currently have a dress that is a close variation (different colour) of a style that I wore in my 20s. The style still flatters my more-relaxed shape. Grab these when you find them and keep their secret to yourself.
Think Twice Before You Buy
Often we do not recognise the versatility of a fashion item when we buy it. It is only later that we search for the same or a different coloured item. On other occasions we recognise the potential immediately. Stop and think twice before buying the second item, especially in the current climate of continuing sales.
Do you really love the style and will you be happy wearing it for years? Will you wear one til it wears out and then bring the second one out or will you alternate wearing them? Is it a well-made item or are you buying cheap quality that will need replacing sooner than you expected? Can you afford to buy two items? Do they fit perfectly or can they be adjusted to a perfect fit? There is nothing worse than two similar or identical items that need to be pinned, tucked or folded every time you wear them.
Identical and fraternal fashion items can be the best items in your wardrobe or a ‘what was I thinking’ disaster. It all comes down to knowing your most flattering colours and styles, your fashion personality and the modern classic styles that suit every Baby Boomer and woman over 40.
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