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Favorite NYC Pastime

October 14, 2013 - Carrie Olson
Yesterday was one of those perfect fall days - a walk around Soho, pumpkin-caramel latte in hand, scarves, finished by a hike through the park. And as glorious as listening to Ella Fitzgerald croon "Autumn In New York" in my ear buds was, my wandering eye kept me from thoroughly enjoying the day. No, I wasn't gawking at handsome men with my fiancee at my side, no, instead I was cheating on my wardrobe.

Forgive me, I don't have much to complain about in that department. I know what I like, what my style is, and I buy accordingly. My clothing selection used to be filed with binges - items that I would never wear more than once, but in the last two years, I have really cleaned that kind of spending up. While in some boutique or a place like Macy's, I try hard in my mind to rack up different options - how often would I wear it, what in my current closet could be paired with it, etc., etc. In years past, it would be "this would look good for this event" or "someday I will buy the boots, pants, whatever, that will go with this outfit." After a gigantic purge before I moved east, it's a bit easier to know what is in my closet and what I might possibly like in it in the future.

While on a budget, NYC fashion is always tempting. There is always someone somewhere - on the subway, in the park, walking to work - that has a garment that I covet. I will fixate on this item, today a navy pleated midi skirt, thinking of all the different outfits I could coordinate. Maybe we are going out for lunch or to a reading - I can't concentrate on anything other than that beautiful item. Sometimes I am able to forget about the pair of strappy heels or the vibrant green scarf, but a lot of times, it continues to be front and center. I NEED IT! I WANT IT! I HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW!

My birthday recently came up, and a few of those "needed" items were given to me as presents. THANKS! And a few others sit on a wishlist, for whenever I am able to afford those purchases. Unfortunately, I work near Century 21 - a department store mecca for all things fashionable and at a cheaper price than most places (so it claims). So after a marketing exec walks by my desk wearing a beautiful light-grey cashmere sweater, at 6 p.m., I run to the fourth floor womens' department. Or I will take the train across the water to the three-story mall that is too, too close to my apartment. Most of the time, I won't find the exact item, but I will come close. And if I haven't bought something in a while and the garment is in my price range, I might go in for the kill.

Once that NYC outfit is fully assembled, I will don it proudly out and about. Maybe some other girl will see something she likes in my ensemble, so I hope. And then it happens. A girl in my neighborhood walks by in a leather jacket and boots, closely resembling things that I currently own. She is also wearing a '90s-inspired baby-doll dress and looks oh-so adorable. Where did she buy that? It it vintage or purchased at a little boutique? Here I go again.


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