Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

Style Surprises & The Power of Browsing

Occasion: Game Night with friends, then again cleaning out closets
Dress Code: Smart Casual, casual
Outdoor Temps: 50-70°F with some drizzle
Activity Level: Moderate
Wearing: Clover Canyon Textured Ink Tie-Neck Blouse, vintage belt, Free People Skylar jeans, Burberry trench, thrift store bag, Timberland Strathem Heights booties (not shown)

As much as I like to shop with a plan, sometimes you just don't know what you need until you see it. I had no burning desire to jump on the skinny tie look, and I had no specific yen for a new painterly print, but this particular print called out to me as soon as I saw it - and try as I might, I couldn't give it up. Thankfully, the blouse could fill a hole I'd defined for a colored, long-sleeved top (most of mine were neutral). 

I also had no designs on a blue bag or peach lipstick (in fact I'd been idly searching for black bags and purple lipstick) - but when I saw both, something in me said, "Aha! That's what you've actually been missing!" Thankfully, as with the blouse, both items fit more general, genuine needs I did have for a) a bag large enough to haul my camera without looking ridiculous and b) variety added to my normal makeup routine. 

I will always maintain that it's imperative to know your needs and test items against a shopping rubric, but it's also important - and fun! - to keep your list of requirements loose enough that you can actually recognize a cool find when it jumps off the racks at you. I wouldn't have found any of my fun surprises, for example, if I'd put the blinders on and hustled straight for the theoretical approximations of what I wanted (i.e. solid colored tops and black bags).

Keeping an open mind, browsing, and scanning the horizons helps keep a wardrobe fresh, too, because it leaves room to be shaken up by the unexpected. And the best thing is that browsing alone costs you absolutely nothing - if a surprise wardrobe attraction throws you off balance, you can always go home, regroup, and ponder whether or not the impulse item can earn its keep.