Wishful clothing

Dear reader,

Are there clothes that you really like, but would never be able to wear?

We’ll give you an example:

Tyrolean shoes

We would really like to have a pair of Tyrolean shoes – either Clarks Wallabees, or Paraboots Michael.

But they’re just not “us”.

Everytime we try on a pair, we don’t like the way they look from above.

And we know that we would never wear them. We don’t dress like this.

Still, we dig them shoes!

We like the way they look from the side.

We like the idea of how “minimal” they are.

The simple construction.

Their long-lasting design.

We could almost buy them, as a museum piece, and never wear them.

But we find it pointless. So we still haven’t bought them.

Have you noticed the same thing? It’s like wishful thinking, but for clothes.

We get it with other pieces:

Nike Cortez

We like the Nike Cortez, but they’re too sporty for our style.

What about wearing them for sports?

Well... their technology is ancient (they were released in 1972) and the fit is strange — especially around the toe box.

Try them on, you’ll see what we mean.


We like cardigans, but they’re too old school.

And we would only wear them on limited occasions.

Therefore, there is no point for us in owning them.

Weejuns penny loafer

They give off an old school vibe. And we are not cool enough to wear them.

We would just look… old.

Blame it on the Gram

Instagram is responsible for many cases of wishful clothing.

You have noticed how many outfits look great in pictures, but don’t translate well in real life, unfortunately…

The Barbour wax jacket

It is wonderful, but it does not rain enough where we will live to justify having such a rain jacket.

Our list could go on.

Panerai watches

We could expand into wishful wristwatches — for us, that would be the Panerai Luminor, which is both wonderful and… too big.

We could talk automobiles.

Old Jaguars

We really like old Jaguars.

In particular the 1994-2009 Jaguar XJ (models X300, X308, X350, X358).

As well as the 1996-2006 Jaguar XK.

They’re beautiful.

But we live in the snowy mountains of Switzerland, with a family and skis to carry around. These old rear-wheel drive Jaguars, with their small boots just don’t work.

Sure, we could buy a Jaguar, store it year round, and drive it in the summer, and we’re not going to the mountains.

But it soon becomes an annoyance: The car is more likely to break down because it is not driven enough. We need to install the baby car seats before each drive. Our guess is, we’re not enough of a car enthusiast to go through the trouble.

How about cooking?!

Cast iron pans

We like the idea of cast iron pans, but they require regular seasoning — which implies making oil smoke.

This smoke smells horribly, and this doesn’t work in modern open kitchens.

Baby Dutch Pancakes

Another case of Instagram wishful eating is Baby Dutch Pancakes.

They look amazing in pictures. But once you try them, you realise they’re not as tasty as they look…

What to make of wishful objects?

What should we do then with our obsession for wishful clothing (and wishful objects more widely)?

Is it just a manifestation of our endless thirst for the new shiny stuff?

Should we try to be more aware of these cravings, resist the obsession, and hope it will die?

Or, on the contrary, should we buy wishful clothing anyway, even if it has a high risk of becoming an unworn possession?

Should we then keep it as a museum piece? Or possibly sell it onwards? Second-hand online platforms have become ubiquitous, it is easier than before to find a buyer.

Or shall we just buy wishful clothing, hoping it will turn out to be versatile, wearable, and not so pointless after all?

We find these questions more difficult to answer than they seem.

The curse of abundance

We live in times of abundance. We already have all the clothes we need. But we’re not satisfied. It’s not enough. We’re constantly trying to find excuses to buy new pieces. Sometimes, we’re even hoping to lose our suitcase, just to be able to buy clothes back.

It’s obsessional, emotional. We’re unhappy, and trying to fill in a gap.

And when we buy more clothes, we end up with a headache from too much choice. Our wardrobe is overflowing. We suffer from something we could call clothes obesity. This, too, makes us miserable.

We’ve tried to fight back those wishful clothing obsessions, and remain mindful of what we buy. However, these obsessions regularly come back.

If they come back, maybe there’s a way to give them a try without committing too much?

You could borrow the garment from a friend, and see how often it gets worn.

You could also buy a heavily used piece (with a heavily discounted price) — just to give a try.

Either it will not get worn, and it won’t be such a shame to throw it away.

Or it will get worn, until it’s worn out, and you can then buy a new piece with the confidence that you will wear it.



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Jamie Larson