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Do you have an unusual wardrobe item you bought in a moment of inspiration that you’ve never worn?  Do you know why you bought it?  Do you know why you never wear it?

My Exhibit A is…the green scarf.

A scarf called "The Rose" that can be worn many ways

A scarf called “The Rose” that can be worn many ways

It looked harmless enough.  It even had a name: The Rose.


The scarf can also be a soft sculpture

The salespeople were very nice.  Not pushy at all.  Genuinely helpful.  When they saw me looking at various colors of The Rose they asked if I wanted to try one on.

Why not?

Away from the Minnesota winter for a few days, I felt the stirrings of spring in this Boston boutique.   I wanted…something different.

The salespeople draped the scarf on me.  They twisted it this way and that.  We looked at me in the mirror.

I bought the scarf.

It was different, all right.  I wanted–needed–different.

But this wasn’t the different I needed.

Back home in Minnesota, I tried on the scarf all by myself. Nobody standing by to style it.

An accessory designed by Jules Verne?

An accessory designed by Jules Verne?

I made a good faith effort.  I really did.

I studied pictures.  I tried to follow the directions…

"Start with label down on chest..."

“Start with label down on chest…”

"...wrap around..."

“…wrap around…”

" by tucking into previous layers..."

“…secure by tucking into previous layers…”

Et voila!

Et voila!

…with varying results.

Funny, I never, ever found the right moment to wear The Rose.

And this is not to fault the very talented maker.  I’m sure that some people can carry off this look effortlessly.

But that ain’t me.

Now I know better.

If I ask these questions:

  • How do I wear this?
  • Where would I wear this?
  • When would I wear this?
  • What would I wear this with?
  • What could I make to go with this?

and draw a blank, the item has high dud potential.  Step away.

On that same Boston trip I walked into another boutique and conversed with another very nice salesperson.  More than nice–incredibly insightful.

These are not duds.

These are not duds.

And I bought these bracelets.  They’re beautiful.  I just love them.  And I wear them.

I think the difference between the scarf and the bracelets is this:

With the scarf I was imposing a “look” on myself.

The bracelets brought something out that was already in me.

How do I know that?  I just do.

The Rose is now a soft sculpture adding to the riot of color in our living room.

And it’s earning a little bit of immortality in this post.

And it provided an afternoon’s jolly entertainment for my photographer and me.

Well, it’s definitely amusing.

So maybe it’s not a dud after all.

Readers, is there something lurking in your closet right now that’s a dud?  What is it?