Items in this set:
Women’s sweaters – cotton – Jackie cardigan – J.Crew, $62
J. Crew – Cotton check shirt (navy), $64
7 For All Mankind Bootcut Jeans – New york dark, $155
Women flats & moccasins Penelope ballet flats, $110
Pearl stud earrings, $300
I’ve been playing around with Polyvore for a while—even before I read this article in The New Yorker—but this (admittedly weakfish) offering is my first foray into “set” making. I creatively titled this little creation “New Shoes” because I just won these shoes on Ebay. And I’m excited, because I’ve been kind of sad FOR YEARS that they sold out before I had the chance to get them on the now-extinct J. Crew super sales—back in the glorious days when the 15% educator discount could be added onto the 20% final sale discount—which is how I previously acquired bright yellow patent leather flats, silver, green, and yellow patent Mary Janes*, and a pair of lamentably uncomfortable orange patent heels that reside in the drawer of my desk at school, to be worn only for short (and clumsy) walks within the building. J. Crew flats and the Mary Janes have proven to be quite wearable so, even in the wake of a mass-shoe cleansing in which I took a bag of pinchy, blistery, rubby, and otherwise nasty pairs of shoes to Goodwill, I felt comfortable investing $30 in these.
Although lots of people probably use Polyvore to plan purchases, I’ve been using it instead to “shop my closet.” Sometimes I surf through sets that contain items that I already own, like this skirt or these boots, but actually making the sets is kind of an odd experience. First of all, you have to re-shop all of the things you already own, either by returning to the websites where you bought them or by searching through items that have already been imported into Polyvore. Admittedly, this is kind of easy for me. Polyvore is pretty heavy on the J. Crew. “Clipping” is a far more laborious process than buying things in the first place but, once you get to the set building, it’s almost as satisfying. . .or frustrating.
It turns out that I can’t figure out how to virtually wear some of the same things that stump me in real life. So my sets end up looking like how I look all of the time anyway. Pink t-shirts, pearl earrings, weird J Crew shoes and necklaces, cardigans, and the exact same pair of pants in every case. I was hoping that I could make some sets to plan my packing for the next two weeks, but basically I’ve discovered what I already knew—that I should probably just bring the pink t-shirts and pearls.
There are some kind of funny foibles inherent in a Polyvore set. You now know, of course, that I did not pay $110 for these shoes at jcrew.com. I didn’t buy any of these items from any of these places, nor did I pay any of these prices. The earrings are an utter fabrication—my pearl studs were a gift, years ago, from my dad to my mom, and they aren’t Tiffany. I don’t know why those subtle differences are interesting to me—perhaps I’d like to think that I’m more of an individual than the linkability of my wardrobe seems to indicate—but then again, I’m interested in these kinds of things. (Get it? Things. ha. ha. )