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January, 2009:

Buy Something Today

A lot of people think they shouldn’t spend money now. Even some friends I know with lots of cash have caught the financial fear bug and are not spending. Unfortunately this attitude is only further undermining consumer confidence, and promoting an already dismal scenario. When people stop spending, decorating, shopping, etc. it affects so many people all along the line; from the woman working in a boutique who depends on her commissions, to truck drivers, to the artisans, artists, and designers who make all this beautiful stuff. It is hard to wrap one’s mind around how many people are involved in the production of even the smallest item or service – everyone is impacted. It may be a little counter intuitive, and require some courage, but spending a bit more is actually the responsible (and dare I say altruistic?) thing to do right now.

It was just Chinese New Years this past weekend and you know what they do a lot of to celebrate? They burn money, well, mostly ritualistic money, but the idea is there – to let go and make offerings to the gods of good fortune. Its actually quite liberating. Why not go and burn a little money? (figuratively of course) Make some additions to your living situation, buy a nice pair of shoes or whatever, and feel good about the good you have done for so many!

I hope to encourage my blogger friends as well as visitors to What is James Wearing to help create some momentum with this idea. While there is no doubt that much of the current situation was touched off by poor lending and market oversight and regulation in our country, and it is harder to get a business loan now, our current paralysis has much more to do with our attitude and a subjective sense of insecurity than with a true lack of abundance. We can all do our part to stimulate the economy by purchasing something today. ( :

Elated that my shopping spree has helped so many people, with purchases from Gucci, Tom Ford, Etro, Cartier, and Ralph Lauren, I am wearing Tom Ford sunglasses, shearling coat by Gucci, yellow cashmere turtleneck sweater and brown tweed motorcycle pants by Gucci, brown wool scarf Paul Smith, and silver leather sneakers by Dior.

I want to give a special thank you to the extremely talented Lars Stephan for this brilliant photograph.


My books provide me with endless hours of pleasure and enjoyment. Books are a constant source of inspiration for me, and I am constantly researching ideas, details, and historical images. One of my favorite places to go to add to my ever growing collection of books is Strand Bookstore. I never know what rare and out of print treasure I may come across at Strand while perusing what seems like miles of books on interior design, architecture, fashion, art, photography, biographies, decorative arts, food, and entertaining.

On an unreasonably cold day, I am wearing a floppy cashmere hat, a charcoal wool mohair topcoat, an apres ski pull over down parka jacket, ivory cashmere turtleneck sweater, and charcoal tweed pants all by Gucci – green leather gloves by Sermoneta and aubergine suede boots by Yves Saint Laurent.

Creating Balance

When there is no preexisting axis in a room, the use of symmetry can go a long way toward establishing a much needed sense of balance. And so it is that I am always on the lookout for matching pieces. On a recent visit to the Pascal Boyer Gallery I came across a splendid pair of Jansen inlaid herringbone pattern cabinets modeled in a classic french form, yet with a nice 60’s/70’s modernist touch. I can see these lovelies flanking a doorway or fireplace, and they would really pop with a dark wall as a backdrop.

I am wearing a black wool flannel peaked lapel jacket by Gucci with a Tom Ford black and white silk pocket square, Richard James cotton shirt in white and black stripes with contrast white collar and cuff, Seaman Schepps black pearl cuff links, plum skinny jean by Diesel, silver chain link belt by Gucci, silver leather sneakers by Dior.