I had flung the morning newspaper belly-down across the table, and the full-page Macy's ad caught my eye--a pale, fine-ribbed, V-neck, sleeveless knit dress with matching cardigan. I wanted it, as surely as I wanted the bowl of cereal growing deliciously soggy beside it.
Of course it looked like something destined to live in my closet. If it wasn't a copy of the black Donna Karan dress and sweater that I already own, then I'm a bigger believer in coincidence than I used to be. I always feel terrific in that outfit. Let me count it's virtues: It's comfortable, sexy, doesn't wrinkle, goes from the office on into the evening, packs easily. An ankle-length tank dress with cardigan is another favorite.
So if two versions of the look are good, wouldn't three be better? Before some smart therapist told Jackie Onassis to get a job, she trolled the boutiques of Madison Avenue, scarfing up one (velvet jeans or Kelly bags or little Italian Ts) in every color. The time-honored tradition of buying in multiples is either a smart, efficient way to shop or evidence that, for some, more is never enough. I'm searching for studies that explain why some of us grow into variety-seekers, who see a dress they already have and think, "Got that. Next?" and others crave variations on a proven theme.