I have a pair of Chie Mihara high heels that I bought from Anthropologie that I can't bear to return, even though I haven't worn them yet and don't actually see myself wearing them. It's like I'm saving them for a future self, or an alternate self that hasn't come into existence yet. And maybe never will.
I like keeping some things for that reason. I know, too much of this would result in an impractical wardrobe with little use in my real life. So I know to avoid most of the accoutrements of the A. Wang, goth-y, downtown girl look that has pervaded fashion and blogs for some time. While I think the attitude and the clothes are infinitely cool, I know that that girl is something I will never be, so I know not to try to approximate (in fashion lingo, I can't "pull it off").
But I think a little bit, just a dose, of that imaginative possibility taps into the self-inventing part of fashion that appeals to me so much. Like maybe, this silvery-pink pair of strappy high heels will call into existence the girl I'd like to be. Or a signature lipstick would help snap me into focus. Or something like that.*
* (Though again, I have to qualify that and wonder how much of it is the Machine at work. How much of this difference between real self and idealized self is the production of magazines, and models, and editors, and the whole industry saying that this is what you should be and look like, and here, let me sell you something that would help get you there.)