Put yourself on the DO-NOT-COP list
When to take home a new jawn, when to reject an old one, plus newly reissued Spyplane-beloved chunes
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Today we’re psyched to answer deeply provocative reader questions from our last “Personal Spyplane” open call…
FIRST UP — this spy nation citizen wrote in about basically drawing up personal Powerpoint Presentations for jawnz copping, on some EXTREME NERD S**T … 😉 And yet he might be on to something !! ??
What are the pros and cons of making a “cop list” for each year / season, to make sure you go for things you truly want? — @oj96
Do people actually do this? Or it’s a thought experiment?
It’s a fascinating idea in either case: instead of just going through life “smashing the coppington” willy-nilly, you find some moment of ostensibly quiet, clear-eyed reflection to decide what it is you truly desire. Maybe you fan out some cool magazines… visit a bunch of good stores… open browser tabs to tasteful IG moodboards and brilliant Cla$$ified-Tier Blackbird Spyplane newsletters bursting with mad flavor … look at your closet to see what you wish you had more of, what you actually wear, what kinds of things you keep buying but never actually rock, what kinds of pieces you are lacking entirely… and, working empirically from these data points, you generate a “cop list” that contains no objects of “extraneous” yearning …
And as you go down your hit list, crossing off jawnz as you go, you know you will NEVER feel buyer’s remorse, because you have engineered away all impulse buys, all risky gambles, all “well, I don’t need this balloon-sleeve colorblock intarsia Jil Sander sweater but it’s 40% off so I’d be a fool not to buy it” justifications…
(We’ve discussed this third phenomenon in the context of how bogus Black Friday is, by and large, where the structural appeal of a “good deal” takes perverse precedence over the intrinsic appeal of the actual jawn you’re copping — the solution we offer is “C.H.A.O.S.” Mindset a.k.a. Cop Hardly Anything On Sale.)
My brain doesn’t work systematically enough for a “cop list” to have ever occurred to me personally. But maybe it should have: When I have mad s**t I need to get done over x time period and I start “freaking & tweaking” about it, I love nothing more than making a checklist, distributed across a day planner, so that all the amorphous tasks and obligations rattling around haphazardly in my mind become concrete, discrete, and addressable…
With that in mind, I like the idea of making and adhering to a “cop list” in theory, to the degree that it reflects an attempt to combat and corral the kind of unbridled, hyper-impulsive consumerist mania that any contemporary jawnz appreciator knows all too well …
In practice, though, as a would-be technique for identifying and possessing “things you truly want,” I’m not fully sold on the “cop list” method. First off, I don’t see how it’s ever gonna feel close to comprehensive — fire jawnz drop unexpectedly and stochastically, not with reliable advance notice you can use to plan around. Beyond that, if you run enthusiasm and desire through a spreadsheet, does it come out the other end honed and refined … or deadened ?? Do you risk killing the joy of spontaneity and the thrill of serendipitous discoveries in the name of “efficiency” and “optimization” ??
I can see the merits of a living-and-breathing list — i.e, one that’s open to amendment and deletion, and consists not just of actual individual pieces you covet but broader categories of things you have actually determined you could use … and maybe (most importantly?) it ALSO includes categories of things you do not need at all, e.g., your list says, “Yoooo, near-future me: DO NOT COP any more baggy elasticated and/or self-belted pants, even when the Lemaire sale hits, you are GOOD with the pairs you already own, b !!”
We received 2 near-identical Qs on the subject not of clear-eyed jawn acquisition but of clear-eyed jawn liquidation:
“When is it right to let go of a jawn? Whether to pass on to someone, recycle, scrap, etc.” — @pablo.nukaya
“When is it time to let old jawns go? Items you love but just don’t really fit who u are now” — @ericbonster
There’s a hinge moment in any cool clothes-rocker’s life — for some of us it comes earlier, for some of us it comes later — when as a copper of jawnz you start to make noticeably fewer mistakes and fumbles, which is to say, even if your ardor for a given garment might lessen, you still recognize it as an objectively good piece that reflects something lastingly true about your own sense of style … So even if you don’t want to wear it right now with much excitement, it’s not a jawn you regret purchasing, cringing at it like the proverbial “embarrassing college hairdo” where you go, What the f**k was I thinking ??
Some times, yes, of course, you gotta get rid of s**t, and our basic answer there is, “when you know, you know.” BUT the point I wanna make today is that once you have reached the hinge point I’m describing — which, to be clear, isn’t a point where you stop adventuring and experimenting with clothes, but where your experiments enjoy a higher success rate, because they unfold on a firmer bedrock of wisdom and experience — I would caution AGAINST getting rid of stuff in a moment of passionate, purging disgust.
This kind of hasty jawn-rejection is the perfect inverse of an “impulse buy” except perhaps even more dangerous because you can always (knock wood, shout out to this era of unprecedented economic precarity) replace the money you spent on a wack shirt but once you spontaneously discard a dormant fire shirt, it might well be gone forever… And when the sauce pendulum swings the other way, as it almost always does, you might say, “D*mmit why did I get rid of that shirt, it would be perfect now, my ‘foresight game’ is TRASH !!??”
This is where you want to create a 3rd category of garment — the kind that doesn’t fall into the bucket of “I’m super stoked on this s**t right this second” BUT crucially doesn’t fall into the bucket of “I will never be caught dead wearing this s**t again in my life,” either.
This 3rd type of garment is the “prized piece of my swag-library” jawn!
O yes, just like a book you once loved passionately but haven’t re-read in years, or a record you adore but haven’t played in years, the swag-library jawn sits in a closet, or some deeper form of storage, awaiting the shifting cultural-historical contingencies and re-organized vagaries of desire necessary for its appeal to shine through once again — possibly brighter than ever. When that happens, the jawn is waiting for you faithfully: an old friend, a talismanic marker of who you were and who you are.
We discussed a version of this dynamic in our legendary & delightful essay about the pleasures of Beautiful Inward-Gazing Blessed Uninterrupted Closed System (B.I.G. B.U.C.S.) Mindset, where you don’t disavow, repudiate and discard past jawns on some hypebeast goldfish-memory s**t but instead serve as the knowledgable steward of a durable and lovingly amassed PERSONAL ARCHIVE.
One of the most beautiful records we own and keep in constant rotation at Spyplane HQ is the 1967 solo-piano classic Spielt Eigene Kompositionen by Ethiopian vibelord & nun Tsege Mariam Gebru…
Portland’s always-excellent Mississippi Records put out a much-loved reissue of S.E.K. a few years ago and it became an underground smash, aided by the prominent inclusion of gentle Gebru bangers on the Ethiopiques comps, which statistically speaking every coffee shop on the planet bumped HEAVY for years to come …
Gebru’s chunes are sparse and lovely … RIYL Erik Satie … they will make any surroundings feel like a cool, candle-lit room… and if you haven’t heard “The Homeless Wanderer,” embedded above, U R in for a particularly profound discovery…
Mississippi just reissued the record, which was until last month out of print — it’s $18 here, among other places. Enjoy !!
SPYPLANE: OUT ☮️