WHEN I BUY THE WRONG THING I have trouble facing it. That’s because the purchase itself is usually a result of self-deception, meaning that I like the idea of the garment—the flowered shirtwaist dress that reminded me of an English garden—but have become blind to its failings. So it just hangs there reproachfully, taking up space. There is still a long, multilayered gauze skirt in my closet; I had a vision of myself wearing it to a wedding, with a black top…. I don’t even seriously contemplate that possibility anymore, yet I can’t seem to give it away. There is also an expensive hand-stitched tank top that is too tight and has an unbecoming neckline; an itchy brown wool jumper that can look either chic/dowdy (like Audrey Hepburn in the Rive Gauche bookstore in the pre-makeover part of Funny Face) or just muddy and bad; and two much-too-large velvet dresses that resemble fancy bathrobes. Eventually I will let these things go. Meanwhile, I’m focusing on prevention, also known as returns. I consider it a real triumph that a velvet jacket (yep, I’m a sucker for lavish fabrics) I recently ordered on-line went straight back (at a cost of $6, true) when it turned out to make me look like The Mother of the Bride (boxy cut; a green that was silvery rather than bottle). My new goal: If I can’t avert the mistake, at least I can recognize it—and fix it—fast. There is a deeper message here about not making excuses, about simply saying I was wrong. Quite useful in personal relationships.