Monday, March 26, 2012

Lessons Learned from a Shop-Your-Closet Month

So I'm officially 3/4 of the way through my Lent no-clothes-shopping challenge .  . . um, not that I and my AmEx are counting down the seconds until my BFF Target and I can get reacquainted. Not not not.

Would that I were typing to you here to share the secrets of how I've magically overcome the desire to shop entirely, that I'm channeling all of the money I would have frittered away on charitable endeavors instead, or that I've had staggering spiritual revelations on a daily basis.

Um . . .

The good news is, I have managed to identify some bad habits. I have freed up not a small amount of time that used to be devoted to shopping the latest flash sale. This Episcopalian isn't going to dive into the spiritual stuff too much here - it's well above the non-existent pay grade of this champagne bubble of a blog, for starters - but this challenge has given me pause for religious reflection too.

***Insert disclaimer about how not shopping for one month is hardly a hardship in the grand scheme of things, that I'm fortunate to have a perfectly sufficient wardrobe in the first place in addition to my other blessings, etc. blah blah blah. Insert yuppie cliche here.***

But back to the clothes, all the Pretty clothes I'm not buying until Easter Sunday. A few things I've picked up from this, in case it's helpful to any of  you:

Investing in the Classics Matters

I declared the No-Shop Month first and thought about it after . . . only to realize I had a conference and two weddings to attend, in addition to some other networky stuff that popped up - AKA, perfect justifications to set out shopping for that mythical "perfect outfit".

Thing is, until recently I've been trying to buy less things, but better things; for example, I'd rather have one very well made dress that will last me years versus a few for the same price that won't go past a season. In forcing myself to shop my own closet, I discovered I had plenty of basics that, though they may not be the trendiest thing going, are more than appropriate.

("Not the trendiest thing going" . . . "More than appropriate" . . . yes, Grandmother, I've finally become you. Happy?)

Shopping for Kids' Clothes is More Fun, and I Miss it Desperately

The number one, biggest temptation of this whole no-shop thing? Cuteness for Master P.

In fact, I confess to you that the one time I've fallen off the Lenten wagon was to buy the wee CEO wannabe Wayfarers, which he obviously needed - NEEDED! - for our beach-trip-that-wasn't:

Apologies for the blurry Instagram repeat iPhoto here - but . . . wee tiny Wayfarers!
Not to worry - in a spectacular display of karmic balance, guess who broke my favorite pair of aviators within 24 hours of my buying these? Well played, God, well played.

Shopping (in part) Due to Boredom, Not Need

Turns out no matter what the job, my default vice when bored is to online shop. Not that I was spending every minute of the day on this - far from it. That being said, I can't believe how much time and energy I've had to devote to other goofing off favorites - reading, for example - now that I'm not shopping.

Organize What You Have

Something that has helped in shopping my own closet is organizing what I already have:

Enter the LBD of organizing, every Type A Minus' dream

From jeans to jewelry, turns out I had a bunch of goodies I'd forgotten about - because I couldn't find them. Um.

A Plan for the Trends I'll Invest In

This child of the 80s is ten sorts of happy about all the bright stripes and candy-colored denim floated around; this shopping break has given me pause to consider how I'll eventually incorporate those trends around the staples I already have.

The 48 Hour Rule

All of this waiting confirms for me that continuing my "48 hour rule", in which I take at least two days to think over any item before buying, is worth getting back to once this challenge is over; it isn't always possible, given our flash sale buy now sort of world, but as a general principle it has saved me money and mistakes.

Some people do this by keeping tags on new purchases for a set amount of time; I, however, am nothing if not lazy about life generally & returns specifically, so I prefer to do my waiting period pre-purchase.


The above lessons aside - after this Lenten challenge is over I clearly need a replacement pair of sunglasses. And the entire April J. Crew catalog. Then there are those Kendra Scott baubles I've been eyeing. Need need need.

More after I complete this fashion fatwah - though obviously I've learned everything I need to here. Obviously . . . 


hima said...

I love this idea! Good luck with your challenge. :)

Lindsey said...

Melissa this is an awesome post!!! This challenge takes a ton of willpower and you rock mama!!! :)

Lilly said...

My mom is the queen of investment shopping: knows her colors, knows her shapes. Hits up Talbots and the Last Call sale twice a year for a few things and has a full closet that never goes out of style. She is also a big believer in changing when you get home and dry cleaning!

Mrs. Type A said...

The 48 hour rule is a great idea. I pretty much adhere to that except when it comes to Rue La La since it's obviously a flash sale. Even with that, though, unless I'm ready to click Buy it Now RIGHT NOW I don't buy it. I figure any hesitation means I don't want or need it badly enough.

{Jessica} said...

Totally agree with you on the importance of investing in the classics. I am in the midst of a total closet overhaul, and have realized that, while high on trendy items (most of which are now outdated or ill-fitting), I am really low on the old stand-by's every girl needs in her closet. Wish me luck!

Whitericebryce said...

If they have been making the same style forever, there is a reason for it. I think it is easier for guys than gals. Sure, lapels and shoulders and waist heights and cuts and shapes may change over time, but for the most part a guy can go in, invest some money on well made basics and have pieces that only fade out because of an expanding waistline or normal wear and tear. The clothes on Mad men are a perfect example. Classic american styling that looks as fresh now as it did in the 60's.

In this wonderful life... said...

what an awesome challenge! I'm afraid I would fail miserably!!

Love the jewelry organizer!

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

The 48 hour rule...I need to get on that train! And I feel ya on the boredom thing. Shopping is just too fun sometimes.

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I really think I could do this when it comes to shopping for me. But for E? No way. I'd break down the minute I saw the first smocked goody. Well done lady. Well done.

Elz said...

You did better than I. I've tried and failed No Shopping for Lent several times!

Chas said...

Georgia has the white baby Wayfarers! I need to give up shopping for her and vow to do more for myself!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...