Reflections on the First Month

January reflectionsIt’s been just over a month since I started my 2013 “recovering shopaholic” project, with the goal of decreasing my shopping, buying more consciously and smartly, and minimizing my wardrobe.  I created rules for myself to guide my way, including the rule of buying only one item of clothing and one accessory per month.

This rule serves two purposes:  it allows me to shop a little bit instead of going “cold turkey” and it forces me to be smarter with my purchases rather than buying haphazardly.  If I only set a monthly budget for myself without the purchase limits, I would probably keep making misguided purchases at consignment stores and during retail sales.

I gave myself a few loopholes in my rules.  I am allowed to make returns and exchange unworn items on a one for one basis.  In addition, workout/lounge wear is not included within the limits, nor are sleepwear and undergarments.  I don’t have a tendency to overbuy these items and they generally receive quite a bit of wear, so they are typically good purchases.

Returning Things to Shop More

During January, I still shopped quite a bit.  In addition to buying my one item of clothing and one accessory, I made a number of returns of unworn December purchases I decided I didn’t love enough to keep.  If I really think about it, though, at least part of my reasoning for making those returns was so I could shop more.  Shopping, for me, is definitely a hard habit to break…

My first clothing purchase of 2013, a coat ordered from Nordstrom, didn’t work out, so I ended up ordering two options online as potential replacements.  Fortunately, one of these coats will work for me and it is being altered right now.   I am excited about this coat, a black double-breasted brocade, and feel that it will be a wardrobe “all-star” in short order.  The accessory I purchased, a black multi-strand embellished leather bracelet from Brighton, has already been worn multiple times in the few weeks since I bought it.  So far, so good…

I went to the mall last Friday to return two coats to Nordstrom.  One of these coats was my second January replacement option, while the other was a Christmas present from husband Mike (which I bought for myself and later told him it was his gift for me – sneaky, huh?).  Last week, Mike and I collectively decided the coat just wasn’t flattering on me and that I could do better.   I was a bit sad to have made a bad choice last year, but was also excited to shop for a replacement gift.  The “shopping bug” was being fed…

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

As I walked into Nordstrom, I was greeted by the familiar “kid in a candy store” feeling.  The feeling was actually quite literal, as I was surrounded by a sea of multi-colored garments, new arrivals for spring.   Although I have close to 300 garments in my overstuffed closet, I was still enticed by all of the newness around me.  I had to take a moment to breathe and re-focus on why I was there.

I made my returns and immediately began my search for a coat to replace the returned Christmas gift.   I tried on a number of options on the sale rack, but I noticed myself being more selective than I have been in the past.  After all, I would only be able to buy one coat, no matter how low the price.  My project is working already!

I ended up finding a lovely cobalt blue Kenneth Cole coat left over from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  While the coat I tried on was too large, my size was located at another store, so the coat will be on its way to me soon.  The price was excellent, but the best part is that I truly loved the coat and know it will get a lot of wear.  At least some of the time, I am confident about the purchases I make.

Money Burning a Hole in My Pocket…

I have already made my two purchases for February!   I ordered yet another coat online from Piperlime (I’ve often said I have more coats than anyone in San Diego – but I DO wear them!) and a pair of shoes from Nordstrom after handling my coat returns (the color I wanted had to be ordered from another store).

When money is burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak, I don’t wait long to spend it.  That’s another thing I hope to change over the course of 2013.   I want to buy things because I need and love them, not just because I have a clothing budget to spend.

While I was in Nordstrom, I browsed all of the women’s merchandise and even tried on a few other garments and pairs of shoes.  I wasn’t really tempted to buy anything else once I got past the initial rush from being in the store.  But when I consider that I won’t be able to shop again for almost an entire month, I feel a slight sinking feeling.

Why Do I Love Shopping So Much?

Why don’t other things give me the same type of high as shopping?  Why do I love it so much?  I guess I will learn a lot about that as the year progresses.  In the meantime, I will focus on “shopping my closet” for the remainder of the month and rediscovering hidden gems among the things I already own.

I am both excited and scared for the remainder of the year.  One month down, eleven to go…  I know I will learn a great deal about myself and why I shop too much, and I also hope to discover new interests and passions.  I look forward to enjoying the lovely garments and accessories in my wardrobe and releasing anything which I don’t love and that doesn’t suit my body, lifestyle, and personality.

I truly believe that at the end of 2013, I will be in a much better place, and hopefully I will inspire at least a few other people along the way!