It’s been almost three months since I started my “Recovering Shopaholic” journey and blog. While I’ve made decent progress and learned some powerful lessons, I still have a long way to go in healing my compulsive shopping problem. I still spend far too much time and energy on shopping, getting dressed, and managing my overly large wardrobe. The portion of my life devoted to these pursuits is much too large and it’s taking away from my living a full and balanced life.
About two weeks ago, I decided to accelerate my progress. One of the best ways to grow quickly is to take on a challenge that scares you, so I’ve opted to do just that! Beginning April 1st (no, this isn’t an April Fools’ Joke!), I will begin Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge created by Courtney Carver of the blog “Be More with Less.”
You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” ― Stephen R. Covey
The late, great Stephen Covey has long been one of my favorite authors. His “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is widely regarded as one of the best self-help books ever written and offers a wealth of helpful advice for business and life. The quote above refers to priorities and goals, but I believe it also applies to our wardrobes and shopping.
The Plusses and Minuses of Trying to Wear Everything
As I embarked upon my “Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project” in January, my intention was to evaluate all of the items I hadn’t been wearing to either start wearing them regularly or let them go. Now that the first quarter of the year is almost behind us, I have learned a few things. I have pushed myself to wear close to half of my benchwarmer pieces by this point, as I want to complete the project sooner rather than later. This push to wear all of my previously unloved items has had both good and bad consequences.
Since I started “Recovering Shopaholic” in January, I’ve given a lot more thought to my reasons for shopping too much. I used to think I shopped because I loved clothes and fashion, but I’ve come to understand there is a lot more to it than that. My reasons for being a shopaholic go much deeper than a passion for style and I suspect this is true for many others who shop in excess.
Why do we buy all this stuff?!?
The following is a brief overview of my perspective on the many reasons for compulsive shopping. I will expand upon some of the reasons listed in future posts.
I probably return half of the clothes, shoes, and accessories that I buy. In some ways, this isn’t a bad thing. When one tends toward impulse buying, some of the purchase decisions made are not good ones. Thus, it can be good to realize buying mistakes and remedy them through the return process. Better to make returns than to have clothes hanging in your closet with their tags still attached.
Returning to Shop More
However, I have to admit that a large portion of my returns are done with an alternate aim. I often return unworn items to shop more or to do damage control for over-shopping. When I’ve exceeded my shopping budget, returns can certainly mitigate the financial damage done, but wouldn’t it be better to stick to my budget in the first place?
This past weekend, I returned close to $800 worth of items bought in recent months. I had reviewed my budget on Friday to learn the cold, hard truth of my overspending. By mid-March, I’d already exceeded my 2013 budget by close to $600 and I needed to right this wrong.
Are you a “serial returner”?
Last Friday, I had lunch with a friend. I get together with this friend every couple of months and we always meet at a restaurant next to the local mall. After we spend an hour or two eating and talking, we always end up shopping together. This activity may be benign for many people, but for a shopaholic, it can have disastrous results.
To add insult to injury, my friend is also a compulsive shopper, although I’m not sure to what degree she’s acknowledged her problem. I have yet to tell her (or many others in my life) about this blog, so she isn’t even aware that I’m making a concerted effort to curtail my shopping habit.
Shopping with a friend can be both fun and challenging…
At the beginning of each month, I will post photos of my favorite outfits from the previous month. My reasons for doing this are as follows:
- To review what I’ve been wearing and search for common themes to help me further hone my personal style.
- To increase my appreciation for my wardrobe so I am more satisfied with what I have and less preoccupied with buying more.
- To help myself overcome self-consciousness and excessive worries of what others think of me.
- To hopefully inspire others to shop their closets, use and appreciate what they have, and hone and express their own personal style.
The Bar is Set High for My Style…
I have to admit that the third reason is the most challenging for me. Part of why I shop compulsively is because I don’t feel I measure up in terms of my appearance and what I wear. To add insult to injury, my work as a wardrobe consultant makes me feel as if the style “bar” is raised even higher.
As I looked through my February outfits, I was not especially impressed with what I wore throughout the month. While I was comfortable and happy with many of my outfits as I was wearing them, I certainly don’t feel I look like a “fashion plate” in them.
The short month of February is behind us, so it’s time for another accountability post. I can’t believe how fast this past month zipped by… In this post, I will review the items which came into and out of my closet and the reasons for those additions and subtractions. I’ll also provide an update on how I’m doing with both my budget and the “Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project” (for a more comprehensive report on the latter, please see my last post).
Since the cold weather persisted throughout January and I found myself frequently wearing my coats, I decided to add another coat as my February clothing purchase. I saw the lovely blogger, Beverly Like Hills, wearing a gorgeous black and white coat that was deeply discounted, so I opted to purchase that coat online via Piperlime. While the coat is indeed beautiful, it was “final sale” and required fairly extensive alterations in order to accommodate my broad shoulders and narrow torso. But now it looks great and I’m happy to have it in my closet.
My accessory purchase for February was a pair of Coach sneakers, black with grey and pewter trim. I bought a similar pair last year in all black and they have been one of my favorite shoes this winter. I also exchanged an unworn and too small pair of shoes from December for Ecco ballet flats in grey. These flats are on the sporty side and very comfortable and will serve me well in my primarily casual lifestyle.