As many of you know by now, I spend a lot of time at home. I’m self-employed and have a variable schedule. A lot of the things I do involve sitting in front of my computer in my home office. While I’m working from home, I generally wear workout clothes and loungewear. I also spend a lot of time exercising, including almost daily walks by the water with my husband and trips to the gym a few times per week.
Have you overlooked a key area of your wardrobe?
Something’s Wrong with This Picture
Even conservatively, I would guess that I spend 50% or more of my waking hours in athletic wear of some sort. Surprisingly, however, a very low percentage of the money I spend on shopping goes toward this clothing category. We’re talking an expenditure of maybe 5% of my total clothing dollars, if that. An abundance of attractive athletic wear is available in stores, but the garments I wore until very recently were old, pilling, stretched out, and long past their prime.
As many of you know, I recently accepted a challenge from a reader to not shop for a month. I committed to go the entire month of May without buying any new clothing, shoes, or accessories.
At first, it was really easy for me to refrain from shopping. In fact, I started to feel like it would be “a piece of cake” for me to breeze through the challenge and I even considered the possibility of extending my shopping hiatus.
The ever alluring store sales – so difficult to resist!
Then, It Happened…
Then, it happened… I learned about the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nordstrom’s sales, here’s the bottom line. They only have sales three times per year – two half-yearly sales in May and November, and the “Grand Poohbah” of sales, their Anniversary Sale in July. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t shopped at one of these sales. After all, Nordstrom is my favorite store, I love shopping there, and I’m a “regular.” Many of the salespeople know my name and greet me warmly when I arrive. I feel “at home” there, like I’m in my element.
I have now completed almost two months of Project 333. Amazingly, I continue to learn more and more about my wardrobe and myself as I navigate this challenge. As those who have been following my journey know, it’s really been a roller coaster ride for me. Case in point… While week seven was quite easy and smooth-sailing, week eight had me feeling confronted at times.
I sometimes wonder if would have stayed the course with the challenge if I were not blogging about it. While I hope I would have honored my commitment to myself in any event, it definitely helps to have a group of readers who are routing for me to succeed. Knowing I’ll be writing about my experience also helps me to think more deeply about what I’m learning and pushes me to find wins to report even in the more difficult weeks.
Wins for Week Eight
While I had to wrack my brain a bit more this week to find the positives, I do have some wins to report.
Still no shopping!
I continue to honor my promise to you (and to myself) not to shop at all during the month of May. I have to admit that I found it more challenging this past week, as notifications of Memorial Day sales were everywhere! Every time I looked at my television, email, or Facebook page, I saw yet another notice of “amazing deals” to be found in stores over this holiday weekend.
I had to harness all of the willpower within me to resist temptation this week, especially for the all-too-easy online shopping. But I’m proud to report that I did it! I’m pretty much taking it one day at a time at this point and reminding myself that May is almost over.
In my last post, I outlined the value of tracking your wardrobe. If you’ve decided you’d like to start tracking, today’s post will help to point you in the right direction. The methods outlined below range from a simple technique you can start immediately to more detailed options that require a bit of planning and set-up time.
I understand that many of you might not be as detail-oriented and “anal retentive” as I am, but you really don’t need to be in order to see some great results. Even if you choose to only take on the first method, I promise you’ll gain increased awareness that will help you better manage your wardrobe and guide your future shopping.
I’ll do my best to explain my tracking methods and will use some photos to illustrate my points, but please feel free to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t quite understand.
In a number of my posts, I’ve made reference to how often I’ve worn various garments in my closet. I’ve even coined some new terms, such as “wardrobe benchwarmers” and “wardrobe all-stars” to describe rarely worn and frequently worn pieces. Such information has elicited a number of questions from readers, asking how I track my wardrobe.
Do you know what’s in your closet & how often you wear your clothes?
But before I outline the specific methods I use to track my wardrobe (that will be my next post…), I first want to discuss why I feel it’s important to do it. After all, some of you may not be convinced. You may feel that wardrobe tracking is too difficult or time-consuming to even consider. In truth, it doesn’t have to be either of those things. Although the initial set-up may take a bit of time, I probably spend less than a minute each day in tracking what I wear. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the time and effort involved.
I’ve now officially passed the halfway point for Project 333! When I started the challenge, I had my doubts about whether I’d be able to complete it. Now I definitely feel I will make it to the end of June. I’m sure I’ll still experience some struggles along the way, and I may even have to do another swap or two, but I’m confident I’ll be able to see the challenge through to completion.
The Easiest Week So Far
Week seven was actually a fairly easy week, perhaps my most relaxed week thus far. Perhaps it’s taken me this long to build a workable wardrobe capsule and adjust to getting dressed with fewer garments to choose from. I actually commented to my husband the other day that “Project 333 isn’t all that hard.”
In fact, the most difficult part for me is posting my outfit photos each week. If it wasn’t for that part of the equation, I think my stress level would be low and I’d really be enjoying the pleasure of a streamlined closet. Posting the outfit photos does have a positive effect, however. It pushes me to wear better outfits and dress a bit nicer, even if all I’m doing is running out to do a few errands.
The following is a guest post by one of my loyal readers, Deby. This story was originally submitted as a comment to “Why Continue to Shop?” Since it’s such a powerful story with some excellent points, I asked if I could use it as a guest post for wider exposure. Deby graciously agreed!
If you have an idea for a guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.
I have a recent shopping story to share. Always interested in new trends, I read several fashion magazines each month. Most recently, I thought it might be fun to have a sheer shirt to layer over a camisole for summer. Since I began downsizing my wardrobe, I decided I was only allowed to have one sheer shirt and it had to coordinate with at least three bottoms. Placed floral prints are very popular now, so this was what I was looking for (I often focus my shopping expeditions to look for very specific items).
Looks pretty, but sometimes looks can be deceiving…