Neglected Wardrobe Areas

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.

Neglected Wardrobe Areas

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.

While I’ve spent close to $5000 on clothing, shoes, and accessories each year, I seriously neglected my most worn wardrobe category.  I’d spend hundreds of dollars on garments that sat in my closet and became “wardrobe benchwarmers” while spending most of my time dressed in clothing that was unattractive and embarrassing.

Shopping for Excitement Instead of Need

Why did I do that?  After all, I’m an intelligent woman, aren’t I?  After wracking my brain to make some sense of my seeming insanity, I can only come to one conclusion.  I failed to buy new loungewear because it wasn’t exciting to me.  I used most of my clothing budget to buy things I’d wear in professional or social situations in which I aimed to impress others.  I didn’t think of impressing anyone at the gym, while out walking, or at home.  I wanted to save my clothing dollars for what I viewed as the “important” situations in life.

Only recently did I come to understand the error of my ways.  My “recovering shopaholic” project has caused me to pause and evaluate my wardrobe and my shopping to a much greater degree than I ever did before.  I began to look at all areas of my wardrobe instead of just the “higher profile” categories.   It was only then that I realized my workout clothes were substandard and needed to be replaced.

Gradually Righting My Wrongs

Over the past few months, I’ve gradually purchased new pants and tops to wear around the house and when I work out.  As I did so, I moved the old clothes to my charity donation bag or the trash.  In fact, my husband is now using several of my old t-shirts as rags for cleaning his bicycle!  The loungewear I’m wearing now is far from designer quality, but it’s light years away from what I was wearing not long ago.

I will continue to replace the old clothes over the coming months and will soon have a completely new wardrobe to wear at home, on walks, and to the gym. I’m feeling so much better about myself and the way I look in these situations that I’m wondering why I didn’t do this long ago.  Why didn’t I take the time and care to cultivate an attractive wardrobe for the most common areas of my life?  Well, the important thing is that I finally did, and I plan on replacing my sleepwear and enhancing my bra and underwear wardrobe soon as well.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

I’m sharing this with all of you because I suspect I’m not alone.  In fact, I have a shopaholic friend who also spends a great deal of time at home.  I told her I had purchased some new loungewear and made a joke about not wanting to be embarrassed when the UPS guy knocks at the door.  Her response to me was that she doesn’t even answer the door!  She also balked at spending more than $20 on yoga pants when she wears such pants the majority of the time.  This woman likely spends thousands of dollars per year on clothes, yet she was like me in neglecting key areas of her wardrobe.

As a personal stylist, I help my clients to clean out their closets, a service known as the “closet audit.”  During many a closet audit, I’ve discovered designer dresses in pristine condition that had only been worn once or twice. Hanging next to such items were faded jeans and threadbare t-shirts.  These women spent a “pretty penny” on formal wear for “special occasions” yet bought all of their daily wear at Target or similar low-end stores.  What’s more, they didn’t replace their most frequently worn clothes when they wore out but thought nothing of dropping serious coinage on a dress for a holiday party.

Practicing What I Preach

I help my clients to re-introduce sanity into their shopping and assist them in maximizing their wardrobes.  Yet I haven’t always practiced what I preached.  I continued to buy blazers, skirts, dresses, and heels when my lifestyle calls more for loungewear, jeans, and knit tops much of the time.

At this point, I have more than enough business casual and “going out” wear to last me for years to come. Sure, I may opt to add a trendy piece here and there, but I plan to focus the bulk of my shopping budget (which has been reduced to close to half of what I’ve spent in recent years) on the clothes I wear day in and day out.

Are You Missing Something Important?

How about you?  Are there key areas of your wardrobe that you’re neglecting?  Do you need to replenish your workout wear, loungewear, sleepwear, or lingerie?  Have your jeans and t-shirts seen better days?

It could be useful to take a wider look at your entire wardrobe to see if you’ve been missing something important in your shopping sprees.  Shifting your focus to neglected wardrobe areas could make a big difference to you, as it has for me.

54 thoughts on “Neglected Wardrobe Areas

  1. A good point! I read a book that suggested wardrobe spending should be proportional to wearing–so if you spend 40% of the time in yoga wear, that’s where 40% of your money should go.

    I live in hot, humid Louisiana–yet I am always short on summer items, since I don’t really like the quality of summer clothes.

    • frugalscholar, The book you read makes a really good point. I’m not sure if I can imagine spending 40% or more of my budget on loungewear. Perhaps a combination of spending more on those items and wearing them less overall would be best for me. I haven’t been to Louisiana in years, but I remember it being beautiful there (but yes, hot!).

  2. Bravo Debbie!- what an amazing and unexpected( from what you wrote) breakthrough in the quest for the wardrobe that works for you. Good for you!

    • Thanks, Abgurl! I’m happy to be making progress, even if I HAVE been a slow learner…

  3. Excellent points! I think many people shop for their imagined lifestyle or desired image rather than for the life they actually live.

    • Juhli, Very true! I know I’ve definitely done that and have noticed the same phenomenon with clients and friends as well. That can definitely get us into trouble!

  4. Spending money on the life you live and not some imaginary lifestyle should be a no-brainer, but we all know different. Over at the Vivienne Files there is an amusing illustration about this subject. And yes, when I had that first professional bra fitting in over a decade, it was a revelation, made me stand up straighter and look 5 lbs lighter. Keep up you excellent blog. There is a lot to learn even for someone who is not a shopaholic. I am working on the hanger trick at the moment, and it is quite a revelation.

    • Cornelia, I loved the post on Vivienne Files about this topic. I guess great minds think alike since it seems Janice and I were on similar wavelengths. I’m glad that my blog is helpful for those who are not shopaholics, too. I’m glad the “hanger trick” has been helpful for you!

  5. Hahaha – my husband was just teasing me about my “gym teacher” sleep shorts and tee! I’m not quite sure how my warm weather selection got down to that, but i suspect things just wore out and i didnt replace them. Like you and fitness-wear, I spend a lot of time in pj’s! So, I’m actually looking forward to fresh set or two of all-stars.

    • Lil, I didn’t replace my old workout and loungewear, either. I couldn’t justify the expense at the time. Silly, huh? I’m glad to hear you’re going to buy some all-star pj’s! I’m sure you’ll love wearing them.

  6. I used to be like this, but in the last few years I replaced my sleepwear,underwear, and the stuff I wear at home. I still prefer to wear t-shirts and shorts or yoga pants at home, but at least now I have ones without holes in them. The other thing I did was give myself permission to buy more expensive jeans. I had a ton of tops, but I didn’t like to buy bottoms for whatever reason. Doing this has made me more content with my wardrobe. Now the only thing I have to deal with is fighting the urge to shop just because I want to buy something, not out of any real need for anything.

    • Tonya, Good point about the jeans! I haven’t liked buying bottoms, either, but I really need to do it now. I’m glad to hear the new jeans have increased your wardrobe satisfaction. Hopefully the same thing will be true for me. Good luck in fighting the urge to shop! Having awareness that you don’t really need anything is an important first step in the process.

  7. I can definitely relate to the “penny wise, pound foolish” section of this post! It has taken me a number of years to get out of the habit of buying clothes I don’t need simply because they are on clearance. I ended up with a closet full of clothes I didn’t love and rarely wore.

    Now I try to be very intentional when I shop, not to browse in stores unless I know what piece(s) I need, and not to buy something unless I know what clothes I already own I could wear with it!

    • Alyssa, Sounds like you’re making great progress! Being intentional when we shop can save us time, money, and sanity, that’s for sure. Becoming more intentional when I shop (one reader called it “shopping like a man”) is definitely a goal of mine!

  8. Me too! We are walking a similar journey. For years I used most (nearly all) of my clothing budget to buy things I’d wear in professional or social situations in which I aimed to impress others. And I frequently work from home, we live a casual lifestyle near the beach where most people are casually dressed. A typical date night for my husband and I takes place in the “afternoon” in the form of a long walk on the beach, followed by fish tacos on pier. Our social life is filled with having friends over, and we cook dinner at home and everyone is casually dressed. And yet I shopped for and filled my closet with clothing I’d wear in professional or social situations aimed to impress… And like you the clothing I permitted myself to wear around the house was raggedy. “Was” is the key word, because a few weeks ago I also saw the light and changed my crazy ways. Although it was hard (very hard) I went shopping, and with my husband cheering me on, I bought a few items that I now wear daily and feel great wearing, and they are a perfect fit with the life I really live!

    • Our lives DO sound quite similar! Everyone here is very casual, too, and my date nights with my husband are not unlike what you describe. Congrats on your recent successful shopping! I hope to be able to report something similar very soon.

  9. I began working at home in 1994, at a time when not many people were working from home yet. I was quite intent on being taken seriously by my peers, so from the start I dressed in business casual and observed conventional 9-5 hours for the benefit of my clients, even though I was in my home office. I still dress for work every day, even though it is casual in feel, because it helps me feel more professional.

    My style is on the artsy side; I gravitate towards handmade statement jewelry, interesting belts, unusual natural fabric textures. I don’t own any workout clothes or sweats for working or loungewear primarily because I am not a fan of the sporty look on my body type plus I often don’t care for the fabric, which is often a high tech synthetic that feels like a plastic bag. I don’t even own a pair of athletic shoes, instead I wear sandals, which look more polished with skirts and pants.

    I think dressing better to work at home has a beneficial effect on a person’s self esteem. How can anyone feel confident if they are wearing clothes that are worn out?

    Underwear is a good example for me. If my underwear does not fit perfectly, feel great and look attractive, I am miserable all day long. Worn out underwear is one of the most depressing sights in the world. I feel the same way about loungewear.

    My mother, the original shopaholic, would spend exorbitant amounts on clothing and shoes. Yet she wore the same tired ragged garments at home day after day. I never understood why she didnt wnat to wear her newer clothes or what she was saving them for. Well now I know, she was saving them for a life that never existed. It was all just a fantasy. The woman who couldnt wear heels because of feet problems had hundreds of pairs of frivolous shoes, never worn.

    • My sister has had a home-based visual communications business since the mid-1980s, and she dresses in business casual — make-up and everything — every day and then walks down the hall to her home office. When she meets clients i person or by video conferencing, she dresses up a bit more (nicer shoes, jacket or sweater). She says that doing this made her feel professional and on task. I followed her advice when I started my own consulting business from a home-based office. I save the yoga pants and sneakers for the gym — thus I am always ready for impromptu meetings with clients.

    • Deby, Your wardrobe and accessories sound beautiful! I would love to see photos sometime… You sound like you have things “dialed in” very well in terms of how you dress. The points you make are very good! I know I feel more confident when I’m wearing better clothes, even at home (I didn’t know that until quite recently, though).

      I felt sad reading about your mother. I’ve had some similarities to her situation, but it hasn’t been as pronounced with me. I think many of us shop for fantasy lives while neglecting what we need for our real lives. I hope to be able to state that in the past tense for me soon. I’m glad you didn’t totally follow in your mother’s footsteps. I hope she received some joy from the shoes and clothes, even if she rarely wore them… Or at least I hope she received joy in other areas of her life!

      • Debbie, the unfortunate thing is that mom has never derived an iota of pleasure from her excessive clothimg expenditures. She would buy the clothes then put them away, never looking at them again. When my dad passed and I put together her funeral outfit, she said “where did those clothes come from?” and I replied, “from your closet”. She said, “I have never seen these before in my life”. She has so many clothes that every closet in her house is stuffed to the gills with her clothes. She had to purchase extra chests of drawers to hold all her folded garments–4 tall chests in her bedroom alone. My entire room from childhood was converted also into clothing storage with two more chests and a stuffed closet. My poor father had a minmal wardrobe that he had to hang in his office, or fold up in a small chest, there was no other space.

        Today mom wears 4 outfits, 2 for winter, 2 for summer. They consist of 4 mens tee shirts, 2 pair of velour workout pants, 2 pairs of shorts and 2 sweaters, for a total of 9 garments to cover the entire year.

        Mom had all these clothes which are of no use to me as her daughter, even if I wanted to wear some of them!. She is much more petite than me, I am 5″ taller and have way bigger feet! I have no idea who could wear her 300+ pairs of shoes size 7 AAAA, spanning 50 years of style!

        It is sad that she never valued herself to feel worthy to wear her beautiful clothes. Thats why I wear and enjoy all my clothes now and have truly enjoyed the 333 challenge, even though I am not down to 33 pieces.

      • This sounds a lot like my own mother and it breaks my heart. In the last few years she’s been exhibiting a lot of worrisome hoarding tendencies and it is both frustrating and frightening for me.

      • Deby and Alice, So sad that your mothers aren’t enjoying their beautiful clothes. I wonder if this is a common phenomenon among older women. Perhaps it has more to do with not valuing oneself, as Deby mentioned. I guess we can only do so much to help our loved ones with shopaholic and/or hoarding issues, but we CAN learn from their mistakes. I am the first shopaholic in my family, but I can see the family tie-in to my issues. I was more rebelling against my mom saying “we can’t afford it” and admonishing me for wanting things when I was younger. Now I’m just trying to find a happy medium…

  10. Yes Debbie it seems you have hit a nerve with so many of us and like Vivienne have inspired us to look realistically at our closet/life compatablity.
    Sometimes it is a fantasy life wardrobe we are drawn to and sometimes it is that our circumstances have changed and we are still buying the type of clothes from that former lifestyle. My problem is a little of both.
    As I’ve told you before the style in Sydney is on the casual side even for theatre and ballet which we regularly attend and I certainly have enough formal wear for any wedding or cocktail party I’m ever likely to attend. Also, now I’m retired I don’t need the same amount of dressier tops, skirts and pants that I wore when I was teaching. So why am I still drawn to those items? Probably because I like them and wish that my environment was one that I could wear them more often. So a reality check is necessary: I love where I live and love retirement and will try to focus only on the smart casual clothes that are appropriate for my present life situation.

    • Sydney sounds similar to San Diego in that both places are quite casual. It’s good that you’re realizing what you need for your real life. It’s great that you’re happy where you are physically and in your life situation. That’s what’s most important. Now the clothes can follow…

      • I grew up in San Diego and when I visited Sydney in 1997 I though it was very similar in climate and geography and what San Diego would have been like if it had been settled by the British instead of the Spanish. 🙂

      • Interesting observation, Renee! I really want to visit Sydney someday and now I know what to expect in terms of weather. Thanks!

  11. I have been trying to “right size” my wardrobe over the past year. One of my big shopping flaws was that I spent most of my clothing budget on holiday and vacation wear, and wore the same tired items all year at work and home. In my mind, “functional” clothing didn’t warrant any attention. I have another problem, too – I don’t like drawing attention to myself, and I don’t really like it when my co-workers exclaim over new things I’ve bought – it feels like showing off to me. So this year I have focused on better fitting, better quality items, and taking little steps away from being nondescript 🙂

    • Congrats on the powerful realizations you’ve made and for the positive steps you’ve taken in the right direction! There is a big difference between being nondescript and being a show-off! I’m glad you’re working to find a middle ground for yourself.

  12. This resonated so loudly with me! I’ve gotten better about buying for the life I live in terms of not buying bar clothes, fancy dresses, excessively dressy work clothes, etc. – but, now that I work from home more often (and in academia, which is more casual as a rule), I find that I, too, neglect my at-home clothes and jammies. I’ve worked on fixing my PJ dilemma at the insistence of my husband, but really need to focus on what I wear at home – I prefer to wear it, and my husband frequently remarks on my ‘sweats’ when he comes home from work. One more step in growth, I suppose!

    • Adriana, Welcome and thanks for your comment! It’s great that you’ve taken positive steps to up-level your at-home wardrobe. Perhaps both you and I can find a nice middle ground between sweats and dressy work clothes for working at home!

  13. I was exactly the same until recently – I spend a lot of money on clothes I don’t use a but when it comes to spending money on something useful and practical, I basically want it for free. So while I’m in sharp dresses when I go to work during the week, I look like I’ve crawled out of the trash at weekends, feeling ugly and awful about myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s one of the reasons I shop all the time!
    I think where a lot of women go wrong is that they shop for the life they want to live instead the life they are living. The only way to get that right is to change your life (if that really is what you want), not your wardrobe…

    • K, What great insights you’ve made! I think I shopped all the time because I felt like a “frump” during my more casual times, too. I think we all need to decide which needs changing – the wardrobe or the life. For some of us, perhaps it will be a combination of the two…

  14. Absolutely agree with this post. I remember being in TJ Maxx a few years ago looking at nightgowns. A friend I was with commented that she never wanted to spend the money on sleepwear and instead just wore an old tee shirt to bed. Most of us spend 1/3 our lives in sleepwear, often more if we work from home or are relaxing on the weekends. Realizing this, I spend money on quality nightgowns and robes that last me for years and make me feel happy and even elegant!

    • Good for you on buying quality nightgowns and robes! You’re so right – if we’re spending 1/3 of our time in sleepwear, we should definitely feel happy in what we’re wearing. If we can add elegant to the mix, all the better!

  15. Debbie,

    It seems no one mentioned alternates to lounge wear at home. Knit dresses, plain and A-line, are great. They look nice, but feel like nightgowns. Add a sweater or put a shirt underneath and you can go places. I had one-now out of style- long crinkled print dress that was a go-to dress. I had an event at home and didn’t plan changing time; I threw on a pearl and gemstone collar and I was told I resembled a Klimt painting.

    Walking shorts look like an up and coming causal/dressed look, too.

    I do wear black yoga pants most of the time at home. But I approach this from a different direction. Leggings are what I wear with tango clothes! So I went from jeans at home to yoga pants. One day I had on jeans that chronically cut into my crotch, but looked good otherwise. I stood up, took them off and put them in the donate pile.

    As I get older, 57, I am buying better jeans. My favorite pair is an Ellen Tracy trouser-style. They can pass for non-jeans. It’s a great pair for when I don’t know if the crowd will be hipsters or ladies-who-lunch.

    • Thanks for the suggestions for at-home clothing. You named some excellent options! Congrats on buying better jeans. I’ve had the problem you described about digging into the crotch, too. Quite maddening! Those types of jeans belong on the donate pile!

  16. This realization is so valuable! I’m going to take a look at it in my own life.

    I’m thinking this would also give you so much ‘street cred’ in you wardrobe consulting business, because you aren’t just talking the talk, but actually living through it on a deep level for yourself.

    You GO, girl!
    🙂

    • I’m glad you liked the post! Thanks for the encouragement. I do try to provide personal examples when talking to my clients as much as possible. I never want them to think that I never struggled or even that I have everything all figured out now. Readers of my blog know just how much I DON’T have it all figured out – LOL!

  17. Hi Debbie, this sounds like a breakthrough! Well done!
    I also work from home and have done so for the past five years. I tend to dress up a bit – I wear some makeup and clothes that I would wear to my workplace (not über formal, often a jacket and jeans or a dress and flats) because that makes me more productive. I did try slobbing around in sweatpants for a while and it was no good for my self-esteem and morale. I also have an overshopper mother who always wore worn out clothes at home and saved her lovely clothes for best. Fashions and her size changed, so that future never materialized 😦

    For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading ‘To shop or not to shop’ by Dr April Benson. I breezed through the book last year when I first realized that I have an overshopping problem, but have now decided to take the time to sit down and do the exercises in written form. It’s been extremely useful – I’m learning a lot about what is motivating my shopping behaviors and have started to find ways to address those underlying needs more directly (‘small good things’ are a step in that direction). You may already have read this book – some of your posts touch on similar themes – but if not, I would really recommend it! Over the past year I’ve found I could suppress overshopping behavior for a while, but because I didn’t sufficiently address the underlying needs, I kept relapsing. No idea whether it will work this time around, but definitely feel already that I understand myself much better and am also able to feel more understanding and compassionate towards myself. I calculated that going through the book one chapter per week is a 10-week commitment. So long enough to feel challenging but not too daunting…

    • I have the book by Dr. Benson, but have only read parts of it. I agree that these books are MUCH more meaningful if we do the exercises. It’s definitely important to address the underlying issues behind the over-shopping or else the behavior will once again rear its ugly head (or another type of compulsive behavior will crop up. I’ll have to break out that book and revisit it again… Perhaps some future posts will come out of my self-exploration through the exercises. Good luck to you with this!

      • Debbie, I couldn’t finish the book last year when I first purchased it. It felt too painful and intimate. Not sure if this makes sense to you but it almost physically hurt me to read it. And I thought it was so demanding (all that journaling!!!) and almost too direct, a bit like a stern parent. So I thought I had gained enough insights to change my behavior. It motivated lots of changes – budgeting, limiting exposure, shopping bans, becoming ethically/environmentally conscious, better understanding marketing, etc – but I didn’t really think through all the underlying issues in detail. (Too painful.)

        This year I came to a conclusion that I’ve been able to change my shopping behavior a little, but not enough – lots of painful and destructive relapses. So now I’m going to dedicate 2-3 months to working my way through all the exercises and actually am keeping a Shopping Journal. In so doing, I’ve understood quite a few painful things and there have been some difficult days when I’ve felt quite unhappy about myself (lots of negative feelings – shame, loneliness, vulnerability, feeling trapped). But this time around, the stern style of the book feels liberating. And the exercises are almost like automatic writing, – when I’m writing down the things the journal asks me to evaluate or describe, I make new connections and gain new insights. And most of them are quite liberating! I’ve been able to see myself in a more compassionate light. I overshop because I got very mixed messages about money and fashion from my family growing up; I overshop because it’s my current preferred mode for dealing with negative emotions, especially boredom, self-doubts, criticism, loneliness and low mood. I’ve also understood that I overshop in an attempt to belong (this is fueled by some painful memories of absolutely not belonging, but also by my current lifestyle of working from home) – but this actually doesn’t work: my obsession with fashion is alienating me from my friends, who are not very interested in clothes!

        Now that I understand some of these issues, I am making small but meaningful changes in my life: trying to learn more positive ways to self-regulate negative emotions; starting new things professionally and in my private life that make me feel more connected with others. And because fashion and overshopping is also connected with quite a few positive emotions (rewarding, celebrating, generosity, creativity, self-expression), I’m trying to find more direct ways to express and share positive feelings.

      • I had a very similar experience with the book. I think I bought it about 2 years ago, but I wasn’t really ready to change. It felt too hard and clinical and I didn’t want to take the time with it. I’m in a much better place now, so I think I would see the book and its exercises much differently. Like you, I am ready to face the underlying issues now. We have a lot in common in terms of our backgrounds and why we overshop. I have alienated people in my life by being too obsessed with clothes and shopping, too! That’s not good because I don’t have a lot of people to whom I’m close anyway. I became too one-dimensional and that impacted my relationships.

        It sounds like you are on a really good path. Your input is making me want to pick up April Benson’s book again and delve deeper this time. In fact, I just took it out of the bookshelf and put in on my desk. Perhaps some of my future posts will be generated from the themes in the book. I wish you the very best of luck with your journey! Please keep me posted with how you’re doing.

  18. Once you feel you are where you want to be in terms of loungewear, would you mind just posting a few of these outfits as examples? I have outfits that I wear to the gym, but they don’t seem appropriate as loungewear. It would be so helpful!

    • My loungewear outfits and workout outfits are pretty similar, actually. Perhaps I should do a post on this topic and include photos. Of course, preferences for such clothes vary quite a bit and some people opt to dress professionally when working from home, too. We all have to figure out what works best for us and I’m still working on that… But maybe my insights on the topic would be useful for people. I will add this to my topic list 🙂

  19. Have you read the blog The Daily Connoisseur? The author, who wrote Lessons From Madame Chic about her time living in Paris and what she learned about style from the family with whom she lived, wears her clothes, all of her clothes, at home, including such improbably things as silk tops and white pants. With toddlers no less. I love that she just wears it. If she’s cooking or doing housework, she puts on an apron. It’s all a teensy bit more June Cleaver-ish than I am comfortable with doing myself (I don’t even own white pants, because they’d stay white for about .2 seconds), but it does inspire me to not save my best pieces for those elusive special occasions.

    • I haven’t read that blog, but I will check it out. It sounds interesting! I think it’s a good practice to wear out clothes instead of “saving them for good,” but I might draw the line at wearing white pants around toddlers! The message is a good one, though. I’m doing that more and more myself, even if I get asked all the time, “Why are you so dressed up?” I just smile and say, “Because I like to!”

  20. Wow, this post really resonated with me! I work in the office only 2 days a week. The rest of my life is spent on playgrounds, or working at home with my laptop, etc. And yet, my closet is stuffed with aspirational clothing and very little practical gear. I wonder if you can recommend brands of sturdy, stylish activewear / yoga type clothing that can hold up to frequent use? As you said, most of my items are from Target or Walmart, and they certainly are showing their age. Thanks!

    • Welcome, Domina! I’m glad you liked this post! What you describe is very common, actually, and something I’ve seen with both clients and friends (and myself, as I described). Many of us buy clothing for imagined or hoped for lifestyles and neglect to buy what we actually need! I’m now tracking how often I wear my ultra-casual clothes and that’s helping to motivate me to spend more in that area. I wear that stuff a lot! As for where to buy such things, a lot of it depends on your budget. I’ve had good luck with Gap (GapFit), Athleta, Lululemon, and Nordstrom (Activewear department). My husband loves Patagonia (more expensive but good quality and environmentally friendly) and I plan to buy some of their things, too. I plan to research other sources, so I may have other recommendations soon. Good luck!

  21. I buy too much of the same kind of garment (currently pants & shorts to fit my expanding figure, shoes to fit my shrinking feet). If one is needed,I seem to buy 6. I have some underlying fear of not having enough.

    Perhaps it comes from a childhood of never having what I wanted, and having my mom choose my clothes well into my teen years (she was stylish, and wanted me to be her clone). I was not comfortable in the clothes she selected and never got to pick out my clothes until college. In high school I was never dressed like my peers and felt awkward and unattractive.

    I don’t know why my figure has grown from a medium(too tight) to a large (that’s baggy). I’m 65, do 3 exercise classes a week, walk and eat small portions of healthy food. I don’t snack. I have accepted my new shape, cleaned out the mediums and replaced them with my new size, but as usual, have bought too many to wear in a week.

    I have put myself on a clothing/shoe boycott (there’s probably a better word) because I have enough of everything unless I miraculously lose the pounds on my hips.

    • Welcome, Sandra, and thanks for sharing some of your story. I have some similarities to what you shared in that I also feared not having enough (and am still working on this fear). My mom used to regularly say “We can’t afford it” and I didn’t feel as well-dressed as my peers. So when I was old enough, I basically rebelled and didn’t limit myself (even though I couldn’t really afford it). I still struggle with buying in multiples. The “boycott” you mentioned may be helpful. I’ve found that even taking a short hiatus from shopping has allowed me to better grasp what I do and don’t need. Shopping less has helped me to better appreciate what I have. Congrats to you for accepting your new shape and buying clothing that better fits you. Even though you bought too much, I’m glad you didn’t berate yourself and force yourself to wear the mediums when they were too tight!

  22. It seems that I’ve had a lot of the same issues as “Frugal Fashionista” in my life, too. I’m glad I stumbled onto this site, because I’ve been trying to deal with my “retail therapy” issues on my own, and I haven’t been winning that battle. All these contributors give me some hope that I can conquer my excess shopping habit. I want to have a simpler life, and be able to focus on the more important parts of my life. I don’t know if I can ever get down to 33 pieces per season, since I have literally hundreds of tops, and dozens of pants & capris, plus jackets, sweaters, shoes, scarves, and more. WAAAY too many of everything!! I like so many of my “things” that it’s hard to part with them, and yet I don’t wear the majority of the pieces very often. I was inspired enough today to weed out about 25 pieces to donate. As I continue to work on this, I’ll be looking here for more help and inspiration. Thanks!

    • Welcome, Kay! I’m glad you found this blog and are finding the posts and comments helpful. Thank you for your comment. I can relate to much of what you shared. I still have WAY too many of everything, too! Even though I’ve pared down a lot, it’s still too much. But I’m taking it one step at a time and trying to celebrate my victories, small or large. You had a great victory today in weeding out 25 pieces to donate. Congrats! In regards to Project 333, I’m not sure if my wardrobe will ever be that small, either, but it helped me a great deal to live that way for three months. Since that time, it’s gotten much easier for me to get rid of things I don’t love. I highly recommend trying Project 333 or a variation of that challenge that is comfortable for you (e.g. I just counted clothing, others use 40 or 50 items instead of 33, still others work in 2-month increments, etc.). I wish you the best on your journey! Feel free to comment any time and I will be happy to provide support (and I’m sure other readers will, too).

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