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.
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.