March 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s the last day – and the last post – of the month, so it’s time for me to share my latest “grab bag” of useful links.   But before I do, I want to thank everyone who has shared their feedback on where to find quality clothing in response to my last post.   As I mentioned in that post, I will be adding all of the reader input to mine and creating a permanent resource page on the website.  I will share that link once it’s available.

If you haven’t had a chance to chime in about your quality clothing (and accessories) sources, you still can do so up until Friday, April 10th.  I wish I could leave comments open indefinitely on the blog, but the spammers had to go and ruin our fun such that I must close the loop after two weeks.   However, you can always submit feedback to me via the Connect Page.

Springtime flowers

Spring has definitely sprung in many parts of the world!

Now on to today’s topic…   Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the subjects of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m skipping the links to early “Recovering Shopaholic” posts this time around because I had so many other articles that I wanted to share.  However, you can always check out my previous posts on the Archives page by category, date, or keyword.

I certainly do not expect you to click on all of the links in these useful links posts.  Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.   If you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” I invite you to visit my Start Here page, which contains useful information about the blog, as well as links to some of my most compelling and helpful posts.  While you’re on the site, you might also want to check out my Recovery Tips and Resources pages, as well as learn about my two books.  Okay, here are the links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • The Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy Any New Clothes – Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style is an image consultant who shops with clients for a living. So she definitely has some useful tips for how we call all shop smarter.   If I would have kept questions 4 and 5 in mind in the past, my wardrobe would look a lot different today!   It may be useful to keep these questions on your phone or near your computer so you can easily access them while shopping.
  • The Neurological Pleasures of Fast Fashion – A reader shared this article from The Atlantic last week because they linked to my blog as a resource. This is a fascinating article filled with interesting information and compelling statistics about shopping and the business of “fast fashion.”   For one, did you know that 97.5 percent of clothing purchased in the U.S. is now imported?   I sure didn’t and I learned many more surprising facts through this excellent read.  It’s well worth your time and attention to check it out.
  • Pretend to Shop – Lisa from Shopping Brake offered a great suggestion for those of us who are farther along in our recovery from compulsive shopping. She has started to “pretend shop” online.  Her 7-step process allows her to get more in touch with what she likes, as well as what she actually needs.   I think I’ll give it a try myself.  I’m always open to new ways to become more mindful and effective with my shopping.

On Wardrobe Management

  • The Allure of the New – This post from Grechen’s Closet really hit home for me. For years, I was so compelled to buy new things that I shopped several times each week (if not more).   I now know that my shopping wasn’t really about the clothes themselves; I wanted to transform myself and hide from my pain through shopping.   Like Grechen, I am no longer as tantalized by the allure of the new and am deriving more joy from the tried and true items in my closet.   This post will be an interesting read for anyone who has struggled with overshopping and an ongoing desire for new things.
  • Why I Put My Closet on a Diet (in 6 Simple Steps) – I have long been a fan of Drew Barrymore’s, so when I saw this article by her on Refinery 29, I had to read it, especially since the topic is near and dear to my heart. Although Drew is a celebrity, she is extremely relatable and the struggles she’s had with her wardrobe are quite similar to my own.   While most of the advice given was not revolutionary for me, I still enjoyed reading Drew’s piece.  I especially like Drew’s sixth step of her “closet diet” and what happened next!
  • 6 Easy Steps to Closet Freedom – As we have just entered spring (or autumn for those of you in the southern hemisphere), this is often a time when we start switching out our wardrobes and doing some “spring cleaning.” If you’re looking to downsize your wardrobe, this post from Cluttered to Clean can help.  The process presented is very easy and straight-forward.  Perhaps you might want to give it a try this coming weekend.
  • Variables that Affect the Size of Your Wardrobe – My posts on wardrobe size (here and here) are among the most visited on the blog, so I know this is a popular topic. When I saw this article on You Look Fab, I thought you might be interested in reading it.   Many of the variables mentioned have been covered here, but there are a few new ones that I found intriguing, including purging guilt and love of fashion.   Be sure to check out the many comments from readers for more interesting perspectives.

On Style

  • 9 Pieces, 11 Outfits – Spring Packing 2015 – I always love reading articles on wardrobe capsules and packing for travel, especially when they include lots of photos. This article from Putting Me Together doesn’t disappoint.   Even if your style is very different from that shown, you can still benefit from the formula and tips for putting your own travel wardrobe together.
  • 24 Outfit Formulas for Spring – This article from Into Mind contains a lot of outfit inspiration to help us get dressed for spring. Many of the looks shown will work in other seasons, too, especially for those of us in temperate climates.   Even if you like a lot of variability in the way you dress, it can still be helpful to select a handful of formulas to streamline the process.  The post includes a wealth of photos to help you decide which formulas will work best for your life and personal style.
  • How to Measure Your Ideal Heel Height” – I was so intrigued by this guide from Alterations Needed that I had to share it, although I will admit that I haven’t gone through the process as of yet. If you find that you often feel uncomfortable in your shoes, it may be that you’re wearing the wrong heel height for you.  If you try the process, please post what you learn, and I will share my findings as well.
  • Stylish Thoughts – The Yogastic Shopping Planner” – I had to include this post, as it’s an interview with previous guest poster and frequent commenter, Mette. Read Mette’s insights on all things style and see some of her favorite outfits in this feature from Inside Out Style blog (check out my interview in the same series here).

On Personal Development

  • Make a Change by Choosing Less, More, or None – If you’re looking to make some changes in your life, this post from Be More with Less may help to make the process easier. As Courtney wisely states in her article, “Choosing what you want less, more or none of will help you create an environment for the change you desire.”  So get out a sheet of paper (or your computer) and make your less, more, and none lists.   I’m going to give it a try and it just may inspire a future blog post here!
  • Start Today – Like Sally from Already Pretty, I have long struggled with body image issues. I know what it’s like to actively dislike my body and feel undeserving of good things in life because I believed I was too heavy and unattractive.  Eating disorders destroyed years of my life and took away my peace and happiness. I wholehearted agree with Sally’s message that we should be kind and loving to ourselves regardless of our size.  Even if we desire to make changes to our bodies, why postpone our happiness until we drop X number of pounds or wear X size of clothing?  We deserve to feel good about ourselves now, so we should always start today!
  • Less Stuff, More Happiness (video) – This 5-minute Ted Talk by Graham Hill of Life Edited is jam-packed with food for thought. Graham proposes the powerful theory that less might actually equal more in life and outlines three simple rules for editing our lives.   Not only is this talk highly compelling, it also includes lots of fun visuals, including some space-saving ideas for our homes.   Would you believe that it’s possible to entertain ten guests, house overnight visitors, and work from a home office in just 420 square feet of space?  Well, seeing is believing, my friends…                      


I hope you enjoyed this installment of useful links.  Feel free to comment on any of the topics from this post and/or share links to articles that you’ve enjoyed recently.

I’ll be back soon with my March accountability post and an update on my “Love It, Wear It” (LIWI) Challenge (see previous posts here).  If you have questions for me or suggestions for future posts, please share them in the comments section or contact me directly via email or social media.

13 thoughts on “March 2015 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. Hi Debbie! Long time reader, first time commenter. Love your blog! 🙂

    Great roundup of links this month. I was just wondering if you or any of your readers had some guidance regarding a shopping ban. The link you provided (Stop Shopping: Exactly How to Manage a Period Without Shopping) was helpful until I got to the list of 12 tips to make things easier, and the first tip is to stay out of stores. This always trips me up every time I think about starting a shopping ban, as I work retail – staying out of the mall would mean missing my shifts lol. I’ve been applying for jobs relevant to my degree, but my degree is in a relatively specialized field (criminal justice) so it’s pretty tough to get in, even at entry level (been actively job searching for approximately one year now) so I can’t really foresee myself getting out of retail any time soon (retail is the only sector really hiring in my geographic area as well, so I don’t have many prospects outside of it). Do you (or any of your readers) have any tips for sticking to a shopping ban while constantly being exposed to temptation? Reading your blog has been a great help but it’s tough to keep myself in check when I go into work and am surrounded by so many pretty things all day!

    Any insight is appreciated. Thanks for providing such a valuable resource to those of us who struggle with shopping! 🙂

    • I work in retail and I find that looking at clothes all day (and seeing how clothes are treated by customers and store personnel combined) has really put me off shopping! I don’t “shop” while I am working (although I am cognizant of what merchandise we carry). I look at how clothes are made as I handle them — how likely is it that the fussy trim will last past a few wearings, etc. And I also think, do I really want to spend $69.95 on a blouse that will be out of date in a year — if it lasts that long? Or would I rather put that money to other good uses — paying down debt, yoga classes, travel, mani/pedi — whatever?

      If I were you, I would use your retail experience to become familiar with clothing and how it’s constructed, how it’s merchandised (so you can increase your will power to resist those tempting displays), how quickly merchandise turns over, and what sells and what doesn’t — and why. Few people get this “worm’s eye” view of the clothing industry. Not only will this make you better at your job, you will learn critical info that you will be able to use all your life.

      I work in a store that is part of a mall. I don’t go into the mall. I have never gone into the mall — not even to the food court. I don’t put temptation in my way. I rarely shop — even with my employee discount and other incentives. And I develop an ANNUAL shopping plan and work from an annual clothing budget. This means I plan in January what I will or will not buy all year. Last year I bought almost nothing all year so I could save my $$ for an expensive but well-crafted pair of boots that I hope will last 10-15 years. This year I have several items to replace so I shop ONLY for those replacement pieces. I don’t trawl the sales racks or wonder around stores looking for things to buy. If I have to buy lingerie I go straight to the lingerie dept., buy my stuff and then leave. No dallying at the cosmetic counters. No trying on shoes. In, buy, and out!

      I sound like I don’t like clothes, but that’s not true — I love great clothes! What I like about my job in retail is to help other people make the best clothing choices for their needs. I work to understand what the customer wants and suggest several options. I ask them what they plan to wear with whatever they are considering buying. And I have customers who seek my help because I don’t “sell” to them, I help them make the right choices. Big difference.

      Finally, maybe you don’t need a “ban” from shopping but maybe need to establish a strict budget that allows to think about and plan your purchases.

      Maybe you can combine your education and retail experience in loss prevention.

      • Wow, thanks so much for the comprehensive response dottie! I appreciate you taking the time to respond in such depth 🙂

        Do you find you feel pressure from higher level management (ie district managers) to wear current merchandise and if so, how do you deal with it? I find that’s my biggest obstacle to saying no to a purchase from my store. I work for a locally owned chain so it’s not unheard of for the CEO of the company or one of her family members to stop by unannounced, and I feel like they’re always scrutinizing everything I’m wearing to see how many parts of my outfit are from the store.

        Definitely going to take your advice on not “selling” to customers as well. We sell body jewelry as well as clothing at my store and I’m always emphasizing quality over quantity with my jewelry customers, so it makes sense to translate that mentality to clothing!

        Thanks again for your response, I gained a lot from reading it!

    • Rachel, thank you for your comment and question, and a big thanks to Dottie for her reply. I don’t have a whole lot to add, but I did take some time to consider how I would deal with needing to work in retail. My first thought was that I would work in a store or department that would be less tempting for me, such as men’s or children’s clothing or even plus-sizes or petites (since I am not in those markets). Barring that, I would do what Dottie recommended and not venture into the mall or other areas of the store in which I work. I would also make plans for things to do after work so I would have a reason to leave right away. Another suggestion is to not carry credit cards to work. Just bring the amount of cash you need for meals and drinks (or pack a lunch) or for any specific items you need to purchase (like the lingerie example Dottie gave). I hope these additional tips are helpful. I haven’t worked in retail in many years, but I definitely got into trouble with spending back then, so I can empathize with your situation. Best of luck to you in finding a job in your chosen field very soon!

      • Oops, I had a reply written up and then I think the blog ate it :s

        Those extra tips are actually really helpful! The food court is unavoidable in my case, but I had a friend from another store show me some service hallways I didn’t know about that lead to the food court, so that removes the temptation of walking past other stores. I’m lucky in that I’m usually the one closing the store, so I don’t have the option of sticking around after work to shop. I like your idea of not bringing credit cards to work, and I’m going to give it at try!

        I just wanted to say thanks again for providing a welcoming place to talk about overshopping! It can be hard to find people in real life to talk to about this, so I’m really glad that there’s your blog (and the comment section!) out there as a resource. 🙂

    • Thanks, Imogen! I’m glad you like the links I provided this month – and I’m always happy to include your wonderful articles in the mix!

    • It was my pleasure to include your interview, Mette! I’m glad you enjoy the monthly links round-ups. I love introducing readers to new resources.

  2. A fun collection of links. And thanks for mentioning my Pretend to Shop exercise. I’ll be curious to hear how it works for you!

    • You’re welcome, Lisa. I may end up writing a post about my experience with your Pretend to Shop exercise. I just made a list of items I need for summer, so it might be a good time to try pretend shopping soon.

  3. Great resources. I’ve traveled with about 10-11 items — (pencil shirt, two pairs of pants, knit jacket, dressy blouse, 1-2 l/s tees, not-so-dressy top, cardigan, base layer, and raincoat/rain jacket plus p.j.’s, two pair of shoes, undies, rubber flip flops (for strange showers), and some scarves and accessories) — for as long as a month. Everything is in the black, white, red, or gray family and every thing mixes and matches. I take one small (non-wheeled) carry-on — 17 x 11 x 7″. The key is being able to wash you clothes if you will be gone more than 1 week. I have used this same basic packing list (with some alterations for seasons and destinations) and color scheme for decades, and oh, the washeterias I have known. I love to see the packing capsules featured from time to time on The Vivienne Files — lots of clever ideas. While I am not an ultra-light packer, I am a very light-weight packer: I never take more than 13 lbs. of clothes when I travel — and this includes my carry-on which weighs less than a pound. I don’t take what I can’t carry for a mile or so.

    • You seem to be a champion packer, Dottie! Thanks for sharing your process with us. If you ever want to do another guest post for the blog, this might be a great topic to explore. I am not the best packer, but I’m also out of practice due to not traveling much in recent years. I will keep your 13 pound guideline in mind next time. I would be interested to see what that translates to in terms of my clothes!

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