April 2015 Accountability Update

The last month has felt like one of the longest of my life.  Yes, I know the number of days was basically the same as in all other months, but because of all of the stress I had going on, it seems like April was more like three or four months long.   It really does seem like ages ago since I posted my last accountability update, but it was actually only 35 days ago.   Sometimes time flies, but the past month has really dragged for me…

With all that said, it’s now time for my April accountability update. For those who are new to the blog, these monthly reports are where I share what came into and left my closet during the previous month and how I did with my shopping budget.   It’s my way of keeping myself honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping.

Full Honesty and Accountability

It’s important to be honest with ourselves about our shopping.

Although I don’t have the type of formal goals this year that I had during 2013 and 2014 (see this post for what I’m doing instead this year), sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay deliberate (my theme for 2015) with both my shopping and wardrobe management.

What Left My Closet

I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month.  I didn’t do much culling during April, but I plan to really delve into that process more this month.  I’m actually strongly considering using the “KonMari Method” with my closet (read this post and this one for examples of how I’ve used this method for other areas of my home).   If I do take that plunge, I will be sure to write a post about it!  And even if I don’t go to such extremes, I definitely plan to do some more paring down very soon as we move into the warm weather season in the northern hemisphere (sorry, Aussies and Kiwis, you can gloat six months from now…).

The only items I removed from my wardrobe last month were two returns that I made for items I had purchased during March:

  • 1 jacket
  • 1 bracelet
April 2015 - Returned-Items

I returned these two March purchases last month for refunds. 

Why I Returned These Items

In addition to posting photos of what left my closet, I also list why I decided to release those pieces from my wardrobe.   I feel that pinpointing our reasons for purging closet items can help us notice patterns and avoid future mistakes.

My reasons for letting go of the items above are as follows:

  • Denim jacket – I really thought I had finally found a classic style denim jacket that would work well on my frame, but every time I tried on this jacket and contemplated wearing it, I always took it off and wore something else. Yes, it was less boxy than most similar styles and included some stretch for ease of movement, but it still wasn’t all that flattering on me and didn’t highlight my best traits as I hoped it would. So I took it back and will remain on the lookout for a better option. I think that a blazer style with more shaping might fit the bill better for me.
  • Silver stretch bracelet – I liked this bracelet in the store, but it never seemed quite right on me at home. I felt it was a bit too shiny and somewhat too large on my wrist.   I tried to wear it a few times, but always ended up taking it off.  I’m happy I decided to return it for a refund.  I like the idea of this type of bracelet, but it is more of a want than a need.  I can wait until I find the perfect option, whether it’s a month or a year from now.

What Came Into My Closet

Before I delve into this section of the report, I just want to say at the outset that I shopped too much last month.  I know that full well and even though I understand why I did it, that doesn’t excuse my falling back into old habits.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I have been going through a lot of stress in recent weeks and I turned to shopping more than I should have.  I shouldn’t have turned to shopping at all as a coping mechanism, but old habits can sometimes die hard.

Even though it looks like I did a lot of damage during April, I actually feel that the choices I made were pretty good and I have already worn several of my new garments.  I returned things I bought already and may opt to return at least one or two of the items pictured below.  However, since I have these pieces in my closet today, I am including them in this report.   Should I decide to make more returns, I will share that information in my next accountability update.

During April, I added 11 new items to my closet:

  • 1 bracelet
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 3 skirts
  • 3 cardigans
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 short-sleeved top

Here’s a photo of my April closet additions:

April 2015 - New-Items

I added these 11 items to my wardrobe during April 2015.

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

Here are my reasons for adding the items pictured above to my closet:

  • Black beaded bracelet – This was an impulse buy when I visited the grand opening for the new location of a local consignment store. I haven’t been consignment shopping in a long time, but the owner of this store is a friend and I wanted to stop in and say hi.   This bracelet was inexpensive, but I thought it was fun and not like anything I already have.  Time will tell as to whether or not it was a good buy.
  • Black jeans – I finally found a good pair of black jeans, at least I hope so. These are straight-legged jeans very much like the “skinnyish” jeans I’ve been enjoying wearing lately.   The only issue is that they are just barely long enough. They cannot shrink and I may want to pull on the legs when they are wet to give me a tad more length. But the fit is good and there is a good amount of stretch. No alterations needed, which is uncommon for me with pants.  However, I haven’t worn them yet, so I’m not 100% sure yet that I am keeping them.
  • Black and cream print maxi-skirt – I wanted to add a few more maxi skirts to my wardrobe because they work well with my casual lifestyle and are easier to style than my other skirts (there’s no “church vibe” with the maxis). I liked the print and was happy with the fit.  But I wore the skirt last week and there was an issue with it.  The fabric is mostly synthetic (I went against one of my own “don’ts” – see full list here) and attracted quite a bit of static cling. I think it’s because the weather was very dry that day, which isn’t usually the case where I live (I have the poufy hair to prove it much of the time).  Hopefully, the static won’t be a problem in the future, but I’m open to tips for dealing with it if you have any you’d like to share.
  • Black and grey striped maxi-skirt – This skirt was also an impulse buy but actually a good one. I went to browse a local boutique at the end of a difficult day and tried on a few things (this is an old pattern of mine – shopping to wind down – not the best idea…). I didn’t really expect to buy anything, but this skirt was a happy surprise at a good price. I wore it recently and was quite happy with how it looked and felt.  I have quite a few solid-colored tank tops, so it was nice to add two printed maxi skirts to my closet.
  • Grey maxi-skirt – This skirt was a replacement for a bad purchase I made last year. I really wanted a grey skirt, but the previous one had a fold-over waist that really annoyed me. Sadly, I jettisoned that skirt after only two wears. This grey maxi-skirt is the same as my black one that was a closet favorite last year (pictured here at the bottom of the post).  I think it will be a good addition to my wardrobe and I was happy to get it on sale (there’s nothing wrong with sales as long as we don’t buy things only because they are on sale – see my tips on sales here).
  • Grey tie-waist cardigan – When I posted some of my maxi-dress outfits last month, a few of you suggested pairing the dresses with a long-sleeved shrug or tie-waist cardigan instead of my moto jackets. I have actually had a black tie-waist cardigan for several years and wear it often, but it surprisingly hasn’t made an appearance on the blog.  It’s been on my list for a while to add another similar cardigan to my closet, so I ordered this grey one online.  The fit is good, but the color is a bit lighter than how it looked on the website and it may wash me out a bit.  I’m going to try this cardigan with a few outfits to see if it works, but it’s possible that I might send it back.
  • Pink maxi-dress – A while back, I mentioned that I might buy the pink version of my black maxi-dress (which was a favorite last summer and shown in this post). I didn’t do it back then and when I looked online later, the pink dress was sold out.  However, when I was shopping with my friend a few weeks ago, I saw the dress in the store (Nordstrom – pretty much my go-to shopping location) and decided to snap it up.   The shape is really good on me and I like the color a lot, too.  I hope this dress will see a lot of wear this summer (as I write this, it’s cold and rainy here, so no maxi-dresses for at least a little while).
  • Pink tie-waist cardigan – Since I wear a lot of black, I thought it would be fun to add a bright-colored tie-waist cardigan to my wardrobe. I love this deep shade of fuchsia and the fit of the cardigan is really good.  The ¾ sleeves are actually a good length instead of hitting me at just below my elbow as per usual.   The fabric is soft and these types of cardigans are easy to carry to throw on when the weather cools off during a summer evening.
  • Pink and white striped tee – This is the pink version of the black and white striped tee I bought last month (see here). I loved the look and feel of the original version, so I decided to add a second color to my closet.  My new limit for “multiples” – if I do them at all – is two pieces.   I think it’s okay to have two versions of a particular item in our closets, but more than that can be overkill.  I used to buy four or five colors of a garment I loved, but I invariably ended up wearing only one or two of them. I’m a lot more careful when I buy multiples these days, but I think that two colors of a given style can be perfectly okay (but we still need to give it some careful thought).
  • Striped maxi-dress – I have wanted a striped maxi-dress for a few years (you know how I love my stripes) and the one I bought last year (shown here) turned out to be a dud. This new dress is infinitely better and is very flattering on me. I was very excited and happy to find it. I think I definitely have enough maxi-dresses (and maxi-skirts) now, even if they are my main uniform for the summer these days.   It’s time for me to say “no more” to buying additional pieces in this style, but I know I will love wearing this new dress.
  • White tie-waist cardigan – I’m not sure how many of these tie-waist cardigans I really need, but I’m strongly considering getting rid of my hip-length cardigans and just wearing these with my skirts and dresses (a few of the hip-length cardigans will work with pants, but some of them are just an odd length and should probably just go).  Even so, I might not need four, but as I mentioned above, I will likely return one of them.   I’m not usually a fan of stark white on me, but with the cardigan, I will have another color close to my face with my top to offset the white.

I probably could have stopped at two maxi-skirts and two tie-waist cardigans. I did go somewhat overboard and I may still opt to make a return or two.   Otherwise, I will just work to slow my shopping way down, as I really don’t need all that much for the summer season at this point. I do need to replace a few of my tops and if I find a good knee-length skirt (that isn’t “churchy”) and a pair of black sandals (a replacement item), I will be happy.   Anything else would just be a “nice to have” and isn’t really necessary.

Although I bought too much during April, I do have to say that my urge to shop has gone way down since I started becoming more and more passionate about photography (read about that here).  Now, when I feel up to getting out of the house, my preferred destination is somewhere to snap photos rather than the mall.   I actually spent half a day taking photographs last weekend at various beaches all down the San Diego coastline.  I may have to do a special post to share the best ones, as some of you have requested that I share more of my photos on the blog.

My photography e-course is under way and I’m really enjoying it.  Having an alternate interest is making a big difference for me.  I now have a much lower desire to shop, even though you wouldn’t really know it from how much I bought last month.   I really started diving into photography in the latter part of April and I have done very little shopping since that time.  I highly recommend adopting a new hobby or interest (see the comprehensive list of suggestions here) if you are interested in curtailing your shopping.   It’s working for me and it may work for you, too.

Checking in on Last Month’s Purchases

Beginning earlier this year, I added a new section to my accountability updates in which I check in on the previous month’s purchases.   I feel that it’s important to add new closet additions to one’s regular wardrobe rotation as soon as possible, so it’s helpful for me to be accountable to you on that front.

I will keep these check-ins relatively brief, but I feel they are a valuable addition to my monthly reports.  I encourage you to check in on your previous month’s purchases, too, to evaluate whether or not they are serving your needs.  If not, you may still be able to return them and mitigate any potential buying mistakes you’ve made.

As a reminder, I added 5 new items to my closet during March (see this post for details):

  • Black draped jacket – This jacket has already become a closet favorite. I have taken it in a bit since it was pictured here, so it is now more fitted and thus more flattering on me.  I think it pairs well with the slimmer jeans that I am enjoying wearing these days.  This was definitely a good purchase.
  • Black and white striped tee – I liked this tee so much that I bought the pink version a month later. It is cotton but with a bit of spandex for stretch and a better fit. I really like it and feel it was a good buy.
  • Denim jacket – I returned this jacket – see above.
  • Silver stretch bracelet – I returned this bracelet – see above.
  • Teal open cardigan – Like the black draped jacket above, I have had this cardigan taken in since I pictured it in this post. I think it looks much better now and I like that the length is longer in the back (it’s an elliptical shape). I like the way the teal pairs with both black and black and white prints.   The fabric is soft and I’ve felt comfortable and happy the two times I’ve worn this cardigan thus far.  I feel confident that it was a good purchase.

April Budget Report

My clothing budget for 2015 is $2500 (down from $3000 last year).   I was originally going to just have an annual budget (I maintained monthly budgets during 2013 and 2014), but decided to change to quarterly limits after spending too much money during February.

My quarterly budget is $625 and April was the start of a new quarter.   Since I bought so many new items, I have come pretty close to spending my entire quarterly budget in just one month.  During April, I spent $464.65 on clothing, accessories, and alterations (most of this amount was spent on clothing).   It’s possible that I may return one or two items, which would bring that number down. Otherwise, I only have $160.35 left to spend between now and the end of June.

As I would really like to move more to seasonal shopping versus shopping pretty much all the time, perhaps it’s not so bad that I purchased so many items in one month.  Of course, part of the reason I shopped so much was due to stress, which was not a good thing.   I would like to be more deliberate (there’s that word again – read more about my efforts to be deliberate here) about when I’m shopping and how much I’m spending.  This is an area for me to continue to work on moving forward.

Coming Attractions

As a reminder, the “what I wore” section that I used to include in my accountability updates will now be part of my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) updates, the next of which will be posted next week.   I will also give you a glimpse into how my “working closet” is shaping up four months into the year, as well as my insights from the fourth month of the challenge.

As I mentioned above, I plan to do another closet audit soon and I will post about that process and the results shortly thereafter. I will also share another closet inventory in the coming weeks. In addition, I plan to take on the “Evolve Your Style” course from Imogen Lamport and will be blogging about that periodically.   Plus, I know I will be writing more about my “full life project” and sharing more photographs in future posts.  As always, if you have any suggestions for future topics, you are welcome to share them in the comments section or by contacting me directly.

Your Thoughts

Now it’s your turn to chime in.

  • How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during April?
  • What successes and/or challenges did you experience?

I invite you to share your wins, setbacks, and any questions you may have for me or others in this community.   Some of you have opted to share your accountability updates each month, too, and I love that.  There is strength in numbers and in declaring our truth on a forum such as this one.   We’re here to encourage and support each other, so please feel free to ask for help if you need it.   I wish you all the best in May and throughout the remainder of 2015!

77 thoughts on “April 2015 Accountability Update

  1. I have been struggling with not buying a multiple of this one shirt i bought but i keep coming back to one thought, if i go to wear that style i will probably just wear it in my favorite color and the other one wont get worn. I believe you call that splitting your wears. So for me i am trying to deal with the idea of only one Of an item is enough. But its hard because i like shopping, but again i was looking at capri jeans the other day bought then returned because really i have a handful of pairs already so i need to use what i have. What a struggle. But i am finally at the point where i dont have to hide purchases from my husband and i even have a few empty hangers which i admit my set point makes me want to fill but i dont want to buy just anything anymore i want awesome items that i will love. My budget is similar to yours and so far i am on track.

    • Thanks for your comment, Laura. I identify with your struggle not to buy multiples. I am working toward what Bridgette Raes calls “one and done” by having my rule of no more than two colors in a given style. I think that her idea is to not have more than one item that serves a particular purpose, like a cocktail dress for example. We all have to come up with rules and guidelines that work best for us and sometimes it’s helpful to set intermediary goals if the end goal seems too far out of reach. Congrats on being on track with your budget and for resisting the urge to buy more just to get back to your closet set point. Your goal of having only awesome items is one I share. I’m not there yet, but we will both get there eventually!

  2. You really got some cute things this month. I think all of the pink will fit in well with the black and grays. That color looks very nice on you too. The one thing I would suggest you take a close look at is the white cardigan. If I remember correctly you had bought one in a more classic style and passed it on because you didn’t like that much white near your face.

    I’m really happy that you’re enjoying your new hobby so much. I can’t wait to see more of your photos.

    This month I bought a grey and white print peasant top, a black and white stripe tunic, a black v neck top, a pair of black and white print pants, and a pair of dressy black sandals. The pants were a bad idea. I wore them once and saw the outfit picture and had a what was I thinking moment. I spent $184.58 for a total of $507.13 this year.

    • Thanks for sharing your accountability, Tonya. You are doing very well! I remember a couple of years ago that you bought MUCH more and spent a lot more money. Your style aesthetic seems to be firmly defined. Yes, you made one mistake, but that’s bound to happen to all of us from time to time. I’m glad you learned from it and aren’t beating yourself up about it. I did take a closer look at the white cardigan and I think I’m going to keep it. It’s the grey one that’s going to go because it’s the wrong shade of grey. The white one seems to work pretty well with my black and jewel-toned tops. I’m going to take a few photos to make sure, though.

  3. I do like your purchases for April, and it’s good to hear that photography is keeping your mind off shopping.

    I also experienced some stress in April and turned to shopping. I had put myself on a shopping hiatus after a “binge” in March, but when I got a break from my stressful situation in the last week of April, the first thing I did was go shopping. I knew exactly why I was shopping, but I decided I was okay with breaking my hiatus a week early. I bought just one pair of culottes, but unfortunately none of my tops worked with them, so the next day I ended up purchasing a top as well. Still, not too much damage and I like both items a lot. It just remains to be seen if their lack of versatility will be a problem.

    I’m looking forward to “seeing” you at Evolve Your Style, Debbie. Although I’ve only done three of the challenges so far, I’ve received some very useful feedback, which I’m now pondering before making further spring/summer purchases.

    • I’m glad your stress-induced shopping wasn’t too harmful, Kayla. I hope the new top and culottes will end up being versatile for you. I plan to start Evolve Your Style sometime this month, perhaps next week. I actually signed up for it a long time ago and got the emails, but I saved them all and plan to revisit them. I can see how it would be a very helpful program, which is why I recommended it here a while back. I know that Mette got a lot out of it, too, so much so that she enrolled in Imogen’s 7 Steps of Style program! I’m glad you’re getting useful feedback through your involvement with Evolve Your Style.

  4. It’s so great that you enjoy photography that much! It seems like having a new hobby was really the thing you needed to continue to move forward.

    I overshopped this month too and like you, it was because of stress. I had a lot of medical appointments that didn’t go as well as expected so I turned to shopping.
    I bought 4 tops, 1 pair of pants and 1 tunic and beside the tunic that’s too small (bought online), I’ve already worn everything several times and I know they were good purchases.
    I purged 24 more items from my wardrobe, bringing my total at 78 items. Passing under the 80 bar was one of my goal for the first quarter of the year so I’m kind of proud of me.
    I decided not to buy anything during May and June and if I shop in July, it’ll only be for true identified needs. Also, the fact that I’m going to move out in the next months motivates me not to buy anything.
    I hope May will be nicer to you than April was!

    • You are doing so well, Cedrique! Getting your wardrobe down under 80 items is very impressive. Congrats on accomplishing your goal and good luck with not buying anything during May and June. It seems like your buys from April were wise ones since you’ve worn everything several times already. Good for you! Thanks for your kind wishes for me in May. I hope it will be nicer to me than April was. Time will tell…

  5. Hi Debbie. I’m glad that you are planning to do the Evolve your Style program by Imogen Lamport. I’ve been a part of that group for 6 months now and I have really seen my style evolve and change in that time period. It is still evolving! I’ve also done Imogen’s 7 Steps to Style program and I have found both to be top notch. I’m planning to redo some parts again over the summer when I’ll have more time. I was especially impressed with her online color analysis and the amount and quality of information that she offers even with just the Evolve your Style program. I also really like that she encourages people NOT to shop during the wardrobe challenges, but rather get creative with what they have or borrow from family or friends.

    On to my accountability update for April:
    In April I sold a lot of things on Ebay (mostly non-clothing items that I didn’t need since I find that clothing/shoes/accessories are very difficult to sell in general and don’t sell for very much money (this deters me from wasting money on nonreturnable purchases in general) so I spent all of my Ebay earnings and $97 of actual money totaling to $344.

    My purchases were:
    – one dress
    – one statement belt (for my 2 skirts and a fancier white dress that I have)
    – statement herringbone coat (in neutral colors that suit my coloring)
    – pink necklace and pink suede loafers (in a cool pink that suits)
    – deep and plum berry lipstick
    – vintage teal silk scarf
    – jcrew hot pink wool blazer (I was very happy with the quality of my last jcrew blazer so I purchased the pink version of it for this month)
    – one pair of shorts for under skirts

    I purchased two coat/jackets that were not going to be worn this summer season which came a lot faster than usually (it’s in the 70s now!). However, I did have the chance to wear both pieces twice before hanging them back in the closet and am confident that they will do great for the fall. Now that I have three blazers for fall, three fall coats, and one down coat I won’t be purchasing any more outerwear for this year. Although I am considering another down coat just given how much I’ve already worn my new down coat from this year (at least 30 times).

    Most of my purchases this month were accessory or statement pieces that can carry through to the fall/winter. For May and June I really need to purchase summer wardrobe basics. I plan to take a break from shopping in July and August as April, May, and June will be an abnormal amount of shopping for me, but necessary given that I really don’t have any summer appropriate tops or bottoms. This is why I don’t like seasonal shopping. For fall and winter I only plan to purchase basics and I’ve totaled up my expected purchases and I should be on target for my budget ($2400) for this year since my expected purchases come a few hundred lower than that.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your accountability here, Margaret. I appreciate your honesty and the level of detail you went into. You seem to have a very good plan in place for yourself in terms of future shopping. I agree with you that selling clothes doesn’t usually net much money. It’s been very sobering for me to consign many of my clothing items (and shoes) and see how little I actually received for them. Good incentive to shop smarter, that’s for sure! I’m glad you’ve gotten a lot out of Evolve Your Style. Seeing comments like yours is pushing me to do it! I may opt to do 7 Steps to Style as well down the line as well.

  6. April always seems to be a tough shopping month for me. My birthday is at the beginning of the month and I typically get cash for gifts that I usually spend on clothing. This year was a big one, turning 40 and has hit me harder than I thought it would. I have been on a bit of a shopping binge due to the one-time inflated monthly budget which in turn has made me crave even more. It’s a little frustrating because I felt like I had been on such a good path lately. Your update really made me think about things and I appreciate such a thourogh post.


    • Happy Belated Birthday, Janeane! I hope you will find the 40’s to be a good decade. Turning 40 was hard for me, too, but only for a little while. Now I’m edging closer to 50 (just over a year – Eek!) and starting to get nervous about that… I’m glad you found my post helpful. We are bound to experience a number of ups and downs along the path to recovery. Yes, it can be frustrating and I am very frustrated about my overshopping in April, but as long as we learn from our mistakes and course-correct, all is not lost. I wish you the best of luck with getting back on track soon.

  7. Love the maxi dresses! Have you thought of trying sleeveless tailored jackets with these (denim or other fabrics)? They might look nice on you.

    • No, I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a good idea, Alice. Definitely something to try in the future, but I’m going to try to cut back on my shopping for a while after buying so much in April.

  8. I really like your approach to shopping – I di, but I really don’t see how 11 buys in one month can be “pairing down” / “decluttering” or even “recovered”. I used to do a lot of shopping myself – no doubt, so actually no judging for how your spend your money. But I am just a big fan of practicing what one preaches. To me, at least, it seem like your are maintaining the size of your wardrobe and keep decluttering – instead of getting to know your core style? I too blog about this subject (just in Danish), so I know your process and how hard it is. For me the best solution was to simple to limit the amount of buys every quarter with “shopping-quarter-lists”. I love it – and it have never had a smaller og better wardrobe very little clutter 🙂

    Best wishes…

    • If Debbie was simply aiming to reduce the size of her wardrobe you may have a point. But isn’t the aim to cut out the inappropriate and unnecessary buys and have a wardrobe of items that she loves, that suit her looks, lifestyle and needs? Anuschka at Into Mind makes some good points about minimal wardrobes. It is not about having a small number of items or a limited palette, you can have a large wardrobe which is ‘minimal’ if it is all appropriate and well chosen.

      • Of course you can. It is not about wardrobe size, but about having a wardrobe that matches your needs and lifestyle. I don’t have a specific number or anything that I follow – so I agree with you and Anuschka for that matter. But at the same time, I really don’t see how that amount of things in one month is not the opposite of the more mindful LIWI… To me it just seems more “forced/accelarated” – like one is chasing something. I just have a feeling – because I used to shop like that – that one is trying to reach a safe place (wardrobe wise) that takes time and one buy at the time… I just don’t believe in rushing to get the perfect wardrobe through impulsive shopping.

        Maybe it’s just me… 🙂

      • This blog is not like the blogs about minimalism or capsule wardrobes. This blog is about addiction and recovery. I think Debbie acknowledged that she fell down a bit in April but that’s part of the recovery process. Ultimately, over shopping isn’t about buying or owning at all, it’s about satisfying an emotional need. Debbie addresses this where those other blogs don’t. So if you are seeing a disconnect, keep reading. She knows, she’s working on it…

      • I know it is not about minimalism, but she is mentioning “pairing down” several times and she is trying to build a better (work) wardrobe through LIWI etc. So yes, it might be about an addiction and confession, but obviously also about wardrobe building. I’m just not sure that you can have the best of two worlds like that without sometimes jinxing the one with the other. I am not interested in hurting anyone, but I think that trying to explain/excuse 11 buys might be the opposite of what Debbie is trying to accomplish through LIWI. It shows the struggle that most of us can be in from time to time, but it also calls for some self-introspection in order to decide which “side” gets to win – and which items gets to stay/go.

        As I said, maybe it is just me who got that feeling…

    • My favorite aspect of this blog is that Debbie does NOT hold herself out as the example to follow. It’s about sharing her struggles, supporting one another, and working to always improve.

    • Some interesting conversation here… I’m considering writing an entire post about the topics raised here, but I wanted to at least briefly address Thea’s comments now. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in the post, but I DO NOT excuse my April overshopping at all. I did make some effort to explain it, but that doesn’t mean I think it was okay to buy 11 items in one month. I also write about why I buy particular items, but that’s because I believe we should question ourselves more to become more aware of our motivations for both buying and getting rid of things. I always learn things about myself and my behavior when I write these posts and it’s always my intent to be honest and transparent to help others learn, too.

      I do want to pare down my wardrobe, but I don’t think I will ever be a true wardrobe minimalist in the vane of Courtney Carver of Project 333 or other such bloggers. I don’t even have a specific number in mind at this point, but I do want to be wearing the pieces in my closet more regularly. And that IS happening more and more over time. I definitely wear my clothes more often now than when I started this blog almost two and a half years ago. I do think that buying 11 items in one month is too much, unless I only went shopping once or twice a year, which is not the case for me (yet at least).

      I don’t hold myself out as the example for others to follow. I have also never called myself “recovered.” I am still recovering for sure and that comes with some peaks and valleys. April was definitely one of the valleys and I fully acknowledge that. What Meli wrote about this blog is how I feel about it (thanks, Meli). It really is about sharing my journey and providing a place for others to share about theirs. Yes, I do try to impart words of wisdom along the way, but I never pretend to have it all figured out or have all of the answers. I’m still learning as I go…

      • Thank you for your follow up comment.

        I must admit, that I mistakenly used the word “recovered” then. I think it came from my impression from your presentation (the about-information) and from one of your books (where you present yourself as an ex-shopaholic). That is my mistanke! I’m sorry, it was truly my impression and not my intent to hurt anybody – just to question my impression.

        I wish you the best in your future process 🙂

      • Yes, I do refer to myself as an “ex-shopaholic” in my book titles. The main reason why I used that terminology with my first book was because it wouldn’t have sounded good to have the title/subtitle say “UnShopping: Recovery Solutions from a Recovering Shopaholic.” I explain that more here (at the bottom of the page): https://recoveringshopaholic.com/unshopping/

        I don’t think that one has to have it all together and be fully recovered from their issues in order to have wisdom to offer and to help others. Sometimes we know the right things to do and aren’t always able to do it. That was the case for me with April, but I am back on track now. I could probably learn a lot by re-reading my own books… Teaching others things is really the best way to fully impact the lessons ourselves. That has definitely been the case for me!

      • I think a book titled “UnShopping: Recovery Solutions from a Recovering Shopaholic” could work well, and it might even draw far more readers in. Yet I also understand how the book biz market works, and I understand why you went with ex instead of recovering. Though had you written the book further along on your journey I’m sure you would have had plenty of confidence to go with recovering instead.

    • Thanks, Luci. Yes, it’s from Nordstrom and they still have it online. As a guideline, mine is a size small and I’m usually a size 6 or 8. Here’s the link: Striped Maxi Dress

  9. I highly recommend the KonMari method. Since I completed my huge purge in mid-March, I have only bought one top on Ebay which was on my wish list. I have not been to a clothing store since the purge.

    Marie Kondo’s method is indeed life changing magic. I love everything in my closet. It is so easy to pick outfits. And my closet stays organized, too. I feel joy every day just walking in there.

    I read through her book twice before I began. I think you have to be mentally and emotionally ready to decide if each item brings you joy. I was a bit panicky for several days after the purge. But that feeling soon dissipated. I believe that using joy as the measure of whether an item stays or goes will carry over to my shopping. I don’t think I will be bring anything else home that doesn’t spark joy.

    • I just did it last night, Anne. I will be blogging about it soon. Hopefully I will feel the same way as you do, but I may end up needing to do a Round Two at some point. My husband did it with his clothes, too, upon my urging. He was reluctant at first, but I was very impressed at how well he did with it. It didn’t take him long at all to let a lot of thing go! Congrats on your wonderful progress!

  10. It is interesting to me that you like photography too. I find it satisfies in the same was as shopping without the buyers remorse. If I see something beautiful, I take a photo and take it home with me. In fact, it is helping me reduce my stuff. I find an artfully composed photo of an old memento is just as satisfying as the actual object. I have been able to let go of a lot of stuff. On vacation, I take pictures instead of buying souvenirs. I get the same “high” from taking a really good photo that I get from shopping. And for less money and no guilt!

    In terms of my April accounting, I was doing great until the last few days when I went on a bit of a spree that continued right into May. Even though I technically only spent 73.68 in April I am well on my way to blowing my May budget. One mistake I made was buying three items for the same purpose. While I like all three for different reasons, they are somewhat redundant. I will say that I am getting a lot of use out of my new purchases. Really I am finding I am loving and wearing all the purchases I have made since I found your blog. While I am sorry to hear you have been under a great deal of stress, I am grateful you continue to update. I particularly enjoy your grab bag of useful links. The last one made me realize I am a bit of a “shopping bulimic”. Not that I mean to minimize the very serious mental illness, but it was a concept I can relate to. I return things to purge the guilt, not the item. Anyway, thank you again for your insights!

    • I get the same high – or maybe even better – from photography as shopping, too, Misty. Since I started getting into photography, THAT is what I want to go out and do now, not shop. It really has made an amazing difference for me! Thanks for sharing your April accountability. I’m glad that even though you feel you bought redundant items, you are loving and wearing all of them. I’m so pleased to learn that my blog has made a big difference for you. I have often been a “shopping bulimic,” too, so I can relate. It’s something I continue to work on…

  11. Debbie: You are such a nice lady and so brave. I admire your courage. However, I do agree with Thea here that there seems to be a problem. I think it is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. I hope you find your way to a more fulfilled life, shopping did not get you there and it will not get you there. Neither will it for me, as I am on the same journey. I am not sure excuses are good, since there could always be something to explain why you shopped and shopped so much. I do the same thing. I feel for you. I hope we both find a way not to use shopping as an escape or relief, or stress buster, or whatever.

    • I don’t think there is an elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, Lynn. I was the first one to admit that I bought too much during April and that it wasn’t okay. I agree that shopping won’t get me a fulfilled life. I am not totally sure HOW I will get the type of life I want, but I know that shopping won’t do it for me. Yes, I backslid last month, but I am not in denial about it or unwilling to talk about it. I thought I was clear about admitting it wasn’t okay in my post, but some people seem not to feel that way. I did explain why I overshopped, but I never intended to EXCUSE it. I think I may need to write a foll0w-up post about this issue, as it probably pertains to other people, too. In regards to finding alternate escapes, I’m still working on that, but photography is fitting the bill for me as of late. I get out, I get to do something I enjoy, and I have some beautiful to show for my time. And I’m not spending a bunch of money… Win, win, win, in my book!

  12. Debbie I would also consider that you try to purchase only one of each type of item (the best one out of the bunch). Because I see you’ve purchased three maxi skirts, two maxi dresses, and three tie front cardigans. You realistically only need one of each since you can style each item differently and pair them with different things to achieve different looks. They don’t seem different or special enough to justify the multiples, especially if you are looking to wear items many times a year. I find that you would probably be a lot more creative with your wardrobe if you can adjust and play with what you have already. For example, you can easily consider tying the maxi skirt hem’s in such a way to get an asymmetrical hem style.

    • I dont’ really agree with this – I think it’s fine to have more than one of a type of garment, if its something you really like. Most people that like wearing jeans will will have more than one pair, probably a slightly different colour/style, but still jeans. The main reason is that if you were one thing a lot, it will were out quickly – having two halves the wears and gives variety. I have bought quite a few almost identical duplicates and not regretted it (especially shoes and tee shirts). The only proviso was that I had worn the first purchase a lot before I bought the second, so I knew it worked for me.

      • Hi Alice, I also think it is fine to have more than one of a type of garment. But given Debbie’s history of purchasing multiples of the same thing in the past I don’t think it’s a good idea to do so especially since she already has maxi skirts (as stated in this post) and also she already has maxi dresses and also a black tie cardigan, UNLESS it’s a signature trademark of her style or the old one has worn out. Obviously I’m not including staples like basic pants or workout tees. I’ve followed Debbie for a long time and I remember she saying that she wanted to ideally reach a point where she was wearing each item of clothing 8 times per week. Purchasing duplicates will not bring her closer to that goal but further from it. Also if you have one you are likely purchasing the best quality that you can afford. These items if you take care of them will not be in danger of wearing out in one season or even one year (especially with 8 wears!). Last point is that purchasing duplicates of similar items will not offer you variety and Debbie has brought this point up in the past as she had a closet full of duplicates that did not seem to add any value or versatility to her closet. It would be counterproductive to start heading back towards that place again. If you are unsatisfied with the variety in your closet, it may not be the actual closet that you have that is the problem, but a styling rut or some outside factor that is contributing to this dissatisfaction. This is why I believe that programs like Evolve your Style are so beneficial. They force you to go outside of your comfort zone and you’ll be amazed at the amount of unique looks you can create with what you already have.

    • Good discussion here, Margaret and Alice. I think you both made some excellent points. I think it is important to be careful about “multiples,” but that term can be defined differently by various people. I also think it’s an issue of balance. Yes, I do want to get to the point where I am wearing everything in my closet at least 8 times per year and I still have too many clothes for that to happen. I agree that I don’t need 4 tie-waist cardigans. I have already returned one of the new ones I bought, plus I have opted to let go of some of my existing cardigans (more on that soon). I think I am still working on lowering my closet set point so that I can become more comfortable with having a smaller wardrobe. I am used to having tons of variety and I really don’t need to have as many options as I think. Even so, I can see Alice’s point about having more than one item in a category. But maybe 5 or 6 of a particular item (or even 3 0r 4) is too many. I do have a pattern of thinking the more the better with types of items and this is something I still need to dial in. I see that I did it again last month with the maxi skirts and tie-waist cardigans. I can’t return a lot of what I bought, though, as much of it has already been worn. But I did let go of some of my existing items, which I will report about soon. I am still working on getting more comfortable with a smaller wardrobe. I slipped, but I can get back up again and forge ahead. A lapse doesn’t have to signify a relapse…

  13. Hi Debbie
    My first thought was…not another bracelet !! You don’t need any more bracelets. You have a lovely collection.
    Well done on your great website. I have learnt so much from reading your posts. I make exactly the same mistakes. I buy a skirt, love it and then feel I need to buy another one in a different colour…I wonder what the thinking is behind that. Your posts have made me reflective on my own shopping behaviours.
    By the way, if you stopped shopping for a year you would still look beautifully presented every day.
    I know it’s not that simple, though. What a challenge this overshopping thing is. Thanks again for your posts.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jackie. I’m glad you like my blog and are benefiting from my posts. Yes, I didn’t really need another bracelet, although I did let go of a few lately… You’re probably right that I would be fine not buying anything new for a year. As my mom always used to say, there is a big difference between need and want. We really don’t NEED nearly as much as we think we do. I agree that the overshopping thing is a big challenge! I’ve been blogging about it for almost two and a half years now and I still am not even close to having it all figured out. I think I will still have a lot to say on the topic for a long time coming…

  14. Hi Debbie,
    I am a long time reader and admirer of your blog. Thank you for your honesty, it must have been difficult to write a post knowing you had over shopped. I think that the line ‘I really wanted to add a few more maxi skirts to my wardrobe.’ shows that you still feel the need to maintain a large wardrobe. Good luck with your recovery, I will be rooting for you.

    • Yes, I am still struggling with my closet set point, Claire. My wardrobe is MUCH smaller than when I started the blog (will do another closet inventory post soon…), but I still find myself wanting variety. I know I don’t really need as much as I think I do, but I’m still in the recovery process. I don’t have a specific closet size goal that I’m working toward, but I do want to be wearing my clothes more than I have been. I believe I will get there eventually. Thanks for rooting for me…

  15. I ordered 2 items in April, both yet to arrive (zero new items actually entered my wardrobe in April): a full silk slip to make a translucent silk dress wearable, and a silk robe as my lack of robe was becoming annoying. This brings my total for this year to 5 items including gear and underwear. As always, I feel panicked at the thought of buying so many items as you bought last month (thinking of storage and wearing potential rather than the money). Fascinating how different people are different!

    • Yes, different people are different, Wendy, and I don’t think there is a right wardrobe size for everyone. But you’re right that we need to consider storage and wearing potential as well as money. I don’t have a storage issue at all. My wardrobe is far less than half the size it was when I started my blog and everything fits in my closet without a problem. But I’m still working on that wearing potential issue. I know I bought too much last month and I admitted it up front. I don’t plan on repeating that this month! Congrats on only buying a small number of items last month and focusing on what you need most.

  16. Debbie- good for you on taking things slowly and not immediately ripping tags off items you buy! It sounds like a quarter of what you bought isn’t going to work out. I’m also happy to hear you’re recognizing you have ‘enough’ in some categories now! Good for you lady! Suggestion for the black jeans- try rolling/cuffing them to ankles and wear with sandals, you’ll probably like it (I do) and it’s a great summer look.

    I purchased 1 item for ‘out the door’ use in april, putting me at 11 items so far this year. It’s a white knit blazer and I’m super happy with it. I purged 13 items from this category in april. For at-home/workout wear, I bought 6 items putting me at 10 for the year. I purged 7 items from this category. It’s still in rough shape and I’m not sure the 20 item limit is ‘enough’ but we’ll see. Addotionally I bought hosiery and a swimsuit which are in my ‘other’ category since I typically don’t abuse purchases and buy only what I really need.

    • Thanks for sharing your accountability, Meli. You are doing very well and I’m impressed with your progress. I’m glad you’re focusing on your at-home wardrobe, too. It will make a difference over time. Thanks for the suggestion about the jeans. I am open to rolling them up but don’t want to HAVE to. I’m seriously considering returning the jeans and waiting for a pair I KNOW will be long enough to wear unrolled. I’ve waited this long (a few years…) to replace my black jeans, so I may as well hold out until I find what I really want.

  17. I have to say I also agree with Thea. I know you are tapering down and this is how you lost weight and it worked for you. You are applying the same technique to shopping. Cold turkey hasn’t worked for you in the past. I applaud that you realize this and are working a plan. However, Lynn has a valid point. I think you have a scarcity fear. I am dealing with this now too. I think I have to have multiples of staples so I don’t run out. If one is good more is better. Because I thrift and am picky this feeds this fear. What will happen if I ruin/wear out the one piece and don’t have a back up. So I have to set limits-in each category according to the wear pattern. I’m retired and wear jeans 80% of the time so I will obviously need more of these than a dress pant.
    I also need to remember that my taste and style has changed over the last 5 yrs and not to have too many duplicates so I leave room for this too. Seasonal wardrobe transition is a great time to assess this and bring it to my mind so I don’t continue to buy the 4th pair of black dress pants, or 3rd. Awareness helps arm me against this.

    • All this talk (not you directly) about not buying multiples has me thinking. Anything can be a multiple depending on how broad your definition is! No-one appears to factor in personal matters such as how each of us determine what is different FOR US, taste, laundry cycle, and personal tolerance for not just wardrobe size but variety. I have several toppers and cardigans, and in a sense they would be many multiples for some people. For ME, they’re all different and are worn differently. I have a pretty narrow style aestethic and adopt new styles slowly, and I feel the need for variety in color and pattern versus styles. I find a lot in common with Debbie and neither of us intend to be true minimalists- just to find our own definition of wardrobe minimalism that works for us. That said, Debbie knows she purchased too much and is thinking it through and I do think we should state it when we think it’s too much or our opinions, i’m just saying that some are not considering my points above and feel a little harsh in their judgement.

      • I agree with this, your have explained it very well. it depends on your definition. I too have a ‘narrow style aesthetic’ – so things which might seem like multiples to others have important differences for me. Debbie is evolving her style, and so is questioning when something is a development (and therefore a wise purchase), or a multiple.

    • Meli said most of what I would want to state, Kathy (thanks, Meli), but I will add a few things. I’m not sure what you’re saying about how I lost weight. You must be thinking of someone else, as my weight has been about the same (give or take 5-7 pounds) for a pretty long time. I have lost some additional weight recently, but it was not intentional. Rather, it was as a result of my health issues. But I do agree that I have a scarcity fear and I addressed that issue in response to some of the other comments above. I think your practice of setting limits within a category is a good one. I know that Mette (frequent commenter and blogger) sets a limit of 9 items within a given category. But we all define categories differently and view the subject of multiples in a different way. We all need to decide what works best for us. I’m still figuring that out, as Alice said, but I agree that it might be a good idea to set some limits.

  18. I bought four items in April: two sweaters (one for next fall/winter), white jeans and a maxi dress. My total spent was $100, which is a good portion of my yearly budget, but April is my birthday month so I was fine being a bit more indulgent.

    I agree with the comments above and appreciate your honesty. I also agree with the comments about your purchasing multiples. (In addition to multiples of garments I also noticed colors, like pink, repeating themselves in your purchases.). In my opinion buying multiples is part of what leads to style ruts…you have the same kinds of things to wear on repeat, and you’re much more likely to tire of a give.n style before the garments wear out. So while multiples may seem like the solution to attaining a perfect wardrobe I think they really are problematic in the long run.

    • You made a good point (style rut w/ multiples), and I agree care should be taken and multiples should be chosen with care and wisely. If you love something and want to wear it more frequently than you can launder it, a multiple makes sense. I also think there should be a caveat for an alternative color or pattern for those of us who don’t enjoy wearing the SAME thing all the time. But exploring other options and keeping multiples to a minimum is wise. Bridgette’s question is perfect for this ‘In what circumstance will I choose this item over another I already own?’ In my case ‘Tuesday, because I wore the other one Monday and Wedneday’ is good enough lol!

    • Thanks for sharing your accountability, Sara, and belated Happy Birthday to you! It seems you are doing pretty well with your shopping. As for me and multiples, a few others mentioned that issue above and I gave my input there. But I agree with what Meli had to say and when multiples make sense. I think it’s find to have more than one item in a given color or category, but we do need to watch out with accumulating too much in order to avoid style ruts. I like the idea of using Bridgette Raes wise question as a guide. That question is good both for shopping and for culling and I need to integrate it into my repertoire more fully…

  19. Hey Debbie. I am so sorry to hear about your tough month. I hope you will not be too hard on yourself or overly judge your recent shopping. Since following you from the beginning, I think you do an admirable job of following/trusting your own processes and learning/growing from them. I know that you write as you do because it’s part of your process, and you generously want to help others as well as yourself. In the end you really don’t owe anyone else an explanation or justification about your actions and decisions. You are a grown women, a thoughtful and insightful one at that.

    I’m not sure if you’ve considered this aspect, but chronic pain and illness is surely tied up in all your continuing experiences. I know you and I struggle with different and unique health issues, but I also know that these things change you as a person, change the way you live your life and alter the way others see you. Folks weighing in on your life from an outside perspective can really have no idea what life is like for sufferers of chronic pain/illness, and I think it’s important to remember to keep those opinions in perspective (though it can be very hard to do so) and to treat yourself with the utmost acceptance and compassion.

    Having said that, I don’t really see your April shopping as that big of a deal. It seems cohesive and consistent with your current style evolution. There’s a unique “sweet spot” for most of us in determining how many and what types of garments we want in our closet (if we care to determine such things at all), and it seems like you are working it out. Sometimes we under- or over-correct along the way. Sometimes no matter how good your planning you can’t tell that a garment isn’t working until it gets into your closet rotation. Sometimes you get a bee in your bonnet for a certain color. Sometimes shopping as an activity is not unhealthy. If there is truly some sort of a problem here, you are more than qualified to figure it out and I know that you will, and that I will read about it soon 🙂
    Take care of yourself, dear Debbie!

    • I really appreciate your very thoughtful and insightful comment, Claire. I know that we are in somewhat similar situations and I feel you understand what I am going through. You know, I didn’t judge myself too harshly for my April overshopping, but I really wasn’t expecting to receive some of the comments I have here. I was a bit taken aback at some of them, even though a lot of what they had to say had merit. I thought I had clearly stated that I knew that I had shopped too much and that it wasn’t a good thing. I did state that I made better buying choices than I had with past overshopping, but that didn’t mean I felt that it was all just fine. I am trying to be more compassionate with myself, but sometimes it’s hard when I feel I get a bit beat up in the comments of these posts… I agree with you that sometimes we under- or over-correct along the way to finding our style and wardrobe sweet spots. I still feel that I am on track to overcome my shopping problem and cultivate a workable wardrobe. There are bound to be some peaks and valleys along the way, but I have faith that I will get to where I want to be. I have picked myself up, forgiven my mistakes, and recommitted to my end goals. I am still struggling in other respects, but my bout of overshopping is firmly behind me and I’m moving forward.

  20. I wanted to add a comment about does an item spark joy (the KonMari method of tidying). If I went shopping every week, I am sure I would find many items spark joy. That criteria won’t work all by itself for us shopaholics.

    Having followed Debbie’s blog for 2 years, I have learned that there is no one “fix”. It takes a multitude of tools to battle this problem. The clothing journal helped me see what works and doesn’t work. It also helped me find holes in my wardrobe and develop a list of shopping needs/wants.

    I also developed a seasonal inventory of each of my clothing items. I have categories for jackets, dresses, sweaters, tops, pants/capris, skirts, necklaces, scarves and shoes. Seeing a graphic representation of my wardrobe enabled me to see that 9 dresses, 3 skirts and 9 pants/capris were enough for 90 days (you might arrive at lower or higher numbers). Once I reached my ideal number of items that spark joy, I have stopped shopping.

    I don’t know that there is a right way to recover. We each have to find our own path. But I am so glad we have each other. Thank you Debbie, for providing this place for us to share our successes and failures. You have given me the courage and the tools I have needed to “tame the beast.” I look forward to sharing the journey ahead.

    • Very well said, Anne. Thank you. I agree that we need a number of tools in our toolboxes and those tools may vary a bit by person. I like your idea of the seasonal inventory. I’m going to do another closet inventory soon and will share it on the blog. The seasonal issue is a bit tricky for me since I live in a temperate climate, but I have already learned that I have too many long-sleeved tops and not enough short-sleeved tops. I gained that valuable information through my outfit journal and LIWI challenge (update on that soon). Thank you for telling me that I have given you courage to “tame the beast.” Knowing that my writing has made a powerful difference in the lives of other people is what keeps me going even when the going gets tough.

  21. Thanks for your honesty, Debbie. Set backs are all part of the recovery process, and I’m glad you’re doing so well with your photography now. Hopefully that will help you resist the shopping urge. And I’m sure when you have time to process what was going on in April, you will have learned some valuable lessons that we will ALL benefit from!

    I bought one item in April – a dark orange work/laptop bag, which was $35 from Target. I was feeling very slovenly, constantly toting bags that were in very bad shape, so this has made a huge difference in how I feel about myself as I head to work. My bag collection needs some serious work, as it is an area that I have neglected a lot in the last few years. As I was paring my wardrobe and shopping down, I was very focused on clothes and didn’t want to waste any precious time or money on bags as I hadn’t tackled that area of my closet at all. But now I have my new bag and I realize that it’s a big mood boost, AND now that my clothing wardrobe is almost in shape, thanks to LIWI, I feel like I can finally tackle the bags.

    • Congrats on getting a nice new bag, Sarah. I think we all have a tendency to neglect certain areas of our wardrobes, but it’s good that you have noticed your issue with bags and are now course-correcting. I’m glad that LIWI has helped you to get your clothing wardrobe in shape. It has made a big difference for me, too, but I still have some more work to do… I will report on that soon. As for my photography, since I started to focus on that interest more and more, I have had very little interest in shopping. I feel confident that my May accountability update will be far more balanced than what I shared for April. I feel like I’m on a much better path now, thankfully.

  22. I didn’t buy anything new in April. On April 20 I officially switched from fall/winter to spring/summer and immediately purged a number of garments that after a 6 month hiatus, I realized didn’t suit my style as it has evolved or they didn’t really fit the way they should. On the fit side, I discovered I had the tendency of buying tops that were too big, so I sent a lot of these to consignment. I replaced some of these items with newer and better fitting things in the same color.

    My figure is shaped a bit like a martini glass–broad shoulders and full chest with slender waist, hips and legs. I realized recently that print tops were not doing me any favors, making me look frumpy from the waist up. So I am concentrating on acquiring some very simple solid color tops and printed bottoms to balance my figure visually. I’ve also discovered that wedge sandals are good for my body type because they give me a little bottom-heaviness. For many years, I’ve only worn flats because of a foot injury but I’m finding that wedges are quite comfortable at moderate heights.

    • Hi Deby
      I’m another ‘martini glass’ – really love your description! Some full length photos a while back made me realise that keeping brighter colours and patterns to the bottom half is helpful. Also, for me, boot cut jeans or wider pants are better than narrow/tapered. I don’t believe in having rigid rules (there are other reasons than body shape for choosing clothes) but it’s an interesting approach, and can be quite individual, as most people tend to do the opposite.

    • Congrats on both your closet culling and your new realizations, Deby. You continue to be doing amazingly well and I’m very impressed! I can see how you would do better with the solid tops and printed bottoms given your shape (I love the term “martini glass”). I’m glad you are also able to wear wedge heels. I have fussy feet and do well with that style of shoe, too. Best wishes with your spring/summer wardrobe. It seems like you are really on the right track.

  23. Debbie, thank you putting yourself out there with these accountability posts. I haven’t been commenting as much as I’d like because I’ve been embarrassed about how much I’ve bought in the last couple of months. I keep track of all wardrobe purchases (which I define as anything worn on my body) so it’s not as if it should be a surprise but every month it is.
    So far this year I’ve bought 57 items- 19 have been returned, two were birthday gifts that I didn’t buy but picked out, and one broke. For me, adding 35 items to my wardrobe so far is too much. At this rate I’m well on my way to the amount I purchased last year and my goal this year was to halve that number. I return or donate many items (21% returned, 28% donated respectively of the items purchased last year) mainly because I’m trying to figure out my style or I buy things that are just so-so, especially thrifted things that I tell myself I’ll alter. It’s a lot of trial and error. Or at least that’s the excuse I’m going with. I think maybe I just like to buy wardrobe items. :/
    I don’t have a simple solution for my overbuying because I don’t think there is one. There are, however, many little, yet important, things I can do. Reading your blog is one of them. Your posts always help to steer me back to the path I want to be on and I really appreciate the time, energy, and honesty in everything you write.
    Thank you. 🙂

    • I really appreciate your honesty here, Emmy. Admitting the truth is really an important step toward changing, and I know how hard it can be! I love that you were so detailed with your numbers, including the percentages of returned and donated items. I have found that keeping track of the numbers helps to motivate change, so I hope it will do the same for you. You’re right that there isn’t a simple solution for overbuying. We didn’t get to where we are overnight, so we won’t necessarily change our ways quickly, either. It takes time… I’m glad my posts are helping you in your recovery. Just take things one day at a time. We will get to where we want to be eventually as long as we keep working on it. I wish you the very best!

  24. I bought one silk chiffon grey toned leopard print top, a pair of light velvet slippers to take on a trip and one pair of Haviana’s. That’s all. My boyfriend bought me a pair of shoes which was very, very nice of him!!!!

  25. I kind of see April as a breakthrough month for you, Debbie! I am sorry that April was difficult, but I am thrilled for you that you have found a new, artistic passion! My acting teacher often reminds her students (when we’re in tears or frustration or falling apart), that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs first…

    I was thinking about something recently – and it’s this: sometimes we buy things that fit so beautifully in the store, and we move around, test them out a bit, and they work fine… and then we get home and find out after extended wear (15+ minutes), that the item is fussy, doesn’t fit quite right, or causes discomfort. I think maybe there has to be a margin of error allowed, even when you are thorough and deliberate in your shopping. We can’t always kick ourselves that we made a shopping mistake, when all signs indicated the item was going to be a workhorse and a success.

    The other thing that occurs to me, is with regards to your beaded bracelet: this is an item you bought to help a friend or close acquaintance celebrate their business success. If you end up purging it, I don’t think it should be counted towards your mistakes or be regretted or weighed up as a good vs. bad buy. If a friend opens a restaurant, you’re going to go and have a meal there, right? If they open a bar, you’re going to buy something to drink. These are disposable, momentary things, that are celebratory. If you keep the bracelet, wear it, love it, count it in your purchases and your wardrobe items. If you end up donating or selling it… I would count it against whatever (if any) budgeting you do for going out, dining out, social expenses, etc.

    I’m not saying this to justify or ‘allow’, simply to point out this bracelet is serving another function, altogether outside of wardrobe curation.

    As far as shopping… well… I can already say I did all right for April – I bought several second-hand pieces, and I purged several pieces. Overall, I had less in my wardrobe at the end of April than at the beginning! I am trying to downsize just a little more, and streamline.

    For May… I found myself sick and stuck at home the first week of May – and guess what I did? A LOT of online browsing, and putting things into online carts. And… this weekend I went on a bit of a shoe-binge. I bought three pairs of shoes: two pairs of dress pumps and a pair of dress sandals. I will say in all fairness, my feet have changed because of dance, and I’m going through a trial-and-error period trying to find sizes and shapes that accomodate my chronically injured toenails. Two pairs have ticked off items that have been on my list for nearly years now – a pair of upscale nude patent leather heels, and a pair of upscale nude leather heeled strappy sandals. The third pair – a pair of python leather heels in muted shades of purple and blue, helps me pull together about 10 random items in my wardrobe into wedding-guest/special occasion outfits. This indirectly checks off/replaces another long-term item that was on my shopping list: a colorful dress to wear for weddings. I can wear these shoes with neutral colors and blue/purple accessories and have a colorful wedding guest/special occasion outfit.

    • You made a lot of good points here, Mary Beth, and I thank you. I agree that April was a breakthrough month for me because of finding my passion for photography. I am really am enjoying it and I now what to do that instead of go shopping, which is a great thing. I like your acting teacher’s comment – she sounds like a wise woman! Good point about the bracelet I bought. It was really inexpensive and I did want to support my friend in her store. I think I will send up liking it, but it can be hard to tell sometimes. As for not knowing in a store if our new items will work out, Terra made a good comment to my last post about dos and don’ts. She has a rule of wearing new items around the house for at least 30 minutes before she takes the tags off. I think I’m going to adopt this practice, too. It seems you found so great shoes thus far during May. Hopefully they will serve you well moving forward. It’s always great when we find things that have been on our lists for years!

  26. Debbie, I think your commitment to transparency and accountability in these posts is really admirable — it would be easy to hide your purchases from your readers etc. so I think it’s great that you are so rigorous about not doing that. I imagine this was a hard post to write, and also that some of the comments upthread must be hard to read.

    I have to admit that I had a similar sense as other commenters above that you seem to have purchased a lot of similar items that may prove to be “extras” or “duplicates”. You know I am definitely a proponent of multiples IF they help your wardrobe function better but from your post it sounds like your purchases felt more like a binge than a deliberate development of your wardrobe.

    But, something I haven’t seen mentioned yet is — how great that you returned the jean jacket and bracelet from March! Especially the jean jacket, I think it takes a lot of self-awareness to realize that a long-sought wardrobe item doesn’t really suit you after all. I think that you have a great tool in your LIWI project to find out whether some of the items you bought this month should go back. I am really curious to see how your decisions shake out.

    I think I also remember that you had a “big” shopping month about 5-6 months ago, maybe in August? Viewed in a certain light, that could mean that you are already psychologically primed to shop seasonally as you say you would like to — it’s just a matter of making a few tweaks so that those big shopping trips become deliberate (there’s your word!) rather than feeling like a binge. I don’t even think they would need to be planned, necessarily — just that you would have to have a very specific sense of what you were looking for in order to develop your wardrobe, and stick to that list when you did end up shopping.

    For me, it has been really helpful to develop an almost pedantically detailed description of the item I’m looking for, as well as a sense of what new outfits it will make possible. I have to start with what’s already in my closet, otherwise my shopping is just reactive to what’s in the stores, and I tend to accumulate more of what I like — rather than what really moves my wardrobe forward. So for example in your case, I think “I wanted a few more maxi dresses and tie-waist cardigans to go with them, since I enjoy wearing these items” isn’t specific enough. But maybe something like: “I wanted a colorful tie-waist cardigan to wear with my black maxi dress, because I dislike wearing all-black outfits. Fuchsia would be great because I look good in that color, plus it would also pick up the pink in my floral print maxi dress.” I made that up but you get the idea! I’m sorry, I feel like this comment is coming off as lecture-y, I could give some examples from my own closet but I feel like I’ve gone on long enough already. :-S

    • I appreciate your detailed comment, Sarah. Thank you for acknowledging the fact that I returned the jean jacket and bracelet from March. I’m very glad I did that, too. In the past, I would have kept both and probably rarely worn them. Yes, I shopped a lot last July at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which was my last really big shopping month. That month felt more like a binge to me than last month, although I definitely feel I wasn’t deliberate enough with my April buying. I like your idea of a more detailed explanation for why I want to buy something new. What you wrote made a lot of sense and is in line with my thought pattern. But I was a bit more vague even in my head about it. I think I will start to add “why” statements to my shopping priorities list to keep myself really clear and on track. I don’t think your comment sounded lecture-y. No worries… I know you’re trying to help me and I’m sure your comment helped other people, too.

  27. Debbie, it sounds as if you had a rough month, fell off the path a bit and I don’t think some of the comments on here will have made you feel better. the way you responded to your shopping shows how much you’ve changed over the last months. But on the bright side you bought some clothes which look great and fulfil your new philosophy, you have a plan to refocus and you have a new hobby which you were looking for. yay you – that all counts as progress in my mind so good for you. You don’t have to explain anything to the rest of us, I’m just grateful that you are so open. Thank you and have a great day!

    • Thank you, Cathy. Yes, April was a very rough month for me… May has been rough, too, but I’m not dealing with it by overshopping, so I am doing much better on that front. I appreciate your acknowledging my progress.

  28. Debbie, thank you for writing this post and for your continued willingness to share your process and to put yourself out there in the public light. I appreciate the compassionate comments made by readers who know you well, and have followed your journey from the beginning and see that you continue to be honest even when the truth hurts. I was beginning to feel rather raw after reading a few of the well-intended comments from those who do not understand that true recovery will include setbacks. It’s hard enough to work towards recovery within the privacy of family and close friends, and doing it publicly, as you are doing, is a tough road to walk. It’s the best way of course, but I worry that the harsh comments will hamper your progress. I’m sure you have already reprimanded yourself far more than any reader commenting ever can. And over the years I’ve grown to love and appreciate your newfound ability to forgive yourself, and continue to work towards recovery, and each year you make great gains. It would be so easy if all you needed to do was stop shopping, and I suppose you could have, but in your case it would not have worked, not only because cold-turkey does not produce positive results for you, but also since you piece-shopped, willy-nilly for emotionally reasons, and without a formulated plan for so many years, you really didn’t have anything to wear. All you had was an over-stuffed closet filled with separates that didn’t go together. So… along with working towards shopping recovery, you have also been faced with the task of needing to shop and learn to build a workable wardrobe for your current lifestyle. And “just learning to build a workable wardrobe” is plenty hard all by itself. Look at us all! We are all struggling to do it. Add the component (and the layers and layers) of work necessary to recover from an addiction to shop to this already loaded process of creating a workable, smallish wardrobe, is a mighty big task, and you are doing beautifully! And you are even doing it in the public light, using your real name and identity. I tip my hat to you Debbie. You have grit and stamina, and you are doing a good job, and are making great gains.

    • As always, thank you so much for your encouragement and compassion, Terra. You stated the issues quite well and it’s nice to know that you understand my situation. You’re right that I reprimand myself more than anyone else ever can, but I have gotten better at learning from my mistakes, forgiving myself, and moving on. I’m not happy that I bought so much last month, but I’ve moved on and am now in a much better place. I don’t feel tempted to overshop and am focusing a lot more attention on other areas of my life and the things I need to change. Many thanks for your continued support.

  29. I had a disastrous month. It was my birthday at the beginning of April and I received an unusually large birthday check which I promptly wasted on perfumes, leather goods and jewelry I didn’t need, instead of putting the money in my emergency fund as I should have. So now I get to repent in leisure as basically none of the things I bought can be returned (ebay purchases, non-returnable perfumes/cosmetics, stuff already worn). I feel sick and ashamed, even though I know why I did it (scarcity mentality, fear of the future). I confessed to my husband and he was understanding, but that doesn’t repair the damage, which I now have to live with. The only good thing I can say is that I am not in debt as I paid cash for it all… small comfort.

    Will the overspending rollercoaster ever end? I am planning to go on a shopping fast starting now for the next year and give myself a small weekly allowance, to try and regain my equilibrium. I had been doing better, but that big check in my hands showed me I am not recovered and maybe never will be. I am going to try the photography too and see if it helps me.

    • I can definitely relate to what you’re going through, Tara. A scarcity mentality and fear of the future motivated my overshopping last month, as well as many other times in the past. And I understand the resulting shame and feeling sick, too, which is often compounded by my having to reveal my lapses here on the blog. Neither one of us can change the past. We can only learn from our mistakes and move forward. When we slip, it doesn’t erase the progress we have made. We are not right back where we started, even if it feels that way. I hope you find photography or another hobby as helpful as I have and I wish you all the best with your plan for the coming year. Try to set manageable goals for yourself in terms of shopping. Having an allowance that can include shopping may work better than a year-long hiatus, but everyone is different. Only you can know what will work best for you and don’t be afraid to make changes along the way if necessary.

  30. Well Debbie you may have bought a bit, but it all looks like it works well together and in your wardrobe.
    I just wanted to say I have started spread sheeting all my clothes and the fact that I have 36 dresses and know it is working a treat when I’m in the shops. I look at dresses and then say “I have 36, I don’t need anymore, I have 36” then I walk away. I’m yet to know all the numbers of all my categories, but for dresses it’s a winner and I haven’t bought one since, so thanks.

    • I’m glad that tracking how many pieces you have has been helpful for you, Cathie. Knowing the numbers can help us to make better decisions, as you’ve learned. What a great example with your 36 dresses. I need to remember the large number of long-sleeved tops I have (I think it’s 20 at this point) when I go shopping so I don’t buy anymore. I hope my experience will be much like yours.

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