August and September 2015 Accountability Update

This is the post I have been dreading writing, which is part of why I have put it off for so long.   As you will soon see, I shopped far too much during August and September – mostly during August – and bought a lot of new things, too many.   Fortunately, the dust settled from my shopping “binge” weeks ago, but I now have to re-live it all here in this post.  This isn’t an easy post for me to write, yet I have committed to being accountable here on the blog and I will honor that commitment.

For those who are new to the blog, these reports (which are usually done monthly) are where I share what came into and left my closet and how I did with my shopping budget.   Sharing what I bought, what I culled, and how much I spent helps me to stay honest and on track with my wardrobe and shopping.  It also contributes toward my being more deliberate, which is my theme for 2015.

Telling the Truth

It’s time to tell the truth about my August and September shopping…

Some Thoughts on Blogging and Accountability

Before I delve into the “meat” of this post, I want to say a few things.   Back in September, I took what I called a “modified break” from blogging.   As time went on, however, I came to understand that I didn’t really need a break from blogging.  What I needed a break from was blogging about myself and my wardrobe.   Frankly, I was just tired of it, particularly the intense scrutiny of me and my behavior.  This came on the heels of quite a few negative comments on the blog, some of which I moderated and never made it through (but I still had to read).   I have very rarely had to censor comments, but I will not tolerate sheer nastiness and mean-spiritedness toward me and my readers, which is what took place in late August.

When I started this blog, I thought that very few people would read it.  I thought I would be lucky to get a hundred readers and I was thrilled when my first comments came in.   I had hoped that my words could touch a small number of women who struggled with compulsive shopping like I did.   I never expected my readers to number in the thousands or to receive dozens of comments on many of my posts.   I have always been very open and honest in what I write, and I have used my real name (which is not at all common) from the very beginning.   I have been praised for my honesty, but I have to admit that it was much easier to be so honest early on, back when I had just a small handful of readers.  It gets a lot harder when one’s audience size increases and the critics start to filter in.

While being accountable for my actions related to my wardrobe and shopping has definitely been helpful for me, I have also grown weary of being criticized and at times raked over the coals by nameless, faceless people on the internet.  Although the majority of commenters are respectful and encouraging, I often find myself anticipating what those who welcome the opportunity to criticize are going to say.  I am a very sensitive person and always have been.  It’s not that I’m not okay with being questioned.   Many of the questions I have been asked by readers have helped me to learn and sometimes led to excellent follow-on posts.   But I get tired of feeling like I have to defend myself over and over again, especially after I have already admitted that what I have done was not at all ideal.   I feel that for some people, anything short of “I completely failed” and major acts of contrition will never be enough.

“Trial by Fire” and the Opinions of Others

You may say that I care too much about what others think – and you would be right. This has been a challenge for me for as long as I can remember and I still haven’t conquered it yet.   Perhaps putting myself out there for the world to critique is my final “trial by fire” to overcome my attachment to the opinions of others.  A friend once told me that if I am okay with myself and what I’m doing, others will be, too.   That is probably true for most people, but there will always be those who delight in finding fault.   Many times, I’m definitely not okay with what I have done, but I have flogged myself enough for it that I don’t need others to pile it on and add insult to injury.

I don’t know if I have expressed what I wanted to say well enough here, but I wanted to let you in on some of my thought processes.   I never got tired of blogging or really needed a break from it.  I just don’t know how much longer I want to write about myself and my wardrobe.   I want to keep writing for sure and I still like many of the topics I write about, but I really do want to shift course a bit and that is something I am pondering as we near the end of 2015.

I don’t plan to shut down the blog, but I would like to take some of the focus off of myself and spend more time and energy on living my life rather than analyzing my wardrobe and shopping.   My tagline is “trade your full closet for a full life” and my life is still a very far cry away from full.  Something’s got to change and it’s not just about shopping less often and having a smaller wardrobe. I need to shift in other powerful ways and I’m hoping the blog will be able to shift with me and still be interesting to readers.

What Left My Closet

With all that said, let’s dive into my August and September accountability update.   I always start these reports with what left my closet during the previous month (or in this case, months).  I really didn’t do much culling during August and September, for several reasons.   For one, it was still early on in the warm weather season, which doesn’t typically start where I live until sometime in July.   I had also done the “KonMari Process” back in May and gotten rid of over 50 clothing and accessory items.   Because I know that I have a closet “set point” that may propel me to want to buy more if I purge too much, I thought it would be good to wait a little while before I let go of more items.

A member of my private Facebook group said something that really resonated with me:

I think a constant cycle of clothing in and clothing out can be just as unhealthy as buying and accumulating. I think frequent culling or “one in, one out” rules can be harmful because we can end up thinking our purchases are not a problem when the overall number of garments stays the same.”

She raised a very good point and I will probably write more about this later.  But for now, I will say that I’ve often gotten rid of things so I could buy more and feel less guilty about it.   After I saw that comment, I decided to just “sit with” my wardrobe size for a while, even though I was accumulating too much with all of the buying I was doing during July through September.   I don’t want to give myself a false sense of security by getting rid of things and maintaining a fairly stable wardrobe size as a result.  In addition, I don’t want to purge just for the sake of purging. I want to keep things that work for me even if I have too many clothes from shopping too much.

Now that some time has passed of my living with a larger closet, I do intend to do more culling before the end of the year.  I will likely do another round of the “KonMari Method” to streamline the process. As the warm season has progressed (we have another month or so left), I’ve gotten a much better sense of what wardrobe pieces work for me and which ones should be passed on.   I especially want to pare down my jacket and shoe collections, as I know I have too many of each.  But I will look at all areas of my closet to decide what should stay and what should go. Stay tuned…

During August and September, I removed just one item of clothing and two pieces of jewelry from my wardrobe:

  • 1 jacket
  • 2 pairs of earrings

Here’s a look at the items I opted to pass on:

August and September 2015 purged items

I passed on these three items during August and September 2015.

Why I Culled These Items

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

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

  • Two-toned earrings – While I used to like these earrings, I just didn’t find myself reaching for them this year. I think it’s because I have other similar earrings that I prefer.  I would only be “splitting my wears” if I kept this pair and there’s no reason to do that if I’m happy with the other earrings I have that serve the same purpose.
  • Silver chain earrings – I bought these earrings at a consignment store last year because that style of earring was “in” and I thought they looked kind of edgy. I wore them a few times but didn’t seem to want to wear them this year, so I passed them on.
  • Grey sporty jacket with black trim – I really loved the way this jacket looked, but it wasn’t comfortable to wear. The arms were a bit too tight and I have tendonitis in my elbows.  When I bent my arms in the jacket, my tendonitis hurt.   I kept it for so long because it’s such a cute style, but I finally had to concede that it was just never going to work for me.  My arms aren’t going to get better unless I stop spending time at the computer and I don’t see that happening anytime soon.  I sometimes minimize the time, but I don’t ever fully heal and I want to only wear jackets with lots of room and “give” in the arms.

What Came Into My Closet

This is where I tell you to get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine because this section is going to be long…  Heck, I wish I could have a glass of wine (can’t due to migraines) while writing this section because it will be laborious for me for sure!   I’m actually going to structure this part of the update a little bit differently to make it easier for me to write and for you to read.

Yes, I bought a lot over the past two months.  Part of the reason was because I waded back into the pool of consignment shopping and part of it had to do with emotional shopping and wanting to escape some difficult things in my life.  In addition, my birthday was in August and I received both birthday gifts and birthday money that I used to buy clothes and accessories.

No matter the reasons, it’s not good that I accumulated so much during August and September and I wish I hadn’t.  That said, I think I made far better choices than I have in the past and the majority of the new items are things I love and that are serving me well thus far.   Although I wasn’t able to curtail my recent shopping, the lessons I’ve learned about my wardrobe and style have led me to shop smarter and I’m grateful for that.

During August and September, I added 29 new items to my wardrobe (18 garments and 11 accessories).  Of these, 9 items (5 garments and 4 pairs of earrings) were either birthday presents or purchased with birthday money.  Here’s what I bought:

  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 vest
  • 6 tank tops
  • 5 dresses
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 purse
  • 1 scarf
  • 3 necklaces
  • 4 pairs of earrings
  • 1 bracelet
August and September 2015 new items

These are the new items I added to my closet in August and September 2015.

Why I Added These Items to My Wardrobe

I normally go through the new items one by one and write about why I bought them, but I’m going to do it by category this time to streamline the process a bit.

The Tops

I bought the following 6 tank tops during August: 

August and September 2015 - new tops

I got these 6 tops in August and September 2015 – two were fails. 

I had purged three of my tank tops in July and wanted to replace them with the same or similar colors.    Most of my tank tops are five or more years old at this point and are getting worn out.  I didn’t intend to buy six new tank tops, but I think that two of them are not going to work out.   The black and fuchsia embellished tanks came from JC Penney’s, a place where I don’t usually shop.  I was desperate to find fitted tanks and these seemed to fit the bill. However, they were still too long despite being petite sizes, so I took them to my tailor to be shortened.   That resulted in the hem flaring out and the tanks not fitting well at the bottom. I think the fabric was too thin and flimsy to withstand the alterations.

After the alteration fail of the two embellished tanks, I purchased the black tank at the top right, as well as the purple one at the bottom right (I know the two bright tanks at the bottom left and right look quite similar, but the colors are actually cobalt and purple).   The one at the top left was an impulse consignment buy, but I have worn it twice already and love it.   Other than the two tanks in the middle, I am happy with the other tanks and have worn them multiple times.   I don’t plan to buy any more tops at JC Penney’s.  Luckily, they were inexpensive, but I still hate to throw money away.

The Toppers

I added these three toppers to my wardrobe:

August and September 2015 - new toppers

I added these 3 black toppers to my closet in August and September 2015.

Yes, they are all black and it’s hard to see the details in the photos.  The cardigan on the left is cropped and can be worn open or tied, the vest in the middle has a drape collar, and the cardigan on the right has green thread detailing.   The cardigan on the left is a replacement for my original tie-waist cardigan, which is getting worn out after several years of frequent wear.   I have worn it at least twice and am happy with it. The vest had to be altered and has yet to be worn, but I believe I will like wearing it (I haven’t been layering much at all due to the heat). The cardigan on the right should have been left in the store (it was a consignment buy), as I don’t really need it.  It’s cute, but kind of redundant since I have the other black cardigans, as well as black jackets.  I don’t need so many black toppers, even though black is pretty much my favorite color.

The Skirts and Shorts

I bought three skirts and one pair of shorts over the past two months:

August and September 2015 - new skirts and shorts

I added these skirts and shorts to my wardrobe in August and September 2015.

Would you believe that I had no shorts until recently?   I have gotten along just fine without them, as I primarily wear skirts and dresses when it’s hot.   But I saw a pair of black shorts at the Nordstrom end of season sales and decided to buy them.  I have yet to wear them, but I may hold on to them in case an occasion comes along which calls for shorts, but a very kind reader and Facebook group member recently sent me three pairs of shorts that no longer fit her after weight loss.  I may opt to keep a pair or two of those instead, but they are a longer length and I’m not sure they are flattering on me.   If I do keep them, I will show them in my next accountability update.

The skirts were all consignment store purchases.   The two maxi-skirts have already been worn and I really like them.  I already had a grey maxi-skirt, but it is too voluminous and I like the new one better. I will likely pass the original one on soon.   The black pencil skirt at the left has yet to be worn and needs a minor alteration.  It is a better shape and length than my other black skirts, but may be a bit too formal.  It’s a stretchy material, so it’s not too corporate, and is very high quality (made in Italy and probably back in the days when clothing was made better overall).   It is not the ideal skirt for me, but it does fit well and I hope I will wear and love it.   Since it was a consignment buy, it cannot be returned, so I’m hoping it’s going to work for me.

The Dresses

Yes, I got five new dresses during August and September and they are all prints:

August and September 2015 - new dresses

Yes, I bought 5 new dresses during August and September 2015 – all prints!

Four of the five were consignment purchases (only the one on the bottom right was not) and they have all been worn at least once.  I did not need to buy five dresses (in fairness, two were birthday gifts), but I really do love them all. They are all knee length except the maxi at bottom left, and the one at the top left is asymmetrical with the shortest part hitting at mid-knee.

In case you are wondering, I have not ventured into a consignment store for weeks now.   I originally went into such stores with the objective of finding a few specific items, but I looked all around and ended up with things that weren’t on my list.   When I used to do a lot of secondhand shopping, I always enjoyed the “treasure hunt” aspect of it, but that can lead to a lot of unplanned purchases that may be misses instead of hits.  I think my track record has definitely improved, but I want to minimize my purchases for the remainder of the year, so a lot of consignment shopping isn’t a good idea.

The Accessories

And finally, here is a look at the accessories I added to my wardrobe in August and September:

August and September 2015 - new accessories

These are the new accessories I got during August and September 2015.

Before the past two months, I had bought very few accessories this year.   The shoes were purchased in early August and have been worn several times.  They were a replacement for two existing pairs of sandals that will likely be culled when I do my next “closet audit.”   The purse and scarf were bought at a local boutique when I went shopping with a friend in September.   I think they were both good buys. The purse is much smaller than the rest of my bags and fills a wardrobe hole. It’s good for outings when I don’t want to carry a large bag and has already been used.  The scarf incorporates three colors from my core palette and I know I will wear it once the weather cools down.

All of the earrings were either gifts or purchased with birthday money. They all came from my favorite store in Lake Tahoe.   The ones on the right were a gift from my mom, so I didn’t pick them out.   They are similar to another pair I have, but the other pair also includes black and is less versatile.   The other pairs are different from what I already own and I love them.  The third pair includes lapis lazuli, which is one of my favorite stones and I didn’t already have any earrings with that stone.

The bracelet was an inexpensive consignment store buy that I have yet to wear.   I like the way it looks, but it may be fussy.   I love all three of the necklaces and believe they will see a lot of wear in the coming months.   I probably didn’t need to buy two that are kind of similar.  I often don’t think of potential duplication when I buy things. I just see something that I am drawn to and buy it.   The two top necklaces are both silver with black cord, but I do see distinctions between them and I like them both.   If I had it to do over again, I would probably just get one of them, but I have them both now (they can’t be returned) and intend to wear them.

Checking in on Previous Purchases

Earlier this year, I added a new section to my accountability updates in which I check in on the previous month’s purchases.   I have decided to remove that section from these updates, as I think it often takes a bit longer than a month to determine whether or not a purchase is a good one. Instead, I’m going to do periodic purchase analyses (either quarterly or every six months) to check in on prior acquisitions.  I will be doing such an analysis for the first half of 2015 shortly.

August / September Budget Report

My clothing budget for 2015 is $2500 (down from $3000 last year).   I was originally going to have just an annual budget this year (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.   During August and September, I spent a total of $139.30 on clothing and related purchases, after returns (I had a few returns of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items that didn’t work out for me).  This does not include birthday presents or items bought with birthday money or consignment store credits (this amounted to about $200 the past two months).   Yes, I should probably include consignment credits in my budget, but I haven’t been doing so up until this point and it’s usually not much money anyway.  Next year, I may opt to include those funds in my budget allocation.

As of September 30th, I spent $2170.83 to date in 2015, which exceeded my third quarter budget by close to $300 ($295.83)!   I definitely shopped too much during the third quarter and will plan to allocate more funds for that quarter next year since it is often a bigger shopping time for me.   Because I overspent my third quarter budget, my fourth quarter budget is now dramatically reduced.  I can only spend $329.17 for the rest of the year if I want to meet my 2015 budget of $2500.

I’m okay with my fourth quarter budget being smaller, as I feel like my cool weather wardrobe is in pretty good shape after my earlier 2015 purchases and what I bought at NAS.   I don’t think I will need to buy anything new in order to be ready for the cooler season, which really doesn’t start where I live until sometime in November.  Plus, since I bought so much over the past three months, I need to tone my shopping down and focus on wearing what I have.   I don’t need much at this point anyway, especially given my casual lifestyle and my not very active social life.  I could probably easily get by with half of what I own for the activities in which I engage.  But my emotional desire for new things often defies logic and common sense.   I haven’t needed the wardrobe size I’ve had for the majority of my life.

Item Report

As of last month, I started to report on the number of items I’ve added to and purged from my wardrobe.  Here’s a summary as of the end of September:

  • Items Added:  78 (59 garments, 5 pairs of shoes, 1 scarf, 12 pieces of jewelry)
  • Items Returned: 5 (3 garments, 1 pair of shoes, 1 piece of jewelry – note that if I buy and return something within the same month, it isn’t included in my accountability updates)
  • New 2015 Items Purged: 5 (4 tops and one bracelet that I lost last month)
  • New 2015 Purchases Remaining: 69 (includes the 29 new items that I added in August and September)

The numbers above do not include the total number of items that I have purged this year, which is much greater than five.  I will compile that information and share it in a separate post later this year.  The numbers above only pertain to items that I have acquired during 2015.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am continuing to buy too much (but still far less than before I started the blog – see here for details).  Part of this is because I have continued to make a fair number of purchasing mistakes, particularly earlier in the year.  Part of it is because I have been working a lot on refining my style and cultivating a workable wardrobe, but I know I didn’t need to buy so much in order to make that happen, especially if I shopped wisely.   The remainder of the equation for my buying too much has to do with my continued emotional issues which lead me to shop for the wrong reasons.  This is an area I need to focus on more in the coming months, as even if I stop shopping so much, I will probably still engage in alternate compulsive behaviors unless I address the root of my issues.   I have tried before, but clearly I still have a lot of work to do there.

Your Thoughts?

So that’s it for my August and September accountability update.   Now it’s your turn to chime in:

  • How did you do with your shopping and wardrobe during August and September?
  • 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, which is great.  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 for the rest of October and throughout the remainder of 2015!

115 thoughts on “August and September 2015 Accountability Update

  1. Goodness that’s a lot of information! I know you said you shopped a lot but you did better than I did. I’ll share on your blog the information I also shared in your Facebook group. It’s just for September as prior to this I just binged and purged without thinking. Now you have me being accountable which is excellent.

    I bought a load of multiples in September and had a binge.
    A burgundy merino crew neck and the same in dark navy,
    A red V neck sweater, a burgundy crew neck plus a navy scoop neck, all a cashmere and merino blend.
    A Joules scarf, two pairs of wool tights plus two cotton tops, one raspberry and one grey followed by a pair of indigo jeans.

    As I said I binged but returned a lot including a red jacket, a pine green sweater, a navy cashmere cardigan with a vintage collar detail that was fussy, two teeshirts that I bought because they were cheap but I didn’t need them, a cobalt blouse that was sleeveless and inappropriate for this time of year, a pair of black skinny cords because they were ‘pull-on’ and I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought them but they were on sale.

    I also bought three lipsticks and two mascaras, one mascara was awful and I threw it away. I had a dreadful month really. I also purged a grey cardigan, purple cardigan, a skirt, a knitted black blazer and underwear.

    It’s halfway through October and I’ve continued to have a second bad month like you so hopefully now we can concentrate on using our new things rather than just hanging them up. I can keep berating myself or I can try and understand why I’m doing what I’m doing which is why I read your blog and join in very vociferously in your Facebook group.

    Thanks for being here Debbie, I’m really starting to understand my triggers and make inroads thanks to you.

    • I forgot to mention that I love your dresses, I think the things you bought reflect a new direction in style which is very pleasing. There are bound to be some new additions as you do this. You never once said you were on a shopping ban, we have to learn to shop with purpose which it looks like you did.

    • Yes, it IS a lot of information, Saltbox! The more I buy, the longer it takes for me to write these updates, which should motivate me to buy less but often doesn’t… Thanks so much for sharing your accountability here, too. I always like when others do, as it helps me to feel less alone, especially when I have struggled. I’m so glad that the Facebook group is helping you to better understand your behavior and to make changes. Your participation there is very much appreciated by me and many others and we’re glad to have you. Thanks for your kind words about my blog and my new purchases. I’m happy with them, too. I just wish there weren’t so many all at once…

  2. I really like the blue print dresses.

    I think there is some value in the thought that the one-in-one-out method may encourage a wardrobe that still turns over a lot and results in your not getting the value out of what you buy because it cycles through so quickly.

    I don’t have a lot of shorts but I can’t imagine going through summers without at least a few pairs. IMO you were way overdue for those!

    • Thanks, Ginger. I agree that I was overdue for shorts. I will see how I do with my one pair (and maybe more if I keep the ones that were sent to me). In the past, I would have bought at least a few pairs, so at least I’m doing something right there! I am going to hold off on one-in, one-out for now based upon the comment and how it resonated for me. I think it could work very well for someone who has a fairly stable wardrobe and is not a shopaholic, though.

  3. Thank you so much for all the time/thought you took to help us, your followers, in our own ‘walk with wardrobes”. In case this is helpful to you and followers… I had a knit t-shirt shortened by an alteration/tailor shop, and they warned me that the bottom would flare out and ripple because of the knit fabric and the way they would do it would be to take in the sides first and it would then add to the tailoring fee, I accepted that and the results were “perfect”….

    • I appreciate your comment and suggestion, Claudette. I’m glad the alterations on your top produced a perfect result. I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, but it could be very worth it for a top you love. I really thought the tanks would turn out well, as I have shortened many tanks in the past, but the fabric of these was just less “resiliant” than my other tanks. Live and learn…

  4. Debbie, I felt like giving you a hug after reading this post. I’m sorry that you have been struggling. I have always thought you are very brave to blog under your real name and make your purchases and budgeting public on this site, especially when you have bought more than you intended.

    It can’t be easy dealing with criticism and I have seen a few comments here in the past which I thought were very harsh. I think some people’s idea of tough love can actually be very hurtful and potentially contributes to you returning to coping strategies like shopping. I think you would be completely justified in switching off comments on some posts – although I should add the majority of commenters here are very compassionate and insightful and I have learned a lot from reading comments in the past.

    I wish you the best and I will still be reading your blog even if you decide to take it in a different direction.

    • I want to hug YOU after reading your comment, Rachel! I agree with what you said about “tough love.” I have never wanted to shut off comments because I usually appreciate what is said and I know others do, too. I am moderating more than I used to, though, but I wish I didn’t have to do that, either. I know I need to just appreciate the positive commenters and ignore the “meanies,” but that is something with which I am still struggling…

  5. Okay, Debbie~ This is not good, but it’s sure not the end of the world! You bought more than you should have, but it’s okay. You’ll just have to do better this quarter. I don’t mean to be an enabler, but beating yourself up over your mistakes won’t get you anywhere. Recovery is recovery, there are ups and downs…

    As for your purchases, I know you count your jewelry, but personally I don’t count that as part of my clothing. You’ve purged tons of jewelry in the past year and made very few purchases, so I think you can get a pass on that. 1 purse, 1 scarf & 1 pair of shoes~ I’m okay with that too. You’ve purged a lot of shoes and I don’t think you’ve purchased many replacements. 5 dresses is a lot, but I know you like to wear dresses at this time of year. Same thing with skirts. As for the tank tops, I would urge you to stop buying basics that don’t fit, hoping to alter them. My policy is, if it doesn’t fit I just don’t buy it. To me, that’s an item you can find that will fit you~ not a one of a kind thing. Lesson learned, I hope.

    I’ve made a number of purchases in September/October, but most were planned. I bought a new pair of dark blue NYDJ leggings, as the ones I had were getting faded and worn. I kept the older ones to wear for every day, since I work at home. I do keep my nicer jeans for when I’m leaving the house. I found a pair of gray NYDJ, which were on my list. I don’t have much variety in my bottoms… mostly jeans, 1 black, 1 white & several blue, so I wanted something different to wear with my black tops & sweaters. I LOVE black & gray! I purchased a pair of black knit pants, to replace a pair I’m giving to my son’s girlfriend. They are getting older and she needs black slacks for work. I loaned them to her when she spent the night here and she liked them, so I got a new pair. Bought a pair of black knit leggings for winter, which I didn’t have. Got a new pair of walking shoes to replace the worn out ones~ those were a necessity. I purchased 4 dressy shirts, looking for something to wear to my boyfriend’s HS reunion in NY. I ended up wearing one I already had, and 3 of the 4 will be returned… don’t know WHY I do this! Also 1 dressy sleeveless top in white~ probably won’t wear that til next year, but it filled a gap & a dressy taupe gray tank top to wear under my sheer tops. Also purchased a couple of long sleeve tees when we were on our trip~ 1 black & 1 white, with silver striping in them.

    Overall, this is way more than I usually purchase at one time, but I did not shop much during the spring & summer. I purchased 1 pair of my favorite FitFlops sandals, no pants at all and only a couple of basic solid or striped tees.

    I know I mentioned in the fb group that Mike likes to shop with me and watch me try on clothes~ When we do that, I tend to buy too much, as he likes everything I try on! That’s how I ended up with all the dressy tops I need to return. I know this is crazy, but somehow I find that it’s easier to make a decision on things when I bring them home & try them with my clothes at home. I can just tell better that way whether they fit in and whether I need them. So I do a lot of returns….

    One thing I don’t do much, is shop consignment and resale stores. I don’t like purchasing things I can’t return. I’ve made a few successful purchases in these places, but it’s far between. You probably need to renew your commitment to staying out of resale shops!

    • Good advice about stopping buying basics that don’t fit. Basics should be easy to find. Keep looking until you find one that fits. Mind you, I like shopping for basics 🙂

    • You’re right that it’s not the end of the world, Diane! I had actually made peace with it, but I was still dreading writing this post. I can’t change the past. I can only move forward and I am. I think your suggestion about only buying basics that fit is a good one. I don’t understand why most tank tops are SO long these days, though. I sometimes wonder who they are fitting well, but it must be some people. Thanks for sharing your accountability here. It seems like you mostly did quite well with your purchases. My husband is kind of the opposite of yours (although both are named Mike) in that he always helps me to narrow things down when we shop together. But he’s not that helpful when it comes to getting rid of things, as he will often tell me to just keep everything. So I do that alone… I agree that shopping resale is risky because things can’t be returned. I don’t want to totally ban myself from that type of shopping, but I am definitely going to limit it.

  6. Hi Debbie, I’m a long time reader but I think this is my first actual comment ?. I have really enjoyed your blog and also think it’s great that you want to move into a new direction. As we change and grow, of course things are going to be different. Growth requires change! Yay! I personally love your articles that focus on wardrobe management, quality over quantity, deciding what to invest in, what is practical for our individual lives etc. I think LIWI is a great method too! And I love reading the comments believe it or not. It’s like a bunch of girlfriends hanging out, giving each other fashion advice and for the most part, truth in a kind and practical way. There is no need for nastiness/rudeness though but luckily your blog doesn’t seem to attract a bunch of people like that. Thanks so much Debbie for all the work you have put into the blog and putting yourself out there. Your honesty and kindness has been so refreshing. Thank you seriously!

    Just a thought, have you ever considered changing your method of shopping? Taking your $3000 or $2500 a year and buying much less but higher quality? For example, looking over your wardrobe and deciding what you need in advance i.e. 2 pairs of jeans, 2 skirts, 3 dresses, a really nice trench coat, a great pair of boots etc. By researching what you are interested in (trying things on in store to determine the style you like and the size), then when there are sales (NAS, shopbop 25% off, etc) you could grab something amazing like a Burberry coat. You could end up with some amazing pieces that you absolutely love and the way you think about clothing would be different. The cycle of buying and purging would be interrupted and the content of your closet would change. You’d have less items but of higher quality that you would love to wear. Not everyone likes to shop like this and that’s okay if it’s not your thing. Just something to consider.

    Again thanks Debbie – I really do enjoy your blog!

    • Welcome, Amy, and thank you for your kind words about my blog. I’m glad you like it and are finding it helpful. I share what you said about the comments and I really do love most of the comments and commenters. I shouldn’t let the few “bad apples” get to me, but I do… You suggestion for my shopping methodology is ultimately what I want to do, but I have thus far lacked the self-discipline to do it. I love the idea of a Burberry coat or another such lust item, and I know I could afford it if I budgeted my money better. Maybe I will start with targeting a few such pieces to buy and gradually shift to having those be the bulk of my purchases.

  7. I’m a relatively new follower of your blog and I enjoy your perspectives. One thing I noted in this post and a few previous ones was that you have made new purchases because a similar item you currently own wasn’t quite right. A friend once told me that one thing she asks herself when she makes a purchase is, “What percent do I LOVE this item?” If the answer to that is not 90%0r more, it is not purchased. I have found that helpful for myself and perhaps you would too. It might prevent making purchases for similar items, if the replaced item was never bought in the first place. Good luck with your path to make a difference in your life as well as others.

    • I really love your question, Nancy, and I can see how it would help me to do better with my purchases. I know that I still “settle” too much with some items and also try too hard to make things work through alterations. I have improved for sure, but there are definitely some ups and downs. I can think of quite a few things I never should have bought. I did love the two tanks that weren’t altered well, but I didn’t love them 90% plus at their original length and thus I would have left them in the store had I used your question!

  8. Debbie –
    I found the beginning of this post really upsetting. I know it’s easier said then done, but you really shouldn’t care what other people have to say. There are more readers who benefit from your posts, such as myself, than those who are criticizing. Those who chose to write harsh or negative comments truly don’t matter. They are the minority.
    The other day I heard a coworker say, “how others treat you is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves”. In my experience, this is true. If you feel good about yourself, you won’t knock others down. If you are judgmental that says more about them than you. Please don’t let negativity steer you away from posting about your progress. If you want to change the direction of the blog because YOU want to explore other topics, then you should do so. But don’t allow rude comment or unhappy people to have that kind of power over you. I love your blog and am hoping you realize how helpful you have been to many of us ❤
    Best of luck with your decision!
    – Millie

    • Millie, that is a wonderful quote: “how others treat you is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves”. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Thank you so much for what you wrote, Millie. I really appreciate it. I agree with Jessica about the wonderful quote, and I also agree that the negative comments are the minority. Most of the time, I am able to just think about the majority of readers who like what I post and benefit from it, but sometimes I let the “negative Nancys” get to me. I really wish they would go elsewhere, as there are SO many blogs out there and probably others that would be a better fit for them. I’m glad people feel the accountability posts are helpful. They are helpful to me, too, and I learn something (or a few things) every time I write one.

  9. A really good and informative post which is ,as always, tremendously helpful for me and others like me. I actually think, though, that whilst you did have a `blow out`, it was a well done blow out, and you probably won`t blow out again like that for a long time now, because you bought pieces you will love and wear, for the most part. This is my experience, anyway, that when I`ve shopped a lot in a short space of time, I lose the desire to shop again for quite a long while afterwards, because I`m so busy wearing and enjoying the pieces I have now.
    I LOVE the maxi dress!!! And you didn`t buy any striped pieces! What`s with that????
    xoxo

    • I’m glad you found this post helpful, Fiona. I like the term “blow out,” but I’m glad you think mine was well done. I agree that most of my purchases were good ones even if there were far too many. I hope you are right that I won’t have another blow out for a long time, if ever (that would be nice…). I am definitely feeling much less desire to shop. I DID buy two striped pieces – the asymmetrical dress and the tie-dye maxi skirt. I can’t stay away from stripes for too long 🙂

  10. Oh I understand very well what happened, and what you’re feeling now. I just wish that back in my heavy shopping days, I had been as attentive and accountable as you are now. It never occurred to me I was a shopaholic, and I spent my 20s, 30s, and 40s disposing of my relatively large income on clothes I hardy wore. The financial repercussions will probably be a central issue for the rest of my life.

    Here is what it sounds like when a shopaholic pretends to be cured, but in reality, is just broke: With no income and little savings, I’ve been on a strict shopping diet for about 8 years now. But what’s a common side effect of diets? Bingeing, of course! Fortunately, I know better than to step foot in a department store or designer shop. I haven’t even been in a mall for many years. I buy from thrift shops when I do go shopping, so I can fulfill that need to buy 8 navy blue tops or whatever. Even if I do make a mistake, it’s a $4 mistake instead of a $40 one. Yesterday I went on a mini-binge at Goodwill and found a magnificent Ralph Lauren linen blazer and a couple of lightweight knit tops (that’s fall-winter wear for Phoenix). I didn’t feel quite “sated” so I added 3 button down shirts. Binge total: $37. I’m having just as much fun mixing and matching with my new goodies as if I had spent hundreds, I did somewhat less damage to the credit card, and I gave myself that little boost. Lots of rationalization there! 🙂

    You may be feeling embarrassed, but you are in a good place: you are self-aware, and as always, accountable. I LOVE your new dresses, and I’m quite jealous of your green scarf.

    • I really appreciate the perspective of a fellow recovering shopaholic, Katrina. Thank you for sharing part of your journey here and thank you for your kind words about my blog and my purchases. I went through a period when I mostly shopped resale/thrift as well, but I found I wasn’t very successful with it. I also used to use secondhand shopping as a way to shop more when I was running low on my budget, which resulted in my buying probably 150-200 new items every year! I think that one can do resale shopping well, though, and many people do. I hope to be one of them, but I need to resist the urge to buy things just because the price is low. However, I agree with you that the “damage” is lower. I’m glad you are on the path to recovery and have figured out ways to shop without incurring more debt. We all have to find what works best for us and there is no one size fits all solution. Best wishes to you in the future!

      • That’s one of the many reasons that I love your blog and the community that has sprung up around it – no one is saying “these are THE rules for recovery”. It is wonderful that we can all appreciate each other’s differences and fully support the different ways we approach our challenges.
        Thanks again for all your efforts on our behalf.

  11. I too feel like I have over-shopped lately. Some of the things have became wardrobe workhorses and some I can now see I could have done without. But I’m also trying to refine my style, and I’ve learned more about what works best for me from this experience. Hopefully I’ll make fewer mistakes in the future.

    I always feel less guilt for mistaken second-hand purchases (really for all second-hand purchases) than new since I feel like buying used doesn’t not feed into the horrible fast fashion cycle. So, give yourself a break about those mistakes, and remember to be careful in those shops in the future.

    I also have the same problem with the one-in-one-out policy that your other reader mentioned. It may not lead to a stuffed closet but can hide over-shopping and can lead to eliminating things you have a continued use for.

    All that being said, I really enjoy your blog, and think your new scarf, dresses and purse are great!

    • Thanks for your comment, Heather, and for admitting that you have also overshopped lately. I see your point about there being less guilt in secondhand purchases. I don’t want to feed into the horrible fast fashion cycle, either, especially the more I learn about it and the ethical and environmental ramifications. I had never thought about the downside of one-in, one-out, but it makes perfect sense. I don’t think I will have any rules about getting rid of things other than to let go of pieces that I don’t love and wear. I need to focus any rules I make on the input end of the cycle, as that is where I struggle much more. Best wishes to you on your continued style journey and here’s to making fewer shopping mistakes!

  12. I think that this post is a strong signal that you should re-orient the way you blog about your subject(s). You dreaded writing it; that is not good for you. This is your blog! You can write about wardrobes, shopping and budget, identity, friendship, etc. , but in a different way. You can hold yourself accountable, but you do not have to do it on your blog! You are way more than this particular struggle. You have lots to say. Go for it!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Susan and Gillian. I agree that I should be enjoying the blogging process, especially since I am not making a large income from my blog. It should be mostly a labor of love for me, as it used to be. I still enjoy parts of it for sure, but I think I need to refine things so that I can have as much passion for blogging as I did a while back. I really hope that as I make changes, readers will still enjoy my posts and benefit from them. I don’t even know what changes I will make at this point, but there will definitely be some.

      • Just continue to be you and to be authentic. That is what people like about this blog. But you have lots of ways to be “you.” Trust that you are an interesting and thoughtful person and that people are drawn to those qualities. Don’t force anything, but do what gives you pleasure and a good sense of accomplishment.

      • This is good advice, Susan. Thank you! I intend to always be authentic. I feel best when I am that way and don’t want to stop now even if it’s hard sometimes…

  13. Yup, that’s a lot of clothes. The way I see it you can go one of two ways. You could feel guilty and judge yourself harshly. People could leave unkind comments telling you that you did indeed buy a lot of clothes. You’d probably feel bad about yourself and to make yourself feel better you’d buy more clothes and so the cycle would continue. Or you could ask yourself what you could do differently in the future if similar circumstances occurred, what you learned from this experience, and turn it into something positive. I had my binge in August. I returned over half of what I bought. I felt very ashamed of myself, but it was getting me nowhere. When I looked at the situation with non judgemental eyes I realized that I was using returns as a way to get my shopping fix without having to deal with the consequences of the bottom line. Since I saw that in September and October I’ve only had a couple of returns that were mostly ordering multiple sizes to see what one fit better. My overall shopping is way down and I’m spending so much less time on it than I was and it feels good! I hope that you’re able to pull some good insight out of this whole experience and use it in a productive way and that you can just enjoy the things you bought.
    In August I bought a black short sleeve layering top, a long sleeve layering top, a black and white short sleeve top, a black printed short sleeve top, a charcoal and a black cashmere sweater tunic, a black short sleeve top, and black leggings. I spent 388.11. In September I bought a white and black long sleeve blouse, a black tee, and a marble necklace. I spent 145.23 and only returned one item that month so a big improvement! That brings my total for the year to 1665.73

    • As always, thank you for your insights and encouragement, Tonya. I agree that it’s much better for me to learn from the experience than to beat myself up over it. One thing I realized after reflecting back on my overshopping is that I need more outlets for when I am feeling bad or want to escape from my inner turmoil. I also need more of a life and more local connections. I have realized these things for a while and I have blogged about them, but I haven’t taken enough steps to turn the situation around. That is what I need to do, even if I’m not sure how and am scared and nervous about it.

      I have struggled quite a bit with returning things so I can shop more. Congrats on recognizing that pattern and turning it around. How great that you only returned one item in September. That’s very fast and excellent progress! It seems that the purchases you made during August and September are a good match for your style and life, and you are doing well with your spending, too. I wish you continued success and I appreciate that you always share your accountability when I do mine.

      • I don’t think I could have made such a quick change if I continued to focus on what I had done wrong. I don’t think that guilt and shame are bad emotions that should never be felt. If they encourage us to make a change and propel us onto the next step I think they are very useful. If they are the end result then we just sit in it and feel bad. Nothing changes and we’ll probably do the same thing again.
        I’m sure you’ll find more outlets as time goes on. You already have photography. It might be a crooked little path, but the journey will be interesting!

      • Good point, Tonya. Guilt and shame can teach us things, but it’s not good to dwell in those emotions. I do need to find more outlets and I agree that they will come in time. I’m okay with forging a crooked path as long as I’m not standing still. Life is more about the journey than the destination…

  14. Debbie, I love your blog and you are the most honest blogger I read. I recorded my clothing purchases for 2 years and it made me much more careful about my purchases. I don’t have any expensive hobbies. I read library books, hike for free, cook new recipes, and come up with outfit ideas. I decided to stop being so hard on myself about shopping. If your budget allows, I think it’s ok to purchase something a few times a week. You enjoy clothes, too, right? Can you consider it a hobby? I commend you for trying to have a more balanced and full life. I think it’s ok if one element of a full life is putting together a cohesive wardrobe. I just want to tell you that I think you have a blog that I enjoy. We are all just works in progress.

    • I’m so glad you like my blog, Amy, and I appreciate what you said about my honesty and us all being works in progress. So true… I like your perspective on shopping as a hobby. I think that’s what I’ve been working towards. I believe I will always love clothes and shopping. I just want to detach all of the emotional angst from the process and be able to have most of my purchases be good ones that suit my lifestyle. I agree with you that putting together a cohesive wardrobe can be one element of a full life. I just need to round things out more and have a fuller “life pie.”

  15. I guess I don’t get it. Why buy three black sleeveless tops? Your dress selection is lovely and makes sense, at least to me .

    • Glad you like my dresses, Belinda. I do, too, and feel good about those acquisitions. I agree that I didn’t need three black sleeveless tops. As I wrote in the description, I bought the second one (plain) after the first one (embellished) was an alterations failure. The third one was an impulse buy that I didn’t really need but have worn several times. So I really only have two black sleeveless tops now. Yes, I will be splitting my wears some, but given that I like black so much, I think I will get good wear out of both.

  16. I am sad that such a valuable and meaningful post to so many of us caused you pain. I was expecting you to have gone bananas and bought 100 items or already blown your 2015 budget and half of your 2016 budget. Honestly, you are still under budget. You bought a few mistakes, but most of the purchases have been winners! The black, blue and royal tanks look absolutely smashing on you. Most of what you bought sparks joy or replaced worn out clothing. The past 2 months may feel like failure to you because you have an idea of what your shopping should look like. From the outside, looking in, you are still well within your defined goals.

    • I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement, Barb. What you wrote puts things into perspective. While I DID overshop, it could have been a lot worse and definitely has been many times in the past. I am often too hard on myself and sometimes it’s as a preliminary measure because I worry I will be attacked. I also get frustrated when I backslide, but I agree that most of my purchases were actually good ones that are working well for me. Time to look forward instead of backwards and enjoy wearing what I have!

  17. I am sorry that you have had to endure hurtful comments and take them so hard. Trolls are everywhere on the internet and it seems that most (or maybe all) women bloggers like yourself get these sorts of unwelcome visitors to their sites. Be assured that your genuine readers sincerely value you and your posts. Personally, I think it’s great that you’re ready to move on from an intense focus on your wardrobe. It indicates your success in resolving many of the problems you identified in the beginning. I have also moved on from shopping for clothes this year and found a more creative replacement! I overspent like crazy last year and this year set myself a budget of about a third of last year’s outlay. Unfortunately I had spent my allowance by June and went on a shopping fast, which has been strangely rewarding. As ‘creativity’ and ‘colour’ were two of my goals this year, I decided that any clothes I made myself didn’t count in my fast. I have since really got into sewing, which has changed a lot in the 25 years I’ve discovered. I just finished my first wearable dress! There are some fantastic blogs on sewing by some terrific women out there and sewing lounges popping up all over the place where you can do classes and meet others – it has been a revelation. The clean-line, simple clothing that you favour – the jersey A-line skirts and maxi dresses – would be simple projects to conquer. Just another idea for your journey! I look forward to seeing where your restless spirit takes you next. All the best, Debbie x

    • Congrats on finding a wonderful new hobby, Win, and on finishing your first wearable dress! You must feel very proud and I’m sure it will be great to wear something you made yourself. I had never really considered taking up sewing before, but your comment has me thinking about it. Also, it is often SO hard for me to find the things I want, so maybe the best way would be to make them myself. Thanks for your suggestion and your kind words!

  18. I, too, am very sensitive. I have often thought of blogging but I don’t think I could stand the scrutiny! I am hard enough on myself. I don’t need any more critics. Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there.

    You have helped me in innumerable ways, the main one being in helping me recognize that I had a problem with shopping too much. I have not been into a resale shop in two years, thanks to you. I have also drastically reduced the size of my wardrobe, thanks to you introducing me to the KonMarie method.

    I have switched to a quarterly shopping plan, which seems to be working. I have been on it for three quarters. I shop primarily during the first month of the quarter. I think I burn myself out during that month and “rest” the next two. I also enjoy what I have purchased and don’t feel that I am always on the hunt.

    I have bought a lot of items, though. Primarily this is due to a shift in my style. I love ankle pants, cardigans and cute flats for work. I have bought 6 pairs of pants, 6 cardigans and 3 pairs of flats. I am really enjoying my new style and feel much more like me. And I have stayed within my budget for the year!

    I have figured out that I will never be a minimalist. I love color and variety. I enjoy changing out my clothes each season and wearing “my old friends” again. I have decided that it is not about the size of my wardrobe but more about the joy I get from the clothes I wear.

    I hope you enjoy your new purchases. Please don’t waste any time feeling guilty. Just relish the lovely items you get to wear each day!

    • “I have decided that it is not about the size of my wardrobe but more about the joy I get from the clothes I wear.

      This is great! Whittling down my wardrobe is more about honing in on what works for me and getting to a place where I have just what I need and wear, not a bunch of other stuff that’s essentially ‘in the way’. Sure, I have fun playing with the numbers, but it’s secondary to the goal of having clothes I wear and wearing the clothes I have.

      I’m on lunch, so no time to share my own accountability right now. Be back later 🙂

      • Now for the accountable part. I bought these items:

        2 modal camis for layer/sleep on 8/25 – $15
        black jeans for work uniform on 9/11 – $41
        black modal shirt for layer under uniform on 9/28 – $42
        strappy bralette for under deep v tees on 9/28 – $4
        black & white graphic message tee on 9/28 – $42

        All of these items were ordered online. This time mostly Nordstrom. Often I shop on sale, but I bought the jeans, long sleeve modal top, and Happiness Is The Best Makeup slogan tee all at full price.
        As a side note, I found that $25 – $50 is my most common price point for non basics purchases this year. And I find I’m often shopping the last 3 days of the month. Trying to get in the seasonal shopping groove, so at least I’m not doing it all. month. long. lol 😉

      • Thanks for sharing your accountability and insights, Mo. It seems that your purchases are in line with your lifestyle and needs. I think that’s great, as well as the fact that you are shopping more seasonally these days. I agree with what you wrote about how the numbers should be secondary to the key goal of having clothes you wear and wearing the clothes you have. So true and very well put!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your progress, Anne, and for letting me know how my blog has helped you. It’s comments like yours that keep me going, as I know that what I’m doing is making a difference. I think shopping quarterly is a very good way to go. I think I would like to do that next year. I think it’s better not to be shopping all the time and to spend more time wearing and enjoying what we have. The quarterly approach seems like it would be more deliberate because it involves identifying wardrobe holes, needs, or wants and then shopping for those. It seems to be working well for you! I don’t think I will ever be a true minimalist, either, for the reasons you mentioned. I plan to wear and enjoy my new purchases, even if there are too many of them. I can’t turn back the clock, but I do plan to wear and be happy with what I have.

  19. What is it about September (and October in my case!) that makes me want to shop? I guess it’s partly the seasons changing where I am. I have my wardrobe sorted seasonally and I end summer on Sept. 3o and switch to a transitional capsule from Oct. 1 to Nov. 20-ish. Then I move to winter until late March, and repeat the same transitional capsule until the end of May. Well, in pulling out my transitional clothes to get ready for fall I was a little surprised to see some items looking more worn than I’d recalled. And then in previewing my winter wear I realized I really, really, really needed new pants. So one thing led to another and though I had not planned any purchases in September-October, I bought 5 pair of pants, 2 sweaters, 1 shirt, 1 topper and some around the house attire. And then I looked at my shoes and boots and realized I really needed to upgrade there as well. And coats, why do I own only two coats when I wear a coat every blasted day in the winter? (My coats = your shorts situation lol.)
    So THEN I put a new tab on my wardrobe spreadsheet, and starting with my pants I listed them all with the year purchased and when I might expect it to wear out. What an eye opener. I think sometimes we think we are overshopping, but we really do need to make some adjustments and upgrades. And our style preferences do change, as you know too. I went from bootcut to straight leg to skinny leg in pants, and though I muddled through last winter in a smattering of each, I just don’t want to do that this winter.
    I think in some respects you are going through similar. And now that the danger of September is behind you, time to move on!

    • I appreciated your comment, Holly. You came to some powerful insights, it sounds like. I like the idea of listing the expected time when things might wear out on your wardrobe spreadsheet. I haven’t thought to do that, but it’s in line with Mette’s (The Yogastic Shopping Planner) 5-year shopping calendar: http://theyogasticshoppingplanner.blogspot.dk/2014/04/the-ultimate-five-year-shopping-calendar.html

      It’s helpful to plan for when things may wear out, but I have traditionally replaced things well in advance of that due to style preference shifts. But now that I am feeling more stable in my style aesthetic, it could be good for me to do what either you or Mette are doing.

      Yes, I think we have been going through similar things. It’s good to know when we usually shop more and plan for it. And it’s also good to learn from what we’ve done, good or bad, and move on. Best wishes to you!

      • Debbie, all of my culling and planning was inspired by you and Mette! I did have a tracking spreadsheet of my own, but it has expanded greatly this past year. As to replacing things before they wear out due to style preference changes, I do that too. But with a much smaller wardrobe I am wearing pieces more frequently. I find they do wear out more quickly. I don’t think we will ever be totally stable in style preferences though, as styles do change, so it should all make for a nice harmonic convergence as to when to replace. 🙂

      • Holly and Debbie, I was so surprised to see the speed at which I wear down my wardrobe. The two pair of pants I got two years ago are very close to pensioning. I know, that if I discover a hole in my wardrobe, I’m prone to getting not just one replacement, but maybe 3-4-5 new. With my calendar I fill the gaps before they become acute and that means a lot less pressure. The calendar is probably not the answer to everything, but it works really well for me :-).

      • How great that you already knew about Mette and her amazing tracking, Holly, and I’m glad you have also benefited from keeping a wardrobe spreadsheet. I think it’s good that you are wearing your clothes more often, but that does lead to needing to replace pieces more regularly. That can be hard, but it’s a nice change from getting rid of things that had rarely been worn.

        Mette, I’m glad you chimed in, too. It’s good that your calendar is flexible and is evolving to meet your needs. It seems to be SO helpful to you and I always love reading your posts (I should comment more often, but you can see that I have my hands full with comments here…).

  20. Debbie, sometimes some people just s*ck. There’s just no other way to say it. Delete them and their judgemental comments (from your blog and your brain). I’m not a shopaholic, but I read your blog regularly because 1) I LOVE the wardrobe management topics, and 2) you are just so cute and open about your thought processes. I don’t really care how many things you buy or how many things are in your closet. If you want a smaller closet, that’s a personal goal between you and you. There is no right nor wrong as far as I’m concerned. If you’ve gotten ahead of yourself on scheduled spending for the year…again that is between you and possibly your husband. No one else has any right to judge. I do understand that you originally felt compelled to disclose this, but I don’t care whether you report on that or not.

    I understand why you may want to shange the focus of the blog a bit. I don’t blame you, but I will truly miss many of the topics. Perhaps there are ways to still discuss your thoughts and approach regarding wardrobe management while keeping more personal information private? Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

    • Thank you so much for what you wrote, Carter! I wholeheartedly agree with what you said. It really isn’t for others to judge us because they usually only know part of the story, plus we all have our faults. While I may shift the focus of the blog somewhat, I still plan to write about many of the topics I have been writing about. I think it may just be less about me or at least a mix of personal and more general and philosophical exploration of the subjects. I will also share more of what’s being discussed in the “End Closet Chaos” group so there’s a wider perspective. But most of it is still in the thought stage, so you won’t see much of a difference for a while.

  21. Thanks for sharing another thoughtful post. It seems like your awareness or self knowledge is growing every month. I hope it seems that way to you?

    Third quarter is always my big purchasing time of year. I don’t really know why yet but I will figure it out one day! It may just be that Autumn is my favorite time of year. On top of this I had a small weight gain of about 10 pounds but it was enough to make me feel like some of my cooler weather trousers were too snug. I got rid of worn/unloved stuff when I started preparing my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. I found when I looked by category [say all trousers] I could clearly see what to let go of and what was needed. I moved 9 items into a ‘too small’ holding zone and 4 items into a ‘need mending’ zone. I do almost all my buying second-hand but as I am currently working FT and attending graduate school FT I did quite a bit of buying on Ebay this year as it was hard to get to stores. Only 2 purchases were retail.

    What I bought:
    Toppers 3
    Shirts/Pullovers 6
    Trousers 3
    Accessories 4
    Skirts/Dresses 4 [1 retail]
    Boots/Shoes 1 retail

    In the totals above there were 2 failures: A cotton skirt [retail] that wrinkled so badly it was gone after one wear and one ebay pullover that was cut in ‘junior’ style which didn’t fit me at all in the arms. The perils of shopping over the mail! My new boots were retail as well.

    I filled a lot of holes in my wardrobe. I still have things I am hunting for like a winter coat and one more pair of wool trousers. But it is a pleasure getting dressed and I am enjoying layers again!

    My current total wardrobe, 4-seasons, all clothing and footwear [includes boots and coats]: 109

    • Thanks so much for sharing your accountability here, Mary. It’s good that you have been able to find what you need on Ebay and have had only two failures among your purchases. Your wardrobe seems to be at a very good size and I’m glad you are enjoying wearing layers again. I think I have another month to go before I will be in layers, but the weather is unpredictable this time of year where I am. Yes, I think my self-knowledge continues to grow every month, even when I make mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes lead to the most growth, actually!

  22. I have been following your blog for a while now but this is the first time that I have commented on your blog as I just wanted to say I love what you have to say and you should never feel the need to defend yourself, although I am not a shopaholic myself I have found your honesty to be very helpful in helping me to have a more cohesive wardrobe and always look forward to your latest posts.
    And to those who give negative(not helpful) comments, “When you judge others , you do not define them, you define yourself.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Cherry, and for the kind words you wrote. I really like what you wrote at the end. I really believe that is true. I will try not to let the negative commenters get me down, as I know there are many who appreciate what I have to say and don’t expect me to be perfect.

  23. Debbie, I have learned so much from you. I know I have made progress in dealing with my shopping issues. It is all because of your bravery in sharing your struggles. I now realize that I am not alone in behaviors such as “stocking-up” purchases, buying things for the life I wish I had, and being manipulated by sales. Just being aware of the issues has helped tremendously. Thank you.
    Your analysis of why you get rid of certain items has been extremely helpful for someone like me who had too much that should have been set free months/years ago.
    People who make nasty comments obviously do not comprehend about the amount of integrity you have in order to write so honestly. It is terribly difficult to do the healthy thing and forbid negative comments from replaying themselves in your brain. I feel sad that you take their comments so hard. You must be on the right path though, because you think it will help you if you make a shift in the blog’s direction. I’ll enjoy what ever you decide to write about because it will be done well and done honestly. Hugs
    P. S. I liked all the dresses you choose but the teal print dress is outstanding…that one HAD to come home with you. I hope you feel like a million bucks in it!

    • I very much appreciate what you wrote, Gayle, and I’m very glad that my blog has been helpful to you. I feel less alone since I have been writing the blog, too. I helps me a lot to know that you are all out there and it warms my heart to know that I have made a difference for many of you. I have to work on not taking the negative comments so hard, as I know that the opinions of those people are in the minority. About the dress, yes I do feel very good in it and am glad I got it. Hugs back to you!

  24. I have also taken a break from thinking about clothes. I have stuck to my shopping and buying hiatus… Unless you count the package of gym socks I bought while grocery shopping, which I don’t. Aside from that, nothing since August 19th. For the first few weeks I was strangely anxious, but that subsided. Now I am finding I spend much less time thinking of clothes and what I lack. Now I enjoy dressing because I focus on what I have and really just for a few minutes each morning. My mantra has been “I have enough”. And I really have achieved my original goals. I have a wardrobe that expresses me, my aspirations and my quirks. It serves all the things I do. I dress quickly and I feel good in my clothes. I am very happy everything finally fits comfortably in my closet. Of course, with less thinking of clothing, my purging slowed as well, I only let go of three items last month. That will likely increase as I just finished Marie Kondo’s book. I felt the need to read it as with the start of October, because I am out of the red and back in black with my clothing budget. I was a little worried I might take that as an excuse to backslide. So far so good though. The advice on this blog and your suggested readings from others have really helped me in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your struggles. You really are helping people, you’ve certainly helped me. If it helps, I learn most from your insights, not the specifics of your personal life. Your blog would be just as good if you chose to be more private. Either way, I will continue to follow.

    • Congrats on sticking with your shopping hiatus, Misty, and to better using what you have. It is very powerful to realize that we have enough. It’s okay to purge slowly and can help us to buy so much. There is no right speed to do things. We all have to do what’s right for us and that will often shift over time. I’m so glad my blog has been helpful to you! Best wishes with the KonMari Process and to staying on track with your goals.

  25. hey debbie, i’ll admit i haven’t read the whole post yet (just saw that it was here and skimmed it), but just wanted to say bravo, dear lady, because I know this wasn’t easy for you. And now it’s done! if i could toast drinks with you to your courage, tenacity and honesty and say “onward, ho, to bigger and better things!”, I would! your good and loyal readers will forge ahead with you to whatever new place this journey leads. Virtual toast and hugs to you, then, and the hopes and wishes of leaving guilt, regrets, and all ungraceful comments behind, and the vow that each of us start by being kindest to ourselves because dang, it seems like good things always follow from there. All my best. xo

    • I really appreciate your support and encouragement, Claire, and virtual toasts work for me since I can’t have alcohol anyway. Thanks so much for your good wishes! I send positive thoughts your way, too… You’re right that we need to be kind to ourselves and that good things follow from there.

  26. The new things look very much like you so I think you have really tuned your eye to what works for you. So whilst you may think you bought too many things they look like generally good choices for you and you should be pleased about that.
    A few weeks ago I had a colour analysis (Muted, Warm) and a big KonMari clear out and the seasons changed and I was left feeling in need of some new pieces. I have bought some new things, sewn a few things and worn what I had in different ways and I’m now avoiding too much going to the shops. I’ve stopped on online shopping because I had so much trouble with fit.
    Seasonal pieces which suit our lifestyle and bodies seems to be the way to go. Cheers Ruthie

    • Thanks for your kind words about my new things, Ruthie. I do feel good that I am choosing better even though I am still buying too much. I think it’s great that you had a color analysis and did some culling with KonMari. Sounds like you were wise with your new things and didn’t go overboard. Good for you! I agree that focusing seasonally and on real lifestyle needs is the best approach for shopping.

  27. Dear Debbie, you are a beautiful person inside and out. You are not alone to struggle with life, wardrobes and health issues! It is very, very challenging, to say the least. You are such a gentle soul. Thank you for all your output and honesty. You are an excellent writer! Because of some weird shyness I don’t like to write public comments very much but I would like to share with you a beautiful post Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about dealing with criticism. Maybe it could inspire you too. Sending you love and hugs X
    Hope the link works:

    • Thanks for sharing this Lola. Debbie, I wonder if you could enlist your husband’s help in screening some responses if you are feeling particularly vulnerable after a post? Maybe he could just delete the means ones first…

    • Your kind words mean a lot to me, Lola, and I appreciate your taking the time to send me this comment and link despite your shyness. I loved “Eat, Pray, Love” and will look forward to reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s post tomorrow when I’m a bit more awake. I’m sure I will enjoy it.

      Sarah, that could be a good idea about my husband screening the comments, but since they come to my email, it’s hard to avoid reading them. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of the bad ones. I know I am better off than many other bloggers in that respect.

  28. You are very brave to give such a detailed and thoughtful account, thank you for you honesty! I too bought more than I planned in Aug/Sep, but its settled down now. I think it was something about the excitement of finding some really great things in the sales, that can trigger a ‘more is better’ shopping spree which is difficult to close down.
    I really like the dresses, they look as if they would have been difficult to find had you set out planning to buy a print dress. Sometimes you just need to grab unusual pieces when you stumble across them, even if they were not part of the plan. As long as they really meet your standard of fit, colour scheme, fabric quality etc then you won’t regret it.
    Alice

    • The sales set me off, too, Alice, plus all of the new fall merchandise in the stores. I will probably always shop more this time of year, but I would like to tone it down and be more deliberate next year. I agree about grabbing unusual pieces when we find them sometimes. I feel very fortunate to have found my new dresses. There was certainly some serendipity involved there…

  29. Count me as a fan. Your blog has been helpful to me in that it has helped me to better understand what is going on in the back of my brain… Do not be too hard on yourself, and you might consider how far you have come since starting this process, rather than punishing yourself for backsliding.
    Perhaps the goal you set for yourself was a little too high, after all, you would be well within reaching your goal if it were the one you set for 2014. One thing I have found is that when I have bought things that are less than satisfactory it is often because these items were the best of several I had tried on. The really bad ones made them look better than they really were. Knowing that has helped me avoid that trap a few times. Another consideration is that sometimes it really isn’t about buying, just about trying on new things to see what is out there, new styles, colours etc… I have taken to not bringing a purse into malls or stores… If something is truly wonderful, I can put it on hold and come back later to get it. Very often, something that seems wonderful in the store loses its appeal with a little distance. I stumbled on to this strategy when I had a pinched nerve in my neck that made carrying a purse very unpleasant, so some good came from that pinched nerve!

    • I’m glad you’re a fan, Phoebe. My goal for the year may have been too high, but I thought it was reasonable when I set it. I’m still going to try to make it and I believe I will do better overall next year. I do feel I have made a lot of progress since I started the blog even if I still struggle at times. I agree that buying the best of the things we try on may not always be the best approach. Sometimes it’s best to leave empty-handed. I like the idea of shopping without money or credit cards. I had planned to do that and blog about it a while back. Perhaps I will take on this and other challenges in the coming months. If anyone has any other challenges that I can do and blog about, please share them. I am open to ideas…

  30. Hi Debbie. This was a wonderful heartfelt post. The reason your blog touches people & creates a warm supportive community is due to the fact you’re willing to share your experiences with such openness. Unfortunately that does give mean spirited people an opportunity to attack. If you delivered polished sponsored articles you could lose the mean comments, but the readers who need your support would not feel they could share their stories, which is what makes this a wonderful safe place to visit.
    I have over shopped quite a bit this month due to escapism whilst coping with trauma. Shopping provides comfort, the kindness of retail assistants & even the delivery couriers adds to the lovely joy of acquiring new things!
    However I have curated my wardrobe down to a select number of beautiful items that bring joy. I think of my dressing room as a beautifully curated personal boutique & shop with intention. I created a spreadsheet & was able to identify that the clothing purchased from small boutiques were the most frequently worn items. I was also able to define & further hone my core style by tracking. Thank you for the inspiration. I now avoid big name retailers & I only purchase items true to my style. My shopping habits have changed tremendously since reading your blog & I no longer carry all the guilt that often negated having such lovely things.

    • I want my blog to stay a warm supportive community, Sharon, and I don’t intend to start doing sponsored posts, not that I haven’t been approached about that. I would love to make an income from blogging, but the integrity of the blog has to come first. I can totally identify with overshopping as a way of escaping during hard times. That was part of what my recent shopping was about, but I’m glad I didn’t make a ton of mistakes in the process. Congrats on all of the wonderful progress you have made. I’m very pleased that my blog has played a role in your success.

  31. Hi Debbie. I have been reading your blog for over a year and this is my first comment: Let me first say: Thank you! Your posts have been very inspiring and thought provoking. I relate to your analytical approach so much!

    Here is my suggestion to you: how can you start using this analytical approach BEFORE making purchases and maybe model for us a process of managing our shopping? I remember Jill Chivers said that setting up support structures for success was crucial in going through a shopping ban. I am wondering what the support structures for success are in shopping with a purpose.

    I can think of 2 structures I use to manage my shopping, but I really need more. One goes like this: if I am waiting for a package to arrive, I do not browse shopping sites. Once the package gets home and I can evaluate what I bought and decide if it stays in my life, then I can shop again — it does help slow down the excitement and has prevented the snowballing emotional effect that can lead me to a full-blown binge. Another has been to find more than one item that fulfills my purpose and then play with their images to make possible outfits. I force myself to do this for a few days before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Comparing several options does give me a chance to analyze and over-analyze upfront and to enjoy the emotional anticipation that I get from playing something new. Then I buy the one that does best in my outfit collages.

    Debbie, please consider applying your analysis in a different part of the shopping process. We are all looking to you to help us manage shopping better. If your existing posts are any indication, your analytical mind can work magic for you and for us.

    • I really like the concept of “structures to manage my shopping.” The structures of earlier days–shops only open limited hours, clothing more expensive than now relative to income–are defunct with the advent of on-line and tv shopping.

      I bought a lovely scarf from one of the second hand sites. I’ve had it for two days. Yesterday I started looking on-line for scarves by the same maker! I haven’t even worn the scarf yet. So–with the idea of adopting a structure to manage my shopping–I will not look at another scarf till I’ve worn the new one 5 times…Let’s see how it goes.

      • I also like the idea of putting the analysis on the front end. I’ve been trying to do so with my own shopping. https://moderatewardrobe.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/a-shopping-plan/

        I had also thought of the rule to not buy anything else until the newly purchased item in that category had been worn. ie: no new jeans until I wear the jeans I just bought. This also helps avoid oversaturation in any one category, which tends to happen when we stumble upon a new silhouette or style.

      • Ellie, Mo – I agree with Saltbox, very clever. It also would work for normal shopping (i.e. not on-line, I don’t do this as I’m in a big city) – just don’t buy anything new in a category until you’ve really worn and explored options with any recent purchase. It would put a brake on binge shopping AND help to develop personal style thoughtfully!

    • Thank you for your comment and suggestions, Ellie. I love your ideas for support structures! I agree that I need to be more analytical BEFORE I pull the trigger with my purchases. I have done some of this before but not enough. I did have the rule that Mo suggested for a while about not buying new items in a category until I had worn the other new pieces I have. I didn’t stick to it well, but I think it’s a good one to reinstitute. Frugulscholar’s twist on it to wear new things a certain number of times is also good. Comparing potential new items and figuring out how we might use them is certainly wise. I am going to consider all of these ideas and come up with a short list of ones to try. Then I will blog about it. I definitely get a lot of great blog post ideas from readers!

  32. Debbie, thank you for continuing to honestly share about your shopping/buying, in spite of the harsh comments. Some people are just mean, plain and simple. (I participate in a professional forum and am often shocked at how judgmental, rude and nasty some people can be.) But I would encourage you to see if perhaps some of the comments truly are meant to be helpful, even if they sting a bit. I’m not defending being mean, but having all commenters say ‘it’s ok’ when you admit to too much buying might not be helpful either. But only you can say what is too much.

    That said, I can relate to buying a lot the past few months. But I love what I got! I have gotten so much better at not buying something ‘ just because.’ Tracking wears for a long time has been really eye opening and I realize I need much less than I had in my closet in the past. At this point I feel like I have a real wardrobe and not just clothes. But the wardrobe- and I – will always be a work in progress as I still make mistakes or buy more thank I need.

    I think that overall you have made tremendous progress in your own recovery. I also believe that you have helped more people than you know and I for one appreciate and admire you!

    • I really don’t want all commenters to say “it’s okay” in response to my accountability posts, Susie. I don’t mind being questioned or when people make suggestions and most do so in a caring and respectful way. As I said, I very rarely delete a comment or don’t let one come through and I always try to consider what is being said and see how it applies to me.

      It sounds like you are doing well even if you bought too much recently. How wonderful that you now have a real wardrobe and not just clothes (I love how you put that) and are being more deliberate with your purchases. I feel I have made good progress, too, despite some pitfalls along the way, and I’m always thrilled when people tell me my blog has helped them. Thanks for telling me that you appreciate and admire me!

  33. I meant to add…I do see the cohesiveness you have in your wardrobe. I too limit the colors I buy, which are similar to yours with lots of black, and in many ways that is working so well. However, I think it sometimes leads to thinking I need to buy everything I see that is one of my colors! So I have to be careful of duplicating.; there is a limit to how many black pants I need!

    • I have to be careful about duplicating, too, either in terms of too many items in one color or buying multiples of a single style in different colors. I agree that there can be too much of a good thing!

  34. I shop a lot at this time of year (and in the spring) because I want something fresh instead of pulling out the same stuff from last year. Not that there’s anything wrong with last year’s stuff, its just that my tastes evolve and something I liked before, maybe I don’t care for so much now. I feel no shame about this. If I no longer like something, I either take it to consignment or give it away. My wardrobe to me is a flowing thing that reflects my own evolving as a person.

    While I have chosen to not go over a certain number of garments, my philosophy as to HOW achieve that number (and preferably fewer pieces as time goes on) is more of a creative process than an accounting system–other than I do not allow myself to spend over my monthly budget. And I was very good about staying under budget this past season, by 218.00.

    I may go out and purchase a lot of garments at one time (which would look like bingeing perhaps), but then I take them home and quite ruthlessly edit them against what I already have, so that most of them go back to the store within a few days of purchase. For me this is all part of the shopping process to find the right thing. I cannot evaluate clothing in a store dressing room.

    I am OK personally with my method even though it might take more than one trip to the same store to get the right thing. And, I am perfectly up front with the store personnel about what I plan to do, and since I regularly shop at certain stores they know I am a good customer. I view it as being like my own stylist, where I try a lot of things to find the one or two best things. Out of 8 or 10 purchased garments, I usually only keep 1 or 2 that passes my test.

    So Debbie, just because you bought a lot of stuff does not necessarily mean you are bingeing in my view. You may not end up keeping all those purchases. My philosophy is you don’t know if you like something until you try it. And you are trying new things. No need for guilt or shame.

    • Thank you for sharing your process and perspective, Deby. I like how you are so creative about it and that it works so well for you. I have trouble accurately evaluating clothing in store dressing rooms, too. I really need to see them in my own lighting and mirror and with potential accompaniment pieces. I’m okay with making several trips, too, but I need to be more ruthless with my editing process after I bring things h0me. I may not keep everything shown in this post, including the consignment buys that I would have to re-consign instead of returning for a refund. I agree that I don’t need to feel guilt or shame. Those things never help, anyway. I just need to keep learning and keep moving forward. Seeing the progress that you and others have made inspires me all the time.

      • Shops are designed to distract, to tempt, to create dreams, so it’s really difficult to be realistic and practical when surrounded by attractive items. I too find it difficult to evaluate clothes in the changing room. So often an item seems to be the ‘perfect find’. The piece I will be able to wear on so many occasions, the piece that will pull everything together, the piece that is so right…but in real life it doesn’t work like this. I make sure I try things out immediately at home to see if they really work, and identify when and how I will wear them. Taking them back is a positive thing to do as it means I’ve learnt more about what doesn’t work and what I don’t really need. I don’t want my wardrobe to stagnate or just be utilitarian, and I do want to try new trends, so I think some mistakes are inevitable, but hopefully fewer now I have a reality checklist.

  35. Thanks for this post, Debbie, and thanks for being so honest. From where I’m sitting, I don’t think you did badly the last month and a half – yes, you bought a lot, but it is all lovely stuff and except for the two tank tops that didn’t work out, it’s all stuff that you will wear and enjoy. I’m not a shopaholic, but I do struggle with clothes and often get into a cycle of guilt over having “too much” (which my family assures me is not true). Then I purge clothes, but need to replace them. So that comment you cited about the pitfalls of a one-in-one-out policy resonated with me too. I don’t need need a shopping ban, I need a purging ban, lol! Also, I need to stop fixating on a perfect wardrobe number. Really, I can get quite obsessive about it! Anyway, your blog is helping me to have a healthier and more appreciative attitude toward my wardrobe.

    • Some people DO need purging bans, Murphy, and I agree that fixating on a perfect wardrobe number is not helpful. I can get obsessive about such things, too, when what really matters is that our wardrobe work for us, not how big or small they are. I’m glad my blog is helping you to have a better attitude toward your wardrobe. All of you are helping me, too!

  36. Oh Debbie, I can sense the stress in your words. You are not alone. I did much worse than you did over the last few months and am way over budget for this year. I believe much of it was due to stress over medical issues and now that I am through that I am hoping to do better. I also just got a 6% raise (!) and am enjoying a job for the first time in my adult life. So I believe things will still slowly get better, and I plan to try dating again in the spring.
    I wonder if writing about your wardrobe and spending so much time in the Facebook group is adding to your anxiety too. I don’t think you should let other people’s expectations make you continue to write about (and possibly obsess over) clothing and shopping if that’s not what your heart is in right now. If you need to start a different blog or change the direction of this one, only YOU can make that decision, and rest assured, whatever you decide to write about I surely will read it!

    • Thanks for sharing and letting me know I’m not alone, Sarah. Stress over medical issues has been a big factor in my shopping too much, too. I’m glad you have gotten through your surgery and recovery. Congrats on your raise! That is quite a good amount, so you must be very valued at your job. But even better than the raise is the fact that you are enjoying your job.

      Sometimes I do need to take a step or two back from focusing so much on my wardrobe and shopping. I enjoy blogging and the Facebook group, but I need to make sure to keep it all in balance. I’m glad the group doesn’t need my constant participation in order to thrive, but I do enjoy interacting with you all. You’re right that it’s my decision what to do. Thanks for your support and encouragement and for letting me know that you will continue to read what I write.

  37. Dear Debbie, I´m brazilian. I live in a small town far away from the beach and the big cities. My english is very poor, too. So, forgive my mistakes. First of all, I don´t like your clothes, the colours, the shape, all. But, I enjoy reading your posts since the beginning. I´m not a follower, but I read every post, and I like it so much. I used to have the same problem as you: buying too much stuff that I didn´t need or use. And you teach me a lot. Your mistakes are my mistakes, your doubts are my doubts and I realize that I´m not alone. That said, don´t be upset because one or two persons who think they are perfect. They don´t. Nobody is perfect, thanks God. And despite I don´t like your clothes (sorry) I apreciate you a lot. Please stay with us. Thanks.

    • Your English seems just fine, Rosi. I’m glad you like my blog and are benefiting from it. I’m not sure why you felt the need to tell me you don’t like my clothes, but it’s okay if you don’t. I am not trying to be a fashion expert and I don’t expect everyone (or anyone) to dress like I do. I share my clothes and outfits to illustrate points, not as style advice. I don’t plan on going away anytime soon, so my posts will still be there for you and others. Writing my blog helps me to feel less alone, too.

      • Debbie, I don’t want to put words in someone else’s mouth, but I think the intent behind the comment about your clothes is more like “though we have different clothing styles, I still appreciate and learn a lot from your blog” than just an unnecessary dig. I am conversational in a second language, but I come across very blunt when I use it because of my more limited vocabulary.

      • Good point, Sara. You’re probably right… Some things get lost in translation. It makes more sense that was what she was trying to say. In any event, I don’t expect everyone to like my clothes. I don’t think everyone will every like anyone’s clothes, as we all have such different tastes – and that’s perfectly okay 🙂

  38. Debbie,
    You know what? It’s just not that big of a deal. You didn’t meet a goal. You aren’t making excuses or ignoring it. No one ended up homeless or in the hospital as a result. The purchases you did make look like they all belong in the same wardrobe. So that’s progress. Time will tell you if you made “smart” purchases or will do something different next time.

    I think we are all programmed to buy clothing in the fall. The whole “back to school” excitement – new clothes, new year, etc.

    I do agree with the advice to avoid buying basics that don’t fit well. Buy the highest quality basic garments that you can. They last longer, drape better and will serve you well for many years.

    There is a physiological reason those nasty emails weigh heavily. When you read them your body interprets the words as an attack. Fight-or-flight hormones are released and imprint the experience into your memory more deeply than reading the favorable comments. It makes sense – your body is telling your brain to remember the episode so as to avoid it in the future! (It was a relief to me to find out that there was a biological reason for this.)

    My own shopping in August and September was not too bad. I finally accepted my weight gain and bought 3 pair of very stretchy jeans to add to the few pair that still fit. Now my struggle is to let go of all of those gorgeous clothes that no longer fit.

    Kudos to you for your bravery and honesty. It is only natural that you are evolving and will find other topics that you’d like to blog about. I think those of us who read your blog enjoy your writing and will continue to be interested in your viewpoint as you move forward.

    • I appreciate your encouragement, Diane, and the kind words you wrote about my blog. I agree that fall is a time when many of us are programmed to buy clothes. I have noticed that I often shop more this time of year. The physiological reason you mentioned for the impact of negative comments makes good sense. I feel more normal knowing there is a biological explanation for how I’ve been feeling. Good for you for accepting weight gain and buying pants that fit. As for getting rid of things, if you think it’s realistic that your weight might drop again, it could be good to keep your favorites, but get them out of your closet so they won’t make you feel bad. We should only have items we can wear in our current size in our closets.

    • Thank you, Irene. I plan on continuing blogging. As long as I am helping people, I am happy, and I won’t let some bad apples ruin the whole thing.

  39. Hi Debbie, accountability posts are clearly doing you more harm that good- so stop posting them. You aren’t obliged to and have plenty of other interesting things to post. I’d like to see more posts showing how, where and when you’ve worn what is in your wardrobe and the alternative outfits you could have put together. Maybe blog about what you think you may buy- before you buy it. When you will wear it, how, how often and what you could wear instead, why you are thinking of buying it.
    More posts or the psychology of clothes, shopping, self image, the fashion industry, and the pressure to ‘update’. Strategies to resist buying and buy better would be great. Maybe a look at different wardrobe styles, lifestyles and attitudes. You really help us analyse what we buy, what we wear, what we like and don’t like, what we think will be great- but isn’t and why, so please keep doing this.

    • Your suggestions for future posts are VERY good, Lynn, and I will definitely take them into consideration. I still really like the subject matter, but will also branch out a bit. As for the accountability posts, I still think it’s good for me to be accountable but I may change the way I do them or how often. I’m not sure yet. This is all a work in progress, just like I am, but I do want to write about things that will be helpful for readers. I believe a lot of what you suggested will resonate with many people. Thank you!

  40. Needing a break, oh I know this too well. Real life took over for a while and it left me short on time and motivation to work on my wardrobe, or my blog. Sometimes one just needs to step away, to return refreshed and ready to push onwards. But progress is progress, no matter how big or small it is. Keep up the good work!

    • I missed your blog when you were too busy to write, Lisa, but I’m glad you came back. You’re right that stepping away can help refresh us and allow us to better forge ahead when we come back. I’m in a better place about shopping and my wardrobe than I was a few months ago. I’m feeling more settled and appreciating what I have and not itching to buy as much. Thanks for your encouragement!

  41. {{{Debbie}}}

    I just wanted to say that if I myself have posted comments that upset you, I am very very sorry. My intention (in posting comments saying that I can’t imagine buying that much stuff, etc) was only ever to provide perspective from one who once did overload her closet with thrift store finds, but now is out the other side so thoroughly that I feel aghast at the thought of buying more than 10-12 items of clothing and footwear per year. And this is how it’s been for a number of years now. So there is hope!

    You should only write what you feel like writing. Don’t feel obliged to post anything in particular. It is supposed to be enjoyable for you or why do it? You owe us NOTHING (much as I for one LOVE your blog).

    Wendy

    • I don’t remember if any of your comments upset me, Wendy, but I appreciate your apology. There have actually been very few harsh comments, so I’ve been lucky in that regard. I’m okay with people questioning me or offering constructive criticism as long as it’s done from the right place. I can usually tell when someone is just being out and out mean. I do hope I will get to a place soon when I will buy FAR fewer items and be perfectly satisfied with it. I think I’m getting closer… Thanks for your encouragement. I do really want to write about what is enjoyable to me and will make that more of the focus moving forward.

  42. Regarding negative comments, I find it disgusting that anyone would feel the need to do that to you. You are a gentle soul with commendable generosity and honesty. Your desire to help and support others is inspiring. In terms of purchases, you are so much wiser than before. Keep going Debbie, you have certainly helped me.

    • You are so kind, Shelley. I really appreciate what you wrote and I’m very glad to have helped you. Many thanks and virtual hugs to you!

  43. Hi Debbie – I’m chiming in late because I was traveling when this post went up. I also took a break from the blog while you did, and found that I thought about shopping a lot less. I didn’t actually buy anything in September although I did go out looking a few times (and have bought two items in October). I think when I wasn’t trying to rigidly stick to my purchasing plan, I relaxed more about shopping and shopped even less. If that makes sense. So I think sometimes taking a break is good – whether it is from the blog as a whole or from the accountability posts, that’s OK. I’m sure trying to maintain the blog can become very taxing, both mentally and emotionally. Anyway, yes, you’ve been shopping more than you wanted, and you very much want to be recoverED already rather than recoverING, but we’re all only human. One thing I am learning for myself is that this is all a MULTI year process. I have made great strides from where I used to be, but still have a long way to go.

    • Good to hear from you, Sarah. Congrats on not buying anything in September and doing well in October thus far. I can see how relaxing about the whole shopping phenomenon can lead to less shopping. Sometimes focusing too much on an area of our lives only serves to magnify our problems in that area, or we end up creating “problems” where there really are none (such as imagining wardrobe “gaps” that aren’t actually there). I’m glad that taking a break was as helpful for you as it was for me. Yes, it can be taxing to maintain the blog, but I mostly enjoy it and am happy to be helping people. I’m finding the need to shift things a bit now, but I’m still not sure what that will look like. I’m taking it day by day… You’re right that recovery is a multi-year process. I get impatient for it all to happen NOW (if not yesterday), but we didn’t get to our lowest points overnight and we won’t be able to pull ourselves out overnight, either. So glad you are making such great strides! I have a long way to go, too, but we will get there as long as we keep working on it (with breaks thrown in as needed).

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