March 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

It’s almost the end of the month, so it’s time for another installment of my “grab bag” of useful links (see previous editions here). Included below are links to articles I think you’ll enjoy on the subjects of shopping and shopping psychology, wardrobe management, style, and personal development.  I’m also sharing a few previous “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that you may have missed the first time around (or may choose to revisit now). 

This “grab bag” of useful links presents the perfect opportunity for you to sit back with your favorite hot beverage or glass of wine and enjoy some quiet time to read, learn, look within, and maybe even laugh a time or two.  As a reminder, I certainly do not expect you to click on all of the links in these posts.  Just explore the ones that most intrigue you.

liberty station airplane take-off

Watching the planes take off from Liberty Station in Point Loma, San Diego. 

As in all useful links editions for the past year or so, the photo above is one of mine.   If you want to see more of my photos, you can check out my “photography interlude” blog posts or follow me on Instagram.

If you’d like, you can always go back to this post later via my Archives page.   While you’re on the site, you might also want to check out my Recovery Tips and Resources pages, as well as learn about my two books.  If you’re new to “Recovering Shopaholic,” I invite you to visit my Start Here page, which contains useful information about the blog, as well as links to some of my most compelling and helpful posts.  Okay, here are this month’s links:

On Shopping and Shopping Psychology

  • What are Sunk Costs?” – Do you ever hold on to clothes just because they were expensive, even though you don’t love them and never wear them? Most of us have been there, but this article from Real Simple may help to change your perspective.  The article explains the concept of “sunk costs” and why people so often waste money (and time) in order to justify costs they’ve already spent. This is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time and the principles apply to other things besides our possessions, such as jobs and relationships.
  • How to Prioritize the Items on Your Shopping List” – Few people have unlimited shopping budgets, so it’s important for us to prioritize what we buy to ensure that we purchase the most important or urgent items first. This post from You Look Fab outlines some considerations to keep in mind when looking at how to plan our expenditures.
  • How Much Should You Spend on Clothing Each Year?” – In my monthly accountability updates (a new one will be published next week), I share how I’m doing with my clothing budget for the year. While the amount we each allocate to spend on our clothing is a very individual decision, there are some factors you can consider to help determine the right number for you.  This article from About Style includes some key things for you to think about, as well as statistics on average expenditures and recommendations on reasonable spending from a few financial experts.

On Wardrobe Management

  • Wardrobe Organization and Outfit Planning Apps Reviewed” – While I am very “old school” in the way I track my wardrobe, there are many smartphone apps available to help streamline the process. This app round-up from Inside Out Style highlights some of the most popular ones, their key features, and their pros and cons.  After reading this post, I may decide to join the 21st century and give one of them a try.
  • 7 Steps to a Successful Closet Purge” – This is an abbreviated version of an excellent article that appeared in the January issue of Real Simple magazine. Included are 7 powerful questions you can ask yourself as you go through those “on the fence” items in your closet.   Along with the questions are tips on how to best apply them to your trickiest pieces, even things that have sentimental value.  My favorite question was, “How would you feel if you were wearing it when you ran into your ex?”  Great way to “bottom line” the decision process!
  • It’s Time to Quit Lying to Myself about What I Wear” – I often write about the necessity of considering our actual lifestyles both when shopping and doing closet purges. This article from The Vivienne Files introduces a powerful concept called “wardrobe auto-delusion” and explains how it can work against us in two significant ways.  It’s well worth reading the comments on this post as well, as they are quite heartfelt and help to further the discussion.

On Style

  • Styling Casual Outfits: How to Look Stylish When it Doesn’t Matter” – Many of us have casual lifestyles and/or days of the week when what we wear doesn’t matter all that much.  But if we are willing to put a little extra effort into our outfits, we generally feel better about how we look and are more confident as a result. Bridgette Raes shows us five formulas for casual ensembles that are easy to put together and comfortable yet also look stylish and polished.
  • Yes, You Deserve a Good Fitting Bra (and Underwear)!” – You may have heard the oft-quoted statistic that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. That’s unfortunate, as a good-fitting bra can make a big difference in helping us to look our best – and underwear that don’t bunch, bind, or ride up are important, too.  This style guide from Wink ‘n Pout tells us all we need to know about the various types of bras and underwear and how to get the best fit.   One caveat… the section on determining your bra size is not very accurate in my opinion.  I like this bra size calculator much better.
  • Wardrobe Emergency: Nothing Ever Suits Me!” – If you ever feel like nothing you put on looks quite right or that your outfits just don’t work, this post from Into Mind can help you understand why.  Two root causes of the “nothing ever suits me” phenomenon are outlined, as well as fixes for each.  Neither is a “quick fix,” but they can get you onto the right track toward solving your wardrobe emergency and feeling better about your style.

On Other Topics

  • Embrace the Body You Have Today” – I have long struggled with body image issues, so this post from Inside Out Style was one I really needed to read. We only get one body and it doesn’t serve us to wish we had a different one.   What does help us is to take care of our bodies, love them for what they are, and dress them in flattering ways.   Included on the page are an excellent 5-minute video and a few action steps you can take to help improve your body image, self-confidence, and personal style.
  • A Gentle Warrior’s Manifesto to End Busyness” – Busyness is a very common phenomenon in today’s fast-paced world, but living at a frantic pace can be detrimental to our health and well-being. This post from Be More with Less lists ten “non-negotiables” that can help us to slow down and enjoy our lives more fully. I love all of the tips, but my favorites are numbers 1, 2, 3, 8, and 10.
  • On the Day I Die” – This poignant and moving post from John Pavlovitz was recently shared on Facebook and I knew I needed to include it in this month’s “useful links” round-up. It’s one of those essays that makes you think deeply and may even make you cry and it’s well worth reading.  What we think is of the utmost importance today won’t matter much on the day we die, and many of those things can keep us from truly living while we are alive.  Don’t let your life be stolen every day by all that you believe matters, because on the day you die, much of it simply won’t.

From the Archives

Each month, I share a few early “Recovering Shopaholic” posts that I think you might enjoy reading (you can see all of my posts on the Archives page).  The articles below were published in either March 2013 or March 2014. It was fun to revisit these posts today and I hope you enjoy them, too. If you resonate with what I have written, I’d love to get your thoughts.   I wish I could leave comments open on old posts, but due to spam issues I have to close things out after two weeks. Please feel free to share your views about the archived articles in the comments section of this post instead.

  • The Enemy of the Best is the Good” – This post is based upon a quote from the late, great Stephen Covey. Sometimes when we try to force ourselves to wear everything in our closets, we end up neglecting our favorites in favor of wardrobe “benchwarmers.”  In this essay from March 2014, I offer some advice for smarter closet purging and shopping.  If you’re new to the blog, you may also want to check out my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI) from last year (scroll down to the second half of the post and see all of my LIWI updates HERE).
  • 10 Signs That You’re a Recovering Shopaholic” – A year into writing my blog, I noticed that the way I was shopping had changed considerably. I no longer felt the same “pull” or exhilaration that used to dominate my shopping experiences.  So I asked myself, “What’s different from the way I used to shop?”  This post represents my answers to that question.  Although I have had some ups and downs since that time, the ten signs I came up with that day still hold true for me today and I continue to make progress (read more about my recovery journey in this recent update).
  • What is Your Ideal Wardrobe Size?” – I don’t believe there is an optimum wardrobe size that applies to all people. As with our clothing budgets, wardrobe size is a very individual thing. What may seem like a huge wardrobe to one person may be perfect for another.   This post can help you determine what wardrobe size works best for you by looking at desired frequency of wear, as well as some other key factors to take into consideration.   Looking at my personal calculations two years later, I see that my current wardrobe size is close to what I considered ideal back in March 2014.  However, my wardrobe composition still needs some work (I have far too many tops!).

Conclusion        

I hope you enjoyed this installment of useful links.  Feel free to comment on any of the topics from this post and/or share links to articles that you’ve enjoyed recently.  If you have questions for me or suggestions for future posts, please share them in the comments section or contact me directly via email or social media.

6 thoughts on “March 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

  1. I really love that Bridget Raes article. Also, the old post “The Enemy of the Best is Good” was one I must have overlooked in the past. Thanks for reposting that one.

    Thanks for posting these links posts!

    • I’m glad you liked those articles, Jane, and enjoy these links posts in general. I read a lot of blog articles, so I like to curate the best ones to share with readers (and I even go back and look at some of the links myself, too).

  2. Great articles, very eye-opening. For example, I had no idea what other people spend on clothes. My budget is apparently below average at 2% of take home but it is really all I can afford. So I have to be extra particular about my choices. I did pause on the article on wardrobe priorities. I agree that hair comes first, so much so I don’t consider it part of my wardrobe. I suppose it is part of appearance maintenance like clothing, but so is my gym membership and the trip to the dermatologist to get that mole removed… The discussion on priorities made me ponder how I rank expenditures and why.

    • I never consider hair part of my wardrobe, either, Misty, but I have heard it referred to as “our most important accessory” before. I guess it is an accessory, as it can really change our looks considerably. I agree that those other things you mentioned are part of our appearance maintenance, too. I don’t include the cost for such things in my clothing budget, though. I found the priorities discussion thought-provoking, too.

  3. Hi Debbie. Thanks so much for the links. I hesitated to click on the ‘on the day I die’ due to my personal circumstances (as you’re aware) but I’m glad I did. It was beautiful. It’s a pity it needs a wake up call to make you live your best life. I’m very aware of how precious our time is & my husband & I now live an amazing life filled with more loving kindness than I would believe possible.

    • I’m glad you clicked on that link, Sharon, and found it beautiful. I loved it so much that I had to share. I agree that it’s sad that it often takes a “wake-up call” for us to live our best lives. Many people take health and loved ones for granted, but neither will always be there. It’s a delicate balance not to obsess about what could go wrong but instead to simply be appreciative of our blessings. It’s something I find that I have to continue to work on every day. I’m happy you and your husband are living a kind and loving life now and are cherishing your time together. I hope it will be longer than you think.

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