July 2016 “Grab Bag” of Useful Links

Thank you so much to all who commented on my last two posts, the fishing harbor photography interlude and my 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale experience. I normally like to respond to all comments, but I was away for five days and am still catching up on things after returning home as well as dealing with some ongoing personal issues. Please know that I read and appreciate all comments and learn a great deal from the wonderful insights you share, as do your fellow readers.  I plan to do a travel packing debrief (like this one) next week, as I know those types of posts are popular and well-received.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be a packing minimalist (see a post from one of those below…), but I continue to improve in terms of actually using most of what I take along with me on trips, so that’s a positive thing.

It’s almost the end of July, so it’s time for the latest installment of useful links (see previous editions here).  Included below are links to articles I hope 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). 

Overlooking the beach in Del Mar, California

Overlooking the beach in Del Mar, California.

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

As in all of my useful links posts, 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.   I haven’t been posting much there recently (it’s not so convenient since I take most of my photos with my camera rather than my phone), but I have a decent archive in that location if you’d like to look at my previous images.

As a reminder, you can always come 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

  • A Crash Course in Clothing Quality” – My shopping experience at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale last week further cemented my view that the quality of retail merchandise is declining. Things just aren’t made the way they used to be, so it’s more important than ever that we know how to best evaluate clothing quality.  This quick checklist from A Different Fashion can help to make this process easier, as it highlights the three categories to pay attention to when shopping for clothes.  After reading the article, you can download a cheat sheet to refer to as you shop to make sure you’ve considered the key elements for the garments you’re thinking of buying.
  • Why Shopping is a Bad Hobby (and What to Do Instead)” – For many years, shopping was my only hobby, as I wrote about last year.  When working to cultivate new interests and pastimes, understanding what type of shopper you are can help guide you in the right direction.  This article from Into Mind points out five different shopping types and suggests some alternative ways of relaxing and unwinding.   I identify the most with shopping type 3, how about you?
  • Marie Kondo’s 10-Step Guide to Making Smarter Shopping Choices” – When we think of Marie Kondo, we generally picture getting rid of our stuff, but she also has some great advice when it comes to new In this Who What Wear article, Kondo shares her best tips on mindful shopping.  Some of what she has to say may run counter to the way you shop now, so I’d love to get your thoughts on where you agree or disagree!

On Wardrobe Management

  • On the Road Again: Stress-Free Vacation Packing” – Terra Trevor has written several excellent guest posts for this blog, including sharing her insights on Project 333 and the clothes we wear at home.  Terra is not only a minimalist in terms of the size of her wardrobe, she also packs   In this recent essay on her personal blog, Earth and the Great Sea, she tells us how picking a “wardrobe narrative” can make packing a lot easier and facilitate your taking along the things you most need for your trip.
  • Not Quite Perfect? Here’s What it Costs to Tailor Your Clothes” – I’ve written several posts on the topic of alterations, including my tailoring successes and failures. Despite my less than perfect history, I remain a big believer in the power of alterations to make our clothes – and our bodies – look their best. But how much does it cost to do some of the most common types of nips and tucks to our clothes?  This article on About Style sheds some light on this subject and also offers a list of “deal-breakers” for when you should just say no.
  • How Fast Fashion Destroyed the Capsule Wardrobe, and What You Can Do to Reclaim It” – Capsule wardrobes have been really “hot” the past few years and many bloggers have jumped on board the capsule train. Unfortunately, however, some people seem to be using this concept as an excuse to continue buying more and more new pieces for their seasonal capsules.  As Eco Warrior Princess expresses, this goes against the original intention of being a more sustainable way of consuming fashion.  She shares her thoughts and suggestions for reclaiming the capsule wardrobe as a way to curb our consumerist urges and better appreciate and care for the clothing we have.

On Style

  • Why You Should Analyze Your Outfit(video) – I have been keeping an outfit journal for the past two years and it has been one of the most important factors in evolving my personal style. Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style agrees that taking some time to analyze our outfits can yield great benefits. In this short video, she tells why and highlights the elements you might want to consider at the end of each day.
  • Quick Tip: The Not-My-Style List” – Defining our personal style can be a tricky pursuit and it’s often hard to know where to start.  As with other facets of our lives, it may be easier to look at what we don’t want than it is to consider our style desires.  Into Mind suggests that we grab a pen and paper (or our phones) and jot down everything we don’t like related to clothing and fashion. After doing so, you can then come up with alternatives that feel more favorable to you.  Reader Barb used style and “anti-style” words as part of her recent style evolution which she shared in a guest post earlier this year.  Her story and transformation are very inspiring!
  • Are You Over or Underdressed? A Simple System to Give You Answers!” – Do you struggle with feeling either too dressed up or too casual for the events in your life?  Feeling overdressed or “churchy” has been a big problem for me and something I’ve been working to overcome during the past few years.  The more analytical and methodical types among you might want to use this point system from 40+ Style to gauge whether or not you should add pieces or take things away from your ensembles before you leave the house.  Three outfit examples are included to help illustrate the concept. If you try it, I’d love to get your input on how it worked for you!

On Other Topics

  • You’re Allowed to Leave” – A friend shared this article from Thought Catalog earlier today. It really resonated with me and I thought it would be good to include in this month’s links round-up. When we feel stuck in our lives, it’s often because we believe we don’t have choices when in fact we actually do.  While it’s not reasonable to leave everything behind, we generally can move on in more areas of our lives than we think.   I found it helpful to read that I’m allowed to leave any story I don’t find myself in – or love myself in.  Change can be a good thing and the only one who can get us unstuck is ourselves.
  • How to Get a Bikini Body” – I’m sure you’ve all seen the quote about how the way to get a bikini body is to put on a bikini and go to the beach or pool. This inspiring post from Grechen’s Closet expands upon that and encourages us to not only put swimsuits on our less than perfect bodies but to also wear what we like even if it doesn’t conform to current trends or figure flattery guidelines.  As someone who has long struggled with negative body image and worrying about what other people think, I take my hat off to Grechen and applaud her positive attitude and ability to break free from societal constraints.  Enjoy the sun and the water, Grechen, and keep being your fabulous self!
  • Are You Living Intentionally? – My word for 2015 was “deliberate” and it’s something I’m continuing to work on this year as well. It’s important to me that I live purposefully rather than have life just happen to me.  This article from interior designer Baiyina Hughley presents some clear guidelines to help us live more intentional lives.  It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite, as they all resonate deeply with me, but I think the tips on not comparing ourselves to others and giving up on perfection are what I need to focus on the most. How about you?

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 past posts on the Archives page).  The articles below were published in July 2013, 2014, or 2015. 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 all of my old posts, but I have to close things out after two weeks due to spam issues. Please feel free to share your views about the archived articles in the comments section of this post instead.

  • My Top 8 Lessons from Project 333– I took on minimalist fashion challenge for the first time in 2013. I was terrified to dress with only 33 items for 3 months, but I’m glad I opted to take the plunge.  In this post, I recount the most important lessons I learned during that timeframe.  If you want to pare down your wardrobe, hone your style, and learn to be happier with what you have, I highly recommend Project 333.  Check out the website or take the “Dress with Less” microcourse to learn more.  I just may opt to do the challenge again myself after re-reading my thoughts on the tremendous benefits!
  • How Journaling Can Improve Your Style– As I mentioned above, my outfit journal has played an important role in evolving my style. This July 2014 post was written just two weeks into my keeping this journal.  I highlight why journaling is helpful, what to include in your journal, why rating your outfits is a good thing to do, and what I learned during the infancy of this practice.  I continue to maintain an outfit journal today and will do so as long as I find it beneficial.  I invite you to check out my “Lessons from My Outfit Journal” series if you’d like to learn more.
  • Closet Downsizing and Wardrobe Minimalism Tips from Readers– Last July, I wrote a post to answer a reader’s email requesting closet culling advice for aspiring minimalists. Other readers shared so many great tips in the comments section that I decided to publish them as a follow-on post. There is a wealth of knowledge in this collection of feedback and it’s one to come back to again and again for words of wisdom!   Be sure to read the comments as well for even more wonderful suggestions on paring down your wardrobe.

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.

Have a wonderful weekend!  I’ll be back next week with the travel debrief post I mentioned above, as well as an update on my goals for 2016 (wardrobe | life).   I’d hoped to do another “lead up to 50” post (see my first two HERE and HERE), but the big day is very fast approaching (just 10 days now!), so it will more likely be an “ushing in the 50’s” essay at this point.  I did some journaling on my plane ride home earlier this week on what I want to change in my life in the coming era, so I have a lot to say on the topic. I know that it’s really only a number, but moving into a new decade does tend to give one pause.  If you have any advice for me on positively transitioning into my 50’s, please share away.  I know that many of you have crossed that threshold and have helpful insights that may smooth the path for me and others who are facing milestone birthdays.