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February 21, 2011 / Danielle

Week Five: A Summary

This week’s been an interesting diversion, as I’ve become both more and less interested in shopping.

I’m really starting to feel the burn of the ban, it’s true. I want new things. The little whiny voice says “I’m bored with what I have, I’m tired of being creative and re-discovering, I want a pretty shiny new little dress now ,s’il-vous plait.” (My whiny voice is both a little childish and a little continental.)

But I haven’t succumbed, as much as I’d like to. (As much as anthropologie’s Glanz dress is It’s so pretty. And now that I’m dressing myself more practically, or rather, seeing what my lifestyle really leads me to wear, I know it would fit the description.) (I believe the term is “balls.”)

I knew I was a shopper because of boredom, habit, and the ability to control my creativity; I didn’t realize I was also a shopper because (duh?) I just really like new things.

It’s as if there’s a little voice in my head that realizes how long it’s been since I bought something (37 days!) and is going “Well, surely you can now, surely THAT’s fine, right? What? No? . . . I’m sorry, what?” (This little voice is sort of British and polite but a bit shocked.)

On the flip side of the coin, though; I’m starting to really see what I wear, and what I use, and figure out what’s practical. I spent this afternoon cleaning my room, which meant dismantling the clothing mountains (there were three) that had gradually accumulated over the course of getting creatively dressed these past few weeks. As I put away piece after piece, I paid attention to what I was working with, and here’s what I’m coming across.

– I like patterned, colorful, textured or architectural skirts.
– I like simply-washed and simply-cut denim.
– I wear the same basic layering t-shirts often. (the long-sleeved white T is the BEST).
– For all I have a huge contingent of tights, I so frequently find myself washing out the neutrals: navy, brown, gray, and cream. (Those patterns tights are gorgeous, though, I’m keepin’ em for wearing four times a year and it’s worth it.)
– I like cozy, generous sweaters and cardigans (big and mostly unadorned).
– And yes, in the month that brought us Snowpocalypse, I wear the crap out of my Hunter boots.

What’s getting exciting now, from all this establishment, is that I’m starting to see more clearly what is actually going to be useful to me going forward. I’m going to be able to have a clearer definition (let’s hope it’ll only grow) of what I actually wear – which should make A Return To Shopping* easier, realistic, and simpler. It won’t be about grabbing the deals, or “oh this is just too pretty come on”, or even “who would I be in this dress”. I’m already who I am. I’ve already arrived. Let’s be pickier and find things that express who I already am.

( . . . . Like the Glanz dress? Hush, redhead.)

In any case – during today’s tidy, a full six pieces of clothing wound up on the “donate-sell-give-away” pile. (That makes the grand total ten). Cause you know what? I’m never gonna wear them. They’re never going to make the cut. They were lovely things to have at the time, most of them have seen a couple of go-rounds (and none of them cost much), but at the end of the day? I’m not that person any more. I don’t need them. They’re just making it harder to see the useful things that are already there.

And again – let’s be clear – I have so much to work with still. My friend Andy (hey Andy!) asked me last night (he follows the blog like a good gentleman) exactly what percentage of my closet we’ve already seen? And the answer to that question, my friends, is probably 20%.

………yes, well.

That’s why I started this project.

In any case.

Five weeks down, forty-seven to go, and this upcoming week should bring some fantastic twists and turns – as you’ll see.

But it’s fascinating to me to see how my relationship with my little addiction is changing, and developing. I’ll admit – I’m still proud of myself for coming this far. Turns out, it’s been less scary than I thought. (And as always – I had so much more than I realized, once I took the time to look around and see it.)

*on a much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much smaller scale than before.



Leave a Comment
  1. Rachel / Feb 22 2011 6:24 pm

    Good for you for coming this far. It sounds like you’re reaping all sorts of benefits from the process of abstaining from shopping and buying more clothing and accessories. I’m wondering though why torture yourself by looking at the Anthro website? Wouldn’t it make things easier to stop looking at it? I recently let my subscription to Lucky magazine lapse because reading it just made me want to buy things I didn’t need. The Anthro website is designed to tempt you and to compel you to whip out your credit card. Why let yourself be tempted? I think it would be helpful if you tried to distance yourself from online shopping. Just my two cents.

    • Danielle / Feb 22 2011 11:02 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      You make an excellent (and worthwhile) point. I came across the dress through reading some of my favorite fashion blogs (because I’ve gotten pretty attached to some of them, like you do) – and it’s true, it’s tempting me greatly! But I’m with you completely on cancelling magazines, etc – I’ve basically started throwing out catalogues (Victoria’s Secret, Anthro, J. Crew, etc) before they even reach my front door just for that reason!
      I bravely deleted my anthro wishlist from the website before I started this project 🙂 – and like you suggest, I’ve pretty much quite browsing the websites in general, though I will go from time to time to get ideas for current silhouettes (long skirts, chambry shirts, etc) that I’m going to try to recreate from what I have.
      Have you found you feel different since cancelling your magazine subscription? One of the things I’m weighing right now is I think it is possible to look current and trendy while still working with what’s in my closet (I’ve actually been working on a post about it), but that does require taking my head out of the sand to look around at what’s happening now. Has this been a problem for you at all?
      In any case, thanks a lot for your input! 🙂

  2. Rachel / Feb 24 2011 5:39 pm

    The main reason I let my Lucky subscription lapse is because I wasn’t throwing out the magazines when I was done with them so they were cluttering up my house. I’m trying to shop more strategically so that was another reason to let it lapse.

    I work in Manhattan and and read the New York Times, which has extensive fashion coverage, so I keep up with fashion trends that way. I also like to look at fashion magazines at the library — that way they don’t clutter up my house. Of course I go shopping too.

    I really admire your dedication to your goal, by the way. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s inspiring.

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