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September 21, 2011 / Danielle

Thoughts

So.

I may have been wading knee-deep through school and adjusting to So-Cal, but at this point I think any anthropologie-fond blogger knows about the situation unfolding with the Anthroholic blog and the Anthroholic Personal Shopping Service.

There’s been so much said about it already, and I honestly debated with myself for quite a while about what, if anything, I could add to the discussion. (Also, I’ve got a giant paper due** . . . . and really shouldn’t be putting it off so irresponsibly . . .) But especially as I’ve been reading everyone else’s blog posts, I’m noticing a trend; this breach of trust has been causing the blogging community to take a good long hard look at what we’ve been up to.

Foremost, I want to make this clear; I love y’all’s blogs. It’s always such a fun little delight to look at everyone else’s style, to pirate ideas, and occasionally to live vicariously through someone’s gorgeous outfit (long since vanished from the rails, or not practical for my own life, or waaaaaaay too expensive for my meagre purse).

I started this project (as I’ve said before) for a bunch of reasons. I so loved all the fashion blogs I followed regularly (and you can visit them all to your right), and wanted to participate in the joy of sharing our creativity and our style. Secondly, I knew that my shopping addiction had begun to spiral way, way, way out of control, and I wasn’t able to find a tool of moderation I knew would work. Thirdly, I wanted to use all of the fantastic pieces I’d collected; to figure out what worked on me, what didn’t, what I liked versus what I wore – to make my wardrobe a working one. And finally, I wanted to see if it was simply possible. This was my dare to myself; I double-triple-dog-dare you to go a year without buying anything else to wear.

I’m about sixteen weeks away from completing the challenge. (I’m still working on what happens next, but I’m hoping not to return to my former habits . . . and am pretty sure I’ll be able to stay somewhat strong.)(My student loans don’t have wiggle room for a Brand New Closet budget, for one.)(But they might squeeze a new pair of yoga pants.)

There’s been a lot of discussion about the sort-of silliness of what we do. And . . . well, yes, let’s be honest with ourselves; it is a frivolous hobby*. But it’s a creative one, and it’s fun, and it creates community. And until recently, it wasn’t harming anyone at all.

When I started reading fashion blogs, I noticed a change in my spending and my shopping. Very simply, I craved more. There’s already been plenty of discussion about how certain pieces become lusted after and start popping up in everyone’s closet (the Peppered-and-Striped skirt from anthropologie last year, for one – it showed up in so many places that I became convinced I wouldn’t be able to show my head as a fashion blogger without it.) (And um. Maybe, possibly, the Verdant slipdress is just sitting in my anthro account wishlist. You know. Cause there’s going to be so many popbacks in January.)

And now that there’s a community-wide conversation going about how to move forward. How do we encourage ourselves to be responsible bloggers and readers? How do we enjoy our love of style and sharing it without strengthening the notion that any one item is a must-have, or that your own closet is completely lacking, or that you have to spend beyond your means (whatever your means may be) in order to be a well-dressed, confident, and happy human being?

(Oh, umm. That last one might just be me, apparently.)

It was important to me, in this experiment, to test my final hypothesis; that one can be a reasonably-stylish, happily-dressed woman without anything except what she already has.

And I know I have sixteen weeks left to go, but I can already say this. All of the fashion bloggers I’ve loved, I’ve loved most when I watched their creativity; when I saw old pieces re-emerge, to be blended with new, or outfits that drew on different mixes of color and shape to change stuff we’d already seen into a brand-new ensemble.

Let’s not let this circumstance ruin our fun. Let’s move forward. Let’s keep enjoying our creative hobby, our community, the beautifully written and expressive words by some very well-dressed and well-spoken women, and remind ourselves to be responsible to the reading public . . . but first, responsible to ourselves.

*So is fly-fishing, or World of Warcraft, or wine-tasting or collecting spoons.

** And yet, I’ve been snapping some pictures; some grad-school outfits on the way if I ever finish this paper . . . .

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5 Comments

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  1. Rachel / Sep 21 2011 5:18 pm

    I have been enjoying your blog. I am really trying to not buy anything new until after Christmas. Unfortunately, I have been desperately wanting one of those pretty accordion pleated skirts that I keep seeing everywhere. I found the perfect one at Kohl’s for a very reasonable price–$35 (compared to anthropologie). I really want to stick to my ban, but I am so afraid this skirt will sell out. Do you have any hints how I can resist?

    • Danielle / Sep 23 2011 1:34 am

      Hi Rachel! Good luck with your time off shopping. I have lots of different coping strategies that I used especially in the beginning, and they totally vary, but here are some thoughts to start. I don’t know if Kohl’s has a wishlist type function, but I’ve found that anthropologie one, for example, is really good when it comes to my cravings; I know that when the time comes (when the shopping ban’s through) I’ll have all the information I need to begin a hunt for anything I want – if I still really, really want it. I also find that nurturing yourself through the choice to say no is really helpful; to take a breath, remind yourself why you’re doing this (for me, sometimes it’s enough to just say “hey, I don’t want to fail the people I made a promise to, and that includes myself”, but sometimes it’s about “I want to be the kind of person who has control over this thing” or “I will respect myself more if I say no to myself right now”.) Sometimes I’m misdiagnosing my needs; what I actually want is a sense of control, or more sleep, or more alone time, and I try really hard to turn over the craving to see if something else is underneath, and then work towards giving myself that. And sometimes, it does just really help to back away from it and see if you can get a sense of perspective; it is just a skirt, you’re totally going to survive, etc etc etc :-). And to think about how many times, genuinely, realistically you would wear it, and if you can get just as much fresh wear out of something you already own, and if you would actually want to wear it after the trend has passed (that’s a big one for me) . . . . all good questions to ask yourself, and hopefully really think over rather than having a knee-jerk “yes yes yes that’s why I NEED it” response.
      Does any of that sound helpful? Again, this is just the sort of stuff I tell myself in moments of weakness! 🙂

  2. jesspgh / Sep 21 2011 5:20 pm

    Wise words for sure. I definitely continue to admire your restraint and I also think that if all of use, Kim included, had the ability to be as reflective and thoughtful as you, this kind of thing would have been a lot less possible.

    • Danielle / Sep 23 2011 1:35 am

      Thanks so much, Jess. This has been a strange week for everyone, it seems!

  3. ali / Sep 23 2011 1:51 am

    What a turn of events with the Anthroholic site…. We forget sometimes that the very means that connects us can also make us accountable for our actions. In some cases, this is a good thing. In others — with the quickfire response of twitter and other social media — it can really be detrimental. I’m still catching up on all the details… I remember reading about Kim’s website a year or two ago and thinking how it was kind of like pipedream of a job; that while I admired her effort, I would never want the responsibility she had to manage to carryout her objectives.

    I am not taking over your blog with this, though!

    Glad to see you’re still alive and kicking and that all is well. 🙂

    PS: just started working at Anthro, so let me know if there’s anything you want me to stalk for your year-end celebration! (Or, you know. Are just curious about.)

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