This is the face of a woman who has purchased nary a shirt, dress, shoe or earring for nine and a half months. For those of you just tuning in: one of my resolutions for 2017 was to abstain from shopping for one whole year, and two-thirds of the way in I’m still going strong. Well…strong-ish.
Some of you may not know that I spend my days as a copywriter for Nordstrom.com, which means that I’m literally researching and writing about pretty clothes and accessories all day, every day. The temptation is very real. Additionally, it’s been hard to see all my favorite bloggers and style icons adopting the newest trends, knowing that normally I would be right there with them, crazy ’50s cat-eye sunglasses firmly in hand.
I’ve had to virtually give up one of my favorite pastimes—online window shopping—because there’s something about seeing a sale banner on the Zara site that causes a very real rush of serotonin and adrenaline that is damn hard to ignore. So I just don’t look. Of course, I still poke around on my favorite sites from time to time, in order to keep abreast of the current trends and to make pretty round-ups for you all. But I would say I now spend about 10% the amount of time looking at e-commerce sites as I used to. And I’m not mad about that.
Another positive outcome has been how much better acquainted I’ve become with my closet. Before this year started, I probably had ten pieces that I purchased and had never even worn, because by the time I ordered them and got them in the mail, I’d already moved on to the next best thing in my head and just sort of forgot to wear them. That’s definitely changed. I’m now acutely aware of everything I have—and don’t have—in my closet. And I’ve made an effort to wear it all. Because now I don’t have the benefit of always having exciting new pieces to wear, I’ve developed a better understanding of the pieces I reach for over and over again. I think this will help me be a more intentional shopper in the future.
For example, there was a while there when I was buying pants left and right. Army green culottes, floral-print high-waisted slacks, boyfriend jeans—you name it. And guess I how often I reach for these styles? Hardly ever. But that pleated silk midi skirt I bought on a whim? I think about wearing it once a week. This tells me that I feel infinitely more confident in skirts (a fact I used to know and seem to have forgotten) and so should avoid buying any new pants unless they are absolutely, life-changingly wonderful in some way. And I should stock up on similar skirts because I know I feel good in them and will wear them often!
That brings me to the next point: according to the rules I set for myself at the beginning of the year, I’ve allowed myself a couple of small exceptions so I don’t go crazy and just abandon the resolution. Namely, I’m allowed to spend up to $50 at work sample sales when they occur (there’s typically one at least every two months) and I’m still allowed to DIY myself wearable things. These caveats have definitely made a big difference.
I’ve been able to pick up a few fun things at samples sales (like that gingham top above) so I can infuse my closet with newness and keep from getting abysmally sick with everything I own (although I fear I’m nearing that point anyway). It doesn’t have the same feeling as regular shopping because I can’t get the exact things I want—it’s more of a free-for-all situation, and you never know what they’re going to have until you’re in the room—but it’s helped.
And I’ve definitely upped my crafting game! See those necklaces in the photo at the top of the post? After obsessing over a similar pair worn by a favorite blogger of mine, I decided to cannibalize an old charm bracelet and string those coins onto some gold chain I had lying around. It took me about two minutes and cost me nothing. Would I have thought to do that in the past? Probably not. I would have gone out and bought something new and, it turns out, unnecessary.
Also, gifts have been heaven-sent! My mom mailed me the beautiful embroidered shirttdress below a couple of months ago—because she’s the best—and I swear I teared up a little bit when I tried it on. I love it so much, and I love that it feels like such a treat. Recently my friend Krista came to visit and brought me these J.Crew banana earrings as a hostess gift. I had seen them on the J.Crew site and was secretly hoping a crazy hope that someone would buy them for me for Christmas or something, and I guess my brainwaves made it all the way to Krista in Texas. They felt like a fun reward from the universe for resisting the temptation to buy all the banana things that are trending right now, despite the fact that I love a self-referential motif.
So, for all y’all who have been asking for an update on my year of no shopping, there it is. I’m still going strong but definitely looking forward to January 1, 2018, when I will be casually adding a pair of white booties, a pleated black silk midi skirt, some sculptural gold statement earrings and a Glen plaid blazer to my cart. At 12:01 a.m. sharp!