I actually can’t believe how fast my first 6 months of “1 year of no shopping” has flown by. It actually hasn’t been that bad. I have purchased a few things as you well know that I have a float, and anything I earn on trademe can be used to buy something else. I am really liking this system. It doesn’t feel too restrictive – as in, it doesn’t induce panic by cutting something off cold turkey. Because I have the float, I could buy something if I really wanted to. But I choose not to.
Also, I have some reflections on the crazy “ohmigod I’m going on a 1 year shopping ban I need to stock up and pre-buy stuff”. Yeah, that was a bit of a mistake. Not everything, but a few things. Mostly the sandals. Why do I always think I need so many summer sandals? For godsake, this is Dunedin New Zealand, not Dunedin Florida.
I am enjoying transitioning away from a pretty heavily “twee” look to something more casual, more neutral, possibly more “American” and hopefully a bit more grown-up. I find I’ve been wearing my jeans more often lately… blue jeans are something I associate strongly with American fashion. Obviously kiwis wear jeans too, but jeans are a cornerstone of American fashion, and most of the major jean brands (even here in NZ) are American.
Dunedin style is very casual, and I’ve said before that where you live can heavily influence your style. This is very much the case here – there is a very specific Dunedin look. And yes, we’re casual but thank god we’re not rural MN casual (jeans and hoodies and sneakers, oh how my past haunts me).
Although I’m trying to dress more in neutrals and less in bright colours/prints/twee/modcloth, I don’t want to copy anyone else’s style. I really want to put my own stamp on neutrals/basics/mix-n-match – I don’t want to lose my personality. I think my take will be neutrals/basics and fabulous statement shoes. Why not? I’ve always loved shoes, they’re my real penchant. I couldn’t give a snit about handbags… I actually have what can only be considered a serious handbag deficit. But shoes…. Oh the shoes. So while my outfit may be toned down, my shoes can still be epic. This will allow ease of mixing and matching – and any neutral outfit will be easily matched with nearly any colour of shoe (within reason, of course).
Plus, if I’m dying for prints and patterns – muted patterns are still acceptable. AND printed dresses can continue to be an outlet for obnoxious bright statement pieces (at least for the time being. I have a lot of fabric to use up).
Also, I’ve quite a bit more considerate of my shopping habits. I’m planning what items I’m going to buy in advance. Thinking about what I might need. Versus “theres a sale I’ll just have a look – what do you mean I don’t need anymore dresses or tops – but they’re on sale! I’m saving money by spending!” Not only am I planning the items, but also the budget. Before I head out, I decide that I’m willing to spend x amount of dollars on x. If I find something that fits this criteria, I will make a purchase. I like this more thoughtful consumer behaviour. I like feeling more in control of my shopping habits, instead of feeling like my shopping habits were controlling me.
Not to mention – almost zero guilt! (Ok, a tiny bit of guilt because I actually can still buy things and I’ve sold a lot on trademe since this project started. So like I said – it really hasn’t felt like I can’t buy anything. I get asked about my year of no shopping and well, it hasn’t been so bad! Especially because there is still a tiny bit of shopping now and again). Well at least, much less post-purchase regret. I have bought a couple things so far that were mistakes, but this was bound to happen – I am still learning. I’m hoping that by the end of the year, this won’t happen at all anymore because purchases will be considered far in advance.
For example, as I write this, I know that I really want a 2nd Witchery waterfall cardigan to see me through the winter. I picked one up in black at the end of the season in 2013 and have been wearing it heaps lately. They had an “oatmeal” coloured one on sale for $99 then another 20% off that online. Then it disappeared from their website. I was gutted, but that is what happens when sale goes on sale. Well, I popped into Witchery the other day to look at their clutches and lo and behold, they still had the cardigan I wanted, in my size, on sale + 20% off. Yep, snatched that one up right away as I know it will be a solid investment piece that will see me through not only this winter, but winters to come!
The real question is what next? After my year of no buying, I don’t want to go on another big binge. I want to keep a lid on it. So do I put myself on a budget? If so, what’s reasonable? Or do I try to subscribe to the French Theory (only 5 pieces a season)? I feel like a budget will be easier and more flexible, but could potentially lead to a wardrobe explosion (e.g. the number of pieces in my wardrobe could increase hugely as I tend to pick up cheap things) – I really want to have a smaller, more manageable, functional wardrobe – even now I still feel like it’s too big, and that I have a lot of pieces that I don’t wear often enough. I’d like for the budget also to include cosmetics and nail polish, as it’s been far too easy for me to switch and buy cosmetics instead of clothing.
What do you think? Do you stick to a strict budget? Or do you limit the number of pieces you purchase each season? Of do you just try to be sensible?