Thursday, January 06, 2011

How 8 Weeks of Shopping Celibacy Lead to Downsizing My Closet & New Shopping Rules

Since late October, I've been on an 8-week clothing & shoe shopping ban in exchange for Alex's 8-month book shopping ban. I know it doesn't seem fair but we agreed she has to read the books she has now and I have to update my closet for the Spring. After a quick splurge, I go back to 8 weeks until her 8 months are up. Yes, I know, she loves me.

Unable to enjoy my retail therapy to it's fullest has given me time to think about my shopping habits and my overflowing closet - and how my shopping habits have contributed to my overflowing closet.

I'm going to start by blaming my mother. My sisters and I realized last month that she has a hoarding problem with clothing.
Right before Christmas, we took down four trash bags of clothes from the attic. My dad said we'd be making a Good Will run before New Years so start sorting. That's when the questions started: "What's wrong with that sweater?" "Are you sure that doesn't fit?" "What if you lose a little weight this year?" "Do you know how much I paid for that?"

I found clothing from high school I thought we had donated years ago, and no, Mom, it doesn't fit and I won't wear it. We managed to take a few bags of stuff but my mom would not part with ANY of her clothes - no matter how old they were. My dad built her an extra hall closet with two levels.

But she has excuse: she was poor in Mexico and learned to hold on to everything, reuse things year after year. Now that she has a good job with a steady flow of money, she's also hit the other extreme and become an impulse buyer. I just picked up her habits which resulted in more clothing than I wanted to bring with me when I moved in with Alex.

That day I saw my mom holding on, I decided to let go. I've been trying to lose weight for a while now with not much success. I had bought clothing to "inspire" me down two sizes. Forget it - if it didn't fit, bye-bye! As I've gotten older, I worn less and less t-shirts so I threw out all the ones I hadn't worn in the past 6 months. I also parted with the shirts my mom has bought me over the years. It the shirts she wants to see me wear and she's guilted me into wearing them on occasion but they're not my style.

Now my wardrobe only takes up about 60% of my closet (my mom is slowly filling up the other 40%) and I can fit my girlfriend in our (soon to be) new closet. The only issue is that I don't become my mother. Local Dallas fashion magazine La Mode featured a few tips on shopping in their holiday issue (how appropriate) and a few of them really struck home.

If you buy a single piece, make sure you have at least three other pieces in your closet you can pair with your new purchase to complete the outfit. And jeans don't count because then you end up with more t-shirt than you know what to do.

Don't buy something just because it's on sale - ask yourself if you'd buy it even if it wasn't on sale. I'm completely guilty of this. If it's cute and half-off, I don't even wonder if it goes with anything.

Shop with someone who will look at you from every angle and give you honest feedback. CONFESSION: I tend to be a more impulsive shopper when Alex isn't with me.

Shop at stores that carry lines that fit your body style and price points within your budget. Just browsing for style inspiration is OK if you have your honest shopping buddy.

The best tip is the author's personal motto: When in doubt, leave it out. So if it looks funny at the waist, feels too tight on one arm or one foot, if it costs more than my iPhone bill, it won't be part of my quick splurge before I undertake another 8 weeks of shopping celibacy.

Pics via Girls Game Zone, Good Girls Gone Shopping, & Super Coupon Lady.


Anonymous said...

i've done the same thing two months ago. my mom is the same - she keeps everything, I really don't know why cause she always wears the same clothes. my closet looks so better now. my biggest problem is matching together - i just don't have enough tops to match all the skirts. but i'm on a budget and i have no idea when i will be able to afford new clothes. :/
nice blog!

Style Geek said...

@Masha - Thanks! And I know what it feels like to budget shop. My first purchase off the shopping ban was a pair of slacks I NEEDED for a job interview and after that I shouldn't shop until I find another job :-(