Unlike most style accounts on Instagram, my posts are never links to buy what I’m wearing. Why?
Honestly I don’t buy clothes very often! Most of what I’m wearing isn’t new, available for purchase this week. That’s primarily due to busyness. And when I have downtime, shopping makes me tired more often than excited. And yes, I’m a professional style expert who believes in the incomparable power of what we wear!
In 2018 I said I wasn’t going to shop for three months and it became almost five. The impetus was two-fold. To save money, just as a wise exercise now and then, a parameter so I wasn’t tempted to mindlessly online shop when bored.
And also because I experience and thus teach the diminishing return of new clothing. I get really excited when I buy it. Wear the heck out of it. Then it becomes ordinary and I want to buy more. We all do this. With people we date, redecorating our home, clothes. It’s a maturity muscle to be grateful for and satisfied with what we have in an always new, always more, consumer culture.
So I decided to give myself a season without that dopamine hit. I had all the sweaters, pants and boots I needed to get me through the winter without feeling annoyed at this no-shopping. I didn’t have any gaps in my wardrobe (because I know how to find and fill those as I teach my students).
Then I got engaged, started planning a wedding, and a couple more months flew by. As I prepared to head to Europe for a month I knew I’d shop there as I always enjoy it much more amidst the leisure of traveling, so I didn’t scramble for new things to pack (but instead left room in my suitcase).
In an entire month of being away I only shopped a couple days, but the new clothes are bringing me joy! I was feeling very bored in my summer wardrobe.
STEP ONE: WHICH CHOICE FEELS BETTER FOR YOU?
Perhaps for the next three months you don’t shop, have all you need for the season ahead, a little break would help you quiet the voice always thinking about what else you wish you had?
Or perhaps you’re feeling bored, not beautiful when you look in your closet, and need to ask your husband to watch the kids for an afternoon so you can go reconnect with that feminine side that makes you feel amazing and free?
There’s power in what we do and what we don’t do. Even a stylist has a time to stop shopping, and a time when she needs a few new dresses to make her feel beautiful for the season to come.
STEP TWO: HOW DO YOU SHOP FOR JOY?
Not everything I purchased during that month of travel has brought me the same amount of joy. So when it is time to invest the time, money and energy in bringing new inspiration into your wardrobe, here’s five things I’d encourage you to consider and insert your own lifestyle to find how it applies to you:
ONE: The things you use the most are the best investment. I live in dresses all summer. Wear nothing else. So the light, easy, everyday dresses I bought (like this one) have absolutely brought me the most joy. That means they need to be a breathable fabric (y’all it’s 90 in NYC) and not too fancy for the no-makeup and flats that I’m pretty much in Monday-Saturday.
TWO: Very practical accessories are a close second. I bought a pair of black and white slides that have become one of my top 3 go-to daily slip ons/sandals. They go with lots of things and are comfortable. I also bought a tan purse, knowing it would go with everything, replaced an older one and was the right size for my non-computer day needs.
THREE: The special piece you actually can wear in the next month. I found a vintage black and white silk polka dot pencil skirt that I am still dying over. I haven’t worn her yet outside of a photo shoot, but I confess our date nights right now are atypical. More on that in another post but they’re either wedmin or deep pre-marriage discussions, so we’re not really doing cool crowded bars/restaurants where I’d rock this. However, the fact I can totally see it with a tee knotted at the waist and flat sandals, makes it actually practical for my life. Ditto to a floral vintage dress that I already wore to church.
FOUR: What gets less wear for me are heels. They are so sexy and beautiful! But I live in a walking city and even on Sundays I’m reticent to wear them to church because I walk quite a bit to get there, brunch, etc. I bought two pairs I’m still in love with, but confess I haven’t worn often and am not sure I will. I don’t regret it because I have such little time to shop that I take advantage while traveling, but within a budget they could be skipped.
FIVE: The wow dress you have no idea when you would actually wear. I found this black + white vintage Givenchy (see my pinned Paris Stories on Instagram) that I swooned for. I still love her, but she’s too warm for summer, too fancy for church, so I know she won’t get nearly as much love as this red summer dress 1/4th her price that I’m living in these days.
[ dress: Leon & Harper, bag: & Other Stories, sunglasses: Anthropologie, sandals: boutique, photographer: Michaela Efford, London ]
Savvy style school lesson for the day, complete, m’dear.
More joy, less overwhelm; less spending, more simplicity.