Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Couldn't Stay Away from Blogging - but Switching Sites

If any of you are still following this blog, I am now switching blogs to account for the fact that I am now a "Recovering Shopaholic."  So, please follow me in my new journey!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

I DID IT! It's like Christmas Morning!

Busting out the cards again - well, thawing them. This is actually more symbolic than anything else given that the stores could easily look up my credit card information these days just by using my Social Security Number.

My bitch bag (a little reward for my will-power in 2010):

I'll post a more in-depth blog later on today or tomorrow, but I CAN'T BELIEVE I DID IT! I "technically" did not shop for a year. So, to commemorate this glorious day, I opened up my Louis Vuitton bag and transferred my purse contents to it - very happy with how everything fits into my upgraded bag. Oh, and yesterday - Mike and I bought a new car...so, I guess that answers the question "what did you do with the money you saved from not shopping?"

Today, I plan on hitting the mall before heading to a Superbowl Party in the late afternoon. I plan to make one purchase at Banana Republic using my gift card, and that is it! I'm certainly feeling a bit of a pinch after the car purchase yesterday, so what better way to keep me in line than a whoopin' car purchase that is now going to be an additional monthly expenditure?

More to come - I'll report how "good" I was at the mall.

Okay, Day 1 after the challenge has ended and here is a report on my current psyche: I am somewhat cured, but am amazed at how quickly the urge can come back. So, Mike and I entered the mall through the opposite end of Banana Republic and while he headed to Borders, I bee-lined for BR. As I walk through the mall, I give the hand to Express, the Gap, Forever 21, H&M, JCrew, Ann Taylor, and New York & Company, because I was determined to only shop at BR and use my $100 gift card. I had high hopes of incurring no cost and keeping my purchase below $100, but to no avail. My first few minutes in the store were filled with apprehension - fear of even picking something up and draping the hanger over my fingers to signify to the sales associate that I had intentions of trying it on. But that quickly wore off, and within 5 minutes, several items were hanging off my finger - and were too quickly grabbed by the salespeople and whisked to the fitting room. So, I ended up with about 15 articles of clothing to try on and, to my horror, was put in the dressing room with the super skinny mirror (see picture below). Okay, I know I am not obese by any means, but I also do not look like this! That would be the image of one of those itty bitty petite people who have been posting their clothing reviews on their blogs (here's the URL for a couple of them: http://www.extrapetite.com/; http://www.reallypetite.com/). Anyway, this too skinny mirror invoked strong buying urges making it hard for me to say "no" to articles that likely do not look as great on me as the mirror might have suggested. To combat this issue, I opened the door and found a 3-way mirror right across the hall and forced myself to confront the reality of my body - which thereby put some sense back into me and led me to pick a white wraparound blouse, a button down stripped work shirt, and a skinny belt that stays on my upper waist (an item that I had listed as a "need" in my previous blog). I was very tempted to purchase a military jacket that was super cute, but rationalized not buying it because 1) it's still freakin' winter out there, and 2) likely cannot be worn to a client meeting - I need versatility!

So, sadly, the shopping bug has not been exterminated within me, but I do think I have it a bit more under control. I think the best form of self-restraint I can apply on myself is to limit my trips to the mall. If I don't go, then I won't be tempted by the "buy me!" sounds coming from the hangers and will be able to resume a normal balance between buying clothes, and saving money for other exciting things (like a trip to Italy, or a new car, or a Louis Vuitton bag - hmmm, definitely already given into those urges, so to shift the balance back, must cut back on clothes shopping!).

I have learned a great deal throughout this process - I will list out 12 of my biggest A-Ha's! (for some reason, that seems like a good number).
1. I had a shopping problem (admitting it is the first step, right?).
2. I had way too many clothes - probably still do!
3. There are so many other things that I can be doing with my time that are cheaper and likely to bring greater fulfillment into my life.
4. It's kind of nice not seeing your bank account zero out each month (until you buy a ridiculously priced bag or car).
5. I have a style - or I must choose to have a style if I want to maintain a reasonable clothing budget. I have decided that my style should be "classically sophisticated" - which will likely entail buying pieces of clothing that are less trendy, more expensive but longer-lasting.
6. My husband loves me even if I'm not wearing the latest jacket from Banana Republic. In fact, I think he loves me more when I'm not. 7. Thawed out previously-frozen credit cards have no problem working as soon as they have been dried (I just learned this lesson yesterday - see image above).
8. Banana Republic does not throw a welcome back party for you when you walk through their doors after not spending a penny with them over the course of a year. They don't even send "we missed you" cards when your once weekly spending habit suddenly disappears.
9. Don't believe the store mirrors - they lie to you. They don't have to walk back out into reality and realize that they spent too much money on something that doesn't look all that great on them!
10. If you control your weight a bit better than I did this past year, you really don't need to shop all that much.
11. I am not the most photogenic person. Either that, or I just have not come to terms with what I really look like!

12. Blogging is fun but a lot of work - which is why this will likely be my last post.

Well, that's it followers, I have officially met my goal and have blogged (sporadically) for about a year about my experience. I hope that whoever reads this has found some enjoyment in my posts and if they have a shopping problem, are encouraged to give this no clothes for a year thing a try. If I can do it - so can you!



Friday, February 4, 2011

2 Days To Go: Thawing Out

And, no, the title of today's post is not in reference to the weather, because temperatures have dropped not increased. There are icicles everywhere due to the heavy snowfall from Wednesday followed by frigid below zero windchill effected temperatures. What is thawing out on my kitchen counter, however, are my store credit cards that I froze in water about 1 year ago. Meant to be more symbolic than anything, the act of taking that small plastic container out to thaw has conjured up a growing sense of accomplishment. I'm also realizing how quickly a year can go by, as it really doesn't feel like it's been that long since I submerged these thin pieces of plastic in water and remorsefully placed the container on the top shelf of the fridge. I hope not to actually need to use any of these cards in the near future, as I anticipate using my $100 gift card at Banana and not going a penny over that amount during my first shopping trip in 2011. Furthermore, I am now in a car-buying frenzy and may end up purchasing a car this weekend - so, that will definitely set me back a bit and encourage some frugality in other departments of my budget - like clothes!

Brass Plum Jacket, Black BR sleeveless top with side waist ruching, Express Jeans, Ann Taylor loft necklace.

So, I conjured up today's outfit after trying on several different outfits. This invokes some feelings of fashionista inadequacy - either because I've been a bit out of practice, or because I am engaging in upward comparison to those skinny mini's whose blogs I have been following lately. They are all at a completely different level of fashion-ability than I, leading me to feel 1) gigantic, and 2) dowdy. Nonetheless, if there is anything I have discovered this year, it's that my "style" is more that of business sophistication and less runway fabulous. The jacket is a bit snug, as I bought it several years ago at Brass Plum (a section in Nordstrom for the younger type) when I was about 5 lbs. thinner. Odd how weight gain does not discriminate and somehow manages to evenly disperse itself through your entire body! Given how cold it is outside today, I opted for heels with trouser socks-probably not the best fashion statement, but a practical one! I'm also trying to put more effort into accessorizing - hence the necklace. The outfit felt like it was missing something, so I threw on one of my "go to" pieces for work. Not super hipster, but it'll do.

Okay, 2 more days of outfit reporting - I will try to stay true and on top of it as we near the BIG DAY - and, no, I'm not referring to the Superbowl!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

4 days and counting - murmurs of the shopping urge

These are a few of my favorite things (and now you have that darn Julie Andrews song in your head - sorry!)

Jimmy Choo for H&M Dress. Used to be longer but I managed to shrink it when handwashing it recently - so, though worn here without leggings, would not be okay to do this outside of the comforts of my own home! Definitely my go to "girl's night out dress"

H&M taupe (?) belted dress. Good for going out or under a blazer for work. Almost makes me look tall!

BR pink sleeveless silk top, BR grey wool belted skirt with rusching. I haven't actually worn these together, nor would I to work without a blazer on top, but I do like pink & grey together. PeeWee the cat making a guest appearance.

Forever 21 jumper. This is one of those articles that you curse yourself for wearing when you need to use the bathroom. But nonetheless, I like it and it makes my legs look less dwarf-like. Uniqlo faux fur red belt-also a favorite!

Black Ann Taylor Loft sleeveless dress. Yes, one of my many little black dresses, but (in my opinion) by far the most flattering. not sure what does it - the cinched waist, the almost racerback sleeves, or where it hits on the knees...regardless, it's comfy and I like it!

BR blue rayon dress. A more recent purchase (last January). Though somewhat plain looking worn here, would like nice under a blazer or with some accessories - both of which I need to get better at wearing!

It's probably no news to anyone anywhere near the midwest that I am typing this post in a home blanketed in snow! Because of this snow-day, I had a little extra time to spare and decided to make up for those days that I was not getting dolled up in my Top 30 outfits and post them today. However, unlike the petite bloggers that I discovered yesterday, I will not be posting the size of these clothes as I am certainly not a OOP or an XXSP - geez, I feel like a large giant in comparison!

Discovering this entire community of petite fashion bloggers has inspired me to take a little more care in my self-portraits and also to start jazzing up my wardrobe a bit...so, I guess the itch is starting again. So much, that I actually visited a few more sites, got really excited for an upcoming trip to Chicago at the end of this month because it will place me about 10 minutes away from a kick-ass outlet, and started thumbing through my wardrobe while hmming and haaaing about what I definitely have to buy once I re-release myself back into the mall. Here's my list (thank you petite fashion bloggers for your inspiration):
  • a belt that is small enough to stay put around the top of my waist (currently, all belts I own either drop down to the hips or end up having a very long tail that just hangs out past the buckle)
  • Jeggings - yes, they are all the rage these days and the best part about them is that they are stretchy! So, I could supposedly do yoga in them (according to one Jegging infomercial that I saw the other day - of which I do not intend to buy, but it sold me on the concept!)
  • a new pair of jeans that I can wear with heels - my favorite fat-jeans are now shredded at the bottom of the pant hem because after stretching them out a bit, they drag on the floor if my heels aren't high enough
  • a new pair of jeans that I can wear with flats - I only have the one pair - yes, I'm sure you know which they are, the ones with the stripes going down them. I need something a bit more tailored and good for going out
  • a few new cute jackets that can be worn for work and casual events - again, inspiration from the petite fashion bloggers. Jackets make you look so much more put together!

Though this list may seem long for those of you who did not have to put yourself on a 1 year shopping fast because you had an uncontrollable problem, this is actually a pretty reasonable list given that I have not shopped for almost 365 days! Notice that I did not list little black dress, black work pants, or any type of shoe! So, in my mind, this is progress!

I'll keep today's blog short so I can keep up this daily blog momentum. I will also try to take a few more pictures and post them on tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

5 days to go: Feeling a little dowdy

So I discovered today a community of Petite fashion bloggers. I found the first one by Googling "Tory Burch flats hurt my heels" and came across this beautiful blog looking way more professional than my sad one. The pictures look much more professional than mine (even though they take the pictures themselves), the bloggers much smaller and more fashionable than myself, and to make matters worst, at least 40 times the numbers of subscribers as me. So, sigh, I guess I'm having a little bit of a deflated ego moment. BUT - have any of them given up shopping for a year? I doubt it! In fact, their posts are usually reviews about a most recent purchase. As taxing as I feel that blogging sometimes is, I do think I'll miss having a way to express myself and write about random observations - so maybe that's the next thing in store for me - to join this community of fashion blogging. I'll have to get much better at posing and getting the camera-work down, but it may be a worthwhile pursuit. It's like shopping with your mother - you ask for an opinion and a few moments later, your inbox is flooded with them!

As I reflect on some of my "best of's" from my year of blogging (okay, it's a bit ridiculous given that I've only really posted about 100 times or so), I can't help to think of all the comments I got when I was nearly arrested for speeding. Well, sadly, though I have been pretty good about not shopping, my lead foot has managed to get me into trouble again. Mike and I were in St. Louis a couple of weekends ago and we were a bit lost, so I was paying attention to my GPS telling me that I just missed a turn and suddenly saw lights flashing in back of me. This truly was one of those moments chocked full of innocence where I had no idea I was going over the speed limit - hell, I didn't even know what the speed limit was. So, I pulled over, sucked it up, took the $125 penalty and (sadly) was thankful that I wasn't told some additional bad news like "we're going to need to take you in ma'am because your license plate is expired" or some other ridiculous reason to penalize an upstanding citizen like me! I was very deflated, though, as I do feel like I've taken great strides at using my cruise control to counteract what I truly believe is a lead foot - perhaps somewhere in one of my right foot bones, there hides a magazines of lead bullets. Oh, I know! I know! It goes back to when my brother stabbed me in the knee cap when I was 6 years old with a pencil!!! I'm certain that the lead coming from that broken tip has grown into a large wad of heaviness in my foot causing me to unknowingly apply greater pressure to the gas pedal than others!! Okay, I hope you're at least snickering at this because this may be one of my last little quips (sniff, sniff).

I decided to test my willpower today by cleaning out the cobwebs between my Internet Browser and some pre-challenge websites that were often frequented (even bookmarked!). I am happy to report that browsing through Banana Republic, JCrew, White House Black Market, Ann Taylor, and Blue Fly did nothing to my shopping appetite. At no moment did I click on an item and add it to my shopping bag! I guess the real test comes when I am physically close to the latest fashions, can easily grab something and - gasp - try it on!! That is what always did me in in the past - it's one thing to see something hanging on the rack, it's another to see your skinnified self in the mirror (because, as I've posted before, they have those funhouse mirrors that make you look like a runway model) and to deny what you at the moment think is going to be that one piece in your closet that you'll keep going back to. An then, one year later, that article of clothing either stares at you unworn or taunts you for buying it when it didn't look nearly as splendid as you were lead to believe while in the store and high off of new clothing fumes.

I have no new outfits to report this time around, as I've been lounging around in my fleece pants and jacket - ridiculously watching the weather reports in hopes that tomorrow will be a snow day. I think it will! All the reason to blog more tomorrow!

Friday, January 28, 2011

8 days left and I'm such a slacker!

So, I've flagged a little in terms of posting pictures and my "Top 30" outfits - but here are just a few pictures to let you know that I tried! Some of these "favorites" I'm discovering shouldn't be because they don't fit my criteria of making me look FABULOUS. So, oh well...

Had to post a picture of one of my favorite yoga outfits-something about a shirt that says "Little Miss Lucky" just makes me happy...

This dress is going to the consignment store or given to a friend who looked much better in it than I. Maya, if you're ready, this dress is yours - I don't quite fill it out!

Okay, so much for my daily countdown. I have, however, been keeping up with my pictures and trying to showcase my favorite outfits! I can't believe I have 8 days left of no shopping! So, here's a rundown of what I have bought this year, despite the challenge - all with a perfectly good (or lame) rationale. I feel that listing these purchases are a form of catharsis as they have been giving me a bit of guilt throughout the year. I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to silly challenges - and clearly I feel like I did not exceed this year because I did give into a few purchases - one of which you'll likely be a bit taken aback by (see the last one)...

Christin Louboutin Shoes - to commemorate my promotion - every girl needs her "bitch" shoes!
Soccer pants and workout top - needed for our Soccer-themed 4th of July Party
Red sheath dress, black suit jacket, houndstooth coat - all purchases using my birthday money and the "ultimatum" that I had to buy clothes with it by my wonderful husband :)
Purple Pashmina and a White Gold Ring in Dubai-I mean, come-on! I was in Dubai! I had to buy something to remind me of my trip to the Middle East!
Bear Claw winter boots (Ugg-like) - forgot to pack a pair of warm shoes while on a weekend visit to Detroit and therefore succumbed to buying a pair of shoes at TJMaxx so I wouldn't freeze. Mike saved the day by buying them for me, but I still chalk that up to a purchase
Argyle knee-high socks - same story as the Bear Claw boots - forgot to pack socks when on a trip to Chicago, so I purchased these to keep my feet warm in the single digit weather as we trekked around the city.

And, finally...drumroll, please...my last illegitamate purchase of the year...(consider this a confession)...a Louis Vuitton bag. I was in Chicago last weekend and did not intend on buying the bag but rather to try a few on to get a sense of what I would ultimately buy on Superbowl Sunday of this year while Sommerset mall (a good 1.25 hour drive from our home). Then, I thought to myself, why the hell not buy this bag and keep it in my closet until the glorious day when I can lift off this self-imposed ban and shop? So, I bought it - trekked around Chicago with it in it's dustbag and sturdy Louis Vuitton shopping bag (hiding it in a beach bag so I wouldn't be mugged). So, it has been idly sitting on the top shelf of my closet, getting to know my Louboutin's, waiting for me to pull it out and fulfill it's destiny :)

It's odd, this past week, I've been thinking about shopping and am almost scared to buy something. I fear that, like anyone suffering from an addiction, just a taste of what I loved so much will unleash this irrepressible urge and the shopping monster will be re-released. I guess the true test will come on Sunday when I make a trip to the mall and make a small purchase (I hope it's small). I feel like I kind of have to do this to measure the behavior change in me. I've got it all figured out though - because I am a bit set back financially from the Louis Vuitton purchase, and because Mike and I are trying to save up for our summer trip to Italy and Slovenia, I am going to use a giftcard that my dear friend Rita sent me for Christmas. It, happily enough, is an all-purpose Banana Republic, Gap, Piperlime, Athleta card which means I can spend it anywhere. I guess I could go online and browse on Sunday, especially since we're likely to attend a Superbowl party later that day, but to me, the true test to immerse myself in Banana Republic, surround myself with all the signals that used to release that uncontrollable urge (smell of new clothes, sights of all kinds of clothing, sound of the cash register beeping away as people make purchases, etc.), and with exercised control, make a purchase only if I really need to have the item I am purchasing, and if it makes me look FABULOUS!

Yesterday, on a drive from Moline, IL to Chicago, my sales partner and I passed an amazing outlet mall in Aurora, IL. It had a Kate Spade store, True Religion (which I've never even heard of but was told by my colleague that these are the "it" jeans of today), Theory, Banana, etc. I felt a sudden spike of excitement as I realized that I'll be just down the road from this outlet in late February for a training session. Oh boy - perhaps that is the true test!!! Help - I'm feeling the crazy urges coming back again! Must...not...give...in...

Stay tuned!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

30 days to go: Let the countdown begin!!

Favorite Outfit #1 - White House Black Market Black Dress - the little black dress that never gets old! Unfortunately, accompanied with a bad hair day - no black dress will fix that!

Favorite Outfit #2 - Green Kenneth Cole sweater, BR "fat" jeans - the only ones that don't create the dreaded muffin top these days and give me enough extra fabric to wear high heels that make me look leaner and taller

Okay, so after some major slacking these past few months, I am going to try to blog everyday as I countdown to Shopping Freedom! For each of these days, I will *try* (note all of the qualifiers here) to wear one of my favorite outfits discovered throughout this year of not shopping (I won't include any of the illegal purchases I made - like the Louboutins, the stuff from my NYC birthday money, etc.). Today's outfit (picture to be posted later) is my favorite little black workdress. I'd probably wear it everyday to work if I could because it is comfortable, doesn't wrinkle, and is black (thereby reducing down any chances of light unflatteringly reflecting off the body).

It's freakin' cold out there - so I do wish I wore these with Ugg boots - but what kind of a fashion statement would that be??

I just posted on Facebook that the 30 day countdown begins - so now I'm guessing that there might be more readership than there has been in the past few months. Blogging is such hard work!

Okay, off to Happy Hour!
Well, the weekend came and went rather quickly - and I only have one additional favorite outfit to report - a green sweater I purchased last year at a Kenneth Cole outlet that I love. It drapes flatteringly around the neckline giving the illusion of greater - uh hem, shall we say upper body curvature. I couldn't not pair this sweater with probably the most worn item of clothing in my closet (well aside from my pajamas) - the ever-famous "fat" jeans from BR. I wear them so much that they are severely frayed at the bottom. They are that type of jean that loves you no matter how much you binged over the weekend and very forgivingly give a few inches as you run errands throughout the day so that by the end of your errand-running, they are dragging on the ground collecting saltwater from the snowy roads. I actually wore these jeans on New Year's Eve and on my way out the door discovered that they had a stiffened salt patch at the hem - however, nothing was going to stop me from wearing my most loyal pair of jeans - with me through the high's and low's!! How could I ever let this beloved pair go? I know that though you think my love for my jeans is crazy, deep down, you know you have a pair that you similarly can't bring yourself to throw away! Admit it!
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were all days of workout clothes and pajamas. I'll spare you all from those pictures - but when it comes down to it, they are my favorites! I will don my favorite yoga outfit tomorrow (one that still fits) just to give a nod to all those clothes that play a supporting role to my less comfortable and less worn stars of the wardrobe!