Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Ironically enough, my commitment to stop buying has led me to.....careful, conscious, quality buying.

See, whenever I needed clothes, I used to go and buy a whole bunch of new things from Target. A part of me really enjoyed being able to lay all the pieces out on the bed and coo over how little I spent. All those nice new things were exciting! Unfortunately, one or two washes later and they didn't fit right. The shoes that felt comfy in the store weren't that comfy in daily use. And the handbag that looked so chic didn't suit my life.

I've always drooled over issues of Real Simple where they show a closet that has 3 fabulous dresses, 2 pairs of fabulous jeans, 3 pairs of knockout shoes, 2 nice bags, and 3 nice skirt sets. I always thought how liberating it would be to open up my closet and find just beautiful things that I love! Unfortunately, I was favoring quantity over quality. I was getting a lot of pieces but nothing worked right.

Over a year ago, when Maggie was small, I needed a morale boost and so I went shopping. I was very limited because I still had baby weight, and getting used to a whole new "shape" was difficult. I found a pair of jeans, quite by accident, that fit SO well. So comfortable, just right, made me look great. I also, on the advice of a friend, purchased a pair of Dansko mary janes. Well, as I type this, those jeans are in the wash and the shoes are on my feet. Nearly all of the clothes I've bought in the interim are gone--donated to the thrift store or given to friends.

And though I remember feeling immensely guilty about spending $100 on a pair of jeans and $125 on a pair of shoes, I am still USING those. I spent $100 (more!) collectively on those cheaper outfits, and all of those are sitting in the "sharing box" right now.

I have decided I am no longer going to buy anything that isn't either absolutely fabulous or perfectly functional. (I realize sometimes function has to come before fabulous, although it should not always do so!). No more purses that are just right except for the handle/color/shape/strap. No more pants that fit "well for $20 pants". No more shoes that "look great and don't hurt a lot".

First I went through my closet and got rid of all those things that weren't "just right". And then I looked at what was left to start to fill in the holes. First priority was some pants. I decided that since I work in such a casual office, I'd get a pair of dark, more polished jeans, rather than "work pants". If I need to dress up, I always wear a skirt anyway. Second priority was a new black cardi--a key piece I wear year round with tshirts, dresses, skirts, everything! And then the next priority was a new purse. A purse that was "just right": held everything with a little extra space, had a big outside pocket for my phone and wallet, and had a long strap so I could carry it cross body. I found something even BETTER because it is pink :-) On these three items I spent a shade over $200. But I have already used all of them more than last year's Target binge combined!

Rather than NOT buying anything at all, it turns out the secret is to buying only things that I really love. Buying higher quality things means they last longer, and the higher price tag makes me think extra hard rather than buy on impulse. I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out!