Shit I Bought and Liked No. 84: Shopping Rules and Resolutions
Shitters! Happy Tuesday after a long weekend! Hoping you all are making lots of progress on your new you’s in the new year!
I promised shopping resolutions in my last newsletter and I am back with them! Like the many people forgoing their biggest vices this month, I too am making January hard for myself, but not with the usual 30 days of no booze or sweets. I instead am resisting the temptation to fill my closet with any new items of clothing or shoes for the next 30 days*. A little shopping reset, if you will.
(*Now would probably be a good time to tell you that I haven’t been entirely successful in this endeavor—I caved earlier this month for these perfect little satin slingbacks that I’d been eyeing for awhile and knew I’d get a ton of wear out of (more sizes here, though sadly more expensive). But other than that, I really have been trying!!!)
This little experiment doesn’t mean I’m not spending money (clearly, as evidenced by the above aside), but instead of prioritizing my closet, I’ve been making some of the home/self improvement purchases I’d been putting off in favor of more “exciting” things. For example: A fountain drink-style water bottle (perfect for working from home), a second set of coasters (if you keep some on your bedside and desk, four is simply not enough!), a new wearable that I’ll be reviewing for this newsletter (!), and this divine room spray. Hell, I finally ordered a tissue box cover—something I’ve been thinking about SINCE I MOVED IN—and if they ever ship it to me, my desk will be better off for it.
This is more of a January challenge than a real resolution, but the reset is helping with my larger goal. Over the past few years, I’ve acquired quite a lot of things, particularly within my closet. And sadly, a lot of those things that in the moment I thought I needed or wanted or would be good to have or was such a steal aren’t things I need or want or reach for anymore.
I did a big closet cleanout at the start of the month (which I highly recommend doing regardless of where you fall on the shopaholic spectrum), and while some of the items I pulled to sell or donate were things I hadn’t worn since 2013, most were ones I’d acquired relatively recently. The things I added to my Shopbop orders just because they were running a sale, the fast fashion items that looked great on influencers—never mind that their style was totally different from mine and that the quality of fast fashion is mostly shit, the maybes I thought would turn into yeses just by sitting in my closet, and arguably worst of all—the ones I never felt fully comfortable in in the first place. Life’s too short to keep shit that doesn’t make you look and feel amazing!
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After cursing myself for wasting God knows how much money then cursing myself again because that is definitely not a part of the more positive internal dialogue I’m trying to cultivate this year, I arrived at this year’s shopping resolution: From now on, to make the cut to join my closet, the piece of clothing, outwear, accessory, or shoes in question has to be put through this rigorous six question test:
Am I, as I am now, comfortable in this piece? This is the baseline, at least for me. Whether it’s jeans that are a bit too tight, fabric that’s a little itchy, or a top that you’re always adjusting, if you’re not comfortable in it now (like right this minute, as your body is now), you’ll probably never be comfortable in it. I HATE feeling uncomfortable, so these are the pieces that just sit in my closet unworn. (If you get your clothes tailored, this doesn’t entirely apply, but if you have your shit together enough to get your clothes tailored, you probably don’t need this advice in the first place.)
Is this a good investment? We tend to think of “investment pieces” as classic, big ticket items, but I’m starting to think of all of the new additions to my closet in this way, whether or not they’re particularly expensive. Will I get good use out of this? Is it fulfilling a need in my wardrobe? Will I still want to wear it a few years from now? Will it last me that long? And for those pieces we aren’t buying for daily use—the ones we pick for big events or special moments—are they giving you what you need (confidence, a wow moment, etc.)? I’m no expert (as my last Fidelity login certainly confirmed!!!), but that seems like good ROI to me.
Am I reaching to wear this? We all know the feeling—you bring home a new pair of jeans or a sports bra and it’s the first one you reach for every time you finish the laundry. Or you got a new top and you’re counting down the minutes until you can wear it out. This is the feeling I want to have with all of my clothes! I want to want to wear them! If I’m just picking it up because I need leggings and these are leggings, or the feeling’s more of a maybe—if I’m not quite sure how I’ll style it or if I’m not entirely in love—bye. Game over. I already know how that story ends—with 30lbs of clothes in my trunk on their way to be donated.
Does this fit with *my* personal style? This isn’t to say that you can’t branch out and try new things, but in a world bombarding us with influences, make sure the things you think you want are actually things you want—not just things being marketed to you. That is easier said than done, but taking your time to think about why you want something and how it would work in your own closet/life helps.
Speaking of time… pause. This isn’t a question—it’s a rule. In the past, I’ve been very guilty of being the refrain of an Ariana Grande song… “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it,” with very little time in between those steps. But many of my best purchases have been the ones I spent time considering and wanting over at least some period of time. Now I’m making an effort to pause and consider, or leave and circle back before I place an order online or bring something home from a store. That frenzied feeling of having to buy this right this minute or it will be gone and I will have lost my chance forever is one that has never served me well, so I’m doing my best to cut it off.
Does wearing this make me feel like hot shit? Just because it fits and it fulfills a need in your wardrobe doesn’t mean you should keep it. And just because it’s trendy or designer or *gasp* on sale doesn’t mean you should either. Settling for pieces that are just fine results in a closet full of just fine, and if you’re anything like me, you won’t reach for those pieces more than once or twice, you’ll feel like you have a full closet but nothing to wear, you’ll eventually want to replace them with things you like more, and you'll end up spending more money and time than it would’ve taken to find something great in the first place. Again, life’s too short to wear stuff that doesn’t make you feel great, so let’s stop doing it.
Tough test to pass, but that’s the point. Not everything will make the cut and not everything should! I’ve decided that I want a closet that really works for me, and what better time to set a lofty goal for the year than January! Plus there are benefits for my overworked wallet and for our (far more) overworked planet, so I’ll really be trying to stick to these questions every time I shop. And I hope, if you read and related to any of this, that you’ll consider joining me. Better
ingredients clothes, better pizza closets, Papa Johns I don’t know why my brain is like this either.
Other things to improve your home/life with while you’re not shopping for clothes: These adjustable dumbbells to up your home workout game. An oldie but goodie favorite cookbook (highly recommend keeping a batch of their chocolate chip cookie dough on hand for a quick dessert). I cannot say enough good things about my Lomi composter. This crisp, woodsy candle. A delicious non-alcoholic aperitif—mix it with sparkling water and lemon for a delicious mocktail (h/t Grace!). This gorgeous birthday flower that still looks (and smells!) amazing seven months later.