When I was a kid, I absolutely despised wearing girly clothes. My brothers would chase me around the house taunting me chanting “stock-ings and dress-es” before church each Sunday. I can still hear it in my head right now. My favorite piece of clothing to wear all through middle school was my brother Matthew’s old Girbaud jeans with holes in them. I was for sure a tomboy. Then, throughout junior high and high school I started to like clothes…really like clothes. Now, I have successfully more than made up for the first 14 years of my tomboy life…with a closet to prove it.
This Lenten season I decided to give up shopping, and besides being fully aware that I needed to get my shopping budget in check, I learned a lot more than how to save some bucks.
Prior to Lent starting, we went to LA for my birthday, so I stocked up on quite a few items. I knew I would be obsessed with bell sleeves and ruffles, so I picked up this top and this top, and some other fun items. I also traded in one birthday present Shea gave me for a J. Crew jacket a couple of days after Ash Wednesday.
And, since we are full disclosure over here, J. Crew was running a fabulous deal, and I knew I needed work pants (see more below) and did not want my size to sell out. I bought two pairs of pants on one day at the end of March. I felt super guilty, BUT I earned a $50 J. Crew gift to make this seersucker jumpsuit I’m wearing in this post only $15…you would have done it too!
Whew, ok, I feel better getting that off my chest!
I FIGURED OUT WHAT I REALLY NEED IN MY CLOSET
I enjoy buying tops and accessories full of bright prints and colors, but what I really need in my closet is work pants. Every morning I stare at my closet deciding on which pair of pants to wear. This usually leads to a.) my go-to Pixie pants in the colder months or b.) wearing a dress instead or c.) putting something on that I just don’t like and hating it all day at work because I didn’t shave my legs and can’t wear a dress. Pants, and work pants especially, are not the most fun item to buy, but I know I need them so it’s time to invest in some good pants.
Also, I love sneakers and tennis shoes, but often times I am looking for a pair of comfortable heels to wear to work during the week. I am proud of my extensive collection of Jordan’s, and I can wear them to work on certain days, but now is the time to focus on work shoes. I can pass up yet another printed dress to instead buy a pair of heels that will look cute at work and for going out.
I LEARNED WHAT I WANT TO INVEST IN
I learned that I want to purchase pieces that will last for a while. It’s fun to buy trendy items each season, but I don’t want to invest in a pair of trendy jeans for hundreds of dollars when that money is better spent elsewhere. (In this particular case I made my own pair of trendy jeans here). Most of my clothing investments are in purses. I love bags, and I know that I will save my purses for years to come. Now, it’s time to invest in the classics, like this belt, that will live in my closet for years.
I think every closet needs a great pair of nude heels and a pair of black heels – open and close toe. These are staples that can go with any outfit. Now, I’m not talking about red bottoms but a nicer pair than my J. Crew factory ones will do.
I DECIDED WHAT I REALLY WANT TO BUY
As Lent progressed, I would pin all of my favorite spring items to my spring style Pinterest board. During spring break, I went back through the board to see what I still really liked enough to want to purchase and what my order of purchasing would be. This made me prioritize what I wanted instead of just clicking ‘buy’ each time I saw something I liked at J. Crew. If some of these items were already sold out or out of stock in my size, I found myself really not worrying about it. Ok, so I missed out on a floral top I wanted back in March…life goes on.
This didn’t mean I could go overboard on Easter Sunday and buy everything I pinned, but I could look back and see which pieces of clothing I actually wanted versus what I thought I needed at the time. I knew I wanted to buy this dress, this pair of shoes and this bag, because I eyed each of them since Lent started. This is where I will start…
WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY? BUYING OR STYLING?
I am an avid online shopper, and I feel happy when I hit the ‘purchase now’ button, and I also feel happy when I receive the items at my doorstep. However, I realized that when I received my purchases, I wasn’t opening them up right away or excited to see my new clothes in person. Sometimes boxes would sit unopened for a couple of days until I got around to cleaning up our living area. This made me realize that to justify purchasing something new, I need to be really excited about it! I want that feeling of tearing open a box because I am so excited to try on my new clothes.
Also, while I wasn’t shopping, I was styling outfits and looks for the blog and work using what I already had in my closet. This was a fun challenge for me to put together outfits using newer and older pieces that I owned. If I saw an outfit that I liked on someone else, I wouldn’t purchase the exact items. Instead, I would go into my own closet to see what I could come up with outfit wise. It’s really easy to get caught up buying all of the LIKEtoKNOW.it links sent to me each day and purchasing what the popular fashion bloggers are wearing. But you know what? I don’t want to look like everyone else anyway.
I DISCOVERED NEW BRANDS
Since I wasn’t purchasing on a regular basis, I found myself looking at all types of brands and styles of clothes to get everyday inspiration. I started looking at Keds, Sole Society, Ann Taylor, brands Lush and Leith at Nordstrom and found tons of pieces that I would love to put in my closet. This also helps switch up my style a little, so I don’t constantly look like I came out of a J. Crew catalog. Instead of buying from J. Crew multiple times a month, I can see if I like any other pieces from some different brands instead.
I SAVED MONEY
I know this sounds like a no brainer, but when you don’t succumb to the temptation of 20% off emails and free gifts for 40+ days, you save quite a chunk of change. This makes me want to continue to be a more aware shopper and invest in and wear good quality clothes. This also means that even though I saved money from not shopping during Lent, I can’t just jump back into old habits immediately. I picked a vice to focus on for 40 days and need to incorporate the changes into my everyday life. So, while I might purchase a few items today, I fully know that I need to keep it in check.
Is there anything specific you gave up for Lent, and did it teach you anything? I need to reference back to this post if I ever feel like going on a shopping binge and remember what I learned before I hit ‘purchase now’.