Lessons Learned from a 6-month Shopping Ban

August 31st, 2012 – February 16th, 2013.

Yes, yes, I know you are impressed by my resolve and self-control. It was a STRUGGLE FEST.

That being said, I did learn a lot from not shopping for half a year. It was a life-changing, motivational experience which I will never forget. Just kidding, this isn’t The Alchemist. But really, there are valuable lessons to be learned from shopping-abstinence (for temporary periods of time). I went shopping for the first time on Saturday; it was weird to be back, but enjoyable nonetheless, of course.

Firstly, I learned to appreciate fashion and clothing a lot more. Because I couldn’t buy clothes, I diverted a lot of the time I used to use for online shopping to browsing fashion blogs and appreciating clothes, even if I couldn’t have them for myself. My go-to blogs are Wendy’s Lookbook, Atlantic Pacific, Flashes of Style and Refinery 29 (many recommended by the one and only Vivian). And of course, Pinterest. My ‘style dreams’ board grew immensely over my the time of my ban. (God, I sound like some sort of criminal on house arrest.)

I also started thinking about ways in which I could make the clothes I already had seem newer – wearing them a new way, creating new combinations, and accessorizing differently. And clothes are actually really versatile – think about how many different outfits you can pair a plain white shirt with…with jeans and a blazer, under a cardigan, with shorts, with a dressy skirt, etc. It was kind of fun, actually. It’s fun trying to make clothes that are three or four years old seem current; I enjoy the challenge of it.

I also finally realized that yes, I do have too many clothes. My mom and friends have been telling me this for ages, but I kept telling myself that I needed every single piece of apparel in my closet. (“Like, what if I really wanted to wear that pleated skirt I haven’t worn in three years? What if I needed that outrageous top for a Halloween costume?” you know…) I have now realized there is no reason to have that many clothes. Now that I am off my shopping ban, I am cleaning out my closet. I read some article about cleaning out your closet, and it said to look at each piece of clothing and ask, “If I went shopping today, would I buy this?”. I’m using that rule. I’m going to donate some of my clothes as well as sell some, and I’m going to feel good about it.

And lastly, I think I am an improved shopper. I went to King of Prussia a few days ago; for those of you who don’t know, it is the second biggest mall in the United States. It’s pretty much its own city. I found myself a very, very picky shopper. I wouldn’t buy anything unless I was certain I didn’t have anything similar, and I would make sure I really, really liked anything I bought. Before, if something was a good deal, I would jump at it, even if I didn’t like it THAT much. On the other hand, I now feel that if I really, really like something, even if it’s a little expensive, I should buy it. Hey, that’s better than buying two or three cheap things that I don’t really like, right? Basically, I feel that I’ve become a better shopper as a result of my shopping ban. (weird, right?)

Anyway, that’s all I guess. Not a particularly insightful post, but I think anyone can benefit from a re-evaluation of their shopping/apparel-hoarding habits (okay, maybe apparel-hoarding is just me).

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