Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am shopping my closet and unhappy with the goods

Deep thoughts at Central Park

So I'm on a spending budget for the first time in awhile (cue world's smallest violin, I know) and of course as part of this I am shopping my closet. It's kind of nice because I have 3 closets but it also kind of sucks because it's opened my eyes to just how disordered my fashion sense has become in the last 12 months.

I can recall it clearly about 13 months ago. I had finished paying off my credit cards a few months earlier and was banking money. But it was also when my stress + available credit card limits combined for the perfect storm of spendthrift. The upside was that I bought some truly fabulous clothing pieces. The downside was that I can clearly see that I was thinking in terms of impulse (ooh, need that, want that) instead of practical, more outfit-driven terms. I'm not really mad at myself because of the happiness it brought me at the time -- and I seriously needed that pickmeup -- but the collateral damage sucks. There is the credit card debt which I think I've whined about enough at this point. Making payments for now until I can afford to clear them for good.

Then there is the realization that I have very few complete outfits. This is part one of why I keep shopping. I have lots of 3/4 outfits: tops with bottoms but no shoes. Or shoes but no real outfit direction to pair with them. Accessories that are good for dressing up but I'm not going out much right now. Fabulous dresses without an event to wear them to. Who stares at their closet every morning wondering what the hell to wear? I do. The sad part is that I have lots of stuff that I love. But very few complete looks.

I've also realized that I completely fell away from my rules of shopping. I am having the typical personal shopper's crisis! I can dress other people just fine (and damn well if I may toot my own horn a bit) but ask me to put myself together and watch me accomplish mediocre at best. I bought bohemian and preppy and modern and classic with blatant disregard for how items would work together or what I needed vs. wanted.

Right now I'm working up the guts to go through my closet and honestly discard the items I don't wear. Some items I hope to sell but most I'll probably donate. The problem is the superficial attachment to the clothing. Oh, this top makes me look thin! I wore these jeans on a hot date! This cardigan is soooo comfy! Etc.

After that's done I will have to revisit my rules which are something like:
1. Only 2 impulse items per season (I have sucked at this rule since moving down to NYC)
2. You should not own more than 2 items in the same color
3. If you cannot think of 3 things to wear with an item, you cannot buy it
4. If you don't wear it within 10 days of purchase, it goes back! (unless purchased at end-of-season sale)
5. Just because it's on sale does not mean buy it
6. Dressy pieces must be bought with an intended use
7. You can justify an expensive buy ONLY IF you believe the cost per wear will work out to be $5/wear or less in the course of 6 months
8. If you see someone else in it on the street and can't style it differently, it goes back
9. Don't give into discount goods unless you will honestly love it next year too
10. If you can't pay it off within 2 billing cycles you can't buy it

I am looking forward to and dreading the upcoming purge. I am also swooning over so many fall pieces I can't buy. Hooray for the reintroduction of budgeting, boo for the lack of disposable income. All in all I'm in pretty good shape...now if I could just find someone to sublet my apartment....so I could get back on-topic!!

1 comment:

burntphotograph said...

after all the media scares about credit, i started seriously budgeting in december in order to pay off all of my credit cards... it's not gotten any easier and i hate it! now i often feel guilty about buying, which makes shopping way less fun.

however, i like that i've sold/donated a lot of stuff and gone through a "what is my style" evaluation. plus, i like seeing all the money hanging out in my savings account and paying off bills/cutting up credit cards is fun. just not so much at the time when i'm itching to buy! :)

i just wish i hadn't gotten myself into this situation in the first place.