Thursday, 16 June 2011

158: Shopping anthropology

          • Dress: Phase Eight
          • Pink cardi: Debenhams
          • Wedges: Clarks
          • Wooden beads: Primark
          • Denim jacket: Gap

I had an important meeting at work today and as I don't work in a particularly corporate environment I believe it is possible to be smart and professional without wearing a business suit. I really liked the outfit and felt professional and confident in it. I have been saving this dress as I am not convinced there are endless options for remixing it (unless you know different and I'd love to hear from you). I have never worn it with this cardi before and the pink was quite bold for me but it works and trying to balance the pattern with a less vibrant colour might have had the opposite effect.  I swear that this outfit made me feel happier today and the mix of colours and pattern actually lifted my mood. I was inspired to be creative with this outfit by a little trip to the shops yesterday and talking of which...

I am often left comments on my blog about my shopping ban, some saying congratulations for getting so far, some saying they could never do it and some saying how the hell am I managing it? This was the one of the main reasons I set up my blog in the first place as, although not out of control (honest), I felt a drastic measure was needed to curb my shopping habit. One way of sticking to the plan was to blog about it which would add an extra dimension, keep me on the right track, get me to think about the clothes choices I was making and how I presented myself to the world and I hoped it would help me purge my gargantuan wardrobe from the items which weren't working.

A friend asked me if I was near exhausting my wardrobe yet and in all honesty I probably haven't come close to wearing even half of it. A few weeks ago I received a comment from the lovely Debbie over at Thrifty Girl Vintage:

I still admire your not shopping for a year pledge. I think that's pretty awesome. Do you have times that it is hard to not buy something new or does it get easier in time? And I wonder if you avoid stores to avoid temptation. I think I would have to. Especially Goodwill. Have you posted about this? I would love to read it if you have.
So here I am a few weeks from the half way point and whilst I post about my outfits I have rarely talked of the madness which is the shopping ban. So firstly, why did I decide to go for a whole year of no shopping? In all honesty I did not really give much thought to the length of the ban and a year just seemed about right. It was long enough for it to feel like a real challenge, would take me through the four seasons and the end would always be in sight.

So, how's it been going? Well, without sounding like an addict, I would definitely say that the first few weeks were the hardest. I started during the second week of the year which, with hindsight, wasn't the smartest move as we were in the depths of the January sales and I am a keen sale shopper. Knowing the ban lay ahead I splurged rather in the days leading up to the ban and these new purchases certainly saw me through the beginning. As I have such a vast wardrobe of clothes I initially found it easy to create new looks each day. Within a few weeks, however, I decided to participate in Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge to push myself to remix items from my wardrobe in a more creative way and to get to know more people through the blogging community. I found it tough going and when complete felt relieved to return to the rest of my wardrobe and the task of remixing daily. I decided to continue to participate in a number of bloggers challenges in order to keep me going as it pushes me to consider different looks and keeps me from resenting the fact I can't go out and buy something new.

There is no doubt that I miss shopping. I work in the city centre and my lunch hours used to be spent walking round the shops and often buying something new to wear. I felt that I had to go cold turkey to start with so completely avoided going anywhere near the shops and I took more lunches at my desk and probably got more work done! I have realised that it is not actually the new items I miss but the thrill of being able to walk into a shop, peruse the rails, trying on multiple items before deciding and then even handing over the cash. I get a thrill from the whole shopping experience and taking something new home to live with me is just one part of it. Why else would I have items still with labels and never worn hanging in my wardrobe?  On a few occasions my family have taken pity on me and have offered to buy items for me, which sounds like a dream come true, however, so far I have not taken them up on this lovely offer. Whilst receiving a gift would be wonderful I realise it wouldn't completely provide the same thrill I get going down the shops.

As you may know I have had my kitchen refurbished and this major purchase has certainly distracted me from the clothes shopping ban. It has meant that any money I have saved on clothes shopping has gone on the kitchen but it has been well worth it and has helped to satisfy my shopping craving.

I am certainly enjoying the challenge to create new looks from my wardrobe and I have rediscovered items and outfits I would never have thought of before. I have slowly started to return to the shops as I love fashion and enjoy seeing what looks are in. I seem to have accepted that I can't buy clothes and enjoy the experience for what it is. There is no denying that buying something new to wear makes me happy and I have on just a couple of occasions felt the need to cheer myself up and have headed to the shops determined to shop a smile back on to my face. I have been on the brink of throwing the whole challenge away and have got as far as trying items on but have not yet followed through and made that purchase. There is nothing I have desired that badly and actually leaving the store without some needless item has cheered me up.

I don't think we have an equivalent to Goodwill and I am not a charity shop shopper however this challenge and reading other blogs has certainly piqued my interest in vintage clothes and I am tempted to try out some thrift window shopping. That would be the ultimate test to walk away from amazing bargains and unique one off pieces and it is something I intend to try.

Yesterday a new shop opened in Edinburgh - Anthropologie. Now, I have often seen the clothes in magazines and liked them but wasn't sure what to expect from their store. I decided to pop in and see what looks they had and I loved it. On their website they say it is about a way of life and the store was full of beautiful things to wear and for the home. There were lots of tempting items although, in all honesty, beyond my price range but I felt really inspired by the looks, the colours and the fabrics and textures. So inspired was I that I looked anew at my wardrobe today and decided to be bold and create this look.


  1. Lori, This is a great post. Well written, interesting and inspiring. Thanks so much for letting me know you had posted it today so I could read it. I will mention this in one of my posts this week and link back to you. I think a lot of people would be interested in reading this. I, for one, was curious about how you decided on it and how you keep it up. I'm glad my comment was a small part of this amazing post. Debbie

  2. Very interesting post - found you via Debbie. I failed to really (I mean weekly, monthly) shop for clothes during the past few years, and have committed to growing my wardrobe via Goodwill and at a dollar a day. Financially, my life is very comfortable, but I wanted to show people that thrifting is such a wonderful way (a green way) to increase your wardrobe and budgeting, in my mind, is always a good idea. I'm all about hitting the six zero mark. Cute blog. Recently found Shopfast 365 - check it out. She has the same mission as you do. I'm adding you to my list of daily reads. Can't wait to see more. ; )

  3. Lori, I linked back to you in my post today! Debbie

  4. Hi, I'm here from Debbie's blog. I have considered doing something similar to this on my blog next year, but to mix it in with window shopping. I have yet to enter my local Anthropologie. New follower