Wednesday, April 25, 2012

reader question: when is enough enough?

Proof that my closet was once clean and organized.
Last week, BCC reader Stephanie wrote me the nicest email, posing a question that I have certainly thought about more than once.  I've come to my own conclusion regarding the topic and thought it would be helpful to share with rest of you.

Stephanie writes:
"Over the past couple of years, I have started to seriously revamp my look. I probably have almost completely turned over my wardrobe in that time. I am starting to feel like I have finally found 'me' with my clothes, but there is always that little nagging voice in the back of my mind saying things like 'You just need one more blazer or that crossbody yellow purse or that pair of sandals, and then, your wardrobe will be truly complete.'
Recently, I spray protected all my shoes and seeing how many I have (I am ashamed to admit that I have about 60 pairs of shoes, boots, sandals, etc.) I said to myself I do not need any more. I was also a little disgusted thinking about all the money I had spent on them. But then I saw this beautiful pair of Kenneth Cole snakeskin t-strap pumps and was like, well maybe one more pair (although I did not buy them).
How do you decide when enough is enough and it's time to wear (and love)  what you've got? I know I have more than enough clothes, but I guess maybe a part of me is still trying to catch up to where I am now and get comfortable with my new look. Or maybe I still feel a little out of style and that if I just find that one key piece, everything will fall into place. Have you ever struggled with this?"

My guess is that you all know exactly what Stephanie is talking about.  I certainly do!  The need to rationalize every decision I make can sometimes lead me to feeling guilty over clothing purchases and regular shopping.  While I still feel that way from time to time, here's some strategies I've devised to help me find that middle ground.

Shopping is my hobby.
This might sounds incredibly trite, but it's true.  Clothing brings me great joy.  I love being creative, and I love expressing myself through my sartorial choices and personal style.  Because I feel so strongly about clothing, I'm constantly adding to my wardrobe.  I used to feel really guilty about spending money on clothes, but then, I started looking at where others spend their money and noticed that everyone has a hobby.  John has lots of customers at his store that spend their expendable income on comics, books and games.  I have lots of friends who enjoy going out and drinking.  Some people I know spend money on video games or music.  These are all hobbies that bring joy.  While I don't spend any money on the aforementioned things, I do spend money on clothing.  That is my hobby.

I always shop within my means.
Saying that shopping is a hobby can lead to a slippery slope of over-spending.  Luckily, I have always been rather frugal and very smart with my finances.  It's no secret that I love a good bargain, which means I'm always waiting for sales or shopping consignment and thrift stores.  I'm very careful to only buy what I can afford and to be sure that the items I buy will be put to good use.  To prevent myself from buying items that I will never wear, I keep an on-going list of pieces I would like to add to my wardrobe.  This not only helps me to better define my style, but it also wards off any buyer's remorse.  If I can't think of three ways to style an item I'm thinking of purchasing, then I put it back and save my money for something I know I will use.

My wardrobe is a revolving door.
My style is constantly changing.  While the change may be subtle, it's change nonetheless.  It only makes sense that my wardrobe would do the same.  I have very little storage for clothing (a small closet and one dresser), and nothing thwarts my creativity more than too much input (i.e., an over-stuffed wardrobe).  So, I've tried to be more responsible about my closet maintenance.  This means constantly editing my inventory.  Whenever I feel as though I'm collecting too many items, I take a day to sift through my clothes, getting rid of the things that I am no longer utilizing.  Many times, I try to sell gently used items as a way to fund future purchases.

These ideas may not work for everyone, but since I started shopping with more intention, I've been much more inspired by my wardrobe.  And the more inspired I am, the less I feel the need to shop.  There are always certain times of the year when I know I'm going to shop more than others: fall and spring, specifically.  After several purchases, I take a step back, look at everything that I've acquired and spend an afternoon putting together as many outfits as I can.  Lining up a few weeks worth of looks assures me that I'm getting good use out of the items I already have.

Do you have any other strategies that help to keep your shopping "hobby" in line?  Do share!

Have a question of your own?  Drop me an email!

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I LOVE to hear from my awesome readers, so let me know what you're thinking! If you don't have a blog, please leave your email, so that I can respond and/or answer any questions. Always, Kyla

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