“To be really mediæval one should have no body. To be really modern one should have no soul. To be really Greek one should have no clothes.”
― Oscar Wilde
What’s your relationship with shopping and consumption, kittens? I’m curious because I’m in the process of resetting mine, and that’s primarily what we’re going to be chatting about this week.
Towards the end of last year I did the first of three shopping bans as part of my 101/1001 project. The self imposed rules were simple: regular expenses, utilities, and things for the house were permitted, but all personal purchases (with the exception of toiletries or replacing an item if damaged beyond repair–RIP cheap, shredded tights, hello Heist) were verboten. I’m not a massive clotheshorse or a major spendthrift, but I’m also not immune to consumer culture and its emotional traps, hence my goal to push the pause button on self-centered consumption at least once a year.
Rather sneakily, and perhaps not fully in the spirit of the challenge, as previously mentioned, I timed it so that the first ban would end in time for Black Friday. My motives were partly altruistic (Christmas shopping for other people) but not entirely. However, after three months of not buying anything for myself…it turned out that I didn’t want much.
One of the things I started doing last summer and during my first shopping ban was to start and keep a “To Buy” list. If I spotted an item I like, a trend I wanted to try, or a piece that appealed to me, I wrote it down rather than whipping out a card/cash or trying to justify buying it. I sat on the idea for a while. Shock surprise, it often turned out that a trend played itself out in a matter of days or weeks, the appeal of a piece faded, or…I just didn’t think about it again until I consulted my list and remembered, “Oh yeah, I did see that. Guess it wasn’t as memorable as I thought.”
By the time my self-imposed strictures lifted, I took a look at my list and asked myself what I really wanted. The answer was a handful of shirts/sweaters that would be good enough for work but also dress up my casual clothes (an ongoing project), a bag to replace my day-to-day one that was ripped and stained, one new accessory, and one trend piece (a velvet blazer)–plus beauty buys. So counting Black Friday and excluding Christmas presents, my end of year personal shopping comprised the following:
Sephora – makeup (Black Friday deal)
Everlane – two shirts and a sweater (discount code)
Nepheliad – a pair of earrings (discount code)
Brora – two sweaters (Black Friday deal)
282 Portobello Road vintage – a blazer and a coat (discounts from shop seller, and the coat was my Christmas present from Jeff)
Portobello Road vintage seller – a bag (haggled down price)
And that’s it. I decided that was going to be the total of my fall/winter shopping for this year and I’m considering my wardrobe updated for two seasons. Almost on the heels of one shopping ban I dove straight into another and the list above will represent everything personal I purchase for six months total…if I don’t screw up. The timing of this second ban also isn’t entirely altruistic because I’m publicly documenting my spending this month and don’t want to be disgraced in your eyes; I consider your oversight a way to keep me honest, kittens.
Your turn: talk to me about how you spend and why. Do you have regular luxuries you allow yourself? Are you tightening your belt, and if so, how? I’m very nosy, but genuinely want to know!