Category: Consumerism

What I’ve Bought: Summer Update

“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.” 
― Caitlin Moran, How to Be a Woman

Kittens, I feel like it’s time to confess my purchases for the summer! For a recap and a bit of a sense of how I’m tracking items, here is my first update on this project. In the past couple of months I have been shopping, but I’ve also been continuing to edit out old or unused items in my house and closet. I’ve had a couple of, ah, shopping indiscretions but at the end of the day, I’m doing pretty well.

As you read this I should be in Prague (unless something annoying has happened with our travel plans), so expect future posts on that next week. In the meantime, here’s what’s cause me to put down my credit card in the last three months:

  1. A pair of shorts
  2. A summer weight shirt from Gap
  3. A pair of work trousers which were unanticipated but necessary when I discovered that my other lightweight trousers, ah, didn’t fit anymore. At all. This was a humbling purchase. I maximized the opportunity, though, by finding a pair from LK Bennett on ridiculous discount and are wide legged, so as to channel Katherine Hepburn
  4. A leopard print dress
  5. A pink cotton shirt, because I’ve decided I’m exploring my WASP heritage this summer (sartorially speaking)
  6. A linen shirt, because we don’t live in a nation with air conditioning!

Confession: I broke my makeup no buy challenge. I don’t want to dwell on it but let’s just summarize by saying there was a night out, G&Ts were involved, I happened to be in the vicinity of a NARS store just after their new highlighter formula launched….and well, we’re very happy together.

I also snagged a blush by & Other Stories…because Into The Gloss made me do it… Shut up. It was on sale.

Oops.

What I’ve Bought, Didn’t Buy, and Why

“Buy what you don’t have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.” 
― Karl Lagerfeld

So, here’s the bit where I confess that I’m trying a bit of an experiment this year in my ongoing, unofficial series on consumerism: I’m restricting myself to buying only 18 personal items this year. Well, that’s the goal anyway–who knows what human frailties await us–but for the time being I’ve managed to keep on track with only 7 purchases so far in 2018.

Full disclosure, not all items count against this tally. I’m not counting things like replacing tights with holes in them, restocking underwear, and other utilitarian aspects of life, and books will never be subject to a quota in this household!

So what does count? Anything that goes on my person or for a hobby kind of activity–basically things I buy strictly for my own pleasure or wants are tallied up, as are big ticket items for the home.  Thus far, they have all been purchases for my closet:

  1. New works heels – to replace yet another victim of London’s cobblestones. I picked up a brand new pair from LK Bennett at a charity shop for about a 1/10 of the sticker price
  2. A vintage belt
  3. A black blazer – which is something I didn’t already own, believe it or not
  4. Wide leg trousers
  5. A casual shirt
  6. A pair of earrings, which I bragged on yesterday
  7. Another blazer – a gorgeous gray wool one, and vintage Burberry to boot

Every single one of these items was a planned purchase, had been considered for months, and by avoiding impulse buying I didn’t pay full price for any of them thanks to sales or bargaining. Four out of seven are vintage or second hand purchases, which is very much in keeping with my typical spending habits. This list comprises most if not all of my spring and summer shopping list. I’ve by using my list system to be much more thoughtful about my wants, and to identify and fill gaps in my wardrobe. Seriously, who says they love clothing and doesn’t own a black blazer?

A few other projects have been going on in the background over the last six months as well, including my now annual 3-month shopping ban–my gray blazer being a cheat item I bought during this time, but one I didn’t regret in the slightest because 1) it had been on my To Buy list for months so could justify a slight bending of the rules and, 2) c’mon, vintage Burberry on the cheap!

During this same time, I’ve gotten more ruthless with my closet and have donated several pieces to Mary’s Living and Giving. I found I was holding on a several items that I hadn’t worn in months or longer and, having decided on a use-it-or-lose-it attitude towards a lot of “stuff” in my life lately, I had no qualms in letting them go. So, in spite of a few new purchases, my closet continues to be more streamlined and slimmed down than it was a couple of years ago.

Finally, I’m trying to not buy any new makeup for an entire year unless I’m replacing an item I have completely run out of and cannot replicate with what I already own. Skincare is exempt because while the fashions and styles of makeup shift, skin is forever and I believe in spending money to keep it healthy and clear. I’ve got a pretty well established stable of products and very rarely see the need to deviate from them, so purchases here have so far been only to replace items once I’ve run out of something.

What are my other 11 purchases for the year going to be? I’m not sure! I’ve been thinking about getting a bike for a while (for nearly a whole year, lest you thing I rush decisions), but truthfully I’d rather get some more furniture for the house with that money right now. I’d like to get a couple more jewelry pieces as I slowly transition away from cheap and costume-y to more substantial stuff that I hope to own the rest of my life, but I can wait for the right ones to come along. Now that I’ve done my seasonal shopping, I am going to see how long I can go without adding anything else to my wardrobe because I really feel like there isn’t anything I truly need at the moment for either work or casual. Over the past year I really feel as if I’ve come to a much healthier attitude towards “things,” which in turn is allowing me to flex the muscle of thinking in long term goals. More on that later.

Have you done any spring or summer shopping for this year? What have you bought? Are you planning any future shopping, and if so, how do you choose and prioritize your purchases?