Retail Therapy

I am absolutely terrible about buying clothing for myself.  Terrible.  Remember that post I did about things I bought from Anthropologie?  Yeah, all but one of them got sent back.  I currently have 2 pairs of shoes that I ordered, sitting in their respective boxes, ready to go back to the Post Office.

It’s not that I don’t have good taste.  I do (at least I think that I do).  The shoes are being returned because I bought them for work, and they weren’t as comfortable as the companies claimed.  Honest!  The thing about me is that I’ve turned into one of those people who doesn’t like to spend money on herself.

I blame college.  From the time I was able to drive till around my Junior year of college, I was pretty materialistic.  Going to the mall once every other week, shopping online.  I never ran into debt, but having lots of nice, pretty things was a huge part of my identity.

I was doing my bi-annual closet rotation for Summer/Winter clothes during my Junior year at Purdue.  I was hauling all of my summer stuff up to the storage room, and suddenly realized how ridiculous it was that I had an entire box full of sandals.  This wasn’t counting the other 2 boxes downstairs filled with more summery shoes, or the 5 boxes full of summer clothes.  I was halfway up the stairs when I thought, “Now this is crazy for one person to own so much stuff!”  I turned around, went back downstairs, and re-sorted through all of my clothing and shoes.  Anything that hadn’t been worn more than once was placed in separate bags for Goodwill.  I’ve done this every season since then and started in on Chris’ clothing once we were married.

Unfortunately, when you do this, your closet choices tend to get pretty skimpy.  The thing about Chris’ clothing is that he’s always getting more.  He never, ever buys it for himself, but for the last 3 years, we’ve visited his family around his birthday.  And for the last 3 years, I’ve either had to buy another suitcase or fill one of their’s in order to cart back the gifts and clothing that he receives.  I have no problem with this, because he truly wears just about everything in his closet (thanks to my sorting things out and Goodwill/charity shop donations).  So Chris is pretty well set in terms of his closet.

My closet is pathetic.  I don’t wear something for a year, give it away, and then don’t buy anything to replace it.  I’m not a bad looking girl – I have long, blonde hair, green eyes, clear skin, 5’8″, weigh a bit more than what I would like (what American female doesn’t?!), I always do my hair and makeup, and I think that I have a pretty face.  But from the neck down, my clothes are blah and bland.  I read about other bloggers’ closets and I’m half impressed, half in shock.  As in “in shock” when you’ve been away from mainstream culture for awhile and you suddenly see it in bright, shiny colors.  My wardrobe is composed primarily of scrubs, followed by t-shirts, sweatshirts, one pair of jeans, black stretch pants, and workout wear.  I have 2 black dresses, one black skirt, and about 3 pairs of, you guessed it, black dress shoes.  I have maybe 2 nice sweaters, 3 nice(r) shirts, some brown Mary Jane slip-ons, 3 pairs of running shoes, and a pair of brown clogs from J. Crew that I absolutely love but rarely wear.  That’s it.  No fancy designer labels, no boutique wear, nothing that isn’t practical and couldn’t be worn in a variety of settings.  I have Kinsey Millhone’s closet.

So in the quiet of the night last night (I work nights, so even on my days off, I’m up all night), I was thinking about my clothing.  Chris woke up around 6:30, came downstairs to say good morning, and asked what I was doing.  I told him that for the last 3 hours, inbetween watching episodes of “30 Rock” online and reading the news, I’d had a tab open to a cute pair of jeans from Nordstrom.  I kept clicking on them, then thinking, “Nahhh, I don’t need them.  They’re too expensive” (they really were pretty expensive), and then clicking  away to something else.  This process was repeated at least twice each hour.  I also told him about a sweater that I liked, but that the store didn’t list through Ebates, so I wasn’t sure that I was going to buy it after all.  Chris sat next to me, looked at the jeans, looked at the sweater, looked at me, and said, “I am getting my credit card, and you’re going to buy those clothes”.

I argued with him about how I didn’t need them, how I didn’t want to spend any money, yada yada.  He said, “Well, how about I buy them for you, and then you want have to spend a thing!”  Cute, and it made me smile.  He gave me a little talk about how I never spend much money on myself, and that  if I didn’t buy myself some clothes, he was going to go out and buy clothes for me, and how we both remembered the last time that he tried to “surprise” me and buy me  clothes (not pretty).

So, I’ll tell you what happened.  I bought the jeans.  They’re currently on their way to my door.  I haven’t bought the sweater yet, because I signed up for this deal with the store where I would get free shipping on orders of $50 or more if I joined their email club, but you have to wait a few days for the discount to kick in.  I’m such a saver.

I think that I’ll buy a few more things, too.  I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with having a well-stocked closet.  There’s nothing wrong with having a few higher-priced items, provided that you can afford them.  Chris and I both work hard, we live well within our income, we have no debt, and we have money saved and invested.  Buying clothing for me isn’t that big of a deal.  In fact, I feel silly writing about it.  I mean, considering the state of the world, writing about my retail guilt is fairly insignificant.  But, this is my blog and I get to say what I want 🙂  I don’t think that I’ll ever be one of those girls who drops $300 on a dress without batting an eye, and I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll never want to spend money for a Kate Spade or LV bag.  But I might just increase my clothing budget for next month… we’ll see!

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9 thoughts on “Retail Therapy

  1. Good for you for breaking your dry spell 🙂 I am not much a shopper, but I blame S for that, lol. I have worked SO HARD to get a line in the budget for “clothes”, and I finally got it. What’s sad though is that the dollar amount seems quite large, but the amount of clothing it buys is quite small…. oh well, baby steps right? I am really trying to boost my “professional” wardrobe, but it’s gonna be a while I think until I feel like its complete.

  2. I went through this same thing over the past two years. When I was in college I really cut back, I had planned on going to china for a semester and I had this great idea of taking everything I owned with me. To sort of help me part from my capitalism… Anyway… I never did end up going to China but I got rid of 80% of my closet. Slowly throughout the past few years I’ve added pieces, as I needed them or they were on sale. I still remember the day I got my first real job in New York and I went into Banana Republic and bought two dress shirts and a belt for full price! It was a big moment 🙂

    Phew… this is a long post, but what I’ve learned is that we live in a society were image does matter at times, and having the right clothes for the right time is important. So sometimes, we just have to bite the bullet and hand over the dough!

  3. YAY! The great thing about shopping online is you can put stuff in a shopping cart, and then keep going back to see if it goes on sale. 🙂 Its a great tool, IMHO!

    Find yourself some fun clothes … and oh what I would give for 2 more inches so that I wouldn’t have to hem EVERY SINGLE PAIR OF JEANS I ever buy. 🙂

  4. I have a really really tough time letting myself buy clothes, too. It’s weird….but I feel like it’s wasteful or I am being vain or something. I need to get over it, haha!

  5. Aw good on you for being a good saver 🙂 But yeah I definitely agree with what you said – it’s good to have a well-stocked closet also & with some nice things, especially if you know that you will use it all and can mix & match stuff for different outfits.

    I second that comment about posting pics of your new purchases 🙂

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