February 28, 2017
Today (I write a day ahead…) is the 57th day of my shopping fast, and so far I’m feeling very minimal pain or unhappiness from my choice. I see beautiful things that I admire – every day! – but I remember something that I wrote a long time ago, and so I admire, and then I walk away. (literally, or digitally!)
But just because I’m not buying “clothes” – meaning all of those things that I wear out and about in the world – doesn’t mean that there’s no shopping that really should be done.
I pondered this question at length, and have concluded that there are, in fact, six categories of apparel that might need to be… “shored up” through the year. Not buying scarves, jewelry, or pretty sweaters might free up my attention (and money!) to better reinforce some of the weaker underpinnings (ahem…) of my wardrobe.
And thus I settled on these 3 categories:
- athletic apparel
- other undergarments
- socks and hosiery
Six categories is such a nice number, for a year-long project! (yes, they are in alphabetical order – it’s the way my brain rolls…) A sensible person would tackle swimwear next because it’s all over the market, but I’m going to stick to this list in this order because it reflects my needs, such as they are!
I fell into this idea when I literally tore the back out of a pair of running shoes – that’s the sort of thing that I had said all along was going to be replaced when necessary! After that happened, I took the time to sort through all of my workout gear, and realized that I had a couple of pairs of shorts that were looking a bit seedy and down at the heels. My tee shirt assortment was pretty robust, if you don’t mind wearing cotton 5K tees all the time – but my harder workouts require something more utilitarian. And dashing 2 blocks to the physical therapist called for some sweats to pull on over shorts and a top… When I finished my wish list, it looked like this:
Yes, this is most drab color-scheme possible, but it’s what is most comfortable for me, and that’s ALWAYS supposed to dictate your color palette, right?
The sweatshirt is from a company started by Joe Biden’s daughter! Made in the US, which is terribly hard to find. It comes in six colors, including a gorgeous blush pink. You usually have to have them notify you when your size is available, because they sell out quickly. But I was notified that I could order in about 10 days, so that seemed worth waiting for…
And yes, the Adidas shoes are amazingly comfortable. They run a bit small, so if you order them, get 2 pair and make sure that 1 is a half-size down from your usual size. Remember, when mail ordering, always assume that you’re returning stuff!
This shopping blow-out will have me pretty well set for athletic apparel (except maybe shoes – shoes take a beating…) until next spring…
I’m really looking forward to the March/April installment of this project, because I’m going to throw myself into the website at Thirdlove.com and see what they have to offer. I’ve already taken advantage of their “try one for free” offer, and I’m loving the results…
Does anybody else hate bra shopping as much as I do?
More from my 2017 Year Without Shopping Series:
I was talking to a transportation expert about the future, and he said that the explosion in online shopping, and especially returns, poses a problem for reducing pollution, with all the delivery trucks running back and forth. Something to keep in mind. Sometimes it's worth going to the store to try things on.
I also have that problem with swimwear! I have to wear a two-piece suit if I don't want to pay for something custom made (and I don't swim enough to make that worthwhile). My top is a 4 and my bottom is a 10. Which makes me really mad on behalf of various youth groups that require one-piece swimsuits for girls – it's just not always feasible! And there are plenty of modest two-piece suits.
Sorry, this somehow got posted the wrong place!
Taste of France says
I haven't been shopping for clothes because all my centimes have gone into real estate. That said, it has been rather satisfying to see the wardrobe get thinned out by attrition. However, like you, I'm going to need to buy swimwear this year, I fear.
When I don't need clothes, I generally spent the money on household items. As part of my 2017 goals, I'm working on organizing my closets and cupboards, so new hangers, bins, shelves, hooks, etc. I'm also trying to improve and expand my cooking skills, so I bought some new knives, cutting boards and glass storage containers, as well as a wide variety of grains, produce, cheeses and spices.
Lori @ inmykitcheninmylife.com says
I'm waiting for a second-try bra from Thirdlove right now. The first one they sent was a t-shirt bra. It fit pretty well but the tops of my breasts jiggled like Jello — some of us who are into the second half of our lives need a little more coverage. :)
Margie from Toronto says
I have stuck to the "No shopping for clothes" vow since September 2016. I anticipate a need for some new bras, hosiery and a few pieces of casual summer wear plus a couple of pairs of lightweight summer shoes over the next few months. A Spring jacket might be on the list but we often go straight from winter to summer so existing sweaters may suffice.
I used to HATE shopping for bras – I am short and VERY well endowed and finding bras that fit properly and were also comfortable seemed to be impossible. All that changed a few years ago when I started shopping at a proper lingerie shop where they stocked bras from all over the world and where they insist upon doing a proper fitting for you – best time I ever spent. Yes the bras are very expensive – BUT – they last far longer than previous purchases, they fit perfectly, easily take 10 pounds off my appearance and they are COMFORTABLE! This means they are investment pieces and I look after them – always hand washing and hanging to dry. I can't believe it took me so long to finally reach this epiphany but highly recommend a proper fitting for all women!
As for alternative spending – I have spent a total of $76 on bits and pieces for my apt. – a few decorative items (I'm switching to pink as a Spring accent colour so added a few new items to existing to update things) and a few storage baskets as I reorganized my pantry. I don't anticipate much more spending in this area as I'm really trying to cut back on all spending.
I haven't bought any new clothes since last summer when I started downsizing my wardrobe. I've donated a ton of shoes I never wore and made seven trips to consignment and three to vintage while editing. Seeing all these fashion mistakes (for me, somebody else is going to love them) really put the brakes on shopping.
I am considering replacing some of my pjs and one pair of shoes. I gave away my leopard print scarf because it wasn't quite what I wanted. Still haven't found the perfect one.
It's easiest not to shop if I don't go into stores. Or a quick reminder look inside my still bulging closet. For me (now that we've moved into our downsize apartment), the big cost is space. I'd have to give up something in order to get something new.
Tomorrow begins my third year of "no shopping in Lent." Also during Lent I will be culling and donating some of the excess clothing (and other belongings around here). I hope that in 6.5 weeks my wardrobe will be more focused and my life more peaceful! – nancyo
Janice Riggs says
For those observing Lent, this is brilliant! Thanks for suggesting it to us all.
I'm small breasted and have never found a bra that is fits as well as I would want even with a bra fitting. I'm very excited to try the true love.com bras after answering the questions on fit and having a half-size cup recommended. Mate that's the answer. Thank you so much, Janice, for mentioning them. I too am very much limiting clothing purchases. I carefully reviewed my spring/summer clothes and listed just a few items still needed to round out my wardrobe to fit all my activities,from very casual to more dressy. I listed my activities and frequency of each. Then I listed the item I now have for each category, then put together outfits as Janice does. This made it clear where the gaps were and there were very few! Janice Collins Washington DC
I have a Thirdlove t-shirt bra and will probably get another, prettier one, very soon because it's very comfortable. I also like the way it makes my breasts look in clothes- nicely high and supported, but tastefully minimized. Something about the shape of the cups really works for me.
I hate buying athletic apparel more than I hate buying bras, though. This is a category I need to spend some time/money/thought on.
I've been not shopping for clothes since sometime in the fall. It's surprisingly easy since I had spent the year consciously filling known gaps.
I predicted I would need to buy some tops for spring and summer. Instead I noticed that while I had not enough for warm weather, I had too much for cold weather, especially since we had very little cold weather this year even for us. I switched out fall-winter for spring-summer in my closet 2 weeks ago, keeping a few transitional tops and enough pullovers and cardigans handy for the temperature variant days.
I identified 5 shirts and 4 tees that are long sleeves and that would be nice for warm weather (cotton or silk with little or no synthetic content, and not heavy) if they had short sleeves instead, and that I wouldn't really miss when winter comes again. Even if we have a real one next year.
I will take these 9 tops to my alterations lady later this week and have a new infusion of warm season clothes (varying from casual to professional) by the time I take my first (southern) spring business trip next month.
Instead of buying spring clothes I am going to get a couple of nice leather zipper pouches for my bag and maybe a wallet, because I currently use net zipper pouches that catch on things in my bag, and my wallet is subpar. So, undergarments for my bag.
Arts Doc says
Bras! I wrote a blog post abut wanting an ethical foundation. :) I want a bra made from workers who are not slave labor! I know they are mostly women, and as a feminist this is important to me. So far nothing! My foundation drawer is a shambles! I usually wear Wahcoal (I have a difficult size) but although cut in France, they are assembled somewhere else. Finding ethically made clothing is a real challenge!
Hi Vivienne – completely off topic, but could you please share your email address? I'd like to send you a request for some wardrobe help!
Janice Riggs says
[email protected] – easy to remember!
You will be hearing from me shortly!
Gail Finke says
I hate shopping for bras and am interested to hear what you think of Thirdlove. After reading a lot of posts about bras from a FB group I'm in, I went to a Soma store and had a fitting. AMAZING. It turns out that the reason bras never seemed to fit me right is that I'm a size no dept. store stocks — a 32 DDD. This sounds like a crazy size — I am a little busty but not huge – but it's really not, the fitter explained to me that it's because I am petite but curvy — I wear smalls and xtra smalls in most clothes brands. Still, I never in a million years thought I was a 32. She brought me 8 different styles to try on and two are amazing. They literally made me look as if I had lost 5-10 pounds. As Margie from Toronto wrote above, these bras are more expensive but last a lot longer, and they are worth it to look so much better every day. (frequent sales and coupons help too) I also appreciate that this particular store isn't decorated in a way that says "you secretly want to be a prostitute" — I wouldn't take Victoria's Secret stuff if THEY paid ME! Sorry. Soapbox. Anyway, I would never have tried this store if people hadn't recommended it, so I do the same now. Believe me, department stores have only limited size ranges and their "bra fitters" aren't.
Susan U says
I vote for Soma too, Gail! The difference is amazing, I look younger!
Bathing suits are the absolute worst for me. I'm pear-shaped and nothing looks good. Perhaps it's time to try a burkini. But like others, I've found that having a professional to fit bras is soothing and a big improvement for shape and morale. Yes, sourcing ethically made underwear remains a problem.
I'm impressed by others' commitment to the clothes-shopping fast. I've not been without sin here but still trying. I've also noticed that I've sort of shifted the shopping impulse into craft so don't yet feel that I've made a big step forwards. But I feel encouraged by what I'm reading here, so thank you all very much!
Janice, I think your alphabetical list is delightful. Why wouldn't we be orderly in our list-making, as elsewhere? (I'm a retired editor . . .)
Robyn in Tasmania
Janice Riggs says
Shopping fasts are guidelines, not laws! We're going to slip-up, but so long as we keep our minds on the long-term goal we've set, we shouldn't beat ourselves up.
Cornelia Estey says
No shopping here also, and it's not been a big deal either. My walking shoes need to be replaced very soon, and I also need to buy a few new bras. Will do this while in Germany later this spring. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I will live this year very budget-consciously. As to Margie's point, I do remember going to my first proper bra fitting about 12 years ago, after settling for 'whatever works' for years and it was a relevation. No going back to 'whatever' ever!
Susan Bybee says
I broke my wrist recently, and as a result, can't dress myself in anything but t-shirts and leggings. No shopping for me! When I finally get out of this cast and back in my regular clothes, it's going to be like a brand new wardrobe!
And don't forget these – pajamas, a robe and slippers, jewelry, makeup, a new haircut, a purse or wallet, and perfume! Add these categories, and you've got one for each month. I bought quilting fabric in December for my "mental health", in my makeover process.
Does anyone know a good place to get gym shorts that meet the following requirements:
– at least 50% cotton
– long inseam so they don't ride up and have my thighs chafe, but still above the knee
– loose fit, not skin-tight or yoga style
I have a couple pairs that are great, but one of them is wearing out, and I can't find that company anymore. I have a couple other pairs that are a bit too short and ride up. Any ideas?
Kaci, I doubt this will be a perfect selection for you, but https://www.rei.com/c/womens-shorts?r=category%3Awomens-clothing%7Cwomens-shorts%3Bfabric-type%3ACotton%20%2F%20Cotton%20Blend&ir=category%3Awomens-shorts
I've had to adapt my ideas about my workout wear and changed to fabrics/cuts that aren't what I've worn before for many reasons. It seems like the "weird" "new" stuff does work just as well! For example, maybe some shorts really meant for hiking can work well for me for walking and yoga and whatever else, even though they're not designed for that?
I will devilishly suggest you excise outerwear; we rarely wear out a coat or jacket, and a good coat is a big ticket item. Most women accumulate more coats than they need (I am a stellar, longstanding example.) But. I dunno, maybe you have worn a coat to shreds?
I've held off buying any clothes too, because I commissioned a piece of jewellery and did not want to stint on the project. The only thing I have bought so far this year is basic gym underwear.
Janice Riggs says
I personally will almost certainly NOT buy a coat this year, but I'm tossing it out there as a category to which someone could dedicate some attention, and some "freed-up" cash, if such a purchase is necessary.
Frankly, after my gym clothes are all set, I won't need much else all year – hallelujah!