More thoughts on (not) shopping

The shopping fast ended in a spectacular splurge. I knew I’d find it hard to keep on the wagon but of all the things that could possibly have crossed my path it had to be Those Shoes. I honestly can’t think of anything more certain to have pushed me over the edge.

The obvious thrill of finally tracking them down was followed by an inevitable rekindling my on-off love affair with the high heel. While I’ve no intention of wearing them every day, this prompted me to think about my wardrobe from a different perspective. I feel motivated to explore the more feminine side of my style again.

I’m now looking forward to a season of shopping the closet. A quick tour of the summer collection shows it to be well-stocked with plenty of dresses, skirts and blouses, many of whom have the novelty value of not having been worn in a while. I’ve already run a couple of items through the wash with a packet of dye (they’ve come out beautifully) and I’m looking at what alterations and/or repairs can be done to freshen up some older pieces.

For the most part, I want to prioritise upcoming requirements, hold myself accountable and focus on editing. I don’t feel my wardrobe particularly lacks anything at this point and I’d love it if I could get through the year adding no more than one new piece a month. With this in mind I’ve set myself some shopping goals. I will of course be keeping my eyes open for any spectacular finds, but if I make any opportunistic purchases, they’ll have to be something really, really good. That bar’s just been set very high indeed.


I definitely need:

  • A haircut
  • Prescription sunglasses (existing frames)
  • New everyday handbag (same model as the old one, to be ordered)

I probably need:

  • Breton shirt, red stripe
  • Draped tees, plain white
  • Hiking sandals (Teva or equal)

I could use, but can live without:

  • Ankle length straight leg jeans, dark wash or solid black
  • Low-top Chuck Taylor or similar sneakers, plain black

I might make

  • Oversized reversible parka, black/floral
  • Summer culottes or pants, black

I crave:

  • Vintage ’80s
  • Japanese menswear
  • Vintage ’80s Japanese menswear

I must not buy:

  • Concert shirts

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Angie replied 4 years ago

    Have to run, but wanted to quickly say WELL DONE. You are focused. These are GREAT style goals, Liz. Nice strategy. 

  • Style Fan replied 4 years ago

    Great style goals.  I can relate about setting the bar very high.  I am agonizing about a splurge.  I haven't been on a shopping fast but I do have a budget for the first time in my 61 years.  I am curious about the dying.  That is something I have not tried.  I did stain some things with tea years ago.

  • replied 4 years ago

    I like this.  Setting the bar high should be a goal for all of us, all of the time.  I'm moving forward into spring with a similar plan and set of goals.  Smirking at no more concert t's......

  • replied 4 years ago

    Funny post.  Your sense of humor is great.  

  • LaPed replied 4 years ago

    Not-shopping has gotten me to analyze needs vs wants too. A haircut and new hiking sandals are at the top of my "need" list too. ;)

  • Marilyn replied 4 years ago

    This sounds like a solid plan.   You look to be in good shape.

    I'm going to try to take some of your positive energy and get moving on a tour of my own closet.  I think I'm probably in better shape than I think I am.

  • Joy replied 4 years ago

    You are so focused that it is inspiring. Shopping fasts have taught me that I do not miss out because there are always more sales and more things I want. If the wait is long enough, wants go away often replaced with new ones that will also go away given time.

  • approprio replied 4 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback all! 

    Angie: thanks! I feel like I've had One Final Splurge before settling into this phase of evaluation. I do need to be very honest about lifestyle and priorities though. 

     I used Dylon machine dye. It works best on 100% cotton and viscose, and it's great for colouring in whites or pastels, or freshening up darker colours. It doesn't work on synthetics though. I've never tried to dye wool or silk, but I believe it can be done in a cold dye bath.

    lisap: oh yes, setting the bar high is my best defence against indiscriminate shopping! On the other hand, this endless pursuit of trophies carries its own pitfalls.

    Sterling: kind of you to say so! I'd like to think I'm back on the wagon with you now.

    LaP: somehow this doesn't surprise me. If we're completely honest with ourselves, maybe all we really need is a good haircut and stout walking shoes.

    Marilyn: we're probably all in better shape than we think, but I'm finding it very helpful to analyse what I have and how I use it. 

    Joy: I think you're right. I'm definitely less prone to sales goggles than I used to be, and over the years I've learned to be more mindful in retail environments. This isn't just about not shopping though, it's about making better use of the stuff I already have. 

  • Janet replied 4 years ago

    I'm curious about the dyeing too. Sometimes I think I would get more use out of certain things if the color were different. I even have a leather jacket I've thought about dyeing. But that's a scary proposition.

    Great thoughts and insights all around. I can relate to much of it. I've had some moments of temptation around shopping lately, but haven't actually followed through on the temptation. I have some online shopping carts in limbo. And I have a sweater packed up to return in the trunk of my car, which I've been avoiding doing because it puts me in the danger zone of the mall. I had a half hour to kill the other day and I was in the vicinity of Anthro and a boutique where I sometimes find good stuff, but instead I ended up in a coffee shop with my laptop. Hmm. My habits seem to be changing.

  • Suz replied 4 years ago

    First of all, this sounds like a superb plan. (And, the shoes were totally worth it.) I really like the categories you developed here. The fact that you acknowledged your cravings seems key. It will allow you to be more mindful when something that triggers those cravings comes up -- you'll be able to ask whether this item will really satisfy the craving or just amp it up, or whether feeding the craving is really good for your overall plan. 

    Fascinated also by the dyeing and may pursue this! Thank you for the link. 

  • Angie replied 4 years ago

    I'll keep you honest, Liz....and with David Bowie on my shoulder. 

  • Sara L. replied 4 years ago

    I'm glad you mentioned dying.  I just bought some black dye to overdye a pair of black jeans and a black cardigan that have faded.  I'm hoping the dye will turn them stark black again.  I hope to have some time this weekend to put my plan into action.

    I think you have a great list and it was also smart to list what you're NOT going to buy.  I think that's almost more important as listing what you're looking for.  

  • replied 4 years ago

    " If we're completely honest with ourselves, maybe all we really need is a good haircut and stout walking shoes."

    And of course the occasional splurge of some Ann D. sandal/boots. Right?

    But, you are so right that paying attention to the basics, and getting those REALLY right, is the most important element of good style. Based on your list, that is obviously your focus right now, to refresh and replenish those items.

    The fact that 2 of your 3 priority items are not really changes at all (new lenses in existing frames and a duplicate hangbag) says you really have defined and are owning "your" style.

    And you can probably find the variety you also crave within your own enviable closet for a while - what with your talent for dying things and hacking pants hems to the perfect length.

    Can't wait to see some more!

  • LaPed replied 4 years ago

    "maybe all we really need is a good haircut and stout walking shoes."

    Goodness, you know my own style philosophy better than I do! That's an adage to tack up next to the mirror, for sure.

  • abc replied 4 years ago

    I hope you don't mind, I loved the organized way you thought through your needs so I shamelessly copied it and posted my own!  You should feel good, I haven't posted in probably almost a year, and this post inspired me to really think things through.  I'm feeling a case of the wantsies coming on so this will hopefully help me stay focused.

  • approprio replied 4 years ago

    Janet: Good that you're staying out of temptation's way. I don't have too much trouble in the Bijenkorf (our Nordies) but vintage stores are definitely my danger zone! I need to stay away from them in case I see another floral jumpsuit or something.

    Suz: the shoes were so worth it! I'm looking forward to wearing them. As for craving things, once I've got the bag and sunglasses out of the way, I might go back to stalking things. Or maybe I'll have identified another wardrobe niche by then.

    Angie: yes! Can't afford to loose the Bowie influence, but I'm pretty sure he was better at editing than I am ;)

    Sara: make sure you have time to run the washing machine four times! Wash, dye, wash again, clean machine. It's a process. 

    Ryce: them's my ideal sunglasses and the Goldilocks bag! Of course I'm keeping them! But it's an important point. I feel like I'm homing in on something quite fundamental by identifying these essentials: the eyewear, the bag, the Breton shirts etc. If anything, there's too much variety, and taming it brings some much needed consistency.

    LaP: hah! if only!! I should learn to take my own advice :D

    abc: answered that in your thread already. Honestly though? You probably just needed a push. Wantsies are sometimes needs that haven't made themselves felt yet.

  • minimalist replied 4 years ago

    "a good haircut and stout walking shoes" YES! In completing my summer wardrobe shopping, I gave up on trying to find comfortable-enough heeled sandals, and am taking a hard look at which outfits would work with not-that-fashionable but 10K-walkable Mephisto sandals.

    I've had some good results dyeing at home with Dylon, and been even happier with pieces I've sent out to be included with larger lots at a commercial facility.

  • rachylou replied 4 years ago

    Good, clear list. I think my key takeaway is 'editing'. I want to improve my editing skills.

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