Monday, February 28, 2011

Recap | My year of not shopping

Holy moly...this is it, folks. Today is the last day in my year of not shopping. When I embarked on this shopping diet, I had no idea what to expect. I've written about it on the Great American Apparel Diet website as well as on Classy Career Girl, where I detailed the lessons I've learned from this experience.

362 days of no clothes shopping, 3 days of weakness

H&M jacket, Loft suit, Ann Taylor top

Purchased or swapped for 18 items of clothing, 17 pieces of jewelry, 6 belts, 4 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of tights, 3 scarves, 1 purse

In hindsight, I think I did better than expected (I totally thought I had bought more shoes, but I couldn't find any others).  I didn't count gifts into my recap, but I did get some nice wearable ones, too.  My closet still isn't as pared down as I'd like it to be, but it's getting there. And I'm appreciating my pieces more, too. For the longest time I was a basic basic basic girl. I had crew-neck short-sleeve tees in 6-7 colors, crew-neck long-sleeve tees in 5 colors, 5-6 of the same basic tank, 5 pairs of flip-flops, and the same pair of jeans in 3 different washes. As I've become more creative with my outfits and pairings, I'm drawn less and less to my simple staples and more to special pieces and finishing accessories. Somewhere in the past I had apparently decided that I needed an excuse to dress up (beyond jeans, tees, and flip-flops) and look put together--this diet (and this blog) has showed me that I don't.

Thinking about starting your own shopping diet? Here are some tips.
  • Set parameters. Are you abstaining from clothes, shoes, accessories, or all of the above?
  • Set a timeline. That way you'll know when you've succeeded. Start small if you have to. My first shopping diet was for a quarter in college (10 weeks), and then I did 6 months in 2009. Baby steps.
  • Unsubscribe to retailer and sale emails or delete them immediately. DO. NOT. OPEN.
  • Ask for help and support from your friends and shopping buddies. It helps.
  • Swap and accept. Whether it's permanently (through a swap event), borrowing clothes from a friend, or scouring your mom's closet for hand-me-downs, there are several ways to work new pieces into your outfit without spending a dime. Even if they're not your style at first glance, try it out. You can always give it back or pass it on.
If you have any other questions about my diet (or shopping dieting in general), leave them in the comments and I'll do a follow-up post with the answers. In the meantime, I'm planning my first excursion out--Macy's over lunch. I can't promise I'll buy anything, but I can't promise I won't.

Have you ever embarked on a shopping diet? For how long? What did you learn?


  1. congrats! I'm so impressed. I'm doing my 365 Thrift challenge (now new things, just used & vintage) right now and it's not as challenging as I thought - there are things I miss but i can find almost everything i need used.

  2. Really interesting post overall. I have to say, I haven't gone on a shopping "diet" but I really don't shop that much on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure I've gone at least 2-3 months without buying new clothes. I find that when I have money to spend I don't want to spend it. Right now, my bank account is plentiful because of my workterm, and I want it to stay that way. When it's almost empty I drain it dry.

    I really agree with your conclusion of being all about the basics. I still am, and I'm working to get myself out of plain things and into interesting patterns and brighter colors. It's a process!

    <a href=">My Growing Obsessions</a>

  3. Good work!! I stopped shopping for clothes from November 1st and was going to go until January 1st, but ended up extending it to February 1st. I've gone a little nuts over the past month and need to put myself back on a shopping diet :)

  4. Oh, wow. I don't really shop that much, but I feel like teling myself I couldn't would make it harder! Kudos to you, girl. You always look so cute!

    Lindsey Soup

  5. Congrats, I am very, very impressed! I might have to start a shopping diet if we upgrade to a house this year, so I'll be looking to you for inspiration :)

    Also, I used to feel the same way about "dressing up"... now, I'm "dressed up" usually 5 or 6 days out of the week and feel great. There was no reason for me to forbid myself from feeling awesome and so happy I got over it!!

  6. I'm inspired to give this a try for several reasons. When I first started reading your blog, I wasn't aware you were "dieting" & thought that your styling had changed a lot from your older posts - mainly in the way you accessorize / pair things. I follow a lot of fashion blogs / boards and always think "I shop @ the same places these girls do, have those same kinds of clothing but why don't I LOOK as chic as they do?!" I now realize it's b/c of the way I put things together & think that accessorizing = adding cute earrings LOL. Anyway, I'm convinced I can come away a better dresser if I take on this challenge. Wish me luck! :-)

  7. Hi from Scotland! Wow - this is an amazing achievement, very well done you! xx

  8. Congrats to you! Now I am curious as to the first thing you are going to buy.

    Also congrats on looking so cool on KCRA discussing the red carpet dresses at the Oscars.
    the Citizen Rosebud

  9. This is so truly amazing to me that you can do this. I'm VERY impressed. It inspires me to get out of the "I have nothing to wear" mindset and look DEEPER and more creatively. I second the Citizen Rosebud as I can't wait to see your first purchase! :)

  10. Good for you - I think you are so amazing for doing this!

    I agree with Bella and Hope - I am very curious about your first purchase! You were on KCRA!! That is amazing!! I'll have to check their website to see the clip!

    Sarah at Classroom Chic

  11. Congrats!

    I did one tiny shopping diet, but it was just an online shopping diet for a month because I realized I was shopping online impulsively. I only broke it once but it was because the shoes I had be trying desperately to find were available online for a deep discount. I need to set shopping parameters for myself in general though.

  12. Somehow it had escaped me that you were on this've done very well for me not to even realize it!

  13. Congrats, Angeline! I'm so impressed that you were able to go a full year. I'm glad to read that this wasn't cold turkey and that you had taken some baby steps in the past. This is definitely an inspiration for me to take a planned break from spending on clothing. I've cut down and have been making only very carefully considered purchases recently, but the challenge of going shopping free would be interesting.

    - Meredith

  14. Congratulations! Woo! That is awesome that you made it a whole year. I hope you found something amazing at Macy's to reward yourself!

  15. Amazing!!! What a great accomplishment! I think in the back of my mind, I knew you were doing this, but your outfits always seemed so polished and different in every post, I forgot a few times! That must mean you did a great job!

    The Auspicious Life

  16. Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment. Just goes to show that we can live without shopping (sometimes it doesn't feel that way)

  17. I love you in that little cropped trench and all four pairs of shoes are covetable. Congrats on your will power!

  18. @ melody - loving your 365 thrift! you're going to have to teach me the ropes of thrifting. you always have such great finds.

    @ sam - yes, it definitely feels nice when your bank balance starts going up! I'm still working on getting prints into my wardrobe.

    @ angie - great job! I think periodic diets sprinkled in with shopping is pretty good balance.

    @ lindsey - it's definitely not for everyone...only try it if you want to!

    @ nicole - it's good to have a goal in mind--a house is so exciting! good luck!

    @ gabe - good luck! you can do it!

    @ we shop - thanks!

    @ bella - thanks, hon! y'all have been great support.

    @ hope - yes, there is always something to wear!

    @ sarah - thanks, girl!

    @ pixie in pumps - yes, sometimes you just have to cave. :)

    @ terri - thanks! that is a major compliment.

    @ meredith - I think a one-year diet would definitely be a huge thing to try cold turkey. Small steps.

    @ jeanna - thanks!

    @ linda - I know, I've surprised myself! I don't think I've worn the same exact combo twice in who knows how long. I think the blog and the 30 for 30 helped with that, too. (I certainly wasn't that way before!)

    @ rachel - Thanks! Shopping has its place (I like it for therapy. :P)

    @ from suns to moons - Thanks!

  19. Way to go! LOL. It's really hard not to go shopping, right? Especially if you have this huge thing for clothes and accessories. I've spent my weekend in Florida malls looking for good finds. Congratulations!

  20. @ larissa - it IS hard not to go shopping, but I've also found that when you're not shopping, you just don't go out. I've read and crafted a lot more than I used to. :)

  21. Yep, I went on a self imposed shopping ban for 6 months last year.
    Originally set for a year but I caved in.... I have to say I learned a LOT.
    I would go to malls without any cash and would look at things and say to myself "I have something similar at home". I also deleted all emails coming in from stores and most important looked at magazine and other bloggers for inspiration on working my already-big-enough closet.

  22. I'm trying to find the self control to put myself on a shopping diet, but I keep putting it off and not doing it :/ Congratulations on going a year with only a few slips!

    Ashley @

  23. You didn't shop for 1 year?! You're my willpower hero. Well done you, now go forth and make up for it!

  24. This is amazing! I could barely handle 30 days. You go girl!!!
    Twitter @theloudermouth

  25. @ lorena - yes! I hear ya. I'm actually having a bit of a hard time getting back into shopping because I'm so used to saying "oh, I don't need that." It's not a bad thing, though. :)

    @ my fashion confession - Thanks! I think you can do it!

    @ blah blah becky - I will!

    @ the loudmouth - Thanks!

  26. Somehow it had escaped me that you were on this've done very well for me not to even realize it!


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