Finally, an Update!

Wow, this update is LONG overdue! In a nutshell: I’m still not shopping! At least not for clothing and shoes.

Why haven’t I been writing? I moved just over a year ago, and the new house needs some work. We had our kitchen remodeled and now we’re painting almost every room. I decided to try to make window treatments despite only using my sewing machine for hemming once every three or four years.

Back to shopping. I can’t think of the last time I stepped into Nordstrom. I sometimes want to go to TJ Maxx, but then when I have time to go, I don’t feel like going. When I do go shopping, I shop with a purpose. I recently needed a few long-sleeved shirts that I could wear to the office, and some pajama pants, and I didn’t even browse the sections that didn’t have those items. When I do shop, I quickly get to the point where I really want to get out of there. Now I know how my husband felt whenever I took him shopping!

I need new black boots, because the two-year-old pair I have are incredibly uncomfortable now. Yet I don’t want to take the time to go find a new pair! I have another pair that I haven’t worn in years because they’re not my style anymore… yet they are comfy and they fit, so I might just start wearing those instead of going shopping.

I can’t imagine spending hours at the mall. Yet, I know that was all I wanted to do just a few years ago. I’m constantly amazed that this change happened, and I wish it was just a formula that I could share.

My whole view of what I wear and look like has changed. I like to look put together, but I don’t try to look polished. My shoes are good enough and comfortable, so I’ll keep wearing them. I’m most comfortable in a t-shirt, cardigan, and jeans, so that’s what I wear most days. I also developed a love for sweatshirts, so I wear those as “normal” clothing now instead of just on sick or snow days. My seventh-grade self is coming through!

But… I still have a compulsive streak. I was obsessed with tile and granite during our kitchen renovation, and spent entire days browsing online. I spent at least a month choosing paint for the kitchen, going to the paint store a few times a week. Then I needed a new car, and was completely addicted for over a month, test driving several cars at least 4-5 times. Now, it’s the window treatments. I’m obsessively looking at fabrics, both online and in-store.

This is the next vice I need to work on.

When I decide to take on a project, I become completely absorbed in it to the detriment of everything else. “Everything else” being daily life.

Though I don’t view this fault to be as bad as my shopping addiction, it almost is. I traded money for time. Instead of spending many dollars, I waste many hours. Many, many hours.

This blog is always on my mind, so I will try to start using it to break my compulsive research addiction.

Moving Up is a Step Down.

I received some disturbing mail at the end of December. It was something that I receive yearly and had previously always enjoyed.

It was my yearly Nordstrom wrap-up, letting me know what reward level I’d achieved for 2015. I remember my excitement the year before, when I’d moved up to the second tier for the first time. I planned to take advantage of every reward in 2014. It turns out I did, and then some. For 2015, I was being bumped up to the third tier.

Level THREE. I had spent between $5,000 and $9,999 at one store in one year, solely on clothing, shoes, and accessories for myself.

I felt sick, ashamed, and embarrassed. I didn’t even want to think about what I’d spent at all the other stores.

My attitude change about shopping has been profound. I don’t struggle to avoid shopping; I don’t even feel like shopping. I realize this might change once the weather gets warm and sunny. I’ve had cycles before where I was less enthused about material possessions, but the drive to shop always came back. I’ve been coasting with this new view for around seven months now, so there’s a chance it will stick. It’s nice to not feel suffocated because I need to shop but can’t, or want to shop but have to hide it. There is no suffocation, no secret, no shopping agenda.

Oh, that term. Shopping agenda. A wardrobe plan. Ideas for tackling a wardrobe update.

Those phrases seem so odd to me now. Do I need an outline of steps for this “agenda”? Does clothing my body really need a “plan”? Do I need to make a PowerPoint presentation for how I’m going to “tackle” wardrobe updates?

Other shopping terms have started to give me visceral reaction. Haul. Must-haves. Spring essentials.

Haul: to pull or drag, move or carry something with effort; a usually large amount of something that has been collected. If I’m buying so much that I can aptly use the word “haul” to describe my purchase, there’s a problem.

Must-have: something that is necessary to have or get. Retail stores and shopping sites are quite keen on telling me what I Must Have. I must? According to whom? What happens if I don’t buy that item? What happens if I do? Will I look just like everyone else who was told they must buy it? This phrase taps into my seventh-grade self, when I was desperate to make myself popular by trying to look the part; that is, trying to look exactly like the popular girls. (I failed, by the way.)

Essentials: of the utmost importance. The stores have been announcing spring essentials for a while now. It snowed this morning, so spring is yet to arrive here in New England. Still, I’d better be prepared and pick up the necessary and very important clothing items so I can look like I stepped out of a catalog! The same catalog that is telling everyone what to look like!

I far prefer the terms wardrobe basics, trends, and other words that aren’t loaded with a sense of commanding and dictatorship. But those terms don’t garner enough attention and credit card activity.

I’m sure I’ll be back to level one next year at Nordstrom. I haven’t spent much there (or anywhere else) so far this year. And most of my Nordstrom tab is from their excellent cafe, which is one of my favorite lunch spots. You’ll find me there in my very ordinary outfit, which is only essential in that if I removed it, I’d be arrested.