James Perse casual tee (size 1 – made in the US)
James Perse heavy fleece skirt | few years old, no longer available
James Perse mini canvas tote
Everlane cashmere cardigan | several years old, no longer available
Vince Blair haircalf sneakers | 4 years old, no longer available
Well, I made it through Cyber Monday without buying anything, did you?
It’s not for lack of trying, I had James Perse open and the oversized shirt dress in my cart. And La Garconne – I was seconds away from getting another pair of 6397 short jeans, in black, 100% cotton. Finally, I mentioned that I placed a Rodale’s order last week, but I didn’t, and was going to yesterday, but still didn’t.
It’s a constant struggle, buying vs. not buying, but I’m usually glad when I choose not. I’m not of the opinion that “nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy.” For me, now, it’s the things I bought that “haunt” me; the money I could have spent on something else, the experience I could have had instead of the THING. There’s always something else to buy, and even though I know a good deal when I see one, there’s always another deal around the corner. Right now, I just don’t WANT to buy anything. Nor do I need anything. I WANT things, but I don’t want to buy them. I don’t even want things I don’t have to pay for. And I don’t want to want them. It’s a weird feeling, still rather unfamiliar to me.
About the outfit – and not buying – though. I always think I’m going to wear more skirts/dresses in cooler weather, and I’d been wanting a long sleeve pullover dress (the James Perse one I’ve mentioned a million times) to wear with tights, or leggings, or jeans, or by itself, for just that reason.
I might have previously mentioned my strategy for buying new things : if I’m shopping in person, I wear the thing I’m trying to replace while shopping, and if I find a better version, I buy it, if not, I don’t buy anything. More often than not, I don’t find anything better than what I already have, or while wearing the thing, I realize that I don’t need to replace it, or I don’t need a similar thing. That’s sort of what I did yesterday with this outfit – I wanted to determine if I could wear a dress, like the JP oversized shirt dress in this weather, or if I should pass on it once and for all.
They’re not the same, this skirt I’m wearing and the dress I want, but while I wore it, I was paying close attention to how I felt in it, and if I could imagine myself wearing the dress instead. And then, I was reminded of one very big reason I don’t wear shorter skirts or dresses this time of year: the wind.
It’s very windy here now, and if I’d worn the JP dress, I would have been messing with it trying to keep it down all day. That’s also why I’ve stopped buying/wearing dresses/skirts that aren’t fitted to the knee. And why I didn’t get to take my outfit picture outside. Point taken, and shopping cart abandoned.
Anyway, that’s my weird strategy, and so far it’s working for me.
Do you do something similar? How do you talk yourself out of buying something you want, but really don’t need?
The last two items I bought were specifically to replace items that needed replacing. Both were purchased on ebay (I’m trying to buy second hand whenever possible). One is a definite success and I’m pretty sure the second is as well (both Icebreaker items to replace ancient Old Navy ones). The biggest item I’m still looking to replace are my boots. I’m not committed to buying second hand for those but I haven’t found anything better (new or used) yet. So I keep looking!
I do have to ES pieces on the way. One is a possible replacement. The other, not so much (it’s another black dress :))
Grechen Reiter says
oh…what ES pieces do you have on the way?
i’m loving the wool harper sweater, but i’ve heard a couple people say that they’re not fulfilling wool orders anymore, and it’s marked sold out now on their site 🙁 i’m going to find out more details before i post a review of the sweater…
i’m obsessed with my icebreaker jacket, i don’t need anything else, but my mom has a couple of pieces she really likes. although she complains that they are too wrinkly after washing…i don’t care about that, but she irons them.
I’ve got the Georgia tee and dress in black raw silk coming. I had the Eva top but sent t back because the high neckline was too severe for me. But I loved the raw silk. I have an older Georgia tee in a white hemp silk blend that I love.
I was temped by the Harper sweater but I so rarely wear the linen version I have I decided not to get it.
I used to have a few Icebreaker pieces a while back and really liked them. My husband has started cycling and has gotten a few wool tees. I decided I need some as well (to replace others). I’ve never found them too wrinkly. But it takes a lot for me to drag out the iron!
I really like your look today! I keep wanting to wear more skirts and dresses like that, but when it comes down to it, I hardly ever do. I just feel oddly too feminine in skirts and dresses.
My strategy to keep me from buying is to wait at least a day before hitting submit on the shopping cart. And if I get through one day, I try to get through another. Basically I see how many days I can go, and if I am still thinking about the stuff every day for several days, then I’ll get it. But more often than not I will get to day 2 or 3 and forget about it.
I didn’t buy anything myself during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but I did get something I wanted….my favorite shoe company had 50% site wide and my mom asked if there was anything I wanted for Christmas, so I pointed her there, and got a pair of shoes I’ve been thinking about for months. 🙂
I like your look today a lot too! I always tell myself to wear more skirts in winter, but I find them too fussy: not only do I have to layer on top, but with skirts I also have to layer on the bottom ,by adding tights or leggings and socks. It’s too much most of the time. But a short dress I would argue can act more like a top in winter, rather than a bottom—I mean, you can wear it with jeans!
In any case, I always feel super proud of myself when I convince myself not to buy something. Feels like such an accomplishment, which is pretty sad.
Grechen Reiter says
no, it’s not sad, it’s just who we are…
i always feel proud of myself when i resist buying too – or “do the right thing” in any tempting financial or food-related situation, because sometimes it’s quite hard for me 😉 no one else really understands.
That is so awesome. That’s a great strategy!
I did buy one item for myself yesterday – a triangular shaped leather handmade (in Brooklyn) wristlet from Etsy seller Annie Bukhman. I also purchased Allison Izu’s long sleeve Natasha dress in black from her brick and mortar in Honolulu over the weekend (she has a website too – a Hawaii designer, specializes in petites and thankfully understands petite doesn’t always mean super skinny). For gifts, I bought my mom a year’s subscription to the Texture app.
Can’t say the same for Black Friday, purchased a whole slew of items from JCrew (petite stretch wool suiting) for my interview outfits at 40% off. I would only like to keep one or two pieces but am trying on different sizes/styles, will return what doesn’t work. I already have their Resume dress and just need maybe a jacket and a pants or one more dress so I have two complete outfits. I also ordered the Lo & Sons Catalina tote in dove grey, Glossier’s boy brow & generation G lip stain & a fitbit blaze in plum. Also bought a Hello Lulu All-Day Backpack (kind of like a tote/backpack that fits a small torso well) from one of my favorite Honolulu shops, Mono (minimalist Japanese design aesthetic).
Definitely bought too much, time to go on a shopping diet.
Grechen, I love that casual outfit on you, pieced together from comfy options and some of your favorite brands. It’s how I love to dress, too. Today I’m wearing the Prana 100% cotton sweatshirt I love, reminding myself that even though it’s 30% on their website, I can’t wear two of them at the same time. Do I need another? No.
I read something really great in the NYT today about how to moderate spending, and I’m putting it into practice immediately. It’s a 7-day “mental quarrantine” on new purchases. What do you think of this approach?
I mostly purchased gifts on Cyber Monday, and the few clothing items I did buy over the weekend weren’t even on sale (from Nordstrom & Everlane). I did take advantage of the Glossier sale though, as I’ve been wanting to try their products. I received so many sale emails, from companies I love and want to support, but just deleted them. This time of year, the best way for me to stop buying for myself is to remind myself that I need to think of others first. It kind of works 😉
I definitely bought and bought and bought this week, and am shopped out for the meantime. I got a couple items from James Perse — one of which is great (the gray cardi), and one is an oatmeal colored tee which I ended up not liking, but can’t return, so I’m just going to have to work with it. I also bought a pair of Frye boots with their $100 off any pair online, and I had been ogling the Dara Chelsea boot for months, though at the last minute I swapped from classic black to “smoke”, which is a dark grey suede… I’m hoping it’ll give my mostly black wardrobe some dimension! While I’m trying to steer clear of J. Crew because of their business practices, I did get a pair of their high rise denim in a wash that NEVER goes on sale. I could only justify it because J. Crew Lookout High Rise jeans are the only jeans that fit me perfectly, and my previous pairs I’ve had for about 3 years.
Lastly, I got a barrette from Beklina I had been wanting for a while (small, but great quality), the white mockneck ES sweater which I hope ships soon, and as gifts, I got a pair of Kate Spade earrings for my SIL, and a KitchenAid for my fiancee, and a National Parks Annual Pass for my parents. Whew!
Ugh, no. I did really well through most of the weekend (only making a few planned purchases) but ended up splurging on some boots on Monday.. They were a great deal (like a really great deal), and I was at the point where I was either going to have to spend more to resole my cheapo ones than they were worth, or invest in something better pretty soon. But….. it wasn’t planned in my budget , so now I’ll be recovering for a few months.
I am traveling overseas (last day of internet!) I wanted to buy that Oak tee dress when you posted it on sale last week but didn’t think they’d like my us credit card used from a foreign location. Decided to try anyway yesterday but no longer on sale. Oh well 😉
Grechen Reiter says
oh man! i’m sorry you missed it…..it’ll pop-up again on sale – that 50% off was GOOD though 🙂
Alexandra Marie says
I ended up getting two pairs of earrings from Garmentory (Young Frankk and Bang Bang Bijou)… I ended up having $65 in store credit and $40 left in my budget for myself for the weekend after the Corinne top… I *am* kind of kicking myself for not getting the Ursa Minor Florence pants in terra cotta linen, but I didn’t know I would be gifted several pairs of earrings today after a family funeral and I couldn’t find sizing info on their pants and I think what I *really* want is to save up for a pair of ES pants (and and). I think I will be happy with my purchase but am hoping I made the right choice.
Grechen Reiter says
oh. that is a very interesting idea…instead of thinking about it before you buy it, you really scrutinize it AFTERWARDS. i guess i do both, but not with enough scrutiny, and sometimes, once it’s in my closet, it’s in – a quarantine could potentially keep me from keeping “questionable” purchases.
and i love what you say about wearing two at the same time – that’s a good way to keep from buying multiples. i don’t do that anymore (buy multiples), but I’m ALWAYS tempted…
I bought a full-price puffer from Patagonia on Black Friday. 100% of proceeds to grassroots environmental organizations made it worth it to me. I hardly ever buy anything at MSRP, but I needed a warmer winter coat anyway. Hopefully it fits and I don’t have to exchange! I also finally bit the bullet on winter boots — ordered 6 pairs from Zappos and kept one, using up a discount coupon they sent me months ago. I ordered some wardrobe-building stuff (jeans, flannel shirts, turtlenecks, layering sweaters, merino running tights, etc) but made sure all of it comes with free returns, so there’s a good chance most of it will go back if it isn’t just-right. I’ve held off building my winter wardrobe because I’ve been doing home improvement projects instead, so I came into holiday sale season with an extremely targeted list. Also, my fall wardrobe shopping was mostly a flop, so I have some huge holes to fill now. My gift-shopping for others has been finished for quite a while, except for cookie-baking, so I wasn’t particularly tempted by sale stuff in that department. DH and I thought about buying a sofa and a TV over the weekend (we have neither right now), but held off on both because we couldn’t find what we wanted in our target price range. We’ll probably wait ’til the end of the year and see if anyone gives us gift cards that could go towards one or the other. We’re very good at not-buying!
Grechen Reiter says
i would pay full price for patagonia – they so align with my values it would be more than worth it.
FYI, i bought the nano-puff at REI and had to take the large to fit my hips, which makes it a little large up top (since i have nothing there), but not excessively so. i love the jacket, although haven’t worn it much yet! not cold enough…
I think I have that exact JP skirt you’re wearing, Grechen!
One thing I’ve been actively doing to help prevent me from mindless shopping is unsubscribing from the tons of store mailing lists that I get in my inbox. I just get too tempted when I see another sale of “40% off the sale price!”, and not seeing such headlines in the first place would be very helpful in curbing my shopping.
That said…I bought a bunch of stuff from Everlane (mostly for me but some gifts too), JCrew (monogrammed bathrobe for the bf and they even took 40% off the monogramming!), Net-A-Porter for some Frame jeans, Zappos, and of course, James Perse. Oh, and a few things from Sephora and Birchbox. I did some SBS shopping too ‘cuz I do love a couple of the boutiques in town and try to support them whenever possible. I’m pretty much officially DONE with shopping (almost!)
This was interesting (thank you) and I realize I do this much more than I did when I was younger. I used to buy items that I fancied and stick them in the closet assuming I’d pull them out at some point only to find out later all attempts to incorporate the piece into an outfit were failures. Now I try an item on and view it from all sides using a tall mirror and handheld mirror. If it is unflattering from any perspective, it gets returned. I also try it on when specific items I plan to wear it with. This helps me to see if a boot cuts off my leg too much on a skinny jean or a jacket is too long on me, etc. Then I ask myself does it look better than something similar I already own? I don’t typically ask anyone their outside opinion however as I have found I’m much happier since I started follow my own style instincts, which can get muddled up with other people’s opinions. If I feel the need to ask someone, the item needs to go.
Grechen Reiter says
you probably do have this skirt!! how many james perse items do you have? have you done your wardrobe audit yet? 😉
i wish i could unsubscribe from the emails, but i would hate to miss out on anything worth sharing…so i get them ALL!! it was crazy during black friday/cyber monday. my inbox was EXPLODING
ES sold out of their knit Kordal collab before the end of the morning it went on sale (I managed to get a dress, but would have preferred a sweater.) I contacted them to see if they would make more, and they said yes, but unfortunately did not have their site set up to indicate that yet. So I would check if you are interested in a particular item to make sure that more cannot be made. You do look cute in this outfit Grechen!
Not finished my audit yet, my dear., but hopefully will by this Friday. 🙂
I’m sure i got that JP skirt after seeing it on you some years ago (?) I have 20 James Perse pieces! I did count that, just now. I think Everlane comes a close 2nd and then Eileen Fisher, then Elizabeth Suzann…
One of my 2017 resolutions will definitely be to stop buying clothes for myself b/c I do not “need” anymore!
Ok, here’s another “catch up” 😉 response to make you laugh: I struggle with this all the time. I know that I buy for a LOT of reasons other than NEED. In fact, if need were figured in, I probably wouldn’t have to shop for the rest of my life! (Barring the dramatic weight loss I’m looking forward to based on the way my parents have aged…) But the truth is, I love clothes and I want to shop, so I have to put the brakes on. “Champagne taste on a beer budget” as my mom always reminded me.
I’m a list maker, so I find that it helps me to keep “Val’s Wish List” on my iPad notes. I do it when I find an item of clothing, jewelry or shoes that I think I have to have. And then I wait. If it goes on-sale and I think it could work in my wardrobe, then I might buy it. Or, I might just wait some more. I try to seek out the best version I can afford. And in the end, I often change my mind and delete the item. It works pretty well for me.
Another thing I find a useful tool, and fun at the same time is creating a “set” on Polyvore of items I already own along with ones that I want. I sometimes discover that it’s really the accessory that’s missing.