wardrobe organisation

I’m going on a fashion shopping diet

You know how some people comfort eat?

I comfort-shop. Yes, it’s a thing. Because I said so.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost a few pounds due to sheer stress and anxiety (and I’m pretty sure I’ve gained them back, too, thanks to my mum’s determination to ‘feed me up’, which has included deliveries of her famous mac ‘n’ cheese – thanks, mum!), but I’ve also spent a few pounds – er, more than  a “few” pounds, if I’m honest – on clothes, shoes and other things which I told myself would cheer me up, and which I felt I “deserved” on account of the sheer misery I was going through at the time.

The problem with comfort shopping, of course, (other than the obvious effect it has on your finances) is that it sort of works, too. And I mean, OBVIOUSLY  a new dress does not cure depression, relieve extreme anxiety, or make even a tiny dent in the sadness caused by some of the things I’ve been facing lately. I’m not saying that for a second.

At the time, though, there’s no denying that shopping does make me feel just a little bit better – albeit temporarily. (And sometimes for longer, too: a thing of beauty is a joy forever, amiright?) Shopping has always done that for me: it’s one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s fun, it’s exciting (yes, I realise how pathetic I’m making myself sound to those of you who just don’t “get” it), and I get a huge kick out of walking out of the store with that much-coveted item, or getting an exciting delivery in the mail – in fact, because of that, I don’t just count down to pay day itself, but also to 14 days BEFORE pay day, because that’s when I know I can use Paypal Pay After Delivery. It’s a little bit like a drug, I guess. I’m not making this sound any better here,  am I?

OK: the main point of this post, then, is not to attempt to explain or defend my shopping addiction to you: it’s simply to acknowledge the habit, and attempt to do something to change it.

walk-in closet

Now, don’t get me wrong here: I haven’t shopped so much lately that I’ve gotten myself into debt, or caused  any other issues in my life. I haven’t really had the time, what with all of the hospital visits and non-stop worrying I’ve been doing. I have, however, reached a point where I think it’s important to say, “OK, Amber, enough is enough: I want you to back away from the ASOS website slowly, with your hands above your head…”

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Er, not literally, obviously. I mean, I couldn’t type this post with my hands above my head, could I? And one of the more difficult aspects of my job (I use the word “difficult” here in a relative sense, you understand…) is that my livelihood quite literally depends on me visiting a number of retail websites every day, and then writing about the products I find there. I can’t just stop doing that, but I CAN stop myself actually going on to BUY the items I write about, which is why I’m putting myself on a 3-month shopping diet.

You’ll notice I’m using the word “diet” here, rather than “ban”. I DID consider an outright shopping ban, but I’ve decided to attempt to reduce my shopping, as opposed to stopping altogether, mostly because I know from experience that if I attempt to totally BAN myself from something, that thing will immediately become the only thing I can think about, and I’ll end up doing/eating/buying even MORE of it than would otherwise have been the case. I’m not proud of myself, but, well, I think it’s important to know how your mind works with this kind of thing, and not just set yourself up for total failure, don’t you?

So I’m calling it a “diet” rather than a “ban”, but, with that said, I intend it to be a pretty strict one, and I’m aiming  to more-or-less totally cut out all unnecessary spending on clothes, shoes and accessories during this time.  There are just a few exceptions to this:

01. I will allow myself to replace any essential items which become damaged or lost

Honestly, I don’t really foresee any situations where this is likely to happen, but by “essential items” I’m thinking of things like that white tank top I layer under absolutely everything, or the only bra that fits me at the moment, or whatever. Should something happen to the items I literally can’t live without (like, all of my PJs get … drowned in a flood… or something), I will replace them, but if it’s just a case of “Oooh, lookit the pretty shoes!”, then NO, AMBER, BACK AWAY, FFS.

(Oh, and by the way, if you’re thinking it’s not possible to actually LOSE clothes, then think again…)

02. Ditto makeup and skincare

I don’t have nearly as big an issue with beauty products as I do with fashion ones, mostly because I just tend to stick to the same favourites, which I buy over and over again. I’m aware, however, that if I stop allowing myself to buy clothes, I could very easily just switch my obsession to makeup instead (the small collection of totally unnecessary new nail polish currently sitting on my desk would seem to confirm this suspicion…), so, as above, I’ll allow myself to replace items which run out, but I won’t be buying any new ones during the duration of the “diet”.

03. I will continue to accept items from blog sponsors 

This final point is one I suspect some readers might have an issue with, but the fact is, as a sometime-fashion blogger, I’m in the very fortunate position where I’m sometimes offered clothes and accessories to feature on my blog. As the main point of this exercise is to reduce my personal spending on those items, not to force myself to try to live with a totally ‘minimal’ wardrobe (I have total respect for people who do that, by the way, but I have to acknowledge that fashion is something I enjoy too much to give it up entirely), I will continue to accept those items, some of which come in the form of gift cards.

I’m being upfront about this because, at the end of the day, this is part of my job, and while I’d like to balance my personal spending a little better, I think it would be silly (both in a business sense and in a personal one) to turn down offers which a) help my blog and b) allow me to indulge my love of fashion without over-spending.

On a similar note, obviously Christmas is coming up, and although I’m planning to avoid the sales, should I be lucky enough to receive any gift cards etc as gifts, those would also be covered by the exemption above!

So, that’s the plan.

I’m aiming to stick to this spending “diet” for a minimum of three months, at which point I might consider extending it – we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, in order to both keep myself accountable, and to help drive the message home (to myself, I mean…) that I have MORE than enough clothes already, I’m going to be taking daily outfit photos, to record my progress, and hopefully help motivate me to appreciate the clothes I already have, rather than constantly convincing myself I need new ones.

I’m not quite sure yet whether I’ll be posting these daily, weekly, or a combination of both: I HAD actually planned to re-start the ‘12 Days of Christmas Outfits’ series I did last year: in fact, I’d had some quite ambitious plans to involve some brands in it, and make it much more of a “thing”, but, of course, I hit rather a large stumbling block with that, so it didn’t work out. Next year, perhaps.

What I DO know, however, is that when I say ‘daily outfit photos’, I’m talking mostly  about those back-to-the-wall ones I do when I can’t take photos outdoors, for some reason. It won’t be anything fancy (not that there  ever IS anything “fancy” with my photos, mind you!), and those posts will be an addition to the regular content, not a replacement for it – so I’m not going full-on outfit blog on you. To be honest, I can’t even promise the “daily” bit, because right now I’m still feeling the effects of the methrotrextate treatment I’ve been having, I still have multiple hospital visits ahead of me, and, above all, I’m still very aware that things could all go horribly wrong, health-wise. I mean, I’m hoping they won’t, obviously, but I’ve learned my lesson, and am not going be making the mistake of over-confidence again in a hurry, or push myself to crank out blog content if I’m really not feeling up to it.

Still, though, I spoke about the importance of “normality” in one of my posts last week, and I still think that  at least trying to get back into a somewhat normal routine, even if it just means getting dressed every day (I’m not counting the leggings and sweatshirts I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in as “getting dressed…”) and blogging about some lighter, more “normal” stuff than I have been, will be a big help to me right now.

And with all of that said, let the ‘diet’ begin!

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  • Jayne


    Hey Amber, so pleased ‘all the other stuff’ going on in your life has taken a positive turn. I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed that it’s all over soonest.

    Re shopping, l put myself on a total shopping ban on 1 June to the end of the year and l’ve now extended it to last a full year. It’s been easier than l could ever have imagined! One of the great things about it has been ‘rediscovering’ things l loved but didn’t wear much or at all because l was always buying new stuff. It’s almost like shopping for new stuff.

    It’s been great in other ways too but l won’t go on because it’s nearly 3am here and l should sleep…

    December 14, 2016
  • Elaine


    Hope you’re continuing to feel a little better Amber. Looking forward to seeing the outfits you style from existing items. It’s always good to have ideas on styling the same item in multiple ways and to be inspired by new combinations. I loved your Different Ways to Wear posts which you did a while ago. Might join you on that shopping diet!

    December 14, 2016
    • Jessica Lee


      Yaas to the above comment. I always love recycle outfit posts or different ways to style them.
      And good luck with your ‘diet’ and everything else.

      December 16, 2016
  • Whatever happen, don’t let my husband see this blog post or he be telling me to go on a diet. 😉 Also Amber I hope you are well and everything is looking good. xx

    December 14, 2016
  • Myra


    It sounds like you are getting back to normal after the ongoing trauma of the last few weeks, and hopefully all will be well by Christmas so you can enjoy choosing fab outfits to show off. Looking forward to seeing the photos. In fact, I hope you find a dress ? you love (this one is your favourite green) and just have to buy it.

    December 14, 2016
  • Myra


    Oh, it’s blue when I post it lol

    December 14, 2016
  • I’m glad that things look like they’re on the upswing for you!

    And I get the comfort shopping. My vices are clothes, shoes, books and makeup.
    And my husband uses this to his advantage, if I can manage to get through my yearly blood draw without too much fuss (no kicking or biting -once a nurse tried to hold me down to get blood from me it ended badly) then he’ll take me to buy something, usually a book because there a couple of bookstores close to the lab where I get it done.
    It works pretty well because I spend the day focusing what book to get off my to buy list and then only have a few minutes panic over the blood draw right as its about to happen.

    December 14, 2016
  • Maria


    I am absolutely thrilled that life is being kinder to you now! I have. Ever ever understood why lovely people seem to have such unpleasantries thrown at them (is that a word?? If not I’m making it one , in honour of you) !

    I have a huge , enormous confession .. ; I’m a little sad you are going to have to endure a shopping diet … I love ❤️ reading your shopping temptations and seeing you look all gorgeous … (I’m not into ladies; thought I had better say that given that I am sounding rather creepy!). You have made me want to make more of myself ; when I had definitely let myself slide after my divorce… and always felt guilty about spending on myself; so thank you !!

    I really really wish you super well!!! Sooo long 2016. … it’s been a challenge to many I am fond of ! Xxx

    December 14, 2016
  • Deanna


    Hi Amber! I too “comfort shop” – and have started a shopping freeze for the months of December and January…so far I have only bought one necklace (for my husband’s work holiday party) and am actually enjoying (mostly) playing in my closet to pt together outfits! I’ll look forward to seeing your outfit posts and am SO GLAD that you are starting to feel better!

    December 15, 2016
  • Comfort shopping is definitely a thing, I do it too! I have been doing a bit too much since beginning chemo so I’ve had to put myself on a ‘diet’ too or nobody would get any Christmas presents. However my diet has one exception which is an end of chemo treat in January, which just so happens to coincide with my student loan coming in….

    Chin up, chick. I am crossing everything that you are beginning to climb out of the terrible pit that has been your life lately ??

    December 15, 2016
  • Yea I sometimes comfort shop too! Sometimes it’s things that I love and make me feel happy but sometimes I impulse buy things that that don’t actually fit me so well/aren’t my style or whatever and then I just can’t help feeling it’s a waste of money. Instead of returning it I just think that I’ll wear it *sometime*

    December 16, 2016
  • Ellen


    Lovely rainbow of a-line skirts. Very pleasing to the eye. ?

    December 16, 2016
  • This is a great idea. I’m a compulsive shopper like you – might take the rules of your shopping diet and put it as my new year’s resolution!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    December 19, 2016
  • Sara


    I hope things get better for you! Life always decides to throw a wrench our way. I decided to do a shopping ban for the entire year starting in beginning of November. Broke it three times now because there were things I needed and I didn’t plan ahead for prior to my shopping ban. For me, I was buying things because I liked them and not because they would add something to my life. Also, I always like opening things. Thought about wrapping up an item I haven’t worn in a while just to make it feel new–haven’t done it yet. (Crazy, but you get the psychological effect).

    Prior to making the three purchases, I weighed the options: will it be available in 3 months? Do i need this? (I did need sweaters for the East Coast winters here in the U.S.) and my last question was, can I pair it with three different items? Shopping more consciously was my problem and I know now that I can shop consciously.

    January 2, 2017