Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Jen

OK remember how a couple weeks ago I hinted that I was cleaning out my closet?

Well, I did it! And I was going to take pictures, but then I forgot. But it was a successful closet clean-out. I got rid of two trash bags of old clothes, and a cardboard box of shoes, and another two reusable grocery bags with more shoes and with sweaters.

I tried to be relatively moderate in my approach to closet cleaning-out. It was easy to get rid of the things that I haven't worn in years. And the things that were just plain out of style (and too young/trendy to come back *in* style anytime soon), or ill-fitting or ill-cut. I didn't try too hard to be ruthless, though - I still have half a dozen patterned button-down shirts for casual, sleeves-rolled-up wear. I kept a few little tops that I'd gotten at thrift stores but haven't really given much love. I kept both identical Lands End fleece pullovers (red and black) because they're just SO cozy for weekend wear (even though I no longer buy polyester). I kept a lot of things which - if I'm being honest with you - I think I'll probably be getting rid of in my next clean-out. But that's OK, right? Baby steps, and all that.

So with lots of newly-empty hangers in my closet, and newly-visible floor space, I...went shopping.

BUT! (here's where it gets interesting). On Saturday I approached the mall specifically with the purpose of "I have money. I wish to spend money for clothes. Please let me give you money for clothes."

I had sorta-specific goals in mind, even - a grey skirt. Another winter-y dress. Some cute non-neutral heels. Heeled boots that I could wear with my long skirts. A long flowy skirt. A statement necklace.

I had a 30% discount for the GAP, BR, and Old Navy. So I started there. I found nothing. I decided to check out the Anthropologie sale room. Nothing. (!!! This is how you know it's getting bad...). I popped into The Limited. Naturalizer. NY&Co. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

I LEFT THE MALL EMPTY-HANDED.

(Well, here I must confess - but for a light grey cotton cardigan. But that's beside the point, and was not one of my goals anyway.)

Jen, do you have any idea how bad things are when I cannot find a single thing to buy in the GAP or Anthropologie? Let me restate it - NOTHING IN THE GAP OR ANTHROPOLOGIE. WHEN I HAVE MONEY TO SPEND. BURNING A HOLE IN MY POCKET.

This is not so good.

I was so despondent, I didn't even get a soft pretzel.

I headed home dejected and nearly empty-handed.

So...what do you think is the lesson here? Why did my shopping expedition fail so?

Well, believe it or not, I wouldn't really consider it a failure. Sure, I went shopping. Sure, I failed to find anything. But here's why:

1)I was shopping mindfully, not blindly. I wasn't shopping to fill any emotional void, or out of boredom, or spite. I had a few general ideas in mind, and hoped to meet some of them. I wasn't too specific, nor too vague. It wasn't "a black long-sleeved wool dress" or "a dress", but "a winter dress".

2)I kept a firm eye for quality. It's long been documented that I don't mind spending money on high quality, classic items. But now I'm broadening that scope - *all* I want to buy, now, are high quality, classic items. I no longer have the desire to get that itchy acrylic sweater, or the weakly-seamed cotton skirt, or the shoes with glue-edges showing. I have better things to spend my money on. And when I *don't* find things like that, well, I won't spend it.

3)I've adjusted my price caps accordingly. Now this is so subjective, and varies for me nearly by the hour. But in general, I think that right now I'm willing to pay more for things than I was in the past - but only if they meet the quality goals set above. However, I'm not the type to pay for a name or a logo. So no, I won't pay $75 for that cute little (acrylic) cardigan at Banana Republic (especially when I can knit a better one for the same amount). But if it's all cotton and a cute style, I'll pay $12 for a clearance item at Old Navy. I think this makes me a hypocrite. I don't think I care.

So would you consider that a failure, Jen? I didn't obtain Stuff, but I also didn't obtain ugly worthless Stuff. I kept my money, instead. For a while, at least...

(to be continued, in the form of "The Spoils"...)

<3
Kate

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

IIIIIIIIII don't think this is a failure, at all! It's a sign of maturity and self-control to take the care you do with your purchases. I want to be better about buying high quality clothing, but so far I'm only good at that in the food category. In other words, I'm immature and have no self-control. Also, you're cute.

 
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