Thursday, June 5, 2014

Learning Lessons

I can clearly see I am slipping in terms of control and in terms of meeting my goals or wishes. I've been too consumeristic and got drawn into the sales once again. I got overconfident and allowed myself yet again to slide into the abyss!

The Triggers

Last month was a difficult month for me. I had a high amount of stress and anxiety both with serious issues at my current job and with interviewing for the new job. Once I got the job, more anxiety about leaving the company I've spent the past 8 years with!

I did get the job! But the job is in the city and the office is much more up to date and professional than in my current place of business, and I will be working with the clients directly for the first time. I felt I needed to upgrade, get a few things that are more 'in', and up my professional game wardrobe-wise.

I saw a lot of really great items in all my favorite colors and styles come out at my favorite retailer. Then, the stores had a couple really great sales on! I reasoned that I was 'just trying' things to see what I would like best and return the rest, and once I bought it was easier and easier to go whole hog and just keep buying. 'Why not' was my new motto. Online shopping is tricky and you never know what will work out, but I am also a easy fit and don't have trouble finding flattering things. This was doubly-difficult because things I really loved were selling out, and while I know that they usually restock later, I had a huge fear of missing out. I couldn't bear the idea of not having the chance to get the items I really liked later on. 

I found a lot of dissatisfaction in my wardrobe and finally was able to let go of several things I've been struggling with out of guilt for having bought them in the first place. I think I may have shopped more to counteract how I was feeling and to 'fill the hole' they left so to speak.

I also was having a very successful month with my eBay sales, which gave me a false sense of security with the budget. 

The Ugly Truth

You may have seen my long list of purchases (see here, a total of 15!) but I also returned an even more shameful amount (21 more)! Some things I really wanted to work out but just didn't (or had to get in a different size) but most were impulse buys (25% off already reduced prices) or cart fillers (buy one, get one 50% off) for the sales.

WHBM Returns:

Dark denim skinnies (didn't really need)
Cobalt jeans (didn't really need)
Navy draped capri pants (not practical, wanted to try something new)
Navy straightleg trousers (nothing special though they were really nice)
Printed ankle pants (horrid fit, wanted to try something new)
Scarf print blouse (too big, not special enough for price)
Rhinestoned cardigan (too 'granny')
Black flowy ruffled top (too overwhelming for my frame, didn't need more black)
Black and white sheath (too fitted, not special enough for price)
Printed cami (too small, re-bought in correct size)
Printed cardigan (Too big, re-bought in correct size)
Printed flowy blouse (too big, not special enough for the price)
White blazer (too 'blingy' / not versatile enough)
Floral tiered dress (too slinky)

NY&Company Returns

Coral printed top (hated the off-white in the print)
Blue printed blouse (too tight and cheap looking)
Navy lace top (too big, not as nice as I imagined)
Navy trousers (perfect! But wanted as a suit with the blazer so returned)
Navy blazer (too big, so sad because it was really nice, and it sold out)
Two more pairs of navy trousers (mistake, reordered the blazer in other sizes and they sent me pants!)

In Conclusion

I've never gone THIS overboard in my entire life in a month's span, not even with Black Friday shopping. I'm not sure why this happened, especially when I was doing SO well! I can kind of see my triggers, but still I don't really understand my loss of control. I ignored the budget and item limit, and didn't tally up the damage or numbers until June. I didn't even imagine it was so much (though I knew it was bad)!!

I loved so many of the things I bought, I wasn't willing to part with them to make up for my mistakes (something I told myself I could do easily). The only redeeming quality is that I have already worn all my purchases (most of them several times!) except the dress, which is waiting for my first day at the new job. I do really love them and see them continuing to get worn and loved. On the flip side, I derailed myself from all the progress I had made. I actually purged so many things that I only ended up adding 8 items to my total count, and didn't exceed the extended budget or item count for the new job. But I bought haphazardly, without a plan, and STILL need a suit! I think I tried just about every item that piqued my fancy. And I only have 11 items or less to add this year. Oye. Not to mention that my extended budget and item limit was perhaps too high. I didn't spend much time thinking about it, and I may have just used it as a justification to do what I did.

I've considered a shopping 'stop' for the rest of the year, but I can't without literally white knuckling through it. I only have 11 items I can add/replace until December 31st, and while I probably don't literally need anything except perhaps a suit, I really have things I could really use (wardrobe 'holes') and plenty of things I really want to upgrade/replace. Overall I want to use this experience as a tool for me to learn, and I will be thinking of ways to help myself not do this again. I may institute a monthly item limit like Debbie Roes until I can hopefully look at shopping in a different light. Another issue is that I shop almost exclusively online, which is always available at my fingertips. I may need to limit how much time I can spend online shopping and start limiting my exposure to temptation.


  1. Oh I've done this before. Often it is because I am finding myself in a situation that is different from my day to day life that I'm not entirely comfortable with (like your new job). As far as having a binge after a period of doing really well, this has been my experience for the last several years. I will think that I have the knowledge, desire, and tools to make better choices now so I've got this. In a logical and practical world this would be true. However, I forget to factor in the emotional and psychological reasons that led me to overshop in the first place. It had been a very up and down journey for me. I know now that it will take time and effort to undo the years of patterns that became second nature to me. It can be very discouraging, but I am seeing real change that I don't have to force. I'm trying to look at the whole picture and see all of the times that I DO make better choices and acknowledge that those wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I still mess up. I still feel guilty about it like you probably do. I am becoming more accepting of the fact that mistakes will happen and that I won't be able to instantly "fix" myself. If we keep trying I think our new ways of thinking will become more natural than our old habits.

  2. I have done this before too. And afterwards, if I can I return the items. If I cannot, I either purge, or put on hold (and out of my working closet) the same number of items I added. This way I can at least see if I am really going to use the new items. And with items on hold, it's a chance to test out one in/one out. Plus it helps get into my stubborn head that if I am going to go overboard in a store, there is going to be consequences.