My Quiet (Shopping) Diet, Part II

“Less Is More” Art installation by Pravdoliub Ivanov, 2011. Source

Last post I talked about my Quiet Diet, my commitment to not buy anything for my wardrobe for the month of June (maybe July). You all gave fabulous feedback and many of you are experiencing similar urges. A few commented that you’d like to take a break from shopping, but find it’s really challenging.

It is! For so many reasons. Shopping/buying brings an instant thrill of the new. We humans are wired to respond to novelty and variety. We also like to gild the lily – we who read fashion/style blogs, anyway – and every new purchase provides that opportunity to look a little fresher.

Then there’s the constant, and I mean constant bombardment to buy more! Now! Before it’s too late! The marketing emails alone could swamp me on any given morning. Old Navy and Gap send two of each, and every day is sale day, every freaking day. Coach, Lands End, ASOS, Ideeli, Talbots, and Nordies, ad infinitum. I have unsubscribed to most of these and I don’t miss the clutter in my inbox or the gnawing temptation to add yet another “cute top” to my overstuffed drawers.

And there is, of course, the social and time-filling factor of shopping. I do love browsing through thrift and consignment stores. I love paging through Etsy, and can always find something wonderful there. It’s a hobby, a pastime, a sport. I am not giving those things up, just using this break to look at non-wardrobe treasures like books and vintage magazines, or gifts for my family.

Being in the mental health field, I dare to disagree with the math here, but I get the idea!

As the end of June approaches, I feel relaxed and confident with what’s in my closet. I’ve saved a little money – not a lot, because I rarely spend a lot anyway. I have more appreciation of what I already own and look at it with new eyes – my closet is my own little store where everything already fits me. ☺

Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts. If you are deciding to cut back on wardrobe spending, what’s helping you stick to it? What are the biggest obstacles? Is shopping for clothing a hobby for you as well?

And oh yeah, I’ll be buying clothes/accessories again, no later than September when we pretend it’s getting cooler here! Have a wonderful Thursday and thanks for reading.

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  1. Yes, it is far too easy to just keep on shopping! I also have great troubles stopping myself, and the only reason I've been able to lately is a change in my partner's work situation… Really having to save money has made it instantly possible and easy to stop shopping but I wish it was for more enjoyable reasons!

  2. We seem to be on the same wavelength for many of our posts…this one included! I, too, feel like shopping for clothing is my hobby and I totally enjoy it in lots of different venues. I've always liked fashion, but ever since I started working at a boutique a year and a half ago, I've gone a little crazy! My closet is filling up with both new and thrifted pieces, yet I have things I've never worn. I do notice that I'm always looking for that perfect piece (for me it's a long tunic with 3/4 or long sleeves, and a higher neckline) and I don't feel I can pass it by if I find one I like. I know I can't go a month without buying any clothing because I also do resale at my antique booth and two other stores in town for part of my retirement income …so I 'm struggling with adopting either a reduced monthly budget, buying ONLY thrifted items for a month, or maybe "wearing or getting rid of" everything unworn in my closet before buying anything new!?! I applaud hour resolve and I also enjoyed reading the comments on this post for some suggestions on moderation…

  3. I have been restocking my closet since I have been on a weight loss journey and have now reached a point of wanting to stop impulse buying and become more methodical… As a thrifter that seems impossible.. I may have to stop thrifting make a list of wants and then try shopping again. I have stocked the basics and classics but want more trendier or edgier pieces so cutting back on thrifting will allow me to do that.

  4. Patti, when I read your first 'taking break' post I took a look in my closets (plural and that alone is scary) and immediatley rasied my hand! So what's helping me stick to it? Easy answer YOU and all the other bloggers who are doing the same. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Plus it's kind of fun shopping in my closets.

  5. Let me add another aspect in praise of the shopping diet. I live in a small Mexican village on the Pacific coast. It's a bumpy 45 minute ride into the closest city, and dotting the main road are block after block of grimy windowless maquiladoras, the legal Mexican sweatshops that provide clothing to Mexico's biggest trade partner: The United States.

    They pay minimum wage which at the time of writing is $4.96 PER DAY.

    It's easy to think "Oh, that's probably a good wage where they live" but let me tell you: It's not. I shop at the same grocery store as these women –and they're almost always women or underage boys, my boyfriend was working sewing the left shoulder into t-shirts when he was 12– and the gallon of milk I just bought was $4.64. Groceries are more expensive here than in the US, so is gas and utilities.

    And these are the *good* sweatshops. Imagine what the bad ones are like. This urge for just one more cute top is perpetuating the dependence on fast fashion and that fast fashion –at almost all price points– comes from third world nations with horrifying labor laws.

    It's just so, so problematic. And I know, we pick our battles, but by opting out of the fast fashion racket and maintaining a smaller, high-quality wardrobe made in countries with fair labor laws, you're no longer part of a system that keeps women in developing nations in a cycle of poverty and disenfranchisement.

  6. It's funny to stop by and see this post! For the first time in forever i went into a store other than a thrift store today. I did walk out with some sandals, very marked down. Did I need them? Nope. I rationalized by figuring I'll consign some shoes that I rarely wear. That being said, taking a break is essential at times, and I admire your resolve.

  7. Yes, it's hard to see things you love and walk away, isn't it? My shopping is all secondhand, and all pretty cheap, but I do know I have way too much. I am trying to cull by passing on and/or selling things I don't wear that often. That is how I manage my spending and shopping – sell in order to buy, move things on if they aren't right for me. I like my wardrobe, I like the choice I have, and I like that it is ethical and economical. xxx

  8. I stopped buying in January and haven't missed it. It's given me so much more time to enjoy life. We all know that feeling pleased with our appearance, and clothing, boosts our confidence and affects how the world treats us. But for some, shopping is an addiction. The novelty of a new garment wears off very quickly and they need another "fix".

  9. I'm sort of forced to cut back because of .. traffic! It's going to be a hot weekend and everyone one from inland will be heading to the beach creating a lot of traffic which I'll be sitting in when I return from a mall shopping trip so it's not worth it.


  10. When I dont shop I turn to diy and refashion projects.It's more creative and gives me the thrill I lack.

  11. Hi there! Well done on your no shopping diet, I can totally relate to thrift shopping being a hobby-whether or not I buy anything, I just still like to browse and view it as 'my' time to wind down, mooch and relax! Sharon

  12. I might be crazy. But after three years of intensive focus on gutting and starting over with my closet, I think I've finally turned the corner. I just don't random shop anymore. I thrift shop a couple of times a month. And I buy something on ebay maybe once a week. But these are very targeted and cheap purchases. And what I bring home goes through a trial phase. If it stays its one in – one (or two even three) out. I call it upgrading. It's working. And I feel great about it. The best thing about it is that for the first time in my life, whatever the event or occasion, I always have a few ideas instantly of what in my closet would work and look great. I'm excited about wearing it. I'm getting compliments. Sincere ones.

    Resources I used were bloggers like you (thank you! I scan about 30 blogs a day with women in my age group), Elizabeth Cline's book Overdressed (getting a handle on the fact that I was buying the same thing over and over again with little to no satisfaction. Proofed by noticing piles of those purchases in every thrift store.), Carol Tuttle's Dressing Your Truth (realizing that there will always be things that I LOVE that are best on other people. Now I just enjoy them from afar.), and Nina Garcia's The 100 (which is surprisingly where I ended up even though I would have sworn to you that lists like that were fantasy/impractical/high falootin'.)

  13. What a great commentary on appreciating what we have. I've been trying for the last few months to enjoy what I have and shop my closet—with some wild results. I'm using pieces in different ways and having fun. When I shop its with a list of pieces I need, not just looking and buying on impulse. Thanks for the post.

  14. What works for me is no exposure. No browsing stores, no browsing internet clothing sites. If I'm not exposed to the items I won't buy.

  15. I can so relate, I'm saving for some big ticket items and have a move in mind, so really trying to curb the vintage buying urge. I almost gave in yesterday on ebay for a lot of gorgeous vintage purses for a very decent price, but another issue I have is space, and trying to organize what I have. Needless to say I passed it up, but if it shows up in my email as a reposted item, who knows, I may need an intervention Arggg@!# Nice to get some reinforcement by reading your post, thanks!

  16. I enjoyed your post. I have access to so much inexpensive great clothes since finding sources to stock my thrift store and I admit I went the excess route for a while, even having to buy extra racks and use parts of my bedroom for my closet! But I got to thinking…I've always enjoyed doing the 30 for 30 remixes and it was FUN having to be creative and come up with new outfits out of a small number of items of clothes. And there's a part of me that dreams about being a minimalist. So this week I've been ruthlessly going through my closet. I figure what can it hurt to give this minimalism thing a chance. After all…if it doesn't work, I can always go shopping! Debbie @

  17. My biggest obstacle is fit. I didn't really fit in a lot of the clothes I recently got rid of. Even though I didn't WEAR them, they were still there in my brain and got mentally paired in outfits – that never worked out. As for what's helping me stick, the entire lack of money right now. And being able to "charge" consignment finds to my back pay.

    Clothing shopping is a hobby, a job, and a way of life! I'm nearly always talking, thinking, or doing something with clothes or shoes. I'm always browsing ebay and etsy. I sometimes just look at online shops to get a feel for styles different than my own.

    I also go thrifting as a way to "relax" after work. Even though I'm doing much the same as I do at work!

  18. Summer seems to be when I get the "no shopping" urge. I think summer clothes are less than winter clothes so it's easier to over-do. One summer I decided I'd wear everything in my closet before I got anything new. I went the entire month of August wearing different stuff to work every day. That was hard! I may have a lot of things in my closet but I wear the same things a lot. I finally got bored with it. The things I didn't get around to wearing went in the giveaway pile.

  19. I need to do this, but I'm having a hard time. I keep thinking "I'll make this one last purchase." For years I had no money to buy much at all, but lately it's been a little better. So I allowed myself to splurge, but I can't keep doing it. I agree that it is a hobby of sorts. And as you said, the thrill from getting something new is such a good feeling. I know that I have to find other ways to feel happy that don't cost money, but it's hard to think of things.
    I also completely agree about the marketing. I've basically given up checking one of my email accounts due to all of the junk mail. I think I'll try your idea- start with not shopping for a month, or something similar. Great idea, Patti.

  20. I am actually doing this too, Patti. Out of necessity. Living in an expensive city and staying home with my little ones meant I had to break the shopping habit. I also unsubscribed from all those emails, and that has helped. Being busy with the moving-in process has helped a lot, but I sort of dread when I have a bit more time on my hands, and I start getting that itch for the new.

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