Novelty and Variety

I was thinking about the HauteLook commercial where they intimate that shopping every day is a totally normal thing.  You know, go to the gym, have your coffee, sign on and order your day’s goodies.  Shopping every day?  It may not be so subtle, but that’s exactly what they’re telling us.  That not only is it okay, we should be doing it, too.  If not, we’re probably MISSING OUT!  Never mind that buying even just one item a week puts you over 50 items by the end of the year.  Let alone every day.

I admit to craving a certain level of variety and novelty in my wardrobe.  I’ve said before, a neutrals only or 10 item closet would not make me the least bit happy.  But I certainly don’t need something new every day.  Where did this drive for new, new, new come from?  Was it simply created by the advertisers?  Was it from watching Hollywood ‘it’ girls in the tabloid tv shows always having the newest trend on?  Slowly changing our ideas of what we should be wearing.  That if we show up for coffee with girlfriends in that same dress from last week it would be such a faux paus?

I wonder if we simply unplugged, or more accurately plugged IN to our actual lives instead of the virtual ones represented on our multiple screens, if that drive or desire would diminish proportionately.  You can bet when I’m hiking in the woods or camping for the weekend I’m not thinking about the next pair of boots I could have!  So is it a simple function of the marketed world around us, or is there something deeper that makes me, us, want new things?

This is one of my biggest personal struggles with wardrobe management.  How do I have enough novelty without too much consumption?  I’ve been seeking that balance for several years now.  I’m not there yet, although a lot closer.  In the end, is it solved by somehow turning off the need, the desire, the drive, deep within us and finding a way to be happy with what we have?

I have 6 weeks left in the year in which I should not be shopping.  I used up my budget early.  It would be good practice for me to see if I can find peace with my closet as it stands, imperfect, full of past seasons cold weather looks.  I am tossing things as I go, finding fits aren’t quite right, etc.  But I have plenty to actually keep me dressed and warm for the next several weeks.  True, I have no this season looks.  I bought clothing appropriate for the Florida weather all throughout this year.  Even last winter’s purchases would be deemed fall wear here in the mountains.

Yes, I will be buying winter items come January 1.  And it will be extra hard to ignore all the big holiday sales and advertising that goes along with them.  But maybe, just maybe, I will have settled a bit inside and not have that gnawing need for a pile of things that are so ‘now’.  Hopefully, a month and a half of wearing the older things will help illuminate just precisely where I need to upgrade and update.  Selectively figuring out a few new outfits for the season and integrating them.  Stay tuned!

Does your environment influence your shopping habits?  Do ads like HauteLook’s get your juices flowing?  Or do you view them as ridiculous ploys to get you to play the game?

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8 thoughts on “Novelty and Variety

  1. Love your new blog Mo! These are the kinds of things I ponder too… I’ve been an under shopper because of lifestyle, budget, etc. but I fear over shopping once the ball gets rolling. So I divided my year up into my 3 teaching semesters: Spring (with winter sales), Summer, and Fall (with winter previews). I give myself a budget that suits our household income (currently about $750 each) and have both a floor and a ceiling for my purchases. I must buy at least 6 items and no more than 12. And when I’ve made my decisions, it’s done. Don’t need to think about it! Now I’m building up a wardrobe so I might need to adjust those numbers once more basic pieces are in place. I could see 4-8 working too. Keep up the great writing! xoL

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  2. Thanks. Yes, makes sense! I plan to do the season type shopping next year myself, and get away from an item every week or two. When you say $750 each, do you mean each person in the household or each season ($2250)?

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    • The latter… We probably spend about 4000 a year on clothes. My husband wears national park service uniforms 90% of work, but needs a few nice items for workshops, classes, travel & events. My oldest daughter tutors & works at American Eagle while in college & buys most of her clothing with her own money. My little one (also a Mo!) is in middle school & is willing to thrift a fair amount to keep costs down, plus she still gets quite a bit in the form of gifts. But man do we chew thru gear. My husband swims and cycles, both girls are cross country runners, and I do Zumba & yoga. We cross country ski. Things like running shoes, sports bras and spandex don’t come out of the clothing allowance. I just buy them as the need comes up. And it comes up a lot!

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  3. Great post! I am constantly thinking about this topic when it comes to my wardrobe. I’m very good at letting things I don’t wear go to others but very bad at turning off the ‘want new things’ button in my head. I went on a bit of bender the last two days, bought one new outfit 2 days ago and yesterday got sucked into the black friday sale and bought 3 new things online that I had been eyeing but certainly don’t need! I’ve been following the one in one out rule quite faithfully now the past few years but can’t seem to get my numbers down further because I keep on bringing new things in! I too have more than enough to keep me warm. We do have a distinct summer and winter seasons so I do need two different wardrobes but I also recently moved out to the countryside and only need practical clothes. It hasn’t stopped me from visiting Zara every week though!

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  4. Thanks. I know I am not alone. I, too, bought something I didn’t need. A poncho style sweater. Yes, it was on my ‘list’ but for next year, not NOW. We are only human, and works in progress. Hopefully I can stop there and hold tight for the remainder of 2014.
    I completely get the not needing as much in a rural environment but still having the desire for those Zara items!

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  5. Pingback: Lovely Links: 12/5/14 - Already Pretty | Where style meets body image

  6. interesting!
    your post shows me how far away i´m from all this now.
    i was never a great shopper, but in the last years i bought only a few things – replacements for worn out shoes, underwear, socks and such – on the high street. but even my 2.hand shopping has reduced to things i really need to have something nice to wear in daily life.
    and since i sew half of my clothes i have the perfect fitting, timeless stuff i love to wear. i don´t need trend items.
    cool style is not the newest things – it´s about personality 🙂

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  7. This is a very thoughtful post that elucidates some of my own sometimes inchoate thoughts about novelty vs. the sanity of less consumption. Thanks for laying it out this way!

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