Shopaholic Confessional #3: Binge

via Pixar

My name is Poindexter McQueen. I am a raging shopaholic and I have not shopped for five days. Last week was a bad week. I fell off the wagon is spectacular fashion (pardon the pun) and I am wholly repentant. The funny thing is, $300.00 later, I feel far better than I should. Ease off the judgement face. It’s not quite what you think.

It was a binge; a long one. Online shopping is at its most alluring when you’re done. From the safety of my bedroom with only the computer screen for illumination, there was no one to witness me buy. No one to silently judge me for trying to fix bad feelings with magnetized plastic.  Between work troubles and budding health issues, it was bound to spill over. The coincidental death and destruction of not one but two pairs of both exquisite and exquisitely cheap sunglasses was the straw that broke the camels back. Out came the credit card.

It’s never one thing. It’s always many. Above is most of what I bought and absolutely none of it was on sale. Places like Pinterest, H&M and Forever 21 make it so easy to self-medicate. Just visiting the website makes me feel compelled to buy. As though the minimalist setup on the H&M site will somehow rub off if I buy something from them or the numb weightless feeling from Forever 21 will stay if I buy something. Obviously, none of this is true, but that’s doesn’t help my will power. Polyvore chirping that “Items you’ve saved are on sale” is another unhealthy distraction. How am I supposed to be a fake minimalist if everything is blaring “BUY FROM US” all the time?

Here’s how I know capsule wardrobing and the idea of wardrobe minimalism got to me: I returned more than half of what I bought. There was no rationalizing or bargaining. None of that, “oh I’ll just tailor it,” nonsense. If I needed it, I kept it. There was never a “Maybe I’ll like it better later” or “It’s good for right now.” None of it. Back into the package they went never to be seen by me again. Last year, that never would have happened. All of the items fit my “perfect minimalist wardrobe” ideal, but still, back they went. Except for the sunglasses. I have two pairs of shitty sunglasses that I can’t fix. These gems are staying. The cami fits perfectly and is so delightfully loose that it’s already been worn twice. The Reformation tee hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s made of linen so as long as the fit is right, it stays too. My current black tee is beat to hell and has warped in such a way that can only be expected from high street cotton jersey.

I fell off the wagon, but got back on. What was required was obtained and frivolous things were returned. A free at-home-spa-day helped to soften the blow and now my nails have adorable little dots on them and my toenails look stylishly frostbitten. Minimalism as a concept is still a tricky idea I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I cannot say it hasn’t helped. There are lessons to be learned from it. It may be a trendy lifestyle, but it is not without merit. But, I’m non-committal. So, I’ll just take what I like and leave the bulk to more disciplined people than myself. Thus far though, I’ll say the experiment was worth the attempt and my finances (and closet) continue to thank me. Pardon me while I go and delete the Polyvore app…

Function over fashion

Let’s just say, I am a lazy creature of habit in the morning.  If there is anything requiring too much thinking before 10 am, there will be trouble.  Too many colors mean too many combinations and too many choices.  Ergo, that’s way too many decisions to be made before I leave my house for work.  Capsule wardrobes keep it simple in the morning and I am here for it.

In a closet where most pieces can be rocked together harmoniously, there is no need for thinking at 6 am or the overarching need for harsh and barbaric overhead lighting.  Instead, there can be soft lamp lighting without fear of looking like my outfit had been chosen by touch instead of sight.

It is this very same wardrobe which is revealing my own affinity for the shapeless and voluminous. Over-sized shirts and wide legged pants may cease to be trendy soon, but I shall not deviate.  I have tasted of the fruit of the low crotch baggy harem pant and my eyes are now open!  “Drapey” and unstructured garments shall always have a loving place in my wardrobe.

Attempting the capsule wardrobe has made it clear that

  1. Relaxed shapes can be work appropriate while maintaining my comfort levels.
  2. The time saved by engaging in such dressing behaviors is too valuable to waste on gazing into my closet with no idea of what could possibly be worn.

Honestly, the preoccupation with how I would go about dressing myself had taken all of the fun out of clothes.  With too many options, progress cannot always be made.  Personally, self-imposed limits get the creative ball rolling and the ambition juices flowing.  Such analysis is not for everyone, especially with something which can prove to be banal like fashion.  For me, the analysis has proven rewarding and resulted in a defined plan in place of the former free-for-all.  It was an easy quandary to obsess over instead of practicing, writing or experimenting with sound design.  Instead of “What should I play,” the question was “What do I wear?”  With a designated time for the creativity of fashion, (planning just before a new season) there are fewer excuses for why my piano is still collecting dust.  From wannabe fashionista back to slacking functioning musician, I’m a work in progress.