06/28/2017

30 Day Clothing Spending Fast

Good morning!

I’m writing to you today from the sunny east coast in Maryland this morning. I’m here on business, but it is one of my favorite places to travel. When I have a few (very few) spare moments, I like to enjoy the backroads surrounding the (many, and circular?) highways that wind through old horse farms and historical estates, just beautiful. If I was up to running speed (feet + ankle physical therapy right now), I’d be out there this morning taking in the sights on foot.

But, I’m here to write a blog post instead 🙂

For the month of June, I decided to fast from clothing purchases. 30 days seems easy enough, right? That’s what I thought…

Until it wasn’t.

I have good days and I have challenging days. Even yesterday, as I sat around a table with colleagues during a meeting, I couldn’t help but notice another businesswoman’s outfit and think, I should own an outfit like that. How? How do I still have those thoughts after almost a month of training myself to focus on the abundance in my own wardrobe?

Because it’s hard.

It’s difficult not to think that if we “were more put together”, we would FEEL more put together and in turn radiate an extra oomph of confidence we wish we had.

But the thing is, clothes don’t make the (wo)man. I’ve seen some of America’s smartest scientists and leading experts get up in front of a crowd wearing sweatpants and Gumby T-shirts and no one batted an eye.

Sigh… I hope to have that kind of prestige some day. The only reason is that I’d like to remove the stress of having to look a certain way to be accepted.

But do I really have to wait until I’m 30 years into my career? I’m not advocating for wearing PJs at work, but could I be satisfied dressing in the clothes I have, even if they show a little wear?

This applies to more situations than the working world, it’s just where I personally notice my own wardrobe self consciousness. It could be having the right (and usually new) first date outfit, first day (or subsequent days) of school outfit, the right clothes to hang around our friends – we want to wear what the people around us are wearing. And sometimes we travel in many different circles and it seems like they all require a different dress code.

Who has the money for that? The closet space? The time to pick out outfits both in the store and from our closets?

 

What I’ve learned from my almost 30 day fast is:

  1. I’m the one who puts the pressure on myself to “need” to dress a certain way. The people around me have never commented on it. Okay, except my boss has commented on my wearing Birkenstocks to work ? (see: Physical therapy, only comfortable arch-supporting shoes I own) but he also doesn’t have a problem with me wearing them. I still change into other shoes for meetings to be professional, but gotta take care of myself too.
  2. It is tempting to use shopping as a bandaid when I’m feeling PMS, lonely, or just bored. But I have found healthier ways to fill that time.
  3. I could save a lot, like a lot of money, if I curbed my clothing spending in the long term. It’s just the truth.
  4. When I do decide to buy an item, there are specific wardrobe gaps I have identified. If it’s not on the list, I ain’t buying it.
  5. Quality over quantity. I keep trying to buy cheap cheap cheap but sometimes, it bites me in the butt. Sometimes it’s just worth it to invest in a more expensive piece, if it lasts.

In short, this month has been a mental training exercise of the mantra: I have enough. 

And I do need the reminder over and over. Every so often, it’s good to take periodic fasts to call into question how much of our time, mental energy, and confidence we are putting into material things, even if it seems like we need them to fit in with the people around us.

Have you ever noticed a moment where you weren’t concerned with what your face looked like, what clothes you were wearing, but you were have the time of your life? Just enjoying the present moment, laughing, being with others, not thinking about yourself at all. It’s refreshing, right?

We are more than the clothing we put on our bodies. What could we accomplish if we spent less time chasing fashion and acceptance and devoted more time to Peace, Love, and being present to the world in front of us?

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