Monday, February 4, 2013

February Assessment

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Mine was full of not-blogging, not-Pinteresting, and not doing anything fashion related. It was exactly what I needed to relieve the pressure I've been feeling lately {1, 2}. Where all that extra time went this weekend is beyond me though.

Occasion: Teaching, Attending Lecture
Top: Old Navy {also seen here, here}
Cardigan & Belt: The Limited
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's (c/o Mom)
Shoes: Target

One of the things I realized is that I was getting stressed out by my blog because fashion was everywhere. It was consuming me (not only my wallet), and occupying my thoughts and energy. With a few little changes, I was able to loosen my belt (love that feeling by the way).

How did I take a load off of my shoulders? [click to find out!]

(1) I put all my fashion magazines and catalogs out of eyesight. I realized that every time I set foot inside my bathroom, those images were staring at me, calling out to me. Stacking them and finding a new place for them meant that I could put on lotion in peace.

(2) I didn't take photographs every time I got dressed. This weekend, I hung out with a friend, I went on a lunch date with my husband, ran errands, and went to church. I wore something different each time, and photographed none of these outfits. I was unsure about this because I felt that it meant I was slacking on my blog. Then I thought, "so what?" I apologize to you that you do not get to see me in jeans, a polka dot top, and a cardigan. I apologize that you do not get to see me in a gingham shirt with a coordinating cardigan. Is your world going to fall apart now? I didn't think so. {I might put the outfits on and snap the pics for a day I typically wouldn't post.}

(3) I changed my approach and mentality. I reassessed my reasons for blogging and my goals for maintaining this blog. What I realized is that there is a difference between being stylish and being trendy. I think there are a lot of blogs out there that do a great job of showcasing the latest trends (tartan shirt and sequin skirt, e.g.) or whatever J. Crew has to offer this season. However, there are a lot of blogs out there that do a great job of showcasing styles, especially for different types of women (the stay at home mom, the teacher, the office worker, etc.). I fall in the latter group; the unique part of my blog is that I am a part-time teacher, part-time student. This means that my blog is half-work style, half-casual-with-a-twist* style.

(4) I assessed my wardrobe needs vs. wants. Much of the stress in my life was coming from feeling like I needed this or that particular item. I knew a lot of the items were wants, but some I honestly had a hard time telling whether it was a need or want. For example, I really wanted needed wanted a black blazer. Sure, we call black blazers a "staple," but surely we can live without staples? What I began to realize is that EVERYTHING on my list was a want EXCEPT for black flats. Yes, I have black flats (as pictured above) but they are coming apart at the heel (as pictured below).

I need new black flats... wouldn't you agree?
In the past, when I would go to the mall, I would frequently find myself in a bad mood; I knew I didn't actually need anything new, and felt like it was a waste of time for me to be there. It was like going to a car dealership. Sure, if you had an infinite amount of money, you could buy a new car. Heck, you can walk around a dealership for the fun of it and look at all the pretty cars, too. (Ooo, now cars come with USB ports?! Neeeeat!!) BUT, if your car runs perfectly fine, what is the point of going to a dealership?

The point is, once I realized that I had no needs and that everything was a want, I learned that I needed to prioritize. I thought a monthly budget would keep me in check, but it wasn't actually a solution; it only taught me how to be a better shopper. Rather than coming home with 2 shirts and a pair of pants in one month for $100, I learned how to stretch it out and come home with 8 shirts, 2 pants, and 4 accessories. So where the budget was supposed to keep my intake limited, I ended up acquiring a lot over the course of a month. I needed a different strategy. 

What I needed was to have a list. My dad used to take me with him to do the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. Inevitably, I'd ask, "Daaaad... can I get strawberry Pop-Tarts [or whatever else caught my eye]?? Pretty please??" My dad always, always responded the exact same way: "It's not on the list." Which was followed by some variation of "We're only getting what's on the list. If you want something, tell your mother or me when we're making the grocery list on Friday night." Of course I would never remember, and the following Saturday, I'd say, "Daaad...." (rinse and repeat). 

I can't believe it's taken me this long to adopt this strategy for clothes shopping. Over the weekend, I went out and about with a friend. We were both having a stressful week with school; she wanted to remedy this with fancy chocolate, and I wanted to use my $10 off $25 coupon at Old Navy. I knew there would be a lot of things I could buy to reach the $25, but I made a need and want list before setting foot in the store. Need: black flats. Want: colorful print button-up shirt(s). I didn't find black flats, but I did find a colorful button up shirt. [And I let myself get two (at $15 each, minus $10 coupon  = 2/$20).]

From hereon, I will allow myself to make purchases when I want a pick-me-up or when I've accomplished something (e.g., after giving a huge presentation, taking an exam, grading student essays). I will not just spend less, but buy less. I will not allow myself to purchase something just because I saw another blogger wear it or because I feel like I have to have it. "Have to have" is just another way of saying "want".

* * *

Thank you if you gave me words of wisdom and encouragement last week-- I really do appreciate it!


  1. Very nice post! It's hard not to get caught up in wanting what everyone else has. I REALLLLLLY WANT a bubble necklace, but I know that I don't NEED it although everybody and their brother owns one.

    Glad you also took a tech break over the weekend too. Blogging should be fun and not feel like work. We took a blog break last year for about two months. It felt quite liberating to just not do it. When it became something that was fun again that's when we came back.

    Sorry for the long winded comment, lol. Your floral top and cardigan are really pretty! Heather

  2. Needs vs. wants are so hard to distinguish, mostly because I want to convince myself that my wants are really needs. It's like the little angel and devil arguing on my shoulders! :-)

    Also, we are twins again - I have that floral top from Old Navy! And I think I have pinned your last few outfits, so I might be copycatting you soon.

  3. I completely know where you are coming from. When I first started blogging, and still now to a certain extent, it consumed me. I need that bracelet, and those shoes, and that sweater, but it has to be in that color...because that's what all bloggers have. now I just do me. i don't always document everything, and thats okay. blog for you and when you want to and don't let it take over ;)

  4. Great post! Blogging is fun! And we need to take brake of it sometimes.
    Love your cardigan.
    e&n xx

  5. I love the way you came out of your "blogging pressure!" It is so freeing to discern between "needs" and "wants." I keep a list of things I need on my phone and look at it whenever I go shopping. There's nothing on my list right now, so guess what - I haven't bought anything. It feels so good!

    I really like your blog, Kate - I think the way you blog about clothes and your outfits is great! As long as you enjoy it, other people will too!

  6. This is such a great post! :) I can definitely relate to how you felt -- I think a big culprit in my life is Pinterest (sometimes a girl just has to take a break!). You're right that there is a lot of pressure when blogging--you've just got to stay true to yourself and what's in your own closet, right? I think that's part of why I've decided to stay away from shopping as much as possible this year -- I'm just trying to reclaim my style and myself this year.:)

    I'm glad you stopped by my blog! I'm definitely adding you to my Reader and following through GFC!

  7. I love this idea. I just encountered your blog through the Take One, Pass It On challenge, and I sincerely love it. So much of what you've said in this post completely resonates with me. I'm also a half-student, half-professional (School Counseling graduate student with a graduate assistantship in Student Affairs) with a budget and a (brand new) style blog. I'm so happy to hear someone else echo many of my sentiments. It seems that so many style bloggers just consume, consume, consume (especially at the beginning, or when they start to get popular), and lose sight of their style.

    Anyways, I'm so happy I clicked on your blog! Consider yourself followed :)


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