The time had come for me to stop shopping. I obviously had a closet full and for some reason, I kept wearing the same three pieces over and over again. Tired of mindless shopping, I did just that, I stopped shopping. Of course it would take an act of congress for me to stop buying clothes based on wants, impulse and boredom. Instead, I decided to figure out what exactly I was missing from my wardrobe and what pieces I needed to eliminate not only to establish a basic back to chic reign, but also to declutter and simplify my life. I was spending way too much time in the mornings trying to figure out what I wanted to wear. It was not only time consuming, trust me, with three young kids with school in the morning and a 45-minute commute, I could not afford to waste time trying on endless looks. Enter my self- imposed 30 days 30 outfits experiment. I challenged myself to create 30 outfits for 30 days (for work) with the pieces I already had in my closet. ! Que Dios me ayude! I thought to myself. The outfits had to be practical, work appropriate, the clothes had to fit, and satisfy my moods and my monthly visit. Yes, I had to pick period clothes. The outfits for the dreaded week had to first of all, be dark, lose (elastic waist preferably) and be able to move with me. I had enough clothes in a closet that was already packed to the rafters with clothes. I knew I could make this challenge work.
The reaction at work from my coworkers was immediate. Most thought I was shopping weekly, others thought of ideas for outfits of their own that they hadn’t thought to pair.
What did I learn after thirty days? I learned that my wardrobe was as bloated as I feel during the week I require elastic waist anything. I downsized it keeping only basic pieces I wore often and that I loved of course. I realized exactly what pieces I was missing, so I could shop for specific items rather than returning to my mindless shopping habits. But the most important lesson learned from this challenge, was recognizing that I was focusing too much of my energy on what I presented to the outside world in form of the clothes I wore and still, the root cause of my anxieties was not being addressed. My shopaholic recovery started with the simple realization that I had to turn the mirror and reflect upon the reflection I was seeing and I didn’t like it one bit. I saw a person that had fallen on the rat race wagon of sameness. I was becoming what I dreaded the most, another serial number woman, another female protagonist of The Wall music video. I was being led to the slaughter house of conforming to a small town’s mentality. I had the same hairstyle, sported the same fashions and followed my local society’s prescription rather than my own. I said! Alto! and took back my right to be as foreigner as I had been the day I moved back to this country. I took my right to reclaim my eccentricity and welcomed it with opened arms.
Three years later, I am still going strong with the outfit prepping while remaining my authentic self. As far as my shopping, I am proud to announce it has subsided and it remains based on needs not wants. The end result of yet another area of my life simplified: more time for writing!