A few weeks ago, I started taking myself off all the email marketing lists I wound up on after a few years of a robust, thriving attitude towards shopping. I was brutal about it. Bloomingdales - gone. Barneys - gone. Banana Republic - gone.
I did this because I splurged in New Zealand, and then I took the opportunity of unpacking to completely clean out my wardrobe, just the way they always recommend you do in magazines. After pulling everything out, sorting through it, putting together a pile of clothes to donate, and refolding and rehanging everything, I proudly stood back and admired my clean, tidy, and decidedly-still-pretty-full wardrobe.
I have a lot of clothes. Not compared to some people*, maybe, but certainly more than enough, even when considering that I wear clothes every single day. I have clothes for every single occasion - from a black tie ball** to sailing*** to riding**** to outdoor movies***** to sub freezing temperatures****** - and I love all of them*******, but the fact remains that I simply don't need any more.
Although I'm a pretty strategic shopper, I don't actually often buy clothes because I need them - I buy them because I want them. As do most of us in this comfortable, cosseted society in which we're fortunate enough to live. I don't have a problem with this per se, but sometimes (like in my case, right now) it gets silly. I see something I love and I want to own it so I buy it. Done.
I don't apply this attitude towards anything else though. I often see things I love - artwork, buildings, jewellery, pieces of cake - and I appreciate the beauty and work and creativity of them, and then I leave without taking them with me. Sometimes I'll take a photo, but that's it. So clearly I don't need to own something just because I find it amazing, and with that realisation, I promised myself that I wouldn't buy any new clothes until at least April, unless I undoubtedly need it (acceptable situation: replacing my blue jeans if I got a hole in them. Unacceptable situation: anything where I actually only want something, but I tell myself I neeeeeed it).
Unsubscribing from marketing emails has worked well to minimise temptation - when I have done it. Because while I have, indeed, stopped the flurries of enticing emails from Bloomingdales, Barneys, and Banana Republic - and many more besides - there are some that I can't bring myself to unsubscribe from. Like J.Crew. And Kate Spade. And Gilt.
I don't know why. After all, unsubscribing from those emails wouldn't automatically cause me to completely forget that those places exist. If I needed something from one of them, I could still procure it without an email's guidance. I suspect that it is the more driven side of my personality - the motivated, pushy little me that won't let me give up - telling me that I am still allowed to look. I just have to treat those emails as if they're about art, or buildings, rather than clothes, and appreciate them for what they are, without bringing them into my home to join the rest of my clothing family.
*Duchess Catherine. Gwyneth Paltrow. Ryan Gosling. I bet I have fewer clothes than all these people.
**Long, slinky, amazing black dress.
****Jeans, shirt, blazer.
*****Navy and cream polka-dotted dress.
******Everything I own, layered, and a coat. Will also work if I ever become homeless.
*******I'm kind of so-so about my workout tops, to be honest, but mostly I believe I have excellent taste in clothes I like.