Last week was all kinds of drab, drizzly, and cold. So I promptly turned into a fantastically lazy + melancholy version of myself. I did all sorts of stuff, like:
- avoid working out
- avoid washing my hair
- avoid putting on real clothes
- avoid staying awake
- avoid social interactions
- avoid vegetables
After a few days of this, I wasn’t feeling too happy with my choices. And when I’m unhappy with my choices, something happens — I just wanna buy things!!
I’ve recognized this little pattern in my life, and over the past few months I’ve been watching it closely, trying to find the root.
And I saw something:
Over the course of my life, consumeristic culture has been quietly feeding my brain this idea:
You want to change your life? You need to buy something for that.
For example, last week:
I wished I was better about working out. So I wanted to buy cute workout clothes.
… Instead of just getting up right then and going for a jog around the neighborhood. Which would have been real progress — and free.
And I wished I was more outdoorsy and adventurous. So I wanted to buy a camper and renovate it with a modern, minimal, all white and wood interior.
… Instead of just getting up right then, bundling up, and hiking around a new park. Again, real progress — also free.
And I wished I was a better friend — AKA I wanted to be someone who brought people together and hosted fun gatherings. So I wanted buy a welcoming home out in the country.
… Instead of just inviting a few friends over to our apartment to watch Downton Abbey. Progress — free — you get the idea.
I had to ask myself: Am I actually living the life I want to live? Or am I just buying things that represent that life?
And I had to ask myself: Am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, sometimes in order to start things, you do need to buy something. Or sometimes, you just want to make fun purchases. And that’s okay. We’re all on our own journey.
The important thing is to simply notice … with no judgement … when progress is attached to a purchase. Kind of like practicing meditation.
Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each thought as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops. – via Gaiam LIfe’s “Meditation 101”
Once you’re aware, consumeristic culture isn’t in control anymore — you’re in control, and you can choose what’s right for you.
And that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
What do you think? Have you ever felt this way, too?
Coat: Shopbop (also similar for less here)
Sweater: Nordstrom Rack (similar here)
Pants: old from J.Crew Factory (similar here)
Shoes: J.Crew (also similar here)
Bag: old from Madewell (similar here)
Definitely! But we did end up buying that country house – and moving there full time. So dreaming it is important as it leads to reality. And here, workouts are free, as just walking around in the rugged hill country terrain (or trying to create a big vegetable garden in it) is great exercise ;-). But I must still admit, the UPS guy is pretty familiar with us. I could blame it on the hunting/gathering thing…
Hi Kelly! You bring up such a great point — “Dreaming is important as it leads to reality.” Couldn’t agree more. And you’re right — we all have to find our own balance in this. :) xo Caroline
ruth d. says
I love your outfits, but this post in general really struck me. My husband and I are in a small apartment and I’m always making a list of what I want… another bookcase, this or that kitchen appliance, etc. While some of them are actual needs, others are just wants and I can feel when I am being consumed by my wants.
Cheers to being on a journey to LIVING our lives rather than making an instagram-tastic facade :)
So why do you show us your cute outfits and where to buy them if the idea is to be more mindful and take a walk instead of going out to buy a new outfit? No judgement, just curious…
Hi Anne! Thank you for asking this question. This is such an important question — one that I ask myself regularly. But I think right now I’m learning that it’s okay to be more than one way. I’m not 100% content all the time, and I’m not 100% consumeristic all the time. I think a lot of people fall into that same boat, so I’m trying to show how I make style work in the middle of that tension — having style with less, but still having style. :) Of course, less is a relative word, so some will find my approach too excessive and some will find it too minimal. I’m still learning and growing as I go, but I hope this gives a little clarity to your question. :) xo Caroline
Tania [girlwithanakita] says
I love how you phrased it. I definitely agree that we need to find a balance.
I used to very much fall into the mindset that I could buy my happiness with things. It doesn’t work.
What I am finding now is that when I browse pinterest of look at the cute outfit in this post, these are things that inspire, they stir certain emotions and help me to find what it is I want it to feel like when I am in my home or in my clothes. When I am inspired by one of the outfits on Caroline’s blog or a room on pinterest, I don’t feel the need to go buy everything to recreate it exactly, but I may be inspired to go through my things and recreate the feeling I get when I look at these pictures. And we can’t go for the rest of our lives without ever buying anything new so it is nice to have a reference point to get some of these things should we want to. I just find that I want to less often than before. :)
I for one am thankful Carolline lists where she gets her items. I bought a sweater that she had listed where she bought it. I had been looking for a sweater like that forever!!!
I guess that the relation is, even, to be mindful you need to get dressed, at least at some point.
I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behaviour for the day. Like if you put on flip flops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’ ‘Be nice to people in sneakers.’ By Demetri Martin
I needed this today. Thank you :)
Nice post! I often find myself struggling with the urge to buy something vs. do something – and an overwhelming sense that I’m waiting for some random, unformed thing to be able to live the life I want (rather than just going ahead and living it). A related issue that’s so relevant in the US in particular is looks/weight – I frequently hold off on doing things outside the house, making new friends, etc. on the basis that I don’t yet like the way I look. YUCK!
I’ve often felt alone in this, so it’s nice to feel some commiseration (although like anything negative, I also hate that others deal with it as well). Thanks for this!
Best post ever! And the outfit TOO!
Thank you, it’s so funny as this made me realise I do exactly the same thing and it’s never even occurred to me.
I almost blame the fact I’m making poor choices on the fact I don’t own certain things… ie. I would do more with my hair if I had the money to go out for dinner; I would have friends round more if I had a better house; I would get outside more if I had the right equipment… It gives me an excuse not to live my life!
Mindful living mind blown.
Omg. Nail on head. I thought about this last night as I was doing the latest fitness DVD on top of the 5 gyms I belong to… Stop spending more in fitness and just stick with what you have. Great post on mindfulness.
Also, why can’t I just have some people over to watch Downton? Why does my Josie have to be 100% perfect with a Martha-like spread?!
Jan Marie says
I’ve been having similar feelings about Pinterest lately. There was a great Buzzfeed (I know; oxymoron) post from someone who tried the top Pinterest “picks” to see if they would improve her life as promised. On the whole? No.
The Pinterest answer to happiness is, read some inspiring quotes put into kitchy graphic design, feel inspired but STILL not motivated (as you note), feel compelled to buy something to “inspire motivation,” and just pin and pin and pin all the things to fill up the hole where motivation belongs.
So what in the end made you get moving/get dressed/get broccoli back in your body? Hopefully something more than “the guilt of falling short”?
I really love this thought, Jan Marie. I recently bowed out of Pinterest for similar reasons. It came down to the question, “Would I rather pin photos of people living beautiful lives, making beautiful things and traveling to beautiful places? Or would I rather free up the time and mental space to do those things myself?” For me, Pinterest seems to create the feeling of accomplishment without requiring any real action on my part. It gives you the illusion of “filling up the hole” (as you put it!), but that illusion becomes dangerous when it keeps you from making a significant, healthy change in your life. Glad to hear that others are thinking about these topics, too!
Rita Tocta says
Lane “For me, Pinterest seems to create the feeling of accomplishment without requiring any real action on my part. It gives you the illusion of “filling up the hole” (as you put it!), but that illusion becomes dangerous when it keeps you from making a significant, healthy change in your life.” this is one of the best conclusions I’ve read on the subject! I never thought in that way, not only Pinterest and other social media makes you want more things as at the same time prevents you from having them! I had an eureka moment reading your comment! :)
Rita Tocta says
Maybe it isn’t expected for us to be motivated all the time (or it least it wasn’t). That is a grace, I remember when I was a kid that we could perfectly see someone that had fallen in love, that was having a great time at work or was just inspired by the muses. Not because everybody was less happier so when someone was it was a suprise, but because people seemed to be more in touch with the human nature, there are time for everything, even for a lack of motivation. Because in the search for it (but not in Pinterest :)!) we’ll probably learn new things about life and ourselves. I think we all are becoming unhappy because we think we should be happy all the time. Even minimalism seems to have taken distorted porpotions where people just “buy minimalism” or always anxious because they should have less. (I’m not against minimalism, I just think it shouldn’t make someone suffer!). Pinterest (which I love) most of the time seems like that Hitchcock scene (can’t remember the title) where someone is walking in the perfect city but then he realizes everything is a scenario, even the trees are false. I’ve loved your comment really made me think. (and I’m sorry for any English mistake, it’s not my language!)
My French grandmother would agree with you. She thinks Americans are so unhappy because they think they can and should be happy all the time. She’s probably right!
My husband says, happiness = reality – expectations. Yeah, we’re dorky like that, but he’s got a point. Anything that gets your expectations too far our of line will just decrease your happiness in the end.
Rita Tocta says
Yes Marisa, French call it “enui”, right? and it’s part of being creative, alive and a being with reflection/meditating capacities. Well, French have given us some of the best points of views/ intelectual revolutions in our history, and I don’t think they came from being happy and excited all the time. There is this kind of success and accomplishement that is developed with time, sargacity and resilience more than an immediate picture perfect of life. (sorry for any misuse/mistakes of words, English is not my native language)
Ennui, yes! Well said, Rita :)
Your posts are one of the things I most look forward to every day! You bring such a fresh perspective in this consumeristic culture. Please continue to share these thoughts and struggles, and I hope you encourage your guest bloggers to as well. Thanks, Caroline!
Emma Liston says
I totally agree with you! It seems like the world is on a mission to drain our checkbooks, minds, and eventually our lives- but it’s great that you realize that…that’s what I love about you. Becoming better should mean better for us, better for the checkbook, and better for our time. I just have to forget about how *not cute* I look when working out- and desperately try to unplug from the internet so I’m not tempted to run out and take advantage of a great sale! You’re so right in everything you said…and I mean it, you inspire me so much : )
Hi Caroline! I love your blog! This post reminded me of a post I read recently about motion vs. action. It has been so helpful, and now that I see the difference, it makes me see how to better live the life I want to have (often for free!), rather than *feeling* like I am getting closer. Funny how easy it is to confuse the two. Here’s the post: http://jamesclear.com/taking-action
Keep up the great work!
I really appreciate this post so much because it helped me to see that maybe it isn’t greedy to feel like I need new clothes if I have (honestly) ONE pair of pants that I just keep washing. Maybe I don’t want to buy 30 items in my new bigger size, but if I had maybe 10 new things, I would feel like I could rejoin society. I’m just making sure one of those things is a new pair of sweats.
Tessa, I’ve been struggling with buying new clothes too. After several years of having babies and constantly changing sizes and making do with the cheapest, barest wardrobe minimum that I could, I’m finally figuring out what I actually LIKE to wear and what size I need to buy it in. I’m having to slowly replace almost all my basic wardrobe pieces. I’m struggling with major guilt over spending money on clothes for myself, but I think that if I buy what I really like in comfortable sizes that it’s going to pay off in the long run. 10 new things sounds like a really healthy investment in yourself.
Rita Tocta says
I know what is to live out of 1 pair of pants! Can’t complain right now but I know the feeling! of course it’s not greedy. We all need clothes. And also I know what is not buy something because of not wanting to invest in a bigger size, but for me that was a mistake. We should buy clothes for the person we are at the moment. I think this is mindfullness too! I hope you find clothes you love!
First of all, I love your blog. Although I haven’t actually started my capsule wardrobe, I plan to get there, but so far, I’ve successfully applied what I’ve learned from reading you over the last couple of months (like not buying that other chambray shirt just because the neck looks different).
The questions you asked yourself on this post really hit me, as I feel that’s something I hadn’t realized I do a lot, I mean buying things that represent the life I want. I find myself constantly buying really nice and expensive things, just because they are pretty (who needs a $50 usd Pantone coffee cup when it doesn’t even work to take on the go?) just because I’m in favor of design…
So, thanks for putting that out there.
Brilliant point, Caroline! I have noticed this with myself in relation to some of the same things you mentioned above…and *blush* food. I have to CONSCIOUSLY remind myself to solve my cravings and wants in the right way…and not rushing to Starbucks for a caloric-ly filled latte OR the corner favorite with the best queso EVER. It certainly takes discipline but how freeing it is to be in control of our emotions!
Me too Brittany, literally filling my wants and cravings with food. And the other side of the coin too. I don’t know how many times I have gone and purchased a load of items (meal replacements, diet snack bars, vitamin supplements) in an effort to lose weight. When really all I need to do it eat less! And that is free! And face the feelings that arise when I don’t suffocate them with food and deal with them… Nothing I can purchase can deal with that (except maybe a therapist time!) but going for a walk or journaling or meditating or just sitting and feeling all the feelings – that’s free and actually helps move me to the life I want to LIVE instead of dream about
I was just totalling up my (perceived meager) earnings after deductions after my necessary expenses (rent, car expenses, monthly IRA, bills, groceries etc etc) and I was kind of stunned at how much I could have been saving had I curbed my emotional shopping – even if I had (somewhat aggressively?) saved 30% of my earnings.
I was shocked and kind of shameful. I have barely anything in my savings now, and I’m realizing it’s because of exactly what you were talking about above – the idea that just this one thing can help me change my life.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about living more conscientiously and intentionally – actually, I am almost finished reading More or Less on your recommendation, and I love it. It’s really challenged me to think about what is enough in my life, where I can cut and make things work, etc.
So, thank you for sharing these things – they are really helping me to think forward, and to be mindful of my spending and habits. <3
I’m so glad this isn’t just me! I have felt this way many times, especially when I’m having a crummy few days. This is probably 90% why I would buy things, to make myself feel better. Over the last few months though, I have made a conscious effort to really question what I’m doing–am I buying these new jogging pants because I NEED them, or because I think buying them will make me get outside and run more? I’ve noticed I’ve saved a lot of time, money and sanity not indulging in this consumer idea. Following your blog has definitely opened my eyes! Thanks!
This resonated with me so much that I have already read the post three times.
Not only do I find myself buying things that I think will make me who I want to be, but I find myself not throwing (or giving) things away that fit the idea of who I want to be versus who I am. Whether it’s those two-sizes-too-small jeans, or the fancy china that collects dust on the top shelves of my cupboards, or the throw pillow I saw in a magazine that doesn’t match my bedding so I have it stashed in a closet– Why hold on to these things that are just props for a life different than my own?
Thanks for the inspiration today! Now to read your words for the fourth time…
Dana P. says
I couldn’t agree with you more! Now that you bring it up, I definitely see the pattern in myself of purchasing things (whether I need them or not) instead of searching for ways to make real change. I love this little lesson and will keep it in the back of my mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic!
AH! This totally resonated with me. Beautiful, beautiful words. I feel like I’ve been trying to write something [for myself] like this for a while now, but could never find the right or adequate words. I love this. You definitely have a knack for getting complex + branching-like thoughts down in a neat + tidy kind of way. Thanks so much for sharing! -Laura
Your words are so, so true! I find that the feeling of needing to buy unnecessary things pops up the strongest during the winter months. Not sure why that is, but I’ve been battling it myself lately. Thanks for the brutal honesty. It was the push I needed to realize I’ve got everything at my disposal to live a happy life. And it doesn’t involve another trip to Target.
Quick question- what size are you wearing the sherpa jacket in?
This is so spot on for me that I just had to comment! I’ve been reading your website for a week or so toying with the idea to create my own capsule to get control of my shopping habits. For the last week, I can’t tell you how many websites I have visited and how many items I have put in my shopping cart… BUT I have walked away! After countless e-mails of “Wait, did you forget something” or “You left items in your cart!” I have said to myself, “No, you should go home and create a capsule before you try to BUY one online”. Anyway, I say all that to say it is so easy to act on an impulse. Whether it is work out clothes to make you want to work out or some other scenario. This week I have learned a lot about saying no to impulses.
Thanks for writing such an honest blog and for being so willing to share what a lot of people don’t.
“Am I actually living the life I want to live? Or am I just buying things that represent that life?” What impactful questions to ask! Thank you so much for sharing. Those are questions to ask ourselves regularly!
I think I’ve said this on previous posts (note: plural) but this is my favorite point you’ve made so far.
I work from home and struggle daily with the urge to make a 15 minute trip to buy a cup of coffee from that pricey cafe that we all know and sometimes love. I sometimes manage to convince myself that if I do that (as opposed to staying home and brewing my own cup), I’ll be more productive and have a better and, I’m ashamed to admit, happier morning.
After tallying my monthly contribution to aforementioned cafe, I knew I had to make a change, and realized that this habit stemmed from my old days of working in an office and making that first stop at the on-site cafe before heading to my desk.
These days, I am trying to create new and fun morning rituals (like invent my own drinks in the comfort of my pjs), but the first step was to “simply notice” my behaviors and the origin of it to take the first step in a different direction.
Omg I can’t believe what I’m reading! I just got inspired by another mom to actually jog with my jogging stroller. Because I only ever walk, because I’m embarrassed to look weird I guess. So just this morning I called Plato’s closet to see if they sell workout clothes. You hit the nail on the head for me with this post. Why do I think I needed cute workout clothes to just go jogging. Lol dang marketers and consumerist society! Thank you for this ! Love your blog.
I just adore this post. Thanks for so eloquently framing what I have been internally grappling with recently.
Samantha Roberts says
Amen to this. I find myself in that exact cycle more often than I would like to admit. Thank you for articulating it and putting it out there for other people to recognize and acknowledge.
I’m a twenty year old college student in Denton, Texas, and I read your blog daily! I come for the fashion, but I stay for the posts like this. When I came to college, I spent ridiculous amounts of money buying things to fill my dorm room in order to reflect how “cool” and “fun” I was. I made hollow friendships and felt a growing sense of unhappiness with my self. Your blog has been a real saving grace for me in my journey to reach self acceptance, and I can’t thank you enough for that. I’m still learning every day, but I will always appreciate the moments of reflection I often feel after reading your posts. I genuinely believe they are shaping me into a better person. Thank you.
I think sometimes it’s a matter of putting the cart before the horse and buying BEFORE the doing.
If you find yourself at the gym – and your current clothes are not functioning properly for your workout, then you can say – my workout will be better if I get clothes that make me better able to see my form, wick sweat, dont ride up – etc. And then it’s more of an “need” than not going to the gym and thinking maybe cute gym clothes will change that result.
Same goes for if you have people over, and realize that you need a serving platter because you have nothing to serve appetizers on; as opposed to thinking “maybe if I buy this nice serving platter I’ll want to invite friends over.”
I think I struggle a lot with thinking that the guilt of buying something I don’t currently need will motivate it to make that thing something that I “need”, but it doesn’t really work that way.
So good, Gabby! Love this thought line — thanks for sharing! :) xo Caroline
Your post today is spot on. I.too, have recently recognized this pattern in my own behavior and I’ve been practicing my response to the urge to BUY something so that I may begin or proceed with a project. Now I pause to ask what I can DO – for free to help make it happen? Thanks so much for sharing.
Yes! You have perfectly articulated something that I do all too often. I’m bookmarking this post to refer back to in the future. I’d love to learn more about mindfulness and intentional living. I’m not even sure if those are the right words for it, but I absolutely loved this post.
I don’t know if it’s within the scope of your vision for this website, and I’m just throwing a random idea out there, but it would be so cool if un-fancy had a special section with essays like this or resources (books/websites) for those of us who want to learn more about living a meaningful life. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for a great, eye-opening post!
Your blog is always enjoyable, but today’s post was particularly enjoyable and I am sure spoke to many. I am defintely guilty of all the feelings you described today. I refer to it as “compensation shopping”. I loved the closing about the mindfulness meditation. Do you meditate? And if so, did you use a book or something which helped you get started?
Hi Caroline, I’ve been following your posts since the fall. While I love the simplicity of the capsule wardrobe and the style inspiration you give, what I love most are the mindful, thoughtful inquiries, like the one you made today (1/28/15). Thanks for being willing to branch out and share so much more than just minimalism and fashion. As a yoga instructor and health coach I teach others how to live more fully and mindfully, and it’s those concepts that truly inspire me. Thanks for all that you do. Peace, Ruth
You look gorgeous. I love this. I often want to buy items I see bloggers wear, or beauty items that they use, because I feel that their taste and style is better than my own, and as they’re more successful then must be better and more interesting than me. I have to constantly check myself not to do this. I started my first capsule wardrobe on 1 January and am not buying anything for three months. This has helped me question my need to buy things SO much. I love this blog, and thank you so much for all your useful advice, and beautiful writing style. Hannah x
Victoria B says
This thought is great! This is why I have started putting anything I think I might like to buy into an Amazon wishlist and then don’t buy it until later. It makes me reassess why I wanted it in the first place, and if I a) need it, or b) have a specific purpose for it. It’s definitely not easy to shift the thinking. Since I started reading your blog last summer, I have been feeling this way, but this post really puts it into words and I love the questions you started asking yourself. Thank you!
This is beautiful, and a timely reminder for me to examine my own frustrations about being a broke grad student — I can still make progress, even if I can’t afford to buy all the paraphernalia that goes with working out, etc. Thank you so much for sharing!
katie a. says
I have those wedge J.Crew heels in black. LOVE THEM! This outfit is great!
xo katie a. // http://bluepoppyblog.com
totally my life.
Wow. This is super insightful, and you are so right. I can totally relate to this. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder.
Ashley Elrod says
agree! I’m stuck on January just all feeling this way. I’ve been trying to be more purposeful with it in this last week and it has really improved my mood.
Also I found your blog about a month ago and it was totally speaking to what had been on my mind. I don’t have a capsule but I paired my entire wardrobe down to 50 items for casual and 50 items for workwear and I feel amazing. I’ve actually been dressing better and feeling better and the simplicity is exactly what I’ve been slowly working towards. Your tips and posts were really helpful in seeing what to keep and how to look at it. so THANKS!
Such a great post. I am super guilty of this exact thought pattern. Right now I’m reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up and it makes me want to purchase all kinds of organizational tools like fancy boxes and linen baskets etc. and the author repeatedly says DON’T purchase organizational tools, get rid of the stuff instead. When you have less stuff you don’t require fancy linen baskets to put it in. Anyway, I still managed to spend $100 on Amazon yesterday with the justification that it will help me be tidy. Haha.
Love this! Such wisdom in a crazy, consumer world! I’m craving such simplicity. And yes, we just need to stop making excuses and do it! I am the worst at this :)
This post resonates with me. I was just reflecting on a similar problem myself, so I instituted a “freeze” of sorts. I have found I’m in perpetual “edit” mode…even my attempts at minimalism involve the constant management of stuff…so I am trying to take in what is, as it is. I want to be present and enjoy the things and relationships I have already put in place.
I’m sorry if I bring down the enlightened group mood, but… I kind of really want that camper you described. :)
OMG this is so true! I never really thought about it that way, but as I was reading this post I was totally agreeing with what you’re saying. There is definitely a fine line between buying things because you WANT to be that person, and buying things because you already ARE and want to REPRESENT yourself more.
Way to make me get deep on this Wednesday afternoon :)
Alex E says
Wow! Thank you for this post. It spoke to me. So. Much. Thanks for the reminder to be more mindful about my choices and to not be discouraged by the heavy burden that a lack of motivation can sometimes feel like.
I read somewhere that you should replace the words “I didn’t have time” to do such and such with “I didnt make such and such a priority.” Let me say WOW this works wonders for me and I think saying things out loud and being held accoutable can really help. Hope this comment makes sense, I felt like this idea could apply to this post in regards to wants/needs and how it can affect completing a task.
Jacquelyn @justjacq says
I love this!
Thank you for this post – it definitely resonated with me. Definitely something to think about! I get updates of new comments on your capsule wardrobe post as I commented on it a while ago – I am slowly moving towards the idea of being able to manage with so much less than I have right now. I hope I find the grace to be able to move towards that one day. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you and that you inspire me:).
Thanks. I really needed this today.
Jackie (York Avenue) says
Great post Caroline. You bring up important points. Buying is so psychological! When I have something I legitimately need (like new sneakers for work or a new lamp because mine broke), I rarely want to spend the money or feel excited about the purchase. But show me some stuff I don’t need AT ALL – like new clothes, new books, some cutely packaged candy…I’m ALL about it. I like that you point out that we need to think about how we’re feeling when we feel the urge to buy. I read a lot of blogs, and sometimes I feel a little “eh” about that, because blogs, while wonderful and something I enjoy immensely, can be very consumeristic and very product driven, and very “buy this! Buy this!” (my own included, at times). I’m glad that yours, while still maintaining a focus on fashion, has something else to say besides “buy this!”
Well, last weekend we went to the shopping centre to get some stuff and my boyfriend couldn’t believe I wasn’t actually looking for anything!!! And this has been so easy (definitely easier than what I thought)..while walking past those endless shop windows I was just thinking about the beautiful clothes I already own (some of them I haven’t yet worn!!)
Thanks for your inspiring insight..you have been changing my perspective on few aspects of my lifestyle lately :)
What a fantastic point you make! Now I think about it, I also find myself slipping into the habit of wanting to shop when I want to change something in my life. I think it’s a comfort thing. I adore your outfit by the way, I think it’s my favourite of yours I’ve seen so far. It just looks so… fresh! x
Miss Imogen Smith
K. Nicole says
MIND BLOWN! This was really profound for me: “And I had to ask myself: Am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing?”
Thanks for that!
Thank you for writing about something I have been thinking about for a LONG time! I’ve been increasing my awareness of my habits and how they affect my overall satisfaction with life and consumerism is one of the main things I have a contention with. It’s so great to hear that others are going through the same thing! (also, i’m fairly new to UnFancy but LOVE it!! working on my first capsule wardrobe this season!)
WOW… Caroline, i cannot begin to explain how many times i’ve felt (still feels actually) EXACTLY like this.
I’m very much aware that this is one of my biggest challenge to work on because i really need to change my financial behavior and it all starts here… I mean i’m the kinda girl who buys a new notebook everytime i have a new idea! I honestly have about 25 notebooks with only 10 to 15 pages filled up, about 10%, ridiculous!
Thank you so much for this post, so nice to see i’m not alone to be like this!
Katie D says
I’m a fan of all your looks, but this look just KILLED it for me. Oh my gosh. Great job.
Love your analyzation of why we shop. I can completely relate. It’s like, I dream of all these fun things that my husband and I could do…but oh, then we need to get this. Oh, then we need to get that. NO. Ending now. Awareness of habits is totally key. Thanks for the realization :)
Rita Tocta says
Thank you for this post Caroline! I’ve been thinking about..the way I think :) and my thinking/emotional patterns, this was really really inspiring. You look beautiful!
Really nice post.
Hi Caroline – I’ve been reading for a little while but have never commented. Your blog is one of my new favorites. I’m working up the guts to try a capsule wardrobe, not quite there yet. This post really resonated with me. Thank you for writing so eloquently about these behaviors. You could have been writing about me. I needed someone to show this to me in a gentle way so Thank You! Keep up the great work.
Thank you for this post. Thank you for so beautifully and articulately expressing something I have been struggling with for a long time and never even realized. I needed this epiphany! Thank you!
Such an honest and insightful post, and it has fostered such insightful comments and conversation! Thank you!
Great post! really great. thanks. and while I’ve left my “lurking” corner, just wanted to say you are so brilliant/ inspiring/ interesting/ beautiful/ helpful (pick the one you need most today- they are all true).
Thanks for your honesty and integrity and the fab style advice xo
from Suzie (in far away Sydney, Australia)
Just wow… So so true! I think I have learnt to control this habit (sometimes) but it’s really more of a progression. Being aware of these habits makes it possible to overcome them! Great post as usual xox
Yes! I think the same way. You explained it so eloquently. Thank you.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you writing these thoughts down, they resonate so much with where I’m at in my life and in my consciousness of my shopping habits. I was inspired by your journey and have begun one of my own towards a more cohesive, contented life. Thank you so much for sharing!
Wow! This post really hit home for me today. Thank you!
Am I actually living the life I want to live? Or am I just buying things that represent that life? Wow, that really resonated with me. I recently commented on another blog that doing your wardrobe planner is invaluable even if you don’t intend to do a capsule wardrobe as it helps pinpoint what actually serves my life as opposed to clothing that, while beautiful, has no place in my life/wardrobe. We live on 10 acres with a huge garden and I spend most of my days in the garden and/or crafting. When we go out it is either to dinner at home with friends or at their house or the local (very casual) pub for a meal. So high heels and fancy clothes are not required. I am learning to enjoy some styles of clothing as works of art not something I need to own. This post is really making me move to the next level of thinking about simplifying and examining my attitude to what I need to buy ( to replace something or fill as genuine need) and what I need to DO!! I often confuse the two actions :(
I needed to hear this today. Thank you!!
YES thank you! I turn to shopping as a way to zone out, but it’s always an indicator that something’s lacking in my life that I’m trying to avoid. .. usually connection. Don’t get me wrong, connecting with others (and my life in general) is critical to my livelihood, but when I get overwhelmed with my life, all I really want to do is hide and get lost in something that’s NOT my life — which is usually online shopping (hello Shopbop!). It’s been a long process, but whenever I feel myself getting that way, I’ll read, look at my to-do list (which is usually long), go for a walk around my neighborhood or journal. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it’s it’s infinitely better than where I was 6 months ago. Thank you for this post!
I completely relate to this & needed to hear this today :)
Ohhh this is so accurate! Thank you so much for this. I find myself turning to buying things to “create myself” when really, my actions create myself. It’s so easy to lose sight of that!
Caroline- This is fantastic food for thought and a great check-in. Figuring out what you can do now, with what you have, is so empowering! Thanks for this!
Caroline !! This is so good. I have been thinking about this for long without being able to put it in words. Thank you for putting it in words for me today :)
Kristin W says
What an amazing post! Am I living the life I want to live…thank you for reminding me of this! I love the mindfulness meditation (although it reminds me of how I want my husband to just listen to me sometimes instead of responding…listen and acknowledge). I’m going to try and be much more aware of my thoughts. Thanks for being so open Caroline!
This is so great and exactly what I needed to hear this week. You put my thoughts into words! Thanks as always for taking time to share!
Wow! I’ve been following your blog for a while, but never left a comment. One thing you said today really hit home – “Am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing?”. This year I’m currently using a Zeal Project, that is dedicating an entire month throughout the year to focusing on and discovering that which matters and gives me my “zeal” for life. I’m currently living in South Korea and have been contemplating moving to France indefinitely this upcoming September (when my current work contract is complete). I could always renew my contract, and I pretty much accepted I would have to renew my contract (teaching English), just out of fear. I’m worried about being able to support myself in France, as it is extremely hard for non-Europeans to find work in that country. It’s hard for me to imagine staying in Korea another year (not that I’m not enjoying my time), especially since it seems something has been pushing me towards this move for the last couple of months, I even started learning French! But now I wonder “am I putting off a full life now because I’m waiting for the day I’ll be able to afford a certain thing”. Now it has me thinking if there a way I can make this happen sooner than later? Thanks for the thought provoking insight!
It boils down to own word… Perfection.
We all strive towards this unatainable level of perfection that is impossible and exhausting to keep up. In some ways I blame the internet for showing me perfect pin-worthy pictures of things beyond my reach.
I see the success of others without seeing the struggle, bloggers’ lives, wardrobes, families etc with the ugly or boring parts edited out. I started believing that one dimensional idea of perfection, that told me that who I was, was not enough. I never had enough clothes, nor was I satisfied with anything in my life.
But then, I had to let go and just live. And realise that life is not perfect, nor can we shop it better. But it is still worthwhile, even if it looks less perfect.
Exactly this! I was unhappy years ago when everything should feel perfect..there is a taste in a mismatched filled with ourselves that a “perfect” life will never ever have..
Oh my goodness – you just described my life! I have been working REALLY hard to try to get out of that cycle and part of it was moving to capsule wardrobe but it has been REALLy hard to avoid the impulse to buy. I’ve already “replaced” several items in my capsule to make it “really” work but I wonder if I’m just impluse spending in a different form. Although, I will say that I went shopping with an agenda and actually came out with things that only fit that agenda. So there’s progress. It’s so hard for me to find ways of coping that involve shopping. Sometimes I think it’s just laziness . . . shopping is easier than making real change
Such a cute outfit, and you’ve raised some very good points here… what a challenge to the worldly values that we so embrace nowadays…
I am so impressed with your words. It is unbelievably true that we feel as if we must buy something in order to start something new. This can also be applied to larger states of mind, such as “once I have a child I will feel complete” or “when I get a new job I will be happy” or “I soon as I meet someone special I will focus on losing weight.” We are all waiting for something. Something that we will feel will change things, something external. When really it is our minds that need to do the changing.
You area wonderful, positive influence. Please keep up this excellent work.
when i avoid veggies and working out i feel like that, but i think sometimes in your life you need a period of doing it to make the soul feel less, meh
You mentioned working out, and now I can’t help but wonder – how do your workout clothes fit in to your wardrobe? I workout about 5 times a week (and definitely wear my running leggings even when no running is in sight), and find that my gym clothes wear out super quick even though I try not to wash them all the time/do a gentle wash etc.
Part of this problem may be that I have a super limited budget as a student so I tend to buy the cheapest stuff (like H&M sports clothing), but still. Any advice? I’d also love to see your workout clothes, if you ever feel like sharing!
Like many others, this really resonated with me. I’ve had this post sitting in my inbox since it went out in late January. I realize now after months of struggling with credit card debt that I justified for various reasons, it’s time to make an adjustment. Thank you for the food for thought!