Fell off the wagon & got dragged along behind it

Well, I made it all of... two weeks without placing any orders or buying anything new. But I guess the title of this post says it all. o_0

My SYC transgressions from yesterday, per my original plan to return only and not repurchase:

- Exchange: Very sadly returned my Topshop hi-low shirt dress because the fabric will. not. stay. ironed. And I was even willing to iron it rather than steam! Ordered a BB non-iron shirt dress off Ebay for less than half the cost. 

- Exchange: Returned the Modcloth cat dress, as I felt like I was settling for "good enough." I want to hold out for a cat dress that I feel as great about as the Equipment cat shirt. The failure, though, is that I love my Airport Greeting cardi so much that I ordered a duplicate in burgundy. 

- Possible Exchange: Sold an unworn jacket on Ebay and stupidly started browsing utility jackets, thinking I was safe since I hadn't seen one I liked online in a couple years. But then I saw this BCBGeneration version that looks perfect in the pic and says 100% cotton, and it was only available at one retailer. I even called in to ask about the lining material, hoping a poly lining might deter me, but they said it was cotton. With extra $ floating around, I could not help but at least give it a try for something I've waited 15 years for. 

- Finally, I straight-up cracked and ordered the Ara black patent booties after seeing them on Shannon and nursing my sore feet for the Nth week in a row and finding them at an extra 20% off. BUT this literally kept me awake last night, and I emailed the company asking for a cancellation. They are working on it, but they may not be able to stop the process in time. Very small victory for SYC.

So, I came out at a wash monetarily (assuming the Aras can be cancelled), but it is a little bit of a mental disappointment. I wanted to be able to say I could pass up anything this time. Objectively, the first year at a new job is not a great time for a shopping ban, and two of these items will make existing wardrobe items work for work. But still... you know. 

I am not looking for floggings this time around, and I know that I am the one who has to want to do a thing in order to do it. All I can do is reset the X-days-since-last-purchase counter and see if I can beat my previous score.
I hope that, as I iron out the kinks in my wardrobe for on the job comfort and function, the days between orders will gradually increase. 

Words of wisdom and tips welcome - how do you go about changing old habits, editing and re-editing in a new environment, or sticking to a goal?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I can commiserate. I'm not sure I could make it a whole month without a single new purchase either. It's one of my only hobbies right now. I keep to a budget but if I see something I just really, really, really want - well, I'm probably going to get it. I guess if I wanted to change the habit, I'd find some other way to reward myself so I didn't feel like I was punishing myself for doing something I enjoy.

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    I've done it before, but I am much better at a budget (either clothing amount or dollar amount).  I think for those of us who know shopping is always going to be part of our routines in one way or anther, setting reasonable limits is a better way to go than cold turkey. 
    I wanted to buy nothing 'til I hit FL, but the lemmings had me jumping off the cliff with them.  I mean, I won't wear my Spiegel jacket for almost 3 months, if not longer.  But who can turn down a $30 version of something you've been eyeing for many years?  All I can do is fit it in to my shopping plan for the year and adjust.  No pea coat this winter instead.  Done.  I'm totally happy and don't feel I 'let myself' down somehow.  

  • replied 5 years ago

    I keep saying I am done but then discover holes I need to fill. But I think after this I am done. For at least a month or two. I am replacing some tee shirts, and I just duplicated my Gap Always Skinny in the blue wash because I love my other ones so much and then that is it! I mean it!

    I think some of this is extreme boredom with my limited summer wardrobe. That will be an issue to address next year!

    Good on you for recognizing your limits and being PPP.

  • rae replied 5 years ago

    Texstyle, good point about finding a different way to treat myself... although this IS my preferred way. o_0

    Mo, what you said about the plan makes me feel better. The dress was in the plan pre-SYC - the plan was just derailed when the first version did not perform. The cardi was in the budget. And the jacket was in the Maybe Someday long-term plan. I can take that out of the Shoptoberfest budget if I end up liking it. 

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I find the best way to SYC to to not look.  I don't go browsing on-line or go to B&M stores.  It must be harder for you since you work in retail, but the easiest way to avoid temptation is to just not look.  It's also a little harder when on the forum since people find such great stuff, but I don't click on links that people provide and try not to be tempted.

  • Kari replied 5 years ago

    One day at a time. You're building a habit of discipline and learning what you need to do, and to avoid, day to day. Don't beat yourself up!

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    Such an interesting sweater - and an odd name - that I took a look at the product page. I'm aware of Modcloth, of course, but don't shop it. I never realized they marketed by selling you part of a life story (like J. Peterman).
    I realize you bought the original cardigan because you know what you like and have your own life story :D but still. I took a look at several products curious about the stories they thought would influence people. I guess we all have them. :D

  • Krista replied 5 years ago

    I would say celebrate your two week victory and not lose one more minute of sleep over it. This is not because I am unsympathetic, it is because I am more than sympathetic to your experience. I felt like you were maybe inside my head there for a minute! Kari says it all perfectly. It's a process and it's okay to recognize it as one. What advice would you give one of us if we had posted a similar thread? That's what you need to follow for yourself. :)

  • anchie replied 5 years ago

    I can only commiserate. Today is my first day of SYC, of course if you don't count two packages that are on the way, which I am not sure that I will be willing to return. I can already see that it will be very hard.
    But it is not end of the world. You should not beat your self that much. It is like with diet, just because you had little carbs, you should not give up and overeat.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Oh, Rae. It's tough to break habits. Any habits! And sometimes we do pick the wrong time. I think asking yourself not to make new purchases when you have just started a new job, with new demands, is a bit extreme. And the temptations are super high when you work in retail. Around you, people are always buying stuff! It is hard not to get carried away. 

    For the record, I think all those purchases (including the booties) are potential workhorses for you. 

    I find it's easier to START a good habit than to STOP a bad one. So sometimes positive displacement is the key. 

  • SandyG replied 5 years ago

    Don't be so hard on yourself. Clothes = daily pleasure, not a cure for cancer or any other serious issue. I'm happy to hear you found something you'd been hunting.

    That BCBGen. ulitity jacket looks absolutely perfect. Where did you find it?

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    You nailed it when you said you are in a new job & NEED plenty of comfortable footwear & to feel current. Also if you have been looking for something forever & find it, then it would be foolish not to buy imo.

    I think for some people a total shopping ban is like a dieting mentality - it just makes you hungry for more. I also think you need some mad money or pocket money so you can decide whether to spend it weekly or save for something you want (without any guilt).

  • cloud9 replied 5 years ago

    Oh dear Rae, don't be so hard on yourself! You are making great strides as is and being conscious about your purchases. As long as purchases are within your budget/plan, I don't see why you have to syc. This is how you "treat" yourself, every girl needs a little ya know. :)

  • goldenpig replied 5 years ago

    Don't be so hard on yourself! You need comfy clothes and shoes for work. Instead of looking at it as a failure, think of it as a two week success.  Maybe set up a budget instead of SYC? I know I tend to shop *more* when I tell myself I am on SYC.

  • Lisa replied 5 years ago

    Everytime I tried a SYC session, I failed.  Limiting myself to no purchases just never worked well for me.  I had to appease my analytical nature and start tracking my spending and how many days I would go at a time without shopping.  I had a calendar and would literally countdown how many days inbetween shopping.  Eventually seeing it in ink go tme to challenge myself "oh two days now how about three, how about a full week, how about 24 days this month to beat last month, etc" 

  • Gaylene replied 5 years ago

    Shopping bans, like diets, make us feel so in control when we start and like such failures when we fall on our faces. I'm with others in thinking that going cold turkey only works if you are totally able to remove yourself from temptation.

    What really worked for me was to set a specific limit, as in "I will only buy xx items this season (or year, or whatever time frame makes sense to you)". Having a specific number really made me think twice before I bought something because hitting the purchase button meant I then had "used up" one of my items. Having a specific number worked because it was immune to my creative "girl math".

    One interesting aspect of my limit was that I totally changed how I started thinking about a possible purchase. Instead of finding reasons why I ought to buy an item, I started looking for reasons not to buy something, mostly because I was afraid I'd be mad at myself if something better came along in a few weeks. The thought of "wasting" one of my numbers really made me hesitate, and, quite often, if I waited for a few days, an item lost much of its allure--very similar to the old diet trick of waiting for half an hour before giving in to a craving.

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    Rae, I am with you.  It makes me unhappy that I cannot stay no to myself.  Maybe I need a new hobby.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    I am with the don't be so hard on yourself group. And I do think a shopping limit or budget makes much more sense than a shopping ban for most people. Just like a moderate diet makes more sense than a crash diet for most people. Anyway it is not like you didn't make wise purchases.

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Don't be so hard on yourself.  We're not talking about drug addiction here.  Are you paying your bills?  Are you saving some money for future emergencies?  Do you participate in your company's 401K plan?   If you can say yes to all of this, enjoy your hobby.

    If you want to stop shopping to prove to yourself that you can do it, you must stop looking.  Stop browsing, even log off of YLF for awhile if this causes temptation (Shannon in the Aras for example).  Then reflect on how that feels; do it for 1-2 weeks or something to see if you learn something from it.

  • ManidipaM replied 5 years ago

    Having SYCed before, I can actually see you already have a great strategy: ' see if I can beat my previous score.' Just add a non-retail reward to level up every month or quarter.

    Fingers tight crossed for the jacket. Now that's PPP.

  • rae replied 5 years ago

    Thank you, ladies! I have been checking in, reading these comments, and mulling them over all day. I could not even remember my original goal for starting this, so I looked up the post: 

    I think with working NAS, my comfort levels have been at an all time low, and this has put me into a kind of panic over comfy things... But now NAS is over. Hopefully my feet will get a rest, so I need to just stay calm, return whatever doesn't make me weep with comfort, and quit ordering new things!

    So I had predicted that 1) my purchases up till then would fill my comfy/cool work clothes holes and 2) that my need for such things would decrease after NAS - both of which proved to be untrue. Half Yearly is around the corner, and the Christmas rush after that... if I do get a rest from the very physical side of work, it won't be for long. It makes sense that the failed purchases had to be replaced rather than passed over. 

    Ceit - I hear you on boredom. A bit of that factors in here, too. I always want to wear the same dress and shoes, so the lure of variety is there. 

    Kari and Krista - I like that way of looking at it. And within those two weeks, I am proud that I didn't buy anything just because it was shiny. 

    Anchie - right! Not an excuse to go on a spree at all. 

    Suz, I hope you are right about the workhorses. I have underestimated my comfort needs a lot in the past 6 months!

    SandyG - the jacket was on Amazon. :)

    Caro, Cloud, Gaylene, GP, Denise, and Shevia - You know me well. I keep saying I won't SYC again, but then I wanted to save all my splurge $ for these next months to spend during Shoptoberfest. I guess an alternative would be to see IF I find anything at Shoptoberfest that is over and above the usual budget, and take it from the months after that... 

    Lisa, that is totally where I see myself going with this and what I meant about beating my old "record." As holes get filled, the record should improve...

    Mani, a non-retail incentive... got to think hard about that one! I don't even know what I'd pick. lol That sure shows how much this is my main recreation, doesn't it?

  • ManidipaM replied 5 years ago

    Rae, you wouldn't be the only one! It is actually very hard no matter what your shopping hot buttons are. Me, I might say no to clothes and then buy wooden spoons and books... then tot up and figure I may as well buy shoes instead! True story. So what I substituted was food. Yeah, I gave myself permission to eat (and cook). Go figure.

  • Ruby Tuesday replied 5 years ago

    Rae stop self flagellating.

    You did not meet a goal you imposed upon yourself, reassess, did you fail or were your goals unrealistic? Reset your goals, consider your needs, take control by forgoing the wagon and instead choose to ride the horse.

  • Kristin L replied 5 years ago

    Don't beat yourself up Rae. We all have slip-ups. You said it best when you said that it's time to reset the clock and try to beat this record. 

  • AnnieMouse replied 5 years ago

    I'm struggling wiht this myself, so it's heartening (though a serious bummer) to know I'm not the only one. It's SO HARD. Especially as we start the season shift. I'll be your acccountabilibuddy, if you want?

  • Laura replied 5 years ago

    What Jules said! I SYC'd for what, five months, and found it really difficult. Much more fun to do what others have suggested - a limit on the number of items, for example. When I am considering buying an item, I always ask myself if I have another item in my closet that would make (fill in blank, whatever item I happen to be coveting) a duplicate. If the answer is yes, then I walk away. 

  • Raisin replied 5 years ago

    It's so tough to bust a bad habit! I'm trying to quit the sugar right now and I can do really well at home while in my own routine. But as soon as we go out of town or visit, I'm all over it! Lol! But one step at a time and just because we make an indulgence here or there doesn't mean all the other days of good work are lost. Sounds like some of those items may have been smart purchases anyway. I agree that maybe setting a small limit you can have fun with may be a better way to go. It would at least be a good start, if you still want to quit purchasing all together you can do it as a next step. Small steps are easier than one huge jump sometimes!

  • peekaboo replied 5 years ago

    I am in a similar position!

    My DH does not understand clothing AT ALL and we were having arguments every time a package arrived even if I ended up returning all or most of it.  So we set a budget $$ per month that I can spend no questions asked.  I can buy and return all I want as long as the total I keep doesn't exceed that amount.  Things are so much better now, as I don't have to endure the evil eye when opening a box!  But it really tugs at me every time I see something that I want and I have already spent my money for the month.  I have a bunch of stuff bookmarked and I am just waiting for September 1 - I'm totally getitng that modcloth sweater in burgundy too!

    I do worry that things are going to be sold out and I'll regret it later but I keep trying to convince myself that there will always be something else to buy.  They won't stop making clothes any time soon.

    Anyway, this may be an option for you (setting an amount per month) rather than cold turkey.  It's forcing me to make choices and be more selective rather than just buying somethign and figuring it out later.  I know I won't completely stop buying caring about clothes ever, just like I'll never completely give up french fries, but everything in moderation!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    I think you're being pretty tough on yourself - your clothing and footwear needs have changed drastically with your new position and became even more obvious during NAS with the specific need for comfortable footwear. 

    I still think in the end your choices (or cancellation/exchange of choices) have been wise ones. Maybe take a step back, assess what you truly have, make a list of your real needs with a budget, and work on that?

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    Don't be so hard on yourself - I have had that same goal before, and for me it was unrealistic and unattainable, so I changed the goal. I set a limit - monetary and items - and so far I'm sticking to it. If I find it hard to stick to in the new fall season, my plan is to turn the list and money over to DH and put him in charge of it. I also have a big trip we're saving for to think about - we're planning to go to Grand Cayman next summer. 

    I hope setting a limit/budget and saving for something big will work for me, maybe it would work for you too?

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