D day

garfield once said "diet is just die, with a t."
smart cat.
i am (as of now) on a major fashion diet - rest assured, i can still eat whatever i want, but as far as flexing my mighty shopping muscle, that has all changed. it's under happy circumstances, and it is part of a larger lifestyle choice (where we live, etc.), so i am not weeping in a heap on the floor, but the thought of this particular aspect of the necessary changes is not putting a big fat grin on my face either. it's been a good run, and my current wardrobe will make it more bearable. it seems to me that my only option is to not look.
can. not. look.
(this is my key strategy, and so far, my only strategy.)
looking always yields desire. always.
it is interesting to me that when it came time to figure out what could be chopped in the expenditures dept., my little hobby was at the top of my own list. as i said, my satisfaction with things as they currently are helps quite a bit, i cannot lie. i got in a few last minute purchases this month that will also help quite a bit. for how long, who can say.
now this will not be an issue of starvation, and this is not an issue of fasting (i.e., see how long you can hold your breath, and so on) but with the limited, highly restricted budget, what i have decided i would prefer to do is simply save and wait, and buy 1 or 2 clothing items per year.
i am (at the moment) feeling content with this decision (which is only mere hours old).

if you needed to make budgetary cuts, where on your list would fashion fall, and what strategy would you use to make it tolerable, if you did have to make those cuts?


jakjak said...

Fashion is one of my biggest expenditures, so it would be one of the first listed on a budget. To make it bearable, I think I would still have to allow myself an allowance for accessories.

a. said...

wow, am i first? oh, not anymore. :-)

i think i mentioned this in an earlier comment of mine too - i HAVE had to make budgetary cuts recently, and the solution you mention is the only thing that works for me. not looking, i mean. every so often i break the rule - i'll just look! i won't buy! - and inevitably i buy. terrible. (happened today in fact - but my only slip-up this month! this is good, for me at least.) but i've found that i can look online to satisfy my eye. strange, since conventional wisdom would say impulse buying online is easier.

as far as where it falls in the list of budget cuts - i cut it just as much as anything else. i'm saving for various things, one of which - the one really "fun" thing i'm saving for - is extended travel. i've done it once and i can still say it was the best money i spent ever, way better than any clothes i've ever bought. (blasphemous!) so i just remind myself of that, again and again. and again.

and i also do currently have a wardrobe that makes me quite happy. there are little things here and there that i want, that can fit into the budget. these fall mainly into two categories: 1) simple basics (tshirt/tank/leggings/etc) which i get at lower price stores, and 2) workhorse-type staples that should be good quality, like shoes, a coat, jeans etc. that i will be buying a lot less of (but just 1 or 2 - i don't think i could go that low). the best thing about this for me is that i've gotten really good at cutting out impulse buys, the "one-offs" that would catch my eye but languish in my closet.

geez, i just wrote a ton... i've been on this budget for a few months now and so i've done a lot of thinking about it!

Iheartfashion said...

You are absolutely right that you cannot even look. My husband and I have tried (OK, comtemplated) being on a budget, but we're foiled every time we set foot in a book- or clothing store. I can always justify buying something when it's right in front of me.

K.Line said...

I have had to make budgetary cuts in the past and, while I certainly bought less of everything, my every slip up was on the fashion purchase front.

My strategy would be exactly yours. Don't look under any circumstances. Which is very difficult in the fashion-y urban metropolis in which I live. I'd also start - if at all possible - with a very good wardrobe in tip top shape that could withstand the test of time for a while.

Gotta say, your level of austerity would not appeal to me. Will you still purchase magazines and books?

Best of luck. Self-imposed austerity is the nicest kind because it comes out of choice. K

editor said...

jakjak - i know that the small treats help a lot with morale, but if i spend money on accessories, then i can't put money aside towards new items of actual clothing.

a. - the first thing you bought this month happened today/yesterday? nice thing that it's a short month. :)
i most definitely canNOT look online. online is where my damage gets done. all my favorite treasures, with one or 2 exceptions, were found and/or bought online.
how long do you intend to stick to your plan for?

iheartfashion - right, i will stick to the plan. no looking. doesn't that say so much though, that desire does not originate just from within, but is instead spoon fed, to me at least.

k.line - my 1-2 items per year are clothing items. other cuts will be made too, but more like downgrading rather than eliminating. instead of $$$ hair conditioner, i will use olive oil as a pre-shampoo treatment and then use drugstore conditioner after i shampoo. fashion is something i am not willing to downgrade, so i will stick with 1-2 of the items i love, per year (though frankly, even then they will have to be marked down i think...).
part of the not-looking-plan will also save me money because i will sharply curtail my magazine purchases. i might occasionally get a foreign magazine, because the items, and sometimes the very languages, are not accessible to me. but no more domestic titles of any kind. that is at least $20 a month right there. and as i told a friend last night, that $20 per month always produced $400-$800 worth of want, per month, which is the real problem.

enc said...

For me, fashion is first on the list of cuts. I'd stay out of shops and eliminating online shopping. That would remove temptation, to which you refer above. If I gave myself a budget for clothing expenditures, I think that would help, and a timetable as you suggest is a great idea.

Jessica said...

I'm glad you posted this. For the last four years, I've worked at Gap and then Banana Republic. I have a full time job, but I kept working at BR for the discount. I recently came to the difficult decision to quit and Sunday is my last day. I need to remove myself from the store to stop spending money. Otherwise, I stare at it constantly and eventually convince myself that it's a good purchase. I ended up spending far more there each month than I made. This month, with my impending last day, I spent a lot more than I should have (almost triple the amount I budget for clothes!) I'm ready to enjoy the items I own instead of always freshening up my closet.

The Seeker said...

Of course fashion was the first item to cut. About strategies…
I also think the best thing is not to look.
I've already told this, but I think that living on an island with no many good clothes stores it's easy for me not to buy fashion during some periods. I schedule my buying fashion periods for March/April and October, usually when I go to the mainland. And I get my self a budget and a list with the pieces that I would like to buy to improve my wardrobe with some new trends but matching with the others pieces I already have.
I already don’t like to buy on-line, I had some bad experiences returning the pieces, and it’s just if is a good bargain or if I have no other place to buy, for instance this winter I didn’t go shopping at mainland, and I wanted a vest that I could find on local stores, so I bought it on-line, but was as a last solution.


btw - you're right about those pictures I've posted from Paris Fashion Week, except Margiela's all the clothes are nice from the neck down.
But as a show it's something weird and creepy, and we must laught of it, otherweise...

Nancy said...

The first cut I make when short on funds is eating out. It isn't necessary to have someone cook for me (although it is nice), and the cost of the meal plus the 15 mile drive to the nearest town isn't usually worth it.

After that comes readymade clothing. I don't buy many garments, but I have an ample wardrobe from gifts and the like. I definitely wouldn't miss fitting rooms at all.

When I have extra money, I buy vintage jewelry. It is my weakness, and I love it.

When I have to cut down on my jewelry spending, I just tell myself how much, if any, I can spend. Sometimes it is satisfying to just look at and try on pretty things.

At this point in my life, my financial guideline is "Don't spend money I don't have".

editor said...

jessica wow - that is a big change. "happy last day" on sunday.
yes, being around it all the time must be almost hypnotizing - 'must bye'.
let me know if detoxing from the constant refreshening of your wardrobe is difficult. i already stared down temptation tonight myself. everything was lined up against me - something i liked, ridiculously affordable, but i felt like it would snowball. if i didn't resist this, where would it end. if i'm not going to shop, i'm not going to shop. i can't pick and choose which things are worth bending the rules for. i just want to try it this way for a year, the full diet *gulp* and stick to my 1-2 items, nothing more. and i won't even contemplate those until it's been 6 months.

nancy, that financial guideline should be EVERYONE'S. i have the money, but i also have other needs for it now. new priorities (yuck). i'm cutting back on many things, as i said - eating out among them. and my beloved conditioners. :)

theseeker - i tried looking just a little tonight, and as i just wrote above, it nearly got me into trouble. right! canNOT look.

The Seeker said...

Oh, I forgot to tell that I LOVE garfield's quote.

Prêt-à-Porter P said...

I’ve been mulling over this one.
I’m on a fashion shopping budget diet too. I think it’s key to set realistic goals for myself. I couldn’t do the 1 to 2 per year, I’d crack, and then even worse, binge.
I’ve been inspired bythis on TFS about the “French fashion wardrobe” of buying only a few select pieces per season.
-it’s that idea of making that “grocery list” at the beginning of the season.
-I’ve cut out impulse purchases. They take away from the pieces I really really want.
-Also I can relate to Jessica. Working in a shop myself, I don’t allow things to “grow on me” anymore. If I didn’t BAM! Love it, when it 1st came in, I don’t need to buy it 5 months later.
-Also no see=no want. Sometimes when I do break & look I’m secretly happy if the price tag is 8x out of my budget. It immediately goes into the “Fantasy” category.
-I must wait for sales. How is it that I’m always broke when the big season end clearances happen?
-no more $7 turkey sandwiches.
-grouping my errands together by area (gas).
-Comparison shopping.
-It’s not as good as the real thing, but there’s always polyvore.

erica said...

i also make a list of things i want to buy each season. i will usually buy one thing full price that i absolutely must have, and the rest waits for sales.

i have cut back on book purchases since i can always borrow them from my library, but my biggest struggle is with food. i try to cook and drink at home rather than go out to restaurants.

but honestly, i would rather cut back on food than go without a particular clothing item that i'm in love with.

i am most frightened of the fashion binge. this is why i buy at least one expensive ($200-300) item per season.

landis smithers said...

oh dear.

i have also put myself on a rather strict diet. it just got to that point in life where i had to face the fact that my love of clothing was leading to a twofold issue. one: mounds of clothing that i barely wore, yet continued to add to. and a restriction of funds that led to NOT being able to do other important things. so, as part of an overall life reboot, i've cut back on the spending on clothing.

it's working. the money is piling up and not running from me laughing maniacally as i stood there holding yet another black bag with silver lettering. thinking that it was unnecessary to laugh at me.

don't look. don't walk in. but perusing is necessary. i think the magazine strategy might be too stringent, you are a creative person and too much denial can lead to depression and then binging.

just a thought. dreaming is good too.

enc said...

How are you feeling about this today?

editor said...

enc - so far, i've been sorely tempted twice. items placed in virtual "cart" and everything.

landis - i just won't buy US mags. a foreign magazine, like australian vogue, or a japanese magazine that i can't understand are both okay on occasion.
i do have to be aware of the binge threat!

enc said...

Perhaps items went into the cart, but you didn't click the "purchase" button, so give yourself a pat on the back.


It gets easier with time.

editor said...

well, enc, i came to the startling (and startlingly obvious) realization today that
this won't just mean resisting or avoiding temptation.
this will require actually denying myself things.
this blows.

Anonymous said...


The timing of your post is very a propos pour moi, maintenant!

Like others, the first thing to go was eating out. Now, I barely set foot in a restaurant as it's become such a habit - and an enjoyable one at that - to eat meals at home and to bring lunches to work. (Sidebar - I even brought my lunch to a 3-day workshop last week that was catered. It worked out well; the catered food was sandwiches, 3 days in a row!).

Next, it was the beauty treatments. Hair cuts and colourings were spaced further apart. The $40 shampoos and conditioners went. I dsicovered that drug store shampoos and conditioners worked just fine!

Alcohol went kaput. As a team, my love and I stopped stocking and consuming it at home. We stopped visiting our neighbourhood pub during the week. Weekends have lost the social-alcohol focus. My waistline is thanking me too!

Clothing was next. I stopped looking. I purged my wardrobe and kept only the essentials. Purchases were made when needed. Honestly, I found this whole exercise extremely liberating. To make this tolerable, I plan a shopping weekend with my girlfriends about once a season. In between those times, it's on an as-needed basis, which really means underwear and socks ;-)



Anonymous said...

Ah, this comes just as I reworked my budget and realized that my clothing budget was way too high and that I had tons of clothes, some not yet worn. :( I also realized that the retirement and education funds required way more commitment. Up against those money demons, clothing suddenly fell to the bottom of the list.

I'm not buying magazines, going shopping, or even looking online. I am keeping a journal of what I wear daily, to figure out what I really need and address gaps so I get the most for my few dollars.

Good luck to all of you on the fashion diet!

editor said...

sabina - *sigh* the $40 shampoos and conditioners... drugstore ones do work just fine (and i am relying on my olive oil treatments to boost them a bit), but one thing that is very different is the fragrance. it was aromatherapeutic for me, some of those $$ products. i might be able to pick a bottle or 2 up for my birthday mid-year...
my non-chanel polish is really impressing me. i know that it would have been the "fun" of the chanel polish more than the effect of it - this one is lasting and looking fine, 3 days later (probably will only last one more day though).
had to buy lunch today, but made it cost effective by flipping through the free magazine issues they had there in the shop. since i was just looking casually, and would leave the issue behind, the things i admired didn't register as things to covet. it was just harmless fun. very different than "browsing" the pages as if they were catalogs, on my couch - do you know what i mean?

anonymous - yes, being conscious of what i have, and using it, is very helpful. even just for morale, if i wear my favorite things, i want less.

a. said...

"a. - the first thing you bought this month happened today/yesterday? nice thing that it's a short month. :)"

haha, no actually it was the second time i bought something last month (february). the other item was the red metallic ballet flats... it's shoes that get me every time, damn it!

i did remain within my clothing budget for the month, but, at the start of the month i'd written out what clothing items i thought i needed and estimated the cost, to make myself spend the money on that instead of on other, perhaps less necessary things (relating to your "hole" post). well,... didn't happen. but i will try again this month! sticking to a budget is a continual learning process for me...

"how long do you intend to stick to your plan for?"

for the forseeable future! at the very least, until i get a raise or a bigger bonus. then i will reevaluate. probably at the very least, until the end of the year.

i must say, about saving on other things - lunches, i bring, and i have also curtailed eating out. both were initial cut-backs for me as well. but, i haven't cut them completely out - lunch out is a social thing, and it keeps me sane during crazy times in the office, so i budget in for lunch out once every 1-2 weeks (i.e. max once a week). same with going out to eat/for drinks. i have cut WAY back, but i need to see friends and have some semblance of a social life to stay sane... which is where it gets tricky, esp. if friends are wanting to spend more than me. sigh...

magazines: i cut a few but not all. the eye-candy for me is a good - nay, great - substitute for buying (as long as i can run the right mental script through my head: reminding myself that seeing is 90% of the pleasure i will get from actually having these things, and so on). i agree with landis... if i deny completely, there is a huge chance i will binge anyway.

the other trick i'm trying to use: "shopping my closet", as i call it (a phrase i got from some blog out there, not mine originally). like most of us, i have way more than i need, and lots of stuff i've forgotten about. instead consigning/donating it yet (which will help the budget!) i am right now trying to treat it like shopping. it has been somewhat successful. it also forces me to get creative, which is ultimately (if i'm able to concoct an outfit with these old clothes) very rewarding/satisfying. but for something like this, i definitely need magazines/etc for inspiration!

dreamecho said...

i always enjoy the opportunity to peek inside the world of editor. (THE editor?)

browsing through the replies here, i see that i share my general sentiments and approach with many others. i already scrimp regularly just about everywhere else in my budget (i make eating out a special occasion, bring home lunches to work, read magazines in the store and only buy if i plan on treasuring them for years to come, etc.), so fashion is the first to go. i've done it on 2-3 occasions in the past, with success.

my strategy is multi-fold and evolves with each iteration:
- do not look
- find satisfaction in regular glances at accounts and online credit card transactions to see how much i've saved/how little i've spent
- take up other interests, especially things that involve creation, and not consumption, on my part
- remind oneself of larger goal, through writing and re-reading old posts
- look, like and deny: earlier this year, i found myself wanting a cute, metallic smock on ebay that was simple save for gargantuan puff sleeves. it not something i HAD to have, but certainly would have found major (major!) enjoyment in. i had a feeling it would go for pretty cheap, so i was in this sort of autopilot, "why not, the cost is just a drop in the hat, have a little frivolous fun" state of mind. right up to the final minutes, i kept going back and forth on whether i'd bid on it. finally, in those remaining hundred seconds, i posed to myself that tried and true question: "can i live without it?" and of course, the answer was yes. right then and there i decided i would not bid on it. but rather than walk away from the computer, i sat, in the last 60 seconds, clicking on the refresh button to watch the time count down. my heart was pounding right up to the very end, but once that bidding has ended sign flashed on the screen, i felt relieved. and empowered. sitting there in the face of temptation and sticking to my guns was an incredible (if not ultimate?) test. like i said on my blog, i want to be in control of my clothes (and life :). ever since that ebay experience, i've felt stronger, like i am the ruler and master, not only of how i shop, but of my life.

editor said...

dreamecho, i can really relate to your ebay experience. i had an item i was watching, and waivering on, and when it was finally lost to me (due to indecision/self-control), it was a relief. there was another item that i was watching once (not on ebay), and it was gone, and i was okay, and pleased to see that i could survive, but then it came back, and it was marked down, and i bought it... i don't know what this means. am i hopeless? we'll see. i'm working on some additional strategies, and i'll share them here if they prove effective after a few weeks of successful non-shopping. feeling pretty okay so far. it's definitely all a state of mind.

a. - i find a lot of satisfaction from wearing and loving what i already own. a lot. magazines, they are fairly toxic for me though - unless i peruse them away from the home - a sandwich shop, and leave them behind. otherwise, in my home, they turn into a veritable grocery list. bad bad.