A Fresh Perspective— My Year of No Shopping: Revelations and Reflections

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Bernadette has been a member of the LT community since 2013. 2 years later she’s still a member, but one thing has changed— she’s shopping again. During her first year with us, Bernadette did not buy a single article of clothing for an entire year. The expected outcome was a lighter wallet and debts paid. What she got was an improved self-image, in addition to a few startling revelations. Here is her story: 

On August 1st 2013 I gave up shopping for a year in order to save money and pay down debt. But, it turned out my year of no shopping revealed more about my personal style and sense of self than I had anticipated. In the end I significantly decreased my debt and tackled some body and age issues.

When I began the ground rules were simple, no purchases of clothing, shoes, or accessories. My Le Tote personalized clothing subscription was a life saver. As a blogger, and all around stylish lady Le Tote allowed me to incorporate new pieces into my everyday style and my totes provided fresh outfitting opportunities to keep me out of a fashion rut.

One thing I learned, and really knew all along was that I didn’t NEED any new clothes. I had more than enough pieces in my wardrobe to sustain my styling creativity. I actually reveled in the challenge of wearing old pieces in new and interesting way. In terms of my relationship with my age and body, those realizations came as a big surprise.

During this yearlong shopping hiatus I turned 33 and started to let go of the items in my closet that the girl in me loved, but no longer fit the woman I was becoming. Sure, I was having fun “shopping my closet” as they say, but I also started developing my tastes and refining my style.

Another unexpected outcome during my shopping hiatus was my improved self-image. When I was full on shopping I was obsessed with size. Always anxious about fitting in a particular size, or trying to fit into something smaller, and was VERY harsh on myself when that didn’t happen. A lot of negative self-talk occurred. Not having that anxiety in my life was an amazing relief and I began to appreciate how trivial size really is.

Upon my return to shopping, and on the cusp of yet another birthday, I focused on the need for quality clothing that was relevant to my life as an adult woman. I also came to terms with my body, realizing that fashion is a means to express myself, not the meaning of myself.

By: Bernadette Ulsamer

Blog: Outfits Not Just Clothes

1 Comment

  1. May 11, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    I’ve been experimenting with minimalistic lifestyle for nearly two years, as a way to begin a mission-based company providing a necessary service to businesses, while employing people living with disabilities. This has included selling our car, moving to a smaller apartment in a city with carsharing, transit and public bikes. Your journey inspires me to try this with my closet. Thanks!

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