One Dress. Happy with less.
January 24, 2013
Here’s a surprise: I love a successful shopping trip.
I can’t deny relishing the rush of status and satisfaction when I click the checkout button on one of my favorite websites, or the pleasure in instant gratification when I strut out of a favorite shop, bags swinging at my sides. When I set out to become a style blogger (like, way before, as that’s obviously not my priority right now) shopping for me soon became an occasion–if not a job responsibility–that I took very seriously. As I prepared the schedule for the week’s blog posts, I would make a list of things I needed to purchase to complete the perfect look, new stores to investigate for the edification of my readers, and places to go where I would set up mini-photoshoots to make pretty pictures for the pleasure of both readers and sponsors. I prepared diligently before each excursion. I styled my hair perfectly, I wore a full face of makeup, and I dressed to impress every time–not only because I liked to dress up, but because I expected to be seen. In the role of Princess Lasertron, I was ready to be photographed wherever I went, and I rewarded myself for the very strenuous effort with purchases from all of my favorite stores.
Am I talking about a shopping problem or addiction? No, but I think I had fallen down the slippery slope of feeling entitled to new things because I convinced myself that it was part of my job. I thought my readers looked to me as a role model or some kind of authority about shopping and style, and although I wouldn’t have identified this feeling at the time, I was very worried about disappointing them. Maybe I was kidding myself–I knew I was no Carrie Bradshaw–but the fear of looking average definitely motivated my spending.
I found pride and some smug authority in my style writing, but as “What I Wore” and “What I Bought” and “What I Want” became topical crutches, I realized that I was no longer challenging myself as a writer. The initial success I had with sponsors and free clothing and shoes and reader admiration enabled my materialism because I wasn’t writing responsibly anymore. There are tons of way to be an amazing fashion blogger–you can write about new upcoming designers and support their enterprises, you can put a focus on the history and origin of certain trends, you can share information about brands that are doing social good with their profits or products. But I didn’t do that, because although the materialism was easy, I had no passion connected to it, and so the quality of my content fizzled out.
I thought about this stuff as I wrote this guest post about my style for my friend Autumn Reeser’s online magazine, Move LifeStyle. I talked about how buying one dress last year and wearing it each day since (though I’ve bought a few more in that style, which makes laundry easier) has helped me get over myself a lot, get over the pretentiousness inherent in fashion, and refocus on some larger and more personally fulfilling priorities.
I’m very happy, for a multitude of reasons, to have gotten over the need to shop. I feel for me it was tied to a need to impress, and created a false sense of self-esteem that never lasted. It also put me in a headspace of judgment of other women for their fashion choices, and distracted me from cultivating and developing a lot of my potential strengths.
Go check out the article on Move LifeStyle. I’m very grateful to Autumn and her team of editors for inviting me to share my writing and give their readers a look into my closet. I invite you to do the same!
Photos thanks to Jess Ewald. She’s really great and cool, and my friend.