Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Fashion Fast : On Buying Less in January

That little thrill when you hit the button 'buy now'. What if instead of wanting the thing you're purchasing, you really just want that thrill? What if it was the mini endorphin rush, not securing the item, that you began to seek out? What if your savings account isn't looking quite as full as you'd like it to?

Well then you'd be me, I fear. Well, it's not that bad yet, this isn't the story of a real honest to goodness shopaholic, at least not yet. I don't have a single credit card, I don't have debt beyond my student loans (darn student loans!), I pay my bills, and I have savings that I add to regularly. Still, I also have a lot of stuff, I love my stuff, and I love buying more. So I decided to tell myself that I was not allowed to buy anything on Etsy for the month of January. Nor could I purchase any jewelry, hats, vintage clothing--anything in the accessories/clothing category for the whole month. Well that shouldn't be too hard you are thinking, most people don't shop for things that often anyways, a month isn't so very long at all to go without making a non-essential purchase. Well no, dear reader, it isn't, except that for me- it would be.

I was doing so well too until a pair of chocolate brown gloves in my size, a larger and rarer size 8, popped up on my radar. Okay so I made it two weeks, which still is pretty good for me, and I intend now to make it another two before I give into Etsy's siren song. Collecting vintage makes a shopping ban harder, when things are likely to be snatched up by another collector and only appear once in a blue moon. Excuses, excuses....anyways.

Oh by the way, yes I am going to be taboo today and talk about money.

You see, ever since I started working after college, I allowed myself a treat every payday. At first it was a vintage brooch or something similar for under $10 dollars. Then it was better investment pieces for a bit more. Then I started working full time and allotted myself a budget each week for frivolities. I was building my collection of vintage accessories, stocking up on fabrics for my sewing projects, and snatching up rarer finds before someone else got to them while I dithered. All the while I still paid my (really few, I'm a very very lucky girl) bills each month, and put the majority of my check into my savings, but still I wonder now: how much more could I have saved if I hadn't allowed myself so much fun on Etsy?

And I worry too, about that little thrill. I started to wonder if the actual act of hitting 'buy now' gave me more of a boost than actually receiving the item in the mail a week later. That's concerning isn't it? Well it's a tiny red flag at least, telling me I may be using shopping to make myself feel better which is a bit of a slippery slope right?

I think I take #treatyoself a little too much to heart sometimes.

And buying a great vintage hat or a really fun brooch does make me feel better. Better than what though? I am pretty content already, why do I crave the boost shopping can give me? I think perhaps, like a little kid, I like knowing I can get a little reward for doing the things I must, but I should be able to adult without expecting to be rewarded, even if only by myself. A stressful work week? A new pair of earrings can fix that. But costume jewelry and vintage scarves are not supposed to serve as adult versions of stickers on an imaginary chores chart. I don't get a brooch for going to work, like I once used to get a sticker for eating my vegetables (or not in my case, I still don't really like vegetables). I let myself invent this rewards reality a long time ago: I went to work all week, I woke up super early like a real adult all week, I did my laundry, I paid my student loan bill, and now I get to buy some stuff on Etsy as my reward. Umm no girl, that's not how it will always work.

But it has worked that way, and it has been fine for a long while now, and if I (or anyone) has the flexibility in their income to collect brooches and buy new sweaters I don't begrudge that. I just began to notice a pattern in my own behavior, and it made me question my unconscious motivations and also the very real money I could have saved if I had bought less.

And goodness knows having a blog gives me a good excuse to shop. I can tell myself my readers want to see new things, that people don't like seeing the same outfits/shoes/hats over and over again. Everyone follows a few blogs where it seems the blogger never repeats items and must either have the largest closet or the largest income in the world. I may be a blogger, but I'm also just a regular gal, I repeat my outfits, I wear the same dress on the blog again and again. In reality, the excuse of showing my readers something new (so go ahead and buy the shoes), is just that-- an excuse. An excuse so that I can buy something else...and here we are back at the thrill of 'buy now'. (also, I really like seeing bloggers style the same things in new and creative ways, and it's something I perhaps need to do more of here on my own little blog)

"Compulsive buying disorder (CBD), or oniomania (from Greek ὤνιος ṓnios "for sale" and μανία manía "insanity"[1]), is characterized by an obsession with shopping and buying behavior that causes adverse consequences...Shopping as a mood lifter may be an adaptive behavior if no compulsion is involved; it has jokingly been called retail therapy. But like opioid use, it can be either a therapy or an addiction, depending on whether it is adaptive or maladaptive."

-Wikipedia entry for Shopaholic

I never want shopping to be an addiction for me, retail therapy is fine, dependency is not. I suppose in writing this post I just wanted to parse out (for myself really) why I decided to try and have a fashion fast this month. I needed a shopping reset, and taking the time to write this post makes me feel I have at least done my due diligence to work through why I quite like to shop. More moderation is needed, and recognizing the patterns in my own behavior helps me feel like I am at least aware of how something as seemingly innocent as shopping could become a problem if I don't check in with myself now and again. Shopping as an activity or even a hobby is strange anyway isn't it when you really think about it? I mean nearly everyone does it, but where is the line between healthy shopping and not?

So it may not have made my list of goals for 2017, but this year I want to focus on saving more and shopping less. There will always be more "holes" in my vintage collection I could fill, always be great bargains on Etsy that someone will scoop up before I can strike, and always be something I feel I need when I really don't. Better to put a system in place now than end up having an actual real problem later. I am a collector, I do enjoy vintage and the joy of finally finding that one color of gloves I'd been searching for (*ahem* like chocolate brown...), I don't think I need to cut shopping out of my life entirely, but I do need to cut back, and I do want to make more instead of buying.

I really, really, want to hear your thoughts about this topic! Please comment and let me know how you balance shopping in your own life. I think vintage lovers have it a bit harder, knowing full well when we find something great we may never see another like it again! 

More on shopping and money? :

Buying is not Making - A great video by one of my most favorite YouTubers Rosianna Halse Rojas

"...this feeling that purchasing something was the same as doing something..."

Bad With Money with Gabby Dunn - A most excellent podcast with writer/comedian/YouTuber Gabby Dunn about how she is bad with money and is trying to learn. My favorite takeaway so far has been learning about rich people thinking (save, save, save) vs. poor people thinking (don't got much might as well spend it).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Wool Blends in Winter

This is the third appearance of this dress here on TCH, but it is a winter favorite of mine! The wool blend fabric and roomy long sleeves of this dress feel extra cozy and warm for Colorado's winters. The shades of burgundy also make the dress a snap to style too, as I can wear it with any neutral or even a bold color as an accent. I've worn it here on the blog with beige for its debut, and with mustard yellow, but today it is basic black.

However, the fun buttons on the yoke of the dress bodice do make it hard to pair with a brooch, so this time I pinned the brooch onto my hat instead! I always forget how versatile beret hats are since they can be worn molded into different shapes. Flat, tilted, on the back of the head, pulled over the ears, and even jazzed up with jewelry pinned on! I am on the look out for berets in other colors now, especially in forest green or navy blue.

Though you probably can't tell from these photos, I've had my hair cut into a modified middy! Yep layers, eek! I have to set it now right? Above you see it styled my usual way with a 1/2" barrel curling iron and curling everything under/down. I'd like to use foam rollers and some pin curls more, especially since it's better for my hair to get a break from heat styling. Anyone have a favorite setting pattern I should try out?

I hope you all had a most wonderful Monday, even if Mondays have a bad rap!

Dress: Made by me
Gloves, Brooch, & Belt: Vintage
Clutch: Thrifted (Savers)
Fishnets: Amazon
Shoes: Royal Vintage
Beret: Target

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Spotlight: Vintage Fashion Complete by Nicky Albrechtsen

Another book recommendation for you all today on this lazy Sunday (well, lazier than I had planned). Every so often I check online booksellers for new vintage or historic fashion books, be they textbooks, pretty coffee table books, or museum catalogs, I love a good photo heavy fashion tome. Vintage Fashion Complete manages to combine both pretty photos of enviable vintage pieces with well researched and useful information on an almost encyclopedic range of topics.

Instead of using the most common layout for fashion history books, chronological, author Nicky Albrechtsen summarizes each decade in just the first third of the book and uses the rest of the ample space to cover specifics like the history and styles of gloves, or hats, or bridal gowns, polka dots, knitwear, aprons, and much more! When was the last time you picked up a fashion or vintage book that covered aprons?! I loved the idea of picking a motif, like florals, and showing/explaining how each decade interpreted the style. When the book arrived, and even after flipping through it quickly, I thought I would be able to read the entirety of its text before writing up this mini review for you all, but the text was detailed enough that such an undertaking wasn't actually possible! I have read through just under half of it now and look forward to returning to the specific sections in the future to learn more about gloves or shoes or what have you.

I think any vintage lover would really enjoy this book, and it would make a great textbook of sorts to those interested in starting to collect or sell vintage. Learning the difference between a 1950's dress and a 1980's revival of a very similar style can come down to details well described in this book. Which reminds me, this book covers all of 20th century vintage fashion, so have a good laugh looking at some of the crazier 1970's and 1980's styles!

Have any of you picked up Vintage Fashion Complete? What did you think? I think it is a worthy addition to my library, and I have definitely been inspired to add a few things to my sewing and vintage shopping lists!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vintage Velvet

So much vintage clothing lately! It's just not like me! I wrote about why I don't have much #truevintage clothing back in 2015 (also that post reads a bit bitter now, I was a bit sore about not being able to afford vintage!) and I still agree with many of my original points. Vintage is harder to find in a 30" inch+ waist, vintage is pricey, and I am forever afraid things will shatter to shreds on me, but I have been so so soooo lucky to find some amazing suits over the past year that have me changing my tune. Of course having a much better job and therefore more of a budget for vintage helps heaps too, the good stuff just isn't cheap! (except for the time I got that great 40's suit for only $75 bucks which I still think was a steal since it's in such good nick!).

So enter my suit collection, and now a few lonely jackets too, including this new-to-me velvet jacket from the ever wonderful vintage shop Over Attired. I just love the cord trim around the shawl collar and the faceted glass buttons! Plus a 3 button stance is better for my shape, so this jacket turned out to be a perfect fit! The good thing about a black velvet jacket is that I can always make a matching skirt and have the two pieces match up quite well. Not much has changed about black velvet in the last 60 years! For its first wearing I paired the jacket with my peacock feather brocade skirt and black sheer back-seamed tights. Black shoes tied in the jacket, but I wore gold and teal jewelry to spice up all the dark tones. The rayon corde clutch seemed like a great match for the cord trim on the blazer so that was the final finishing touch.

Also, can I just say trying to get decent lighting in winter is a pain? Why winter! Harsh sunlight and blinding snow, then an early sunset, goodness! (I complain a lot, so sorry) This may have been too dressy a look for a Sunday afternoon, but after the first week back to work we could all use a little glamour right? Plus they always give me the best funny looks in the Starbucks drive through ;)

Jacket: Vintage (Over Attired on Etsy)
Skirt: Made by me
Tights: Hanes (Amazon)
Shoes: Amazon
Brooch & Earrings, Bracelets, & Clutch: Vintage (Etsy)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Little Lookbook Video...

A video?! Yep! You have seen these outfits before, as I just took little snippets of video over the past month-ish, but now you can see me looking around aimlessly posing in motion ;) I hope you like the video, I am excited to do more on YouTube this year in general!

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