Tag Archives: shopping


10 Apr

THE EVIDENCE: That is me on the right, with the pink slacks.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post called My Zen Closet.  I have not written on the topic of clothing since then, but I feel compelled to address it once again.  Sometimes, I lose that Zen Closet feeling and I need to shop.

Recently, while standing in a dressing room trying on Far Too Many Shirts (none of which I bought), I happened to overhear a stranger in the next dressing room speaking to her shopping companion.

She mentioned a particular designer name that I happen to like, and described the clothes of that brand as “conservative”.  She meant it in a negative way.

Coincidentally, while listening to this assessment, I was trying on something by that very brand.

The brand actually occupies at least four hangers in my closet, a significant number considering how few clothes I actually own.

I started to think about the word conservative.

Are the designs of that brand conservative?  They are simple, they are solid… unique, yes, but probably also conservative.  Navy blue merino wool.  Olive linen.  White cotton.

I wondered to myself, Do I look conservative?  Do I dress conservatively?  If so, how do I feel about being judged as conservative?

These are pretty introspective questions to consider while trying on Far Too Many Shirts, or even one shirt, really.  Having missed lunch, I was not prepared to delve too deeply into my sense of identity.

There was a time when my closet held things like shiny, stretchy, hot pink pants.

That time has passed.

My clothes are more conservative these days.  It’s true.

I believe my hair would be considered conservative, with its touches of gray.

Some of my conservative clothing. The two items on the right are from the brand in question.

Am I conservative?

You might say that my politics are a little on the conservative side.  I try to conserve money, when I can.  I conserve natural resources.  I definitely try to conserve space.

Sometimes my blog posts are short, because I like to conserve words.

I like classic styles.  I like to buy clothing that I will still want to wear in ten or fifteen years.  Whether I can still fit into the clothing after that time is another matter…

So, go ahead, call my clothes conservative. Call me conservative.

I don’t mind.

Getting Ahead of The Holidays

14 Oct

I like to get an early start.  Don’t hate me for it.

September is when I typically start preparing for Christmas.

I’m not talking about elaborate home decorations—I don’t do that.  It takes up too much time, and too much storage space for the rest of the year.  I’ll leave the fancy decorating to the department stores.  When it comes to decorations, I have only the basics.

And no, I am not really that organized—although I certainly strive to be.  If I were that organized, I probably would have finished this post in September—the same month I started it.  Instead, I became distracted…for a month.

I start my holiday preparations early because I want to avoid unnecessary stress.  Being so easily distracted, I need that extra lead time to stay on top of things so I can have a peaceful holiday.

December is a hectic month for many people, and there is even an urban myth about an increase in suicides during the holidays.  (For more information on this myth, visit the snopes.com: Christmas Suicides page.)

“Hectic month” is the key phrase here.  I know that some people actually enjoy a good adrenaline rush, but I am not one of those people.  Instead, I like to stay serenely ahead of the game.  I do things gradually.

So, in September I start shopping, in October I start addressing the holiday envelopes, and in November I start wrapping.  I use gift bags as much as possible, because they save time and can be easily re-used.  I aim for small, practical, meaningful gifts.  If they don’t take up too much space in my home, they won’t take up too much space in the recipient’s home.

The plan is to have nothing to worry about when December rolls around.  No shopping in crowded stores, no searching endlessly for parking spaces.  I don’t want to be forced to listen to three different versions of Jingle Bells while standing in line to buy whatever the store put on sale that day.

In December, I can relax with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy the twinkling lights.  Now that’s what I call a holiday!


7 Oct

Today’s topic:

What do you want more of?

(Seriously…  Think of a few things.  I’ll wait…)

Do you want more experiences, or more objects?  When you were small, adults probably asked what you wanted to BE, or what you wanted to DO when you grew up.  Now that you are grown, do you still think about what you want to BE or DO in life?  Or do you think about what you want to buy?

Generally speaking, the first step to a simpler, more fulfilling life is to avoid unneeded possessions.  When we own more than we can realistically use, our belongings can get in our way, and prevent us from living the life we truly wish to live.

It helps if we consider the true value of whatever things we own, or are thinking of buying.  Do they serve a function?  Will they give us lasting joy?   Compare that value with the amount of time, income, and living space these possessions can steal from our lives.

What do you want more of?


Do you want more relaxation?


I’ve been reflecting on why we sometimes buy things we don’t need.  Reading a magazine recently, I noticed that advertisements often don’t describe the product, they describe the way we want to feel.

Discover, Celebrate, Transform, Engage, Create, Capture, Awaken, Dare, Choose, Empowered, Inspired…

These words were taken from a series of magazine advertisements for everything from yogurt to perfume.  I’ll bet you didn’t know a cup of yogurt could do all that, did you?  It can’t.  It’s got calcium and protein, sure…but it’s not going to awaken your soul.

If you want those kinds of feelings, it’s no use looking for them on store shelves.

Buying things you don’t need–or keeping all those things you already own but don’t really like–will not bring you any closer to the life you want.  These behaviors will only fill your house, and empty your wallet.

Think about the life you want.


Do you want more travel opportunities?


Think of the kind of work that always holds your attention, the activities you enjoy, and the people you love.  Now, visualize a way they can all come together in your life.  Move yourself in that direction.

Remember:  Happiness has no price tag, and it doesn’t take up any space in your garage.

Decisions, Decisions.

3 Sep

Some decisions are easier than others.

I recently read in an old magazine (Real Simple, February 2010) about a woman who once took five years to choose a set of curtains for her house, but married her husband after knowing him less than two weeks.  Decades later, the husband is still a keeper…no word on the status of the drapes.  Colors and patterns tend to go out of style, so I’m betting the curtains were replaced.

When I was about twelve years old, my mother took me to buy a much needed winter coat.  We went to only one store and I didn’t see anything special.  I looked at coats, and tried them on, feeling unimpressed and noncommittal.  My mother stood around while I gazed at my own reflection.  Finally, she gave me a time limit to decide.  If I didn’t choose something in that time, we just wouldn’t buy a coat.

So, I chose a coat.  It was a poor choice: a puffy gray knit that got fuzzballs and made me look like a linty marshmallow.  I wore it for a while, until my vanity got the better of me, and then I decided I would rather be cold.  Ultimately, it was waste of money.

I’m still not sure what lesson to take from the experience.  A slow decision wasn’t working, and the quick decision didn’t turn out well either.  The best lesson may be: only buy what you love.  Otherwise, wear layers.

I feel an affinity with the woman who married quickly but couldn’t choose a window treatment for five years.  I married fairly quickly, too, and became an instant parent of three ready-made children.  Maybe I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I would happily do it all over again.

Today, we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.

I have several coats now, and thankfully, none of them make me look like a linty marshmallow… but it’s love that keeps me warm.

A Shopping List (to read before shopping for clothing)

17 Mar

1.  When you shop for clothes, always wear something you know looks great on you.  Anything you buy should look as least as good as the clothing in which you arrived.

2.  If you like it, but you don’t think the style will work on you, try it on anyway.  You may be surprised.

3.  If it isn’t a durable fabric with durable stitching, it is “disposable clothing”.  When it is stretched, shrunken, unraveled, threadbare, or covered in “pills”, you will wonder what you ever saw in it.

4.  Printed separates are hard to match.  Think solid.

5.  Dark colors look great on young people, but brighter, lighter colors reflect a youthful light onto an older face.

6.  Don’t buy something because it is “the new trend”.  Buy something that you will still want to wear in five years.

7.  If you are likely to spend a lot of time tugging it up, down, or sideways, you will not be comfortable wearing the item, and it will not leave the closet.

8.  A great necklace, scarf, shoe or bag can make all the difference with simple clothing.

9.  Buying something ON SALE will not save you any money…if you will never wear it.

10.  When you feel tired or discouraged, GO HOME.