Okay, so, maybe not as dramatic as that. But I committed a cardinal sin. I broke the “You can only wear your workout clothing to workout” rule. And not just by waiting too long to take a shower and running to the store in my gym clothes.
I bought gym clothes to wear as “real” clothes.
There’s a really long story you can read about how and why this happened below if you want to, but what I really have been thinking about is how engrained impulse buying is in our culture, in my life, and how easy it is to fall back into. It’s like binge watching television, you have to actively shut it off. I have been actively not impulse buying clothes for three years now, ever since I learned that I owned 27 pairs of jeans and most of my co-workers owned 5 or less. It was like an addiction I had to break, and it was hard. (The super cute $10 dresses at Target didn’t help at all.)
This year, especially, I’ve been trying to be really conscious of what I buy not only for myself, but also for the kids. It needs to be high quality (relatively in the kids’ case), something that fits well and will for a while, and there needs to be a solid reason to need one more shirt or pants or whatever it is. It’s been going pretty darn well, actually, but it’s a struggle. Every day I have the option to buy something nice but not necessary.
I grew up in a small town, we didn’t get to go to the store more than once every week or two, if I didn’t buy what I wanted when I saw it I might well not get the chance again. But that’s not the case now, nor has it been for the last 17 years. I’ve lived in major metropolitan areas for the last 15, I can go to the store every day if I want (sometimes whether or not I want.) But this impulse to buy buy buy, whether the item is exactly what we need or not, is the reason we have such an abundance of self-storage garages (and television shows), closets bursting at the seams, and overflowing landfills.
Have any of you successfully shut off the buying impulse? How’d you do it?
The long story of how I got the shorts that I didn’t need:
First of all, in my defense:
- It was hot. Like, hot for Minnesota, anyway.
- I don’t own a single pair of shorts. They look terrible on my legs.
- I was tired.
- Even the “real” shorts I tried on looked terrible on my legs.
- We were going camping.
- The shorts I bought were so comfortable!
- I was tired.
- They were on sale for really, really cheap ($6.)
I bought two pairs of “capri leggings” from Gap Fit—a black pair and a blue pair— and I’ve been wearing them with t-shirts, calling it an outfit. I know I don’t look terrible, but I certainly don’t look great. I don’t wear them in public much, I don’t feel good about my body in them. They were not a good purchase for me (other than being so comfortable!)
I had actually been doing really well all year with the control over impulse clothing buys, but I definitely see how I fall down this rabbit hole:
My favorite jeans died. When I went to replace them, I found the company (again, Gap) had changed the design of them significantly, so I ended up with a different style. They were on sale, along with a bunch of other stuff. There is a serious lack of nice shirts in my closet, but there was nothing I really loved, so I refrained. Then, while taking the kids to mall for shoes, I went into this store I’d been wanting to check out for a while, found and fell in love with a shirt on clearance: by one get one for $1 clearance. But, the kids were done and I didn’t have time to look for another piece, so I left with nothing. That shirt haunted me though, it was perfect: so comfortable, so flattering, so casual yet dressy…so I went back to the mall a few nights later sans kids. I spent over an hour looking through the store’s clearance (and trying on many, many items) before I finally found what I was looking for. I got two great shirts for a great price. But the jeans and the trying on had sparked the bug, and I was tired of wearing jeans when it was hot out, so I started looking for shorts. The whole think-before-you buy barrier was down, especially because I already had to make a trip back to the mall because I didn’t buy the first time. So I just did it. I bought them.
I’m going to give myself a pass on this, say lesson learned, and relegate these to the “lounge wear” category.