Tuesday, August 30, 2011



works cited: madewell jeans; target belt; h&m top; clarks wedges; liz claiborne bag (from college), breda watch

For my "back to school" shopping this year, I am trying to spend a bit more on individual pieces (but not overall) and buy a lot less. Marketing really tempts you to buy a bunch of cheap things (especially tempting when you take pictures of yourself every day and thus start to fear redundancy) but I've really been trying to resist that mindset, in part because this article gave me a lot of food for thought about trends and clothes pricing. And honestly, nothing kills the shopping bug quite like moving all your possessions across the country and downsizing your closet by 50%. I like Linda's one-in-one-out policy. I also like the idea of buying one or two fairly-priced pieces and nothing else (partly because I don't have the room for many things). Do you have any rules that govern when you buy or what you buy? Do you spend more for less or less for more? Do you try to buy only ethically- or locally-produced clothes? Are there any stores you can't resist? I'd love to hear--I'm always curious about the "rules," conscious or unconscious, that we use when it comes to buying new clothes.


MAUD said...

i also find it helpful to have 'rules' to govern my shopping habits - i am most productive when i need to act within a certain framework (if left entirely to my own devices with no restraints, i tend to get overwhelmed and don't achieve anything).

last year i told myself that i would only buy things second-hand or on sale, with certain exemptions made for locally-crafted things or for things i really need (like a good jacket or a pair of boots, etc.). when i was living in the uk, these rules were kind of awesome because there were so many charity shops that i ended up acquiring a lot for very little money. now that i've moved back to canada, i find that shopping has lost much of its appeal - there are fewer charity shops (and lets face it, their wares are much less tempting) and i missed the summer sales, so i'm having fun being inventive with what i already have.

A Daily Checklist said...

Thanks for the link to the article--a great reminder of what our "habits" really cost.

I have a no knock-off and no logo policy (alma mater aside). Beyond that, I'm on a shopping ban until I figure that out because I do want my life, and therefore possessions, to be more thoughtful. I'm curious to learn what folks do so that I can come up with some reasonable rules for myself!

pulchritude said...

I am trying to thrift or buy vintage for most of my clothes since I don't have a lot of money and I would rather reuse old clothes instead of raising the demand for unethically produced clothing. I will spend a little more on nice, comfortable shoes, a Vera Bradley bag, and special occasion dresses.

Anonymous said...

i always try anyway to picture how the item would look with the clothes i already have and see if it fits into three outfits if it doesn't or i dont really need it then i dont buy it

Laura said...

Love this outfit. Those jeans were a great buy.

I recently started thinking more along the lines of "one in one out" when I organized my closet (which mainly was hanging up everything that had been on the floor) and didn't have enough hangers. My first thought was to go buy more hangers, but then I realized what I really *needed* was less clothing.

My other rule is, if it's seasonal and you didn't wear it in it's last season, get rid of it.

Carrie said...

The Cardinal Rules that work for me:

1) I know the categories of clothing items in which I am willing to invest more money: for me, this means I am willing to spend $$ on attractive and comfy low-heeled shoes (due to my vocation as a teacher and my bad back). I will never buy cheap shoes, period--this means I don't succumb to the ever-present discount shoe sales. No matter how cute they are.

I think it helps to develop a philosophy that guides what your big-ticket items will be (and how much you're willing to pay for those items). For other things that are easier to find in my style and size--tops, sweaters--I try to shop at Buffalo Exchange or at outlet malls during sales.

To a lesser extent, I hold the same philosophy about nice pants that fit properly: I'll plunk down some money when I find a pair as opposed to trolling endlessly for a $10 bargain pair of britches.

2) I try to keep a short list of seasonal items that I need to replace or buy--items that would perk up many potential outfit combos--in my computer, then look @ the websites of my favorite stores every so often to see if these items are on sale in my size and I like the way they look. This way, I can sort of avoid a lot of impulse shopping/purchasing.

3) I restrict myself from buying anything in a fabric that is uncomfortable (i.e., usually synthetic). This cuts down on a lot of what is available for me to purchase on sale.

4) When I see an item on sale, I try to visualize multiple pieces/outfits that I already own with which the item would work. If I have to plan to buy other things to "make it work," I usually won't buy it.

5) I don't tend to buy fantastic "just in case" items, because they don't really end up fitting into my lifestyle. I don't attend formal or black tie affairs, so for me (this is all relative, I know), a beautiful formal gown on sale for $50 wouldn't be a bargain--it would actually kind of be a ripoff!

6)I realized long ago that for me, the quality and durability of my purse/handbag/tote seems to polish an outfit like almost nothing else, so I stopped buying cheap purses and instead I stalk nice ones on sale. I recently scored a gorgeous Tiffany-blue designer handbag for $30 at a consignment store--brand new it was $235! Back when I bought cheap handbags, I replaced them constantly and was often dissatisfied with how the vinyl would begin to crack or the fabric look worn so quickly.

7) I have identified the 3 main clothing categories for myself: work, date/social activities, and church. More or less, I try to purchase pieces that will work in 2 of these categories (with some obvious exceptions--not gonna rock the jeggings @ work or on Sunday morning).

This gives me more bang for my buck. For example, a really cute tunic top can be worn with skinny capris for work and jeggings for a date.

Sorry for the dissertation. I like to analyze these patterns!

kelsey williams said...

i only buy DREAMS. :)

Elaine said...

Absolutely love this!!

chillairandperfume said...

These pants absolutely rock! They look great on you :D

Check out my blog here, guys: www.chillairandperfume.blogspot.com. I could use your support!

Chloe said...

Love this. Such a great look.

C x

Owlet said...

Great post! And great outfit! Which jeans are they specifically?

brandilyn said...

those jeans look incredible on you!

i generally buy cheap clothing out of necessity...i can't afford expensive clothing! i like to think that someday i'll buy higher quality clothing less often and stick to staples that will last for years. ethically, the only store i refuse to buy from is american apparel. i read an article detailing the way they treat female employees and was appalled.

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

owlet--they are the widelegger jeans. they fit SO much better than they look on the model; they are like dream jeans!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

carrie--I loved your dissertation, and completely agree with you!

brandilyn--I hear you! Lately I've been feeling like my habit to buy cheap clothes (because that was all I could afford) made me want more that was cheaper, and now I'm trying to save the pennies I would have used to buy three cheap shirts and buy one really nice one. I hear you that this is a hard thing to do on a college budget--now that I definitely have enough clothes, it is worth is to wait and save, but I know in college there were times when I just had to replace a pair of jeans because I didn't have one that fit/didn't have holes in it and there wasn't money to buy a nice pair.

Cristi said...

Most of the time I buy at thrift stores or things that are on sale. I rarely buy anything for full price. I find that jeans at thrift stores (even though there are less to chose from) are less expensive and I don't think that jeans should really cost over 30 bucks. I don't live in an area where there is a Forever21 or a H&M so when I find one I have to shop there. Normally, I just thrift shop and get the occasional thing at Target, Old Navy or Kohl's.


Jen said...

Great article, thanks for the link! Lots of food for thought there. I'm not sure about the description of life 30 years ago (I'd like to see a citation of sources), but overall very intersting. This is how I keep things in check:

1. I strictly follow the one-in, one-out rule.
2. At minimum, half my wardrobe is used/vintage/thrifted rather than new. Probably 75%, actually.
3. I tend to purchase shoes and accessories rather than new clothing. Classic clothes updated with new-to-me accessories keeps things fresh and feels less wasteful.

Joanna said...

I don't have rule per se. I always stay within my budget, and only buy pieces I love. That said, if I find something I love I stop and close my eyes and really picture myself wearing it. If it's not me and the picture isn't sitting right I pass on it. Also, there's a limit to how much I'll spend on a piece, bc I think in the end it's just clothes and shouldn't cost as much as a diamond ring.


Celynne said...

I'm willing to pay more if it means I'm paying for quality and long-lasting durability. So I'll drop $200 on a real leather jacket, or on some heavy duty winter boots, but you'd never see me drop that amount on frivolous things like a dress (well, unless I had a REALLY REALLY good reason, but haven't yet). I usually thrift most of my clothes now, or buy them vintage. It still winds up costing me less either way than were I to buy new. Plus it gives me a little extra money with which to buy nicer shoes, heh.

millie riter said...

You always look so cute and put together. Love that top, I've been obsessed with stripes lately.

My name is Christine said...

I LOVE this outfit! I'd wear it in a heartbeat.


Rosiecat said...

Tania, thanks for the link to the article! The author has some good points to make about fashion, our values, community, and sustainability, but I found some of her conclusions to be too far-reaching. (Fashion caused the increase in divorce rates? Really? I think feminism/women's liberation might have something to do with it...)

I've been spending more money on fewer pieces too. In the past six months, I've purchased a lot of new pieces from Five Bamboo, and I intend to get my money's worth :-)

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

rosie--yes, i agree with your assessment of the article entirely!
there's a cause-effect relationship that's a bit of a stretch there (perhaps the way we purchase clothes is part of a larger cultural problem, rather than the problem itself...).
i'm glad to hear you like five bamboo! i really do, too, and i feel good ethically wearing their clothes (something I can't say is true, unfortunately, about everything I purchase). i know i'll have a discount coming up for readers so if you're thinking of buying fall things, i'll have a post soon.

Sorcha said...

I don't have any rules and I feel like it's a big problem. I end up overspending and impulse shopping then ending up with things I never wear. It's terrible!

Sorcha x
Bonfire Brunette

Rebecca said...

I have a short list of things I'd like to get for fall; a new coat, a white button up, a pair of ankle boots. The longer I blog, the more I find that I get the most use out of the more classic pieces in my wardrobe, rather than the trendy ones. I do like to stop up on cheaper cardigans when it gets cold though, since I wear them so often.

Trista Beard said...

You look so good. This is a good outfit. I think I will "make this look" very soon. love it! trista-beard.blogspot.com

Hannah said...

You look fabulous in those jeans! Well worth the investment.

In theory I like the idea of investing in quality/ethical pieces that can last seasons. I am definitely prone to impulse shopping, and often times I don't wear an item much because I really only bought it for the cheap price, not because I loved it. Now that I am really having to tighten up my budget I've found that I'm planning exactly the kinds of pieces I want and how much I'm willing to pay. If I can't find something that fits my criteria than it's out.

However, the one place I still allow impulse purchases is when thrifting. Because it's usually cheap and it's kind of like recycling, so I feel better about it.

Trista Beard said...

My rules: I prefer used stuff, recycled, one-of-a-kind items. When buying new items, I will pay for quality, not for a name. I will spend on timeless pieces which I know I will wear a lot or forever. Before I buy something, I ask myself, can i live w/o this? I'm very disciplined when it comes to my pocketbook. And I know how to shop my own closet which is full full full of great stuff.

Desiree said...

I like to be able to think of 3-4 unique ways that I can wear an item before purchasing it. Not just the typical ideas of wearing it will different bottoms/shoes/whatever but, I like to think if I could turn it around and wear it backwards or tie it up, create a different shape and so on.

My weaknesses are thrift/consignment stores because 1.) you never know what you're going to find and it is exciting, 2.) it is really fun to find pieces for super cheap and 3.) you can try things that you otherwise wouldn't want to spend the money on. The flip side of that is that it is very, very easy to overload with items that you don't always love.

Karen said...

I have a strict budget, restricted closet space and an environmental conscience. But because my love for pretty things still won I made these rules for myself for whenever I would need something new:

1) Organize closet regularly. Know what you have and think potential.

2) Thrift.

3) If you don´t find what you need second-hand, buy quality. Not too expencive, but quality materials and a good fit.

4) Buy organic if possible.

Actually, thrifting fills most of my needs.

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

karen, that's so wonderful and admirable! it's really how i would ideally like to shop. i love finding great things in thrift stores; it feels so good to shop ethically/cheaply that way.

Anonymous said...

I love those jeans! They are exactly what I've been looking for, and on sale too. I'm not near a Madewell and a little scared of buying them online. Do you have any idea what size would work for someone who wears size 4 in Gap jeans? We have fairly similar body types. Thanks!

Eboni said...

Thank you for that article link. It was really thought provoking. Recently, I have noticed how I've gotten sucked into the whole trend buying and fast fashion and I have not liked the shopper that I have become. The funny thing is I don't even consider myself a fashionista. I've started to question why I like the things I want to buy and whether it is to fit in or because I really like it. What I've been trying to do now is think to myself will I want to wear this for the next five years when deciding whether or not to buy something. I am also less resistant to returning something if I feel it is just not cohesive with the rest of the items in my closet. Instead of just keeping it and later donating it to the clothing bin. I love having a clothing bin to donate to, but I feel that the less items that go in there, the more in love I am with the clothes I currently own and ultimately the less I need to shop for more. This winter and next year I will be even harder on myself to be more practically when it comes to items I buy and think of the items I do buy as investments instead of something to try out until the next trend comes along.

Loren said...

These pants look really fantastic on you! I also adore your hair in a bun.

My current shopping rule is that I have to wear an item at least the dollar amount that I paid for it. This stops me from dropping 40$ on impractical high heels that I know won't really wear. But still lets me buy quality foundation pieces, like a good pair of boots or a winter jacket. It still lets me spend a couple bucks on trendy pieces but does sometimes get me in trouble in the dollar bin at thrift stores...

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

loren--that is a GREAT rule of thumb, i love it!

anonymous--i bought a size 28, i'm not sure what that is in other sizes. in gap i usually wear a 4 or a 6 depending on the style. if you want to email me, we can compare measurements and maybe that would help??

Jameil said...

I never buy anything for less than 50% off. I know they will go on sale so there is absolutely no reason for me to pay more than that. I usually wait for the 60-70% off sales. If I miss some item, I'll just have to miss it. With this tactic, I got a pair of $115 Madewell jeans for $20. Woohooooo!!

I also only buy things I absolutely love. If I'm uncertain about something, it stays in the store. And for some reason, my husband has a great eye for what works for me so I drag him along as often as possible! :)

Also, my grandmother was a seamstress so I insist on quality fabrics. I feel like I'm too old now (29) to be wearing throwaway items. I'm constantly trying to build my wardrobe for forever. I actually buy clothes more than those rules make it seem possible. LOL

Looks and Books said...

Firstly, you look great in these jeans. They're very tailored and don't even look like jeans!

As for my shopping "rules," I don't really have any, beyond keeping a list of "wants" and "needs" that I try to strictly stick to when shopping. Because of my limited budget, it's pretty rare that I get to exercise these rules, but it helps me avoid buying my 86th $10 sundress at Forever 21...difficult when you work in such close proximity to so many stores!

Good luck settling in to your new place and city!

Alicia Chew said...

i have those jeans! they are so comfy and i love them! madewell is the best.

as for my rules, i am kind of in the same boat as you. i already have a ton of clothes, and i'm trying to spend more on things like shoes, pants, and bags cause those are things i hate to replace. i ended up throwing out 5 bags of clothes in the spring season and i still have a closet full of clothes, so that was a clear sign to me that i didn't need as many things as i thought and needed to control my spending. so i make a list of things i think will properly complete my wardrobe and save up for them :)


.kt said...

I am in love with this outfit!

Those pants are amazing!! I want!!


Monique said...

Those jeans are AMAZING!!! Seriously - you look fabulous. I definitely am going to HAVE to minimize my shop-frequently bug with a little one...priorities! lol

KUDOS to you for posting this article (especially as a popular style blogger).


Linley said...

um, LOVE this look on you! so pretty and flattering - definitely a favorite of mine!

i try to find a balance of what i need and what i want when it comes to shopping. i also try to walk around the store with pieces i'm thinking about buying - i often talk myself out of buying it, especially if i don't really need it.

tasty moog said...

i think more fashion bloggers should be more aware of the environmental and social repercussions of fast fashion, and they should be open to criticism. some will just say, "if you don't like my clothing spending habits, then don't read," etc. etc., but that is just passing the blame. it doesn't mean i am jealous of your 2628 jackie cardigans; it means i think you are being wasteful and hurting the environment.

i thrift and buy local whenever possible. i almost never buy leather goods, unless they are vintage (or i am in desperate need for replacements, like when my 8 year old winter boots died this winter). if that means i have fewer things to flaunt, then so be it. they are more precious to me than 30 variations of the same shirt.

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

tasty moog, i find that very admirable, and i strongly wish more people (myself included) would do that. sometimes i wonder about the ways blogging contributes--in ways both explicit and implicit--to fast fashion. i feel a pressure to keep up with trends, not to wear the same piece of clothing 100 times the way I might like, or not to repeat outfits (even though that is how you wear fewer, higher-quality pieces of clothing).
and not to sound like a pollyanna, but i do think positive encouragement is a good way to encourage other people to shop better/more ethically. saying bloggers (or people in general) "should be open to criticism" is a tricky thing. a lot of people hate being criticized, and it's more effective to start where someone is, rather than tell them where they should be. i think showing encouragement for people in general/bloggers repeating their outfits is an important start, because it emphasizes the value quality over quantity. i also think showing people where to find quality vintage goods/handmade goods/made in america but not at the american apparel factory are ways to encourage people to shop more ethically.
but i also have qualms about giving advice to anyone--other bloggers, readers, strangers--because you don't always know the financial/personal/social stakes for that person when it comes to their clothes.
anyway, this is a very long response, but i find your comment thought-provoking and i think your method of shopping is admirable. while i find it easy to eat locally, bicycle everywhere, sell my car, turn off lights, etc etc, I have a harder time being environmentally/socially ethical when it comes to clothes. i aim to be as principled as you!

BiblioMOMia said...

The jeans are AH-MA-ZING. Seriously. Looks like this are the reason I love you--simple, classic, and utterly effortless.

I don't have any rules per se, but I can say that my shopping ban that just ended (went from Jan to July) has drastically changed my shopping habits. I'm putting a lot more back on the shelves, only buying things when I know I will love them and wear them for longer than a year, and I'm not afraid to pay full price for something I really love. That being said, other than buying some stuff that I really "needed" to fill some holes in my wardrobe, I haven't bought much. I've found that it's great to mix the things I love.

Eclectic Flair said...

What a great post (and thanks for linking the article). I've been thinking a lot about really cutting back on "fast fashions" and instead, spending on only a few, quality items that are going to stand the test of time. Thanks for encouraging me even more!

I do usually have the "one in and one out" rule, just to make sure my closet doesn't get too out of hand.

Great look by the way, you always know how to rock the stripes so well!

Lidi @ Eclectic Flair

Jamie said...

My husband I were both grad students until recently, which meant that we'd allocate ourselves each a smallish amount of "throwaway" money each month from the general funds: it was a way to stay within budget but not feel like we couldn't spend selfishly every so often.

This had a surprisingly positive effect on my wardrobe. Since I knew way in advance how much I had to spend over the month/year, I learned how to prioritize the items I needed, wanted, or just admired at a distance. Its means I buy on average one high-quality piece (jeans, shoes, bracelet) a month or every two months, and I wear the hell out of all of it.

M.R. said...

very cute!


tasty moog said...


heh, my carbon footprint is not polar icecaps white-- i've been known to fall prey to $9 zara dresses and those deceiving anthro sales-- riding my bike to work, scouring thrift racks and not eating meat can't make up for everything. ;) i'm just sayin', i respect fashion bloggers who make an effort to shop more consciously.

i work in a sustainably-minded industry, so it is just at the forefront of my daily life and may come off as pushy... though i do think people need more than gentle nudging these days, especially when so many are out there spreading misinformation.

Erin said...

I mostly thrift; for two reasons, 1) i'm a college student and 2) because i prefer to buy unique pieces that no one else on campus is wearing.

I'll pay more for basics (like a chocolate REAL leather gap pencil skirt I found at the DI for $6, and yes, i consider that a basic.) but I also like to buy "risk" items. Things that don't currently fit into my style scheme, but that I would like to consider. It really helps me expand how I see myself.

Recently I've also started trying to buy less synthetics. I want cotton, wool, leather, stone and wood clothing and accessories. Not cheap synthetics.

The Pantry Drawer said...

LOVE those jeans! Funny story, I have that exact same top, and wore it today. weeeird!


CC said...

If I feel like I have to convince myself to keep an item, I Goodwill it. If I feel like I have to convince myself that purchasing something is worth it, I don't buy it.

theleggylady.com said...

I love those jeans!


The Little Bit said...

This outfit is gorgeous and I need to own it.

I shop everywhere. Thrifting to boutiques to Wal-Mart. I think I don't have shopping ethics. :/

Lyndsay! said...

wow great pants!


Elizabeth said...

Girl! High-waisted flares are totally the jeans for you. Good decision to invest in them!

stephanie said...

Those trousers look incredible on you. I'm also trying to spend more for less because it's easy to buy a lot of poorly made F21 clothes that wear out quickly, and that's not something I want to do anymore. xo

Rin said...

I'm all about spending the least amount of money. However, as I crossover from student to professional, I always think "how can this work for both work and play" when I buy something. I also try to go with certain things in mind. But mostly I go in search of a great deal.

Those jeans look awesome!

Laura said...

I'll echo what others have said: I try to only buy things that I really love, and I've banned certain items--no more cotton tops made of t-shirt material, no matter how embellished/different/etc. because I have ENOUGH. No more until the current ones wear out. I'm pretty good at getting rid of things I don't wear, so my closet isn't crowded, but that doesn't mean I'm not buying too much. That article link kind of reinforced that point to me.

I love your striped top! And the jeans make you look very tall and graceful. Considering that I'm only 5'3, I should try pants like that!

Emily said...

These are gorgeous pants, and well worth the investment. I try to buy clothes that won't fall apart after one wash, but can't quite afford to buy truly expensive, quality, long lasting pieces yet. For now, I have to go for pieces that are decently made and still affordable. Other than that, I try to only buy things I really love. I don't buy things just because they're on sale - I only bring them home if I fall in love with them in the dressing room.


Julianna said...

This is definitely something that I struggle with-- I feel like the more I have, the more dissatisfied I am with things. Maybe when there are other options I am pickier? Although I am doing better, today I was at the mall for a long time but didn't get anything.

I do love those jeans though-- I've been web-stalking them for weeks! They look like they fit like a glove, I had been worried that they would gap in the back. Worth the money, I have to say!

jackiewd said...

You look lovely! Stripes and jeans that make you look a mile tall!

Thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking article. I really like clothes and I enjoy looking my best. I thrift, sew, or re-make current garments as often as possible but I do enjoy an hour or two at H&M or BR.

My rules for shopping: do I love it? does it fill a need in my closet? is it worth the asking price? does it need to be altered (if so, can I do that myself)? does it go with at least 3 other things in my closet?
Also, think about cost-per-wear...I bought two party dresses during my 4th year of medical school/before getting married. Both were more than I would usually spend (even with coupons), but the fit well, were neutral colors, and I felt amazing in them. I have worn each more than 8 or 10 times in the last 3 years and I expect to continue wearing them for years.

wildchild said...

nah, i think i'd rather have more options, even if they're not as good quality. but i can understand wanting to invest in good pieces. maybe once i have more to spend, i'll start that, but as a college student, i'd rather get more for my money.

in other news, your legs look a mile long in these pictures. hottie with the wide leg jeans :)

Maggie said...

nearly all of my clothes are secondhand. Yes, I own WAY too much (my mom has owned a consignment boutique for 18 years), but I have an eye for quality, and most of my stuff is brands like J. Crew, Loft, Gap, Banana Republic, etc.

I actually just recently started a blog about my secondhand wardrobe:

Carolyn said...

I'm a college student too (undergrad, soon to be grad). I'm an education major, so recently I decided to only buy clothing that I could teach in (or would feel comfortable running into parents of students in). The one out I get are for basics like good jeans. Putting this restriction has definitely helped me say no to the super trendy items that don't last.

Rachelle said...

oh i can never resist jcrew! when there catalog comes i ooh and ahh over so many things and tag pages.

the truth, i only try to buy things that i know i will wear a lot, even if it's a few times a week. i'm a stay at home mom so if i wear the same outfit or article of clothin a few times a week i'm okay with that because it's not every day that i get dressed up.

i agree with you though, buy good pieces and buy less.

Michelle Parker said...

Love this outfit!

Fash Boulevard said...

adore these pants. so cute. thanks for a great post. would love if you could stop by today and check out my new outfit post.


For all the latest fashion news from a southern girl making it as an LA stylist follow on facebook.


wait until the sunset said...

Babe this outfit rocks! It looks like you've just stepped out of the 70's, I swear I can see a Farrah Fawcett bang wig on you!

Check out my awesome give-away!

Annika said...

I live and breathe by the 1-in-1-out rule and it has really cut down on the clutter! That and a trip to Goodwill every 6 months or so. Also, when I go out shopping I try to decide what kinds of pieces my closet is lacking before I even get to the store. Then I set a price point for how much I am willing to pay for an item BEFORE looking at the price tag. This forces me to stick to my budget and not end up with a bunch of impulse buys!

I'm a huge fan of your blog by the way! Keep up the fantastic work!!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you for that article. Recently, the theme of 'over-consumption' has come up a lot in my life... whether I be at the hair salon, work, or out with friends. I think it is really important for us to remember that what we wear isn't everything, and the clothes we buy cost more than the dollar amount on the price tag.

You do look great in those jeans, by the way! Love your blog.

Camille said...

This post is so essential for me right now! Thank you for posting it and sharing all those great links and blogs. I'm in need of a serious wardrobe intervention. I buy the latest trend pieces and have little money for the rest of my life. It's so disappointing! On my birthday, I decided to only purchase clothes that will be sold at "thrift store prices" ($15 is the max that I'll spend on clothing), but it still leaves me making excuses and buying unnecessary clothes in excess. My mother just took me to the BLD warehouse in LA, they hold products for every department store from Kohl's to Neiman Marcus. They do one 80% off everything sale each month, it's nice to get designer ware for less than $10... it's also teaching me to be very patient with my purchases. If I wait until the last Saturday of the month, I can go to BLD and buy 1 or 2 nice pieces that will make a bigger impact on my wardrobe. (does your sister still live in LA? she should go to BLD!)

Lately, I've been looking into organic cottons and clothing that is fair trade and human trafficking safe. It's kind of a drab, because a part of me wants a nice sheer top but I have to remind myself that it was probably made in a sweat shop and I don't want to support that. My tried and true place to shop for accessories is through 4 the 1 because I know that their products were made ethically and 100% of the funds goes to women who have escaped human trafficking and are in need of sustainable incomes. I only wish that there were more FT clothing lines that reflect my style. But, maybe, I should alter my style to reflect my social justice causes? hmm...

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

camille--my sister just moved to chicago :( but it BLD sounds so cool!

i am with you on the difficulty at times of aligning one's practices with one's social justice positions. i find it personally difficult to shop as ethically in practice as i'd like to do philosophically. part of it is new clothes are easier to find/more accessible/more sizes/clearly laid out in a store/more readily available in a way it is still not as easy to find clothing whose materials, production, processing, and sales are produced ethically. for me, the difficulty in easily finding an ethically-sourced and produced garment that is also what i want/need in my wardrobe, well-fitting, and well-made is what prevents me from shopping with my ethics in the forefront. it sounds coarse, but i am a busy person and when it's so much more difficult to shop ethically, it reduces the overall motivation to do so. i don't find this same limit when it comes to, say, ethical food-shopping because i can get a CSA box of organic groceries delivered to my door every week (way easier, way better tasting, even cheaper in the long run, than going to the grocery store). with clothes, that's not always the case. I want a perfect, well-fitting trouser jean also ethically produced, sourced, created, shipped, etc. etc.--it takes a lot more work and is more difficult to find and almost certainly costs more! and then i find a pair at madewell and they are made in china so i want to kick myself, but they also fit perfectly and i want to wear them all through the fall, so it makes it more difficult for my id to resist!

which is to say: i feel very conflicted about this issue as well, particularly when it comes to the obstacles which make it difficult but not impossible for me to shop the way i'd like given time and budgetary constraints.

but keeping on top of what i can--like not shopping at american apparel anymore because there's sexual harassment and union busting at their factories (even though they are made in the US), or avoiding modcloth because of their atrocious political missteps, or walmart because of crimes against workers ad nauseum.

i would still love a way to talk myself out of that perfect striped shirt that i see at target when i'm there buying laundry detergent, though; it's so easy and inexpensive that one needs a strong counter-argument to dissuade oneself.

smalltownbigwardrobe said...

My instincts lead my rules. I've bought too many things on a whim, only to regret them later. If it's expensive but I instantly love it, can't put it down, it fits me perfectly, I buy it. If it's expensive and I hesitate but it fits me perfectly, I walk away and give myself a week. If I'm still thinking about it after a week, I go buy it; if not, I've obviously forgotten about it already. Just because it's cheap does not mean I am going to buy it - it has to fit and look good on me. The only ONLY exception? It's $10 or less. Hard to pass that up.

P.S. Your outfit is effortlessly adorable, and I absolutely love it. :)

Amanda said...

Great outfit! It catches my eye but isn't so out there that I couldn't imagine wearing it myself.

I normally don't comment, but I wanted to jump in on this one. I don't have a lot of hard and fast rules but I do have both a limited budget and a very limited space. That's why I love blogs like this, that feature affordable clothing and styles (not just "trends") that can be reworked in numerous ways.

My one strict rule: you can only buy things if you have a hanger for them. I have a limited number of hangers in my closet. All blouses, pants, dresses, skirts, etc must be hung up- and if all the hangers are taken, then I have to get rid of something to free one up before I can buy something new. It's my own version of the one-in-one-out rule. If I go on a spree and get rid of several things, then I know that I have several hangers to fill up in the future- but I only fill them when I've found a great item.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the sizing tips! I went ahead and ordered a 28...I was thinking that would be my size anyway. I've never had anything from Madewell so I'm excited! Thanks for your help.

Jess said...

These jeans look so amazing on you! I love the entire look!

Christina said...

I just want to suggest this
I have been reading her blog for a while now and this seems like a really good way to reduce down your wardrobe, and to think about how many clothes you really need!

My clothes have levels, stuff I wear socially tends to slowly get worn less and then I start wearing it to work (my clothes tend to get wrecked as a lot of mud is involved in what I do!) When my clothes are falling apart I throw them away, with the good feeling that at least I got a lot of use out of them!

Veroplane said...

Oh boy. Here we go!

1. Knock-offs, No! Nothing reeks more then a fake designer bag.

2. Buy designer bags. I used to buy lots of cheap purses and in a myriad of colors but after assessing all the waste, I bought a CLASSIC high-end purse (a couple of them now) and my urge to buy a purse to match every pair of shoes was immediately curbed. Plus with high end bags, you can always take them in for repair. Money well spent!

3. No logos unless the logo is their thaaaaang. I love Roots Athletics in Canada and so when I am there I buy sweaters all the time with 'Roots" on it as it originally done since the 70's. As for anything else, no way, no how. GAP does not need to be strewn across my chest. Even Marc Jacobs..... no thanks.

4. Unsubscribe from mailing lists.... I love UO and it is real tempting to buy but I am looking at the sale items sitting in my hallway now that I bought on impulse that are being donated... and yea... sorry mailing lists... good bye :( And at times, it is just cheap junk. Whats the saying... it's the Quality vs. Quantity?

5. Outlet malls are the devil. Go with a budget! If you can succeed at this, please tell me how.

6. Classics are classics for a reason. Pick your trends wisely.

7. I am going to start assessing when I decide to purchase. I found 3 of the same black top I had no idea I owned that were stowed away in the back of a drawer. Clothes purge often. It feels good :) Plus it can make a less fortunate more stylish with your compulsive shopping.

Kelley said...

I've had a $50 per month personal spending allowance for the last three years. Having such a limited budget has really trained me to sort out my priorities. It's kept me from making a lot of impulse buys, and it's even helped me define my style because I only buy clothes that I really love.

Breezer said...

Tania, I'm curious about your comment about Modcloth's atrocious political missteps.

I'm totally on board with your perspective about American Apparel and Walmart, but I've never been informed about any Modcloth controversy and I'd love the information. Thanks!

This post (and the linked article) were very thought-provoking for me as well. I'm at a point in my life where I can't spend as much as I might like for the quality I'd ideally like to own, but I'm working toward it. Do you read Adored Austin? She's posted recently about some similar issues, and I have to applaud both of you for raising awareness. Getting people thinking is the first step!

What Would a Nerd Wear said...

hi breezer--here's one thing about modcloth that turned me off: http://getoffmyinternets.net/2011/08/23/modcloth-encourages-you-to-volunteer-in-africa/#comments

i'm also skeptical of their prices and the extent to which they subsidize/sponsor bloggers, thus driving up their prices enormously. i need to find a source for this, but i also previously read about some ethical problems with the way they source purchasing. i'd need to follow up this suspicion with actual fact, though. in general, i find their prices so ludicrously overblown that i avoid them altogether.

dawn marie said...

LOVE this outfit. So chic. So so chic.

Between Laundry Days said...

I don't have any rules particularly set in stone, but I do have guidelines. Any time I buy something, I try to gauge how I feel about it; the item, the chain of production, the mission and attitudes of the company, etc. If any of those feel "off", I won't buy it. It's not a perfect system by any means, and I'm working on solidifying my thoughts about it. These recent posts of yours have definitely gotten the wheels turning.

Also, this outfit? PHE-nomenal. Those dreams are fabulous (they really remind me of the EmersonMade jeans!).

Kyla said...

I just had to tell you how amazing those jeans look on you. I mean ... DAMN, girl!

sartoriography said...

I have a laid back policy to shopping that involves balancing general mindfulness (re:ethics, consumption, "do I need this?"-ness, etc) with a resistance to immovable strictures. So, while there are some places I'll almost never, ever shop (American Apparel, Gap, Wal-Mart), it doesn't mean I feel like my character has gone to shite if I do. I thrift a pretty significant portion of my clothes, which in my mind allows for a bit of lenience in the aforementioned "do I need this"-ness. I also try to treat clothing/fashion/consumption as what it really is- a privilege, not a right or even a need. It helps give me some perspective, especially when I want to buy 14 striped shirts from H&M (which I may have recently done). :)

You and these jeans are killing me with their hot awesomeness. I love how curvy you look, even though I know you to be quiet a skinny thing. If only you'd flashed that booty at us... ;)

NewYorkDiaries said...

This outfit is so pretty! One of my favorites yet!

Post a Comment