they came home with me, 2012

I'm pretty behind on this one, and thought of just skipping it entirely, but since I was keeping track of shopping all year, I thought this post was necessary for closure.

January 2012
- Margaret Howell shirt

- Orla Kiely for Uniqlo scarf
- Seafolly bikini

- Uniqlo linen shirt
- Massimo Dutti linen knit henley
- MHL by Margaret Howell cotton-linen sailor top

- Filippa K navy cotton twill shirtdress
- COS cream chunky cotton knit tank
- Pointer cream canvas sneakers
- Massimo Dutti low-heeled t-strap pumps

- Sam Edelman low-heeled sandals

- Carven shirt

- Massimo Dutti dark red linen knit pullover
- Massimo Dutti navy sleeveless shift

- Undies from Muji, Stella McCartney, M&S

- H&M lace tank, Cole Haan flats

So, 14 items for 2012. Two more than I would like, more if you counted things that were given to me, and I was battling to keep the count down in December - I felt a powerful impulse to buy something, anything, and I was saved only by a) the expenses of my trip to NZ and b) that niggling feeling that I didn't love any of the things I had my eye on, though I liked them well enough.

I'm perturbed by the way I associate shopping with reward - for working hard, for doing well, to celebrate. I feel most like shopping after a period of unusual stress, or when I get good news. It feels dangerously impulsive. It's okay if it's a long-desired, planned purchase. But quite often it's just me blowing off steam. So I need to watch that.

I also shop more lavishly when I'm on holiday. Again, just a pitfall I'd like to be careful of.

I'm also continuing on my never-ending quest to become more organised financially - probably worth a post all on its own - but part of it is becoming more disciplined about budgeting. Clothing-wise, if something exceeds my budget, I'd like to be more organised about putting money away for it.

Unusually, I have a list of things I’d like to check off in the months to come. I don’t usually make lists and often I never know I want something until it’s right in front of me.

- Glasses.

- A small leather crossbody bag for casual use. My Chanel reissue – my only small purse – is sometimes just too much.

- New flat shoes. I don't have my eye on anything, but I see a few pairs of shoes wearing thin, so I plan to keep an eye out for good replacements.

Incidentally, I have already cracked open a new year of shopping, by purchasing some decidedly trendy trousers, which are of course not on my list, because I've never quite grasped how to make lists and stick to them...

(You can tell I wrote this post in a hurry, because I didn't even dress it up a bit with a picture or two.)


Pret a Porter P said…
I admire your discipline, especially that you get to take such incredible trips. Living in a tropical climate, I can understand the need/want to buy more shirts.
Amanda said…
I do that same thing too - the justification of purchases as a reward or a bribe. I usually convince myself to buy something so that it I would stop thinking about it and I'd be able to concentrate more on work! It's a disturbingly profligate way of procrastination. I didn't buy a huge number of items last year, but I did buy a lot of terribly expensive ones so I definitely have to be very very good this year.
Maja H said…
Ha, I totally do the shopping-as-reward thing too. I try to combine it with sensible purchases though - once I reach this-or-that goal I can buy that thing that want to cross of my list. I also hear you on the financial planning. I'm at that stage in my life where I know buying an apartment should only be a few years away, and housing prices in Norway are pretty crazy at the moment. I need to save save save!
jamie-lee said…
I have to say that when I read your purchases for 2012, I was both impressed and in awe. In awe because I hope to one year have a list as low as yours.

I definitely find holiday shopping the most impulsive, as well as sale time, and I too tend to buy when I'm stressed out or upset. Things to focus on and acknowledge as they come up I suppose.

Good luck with your list for 2013. I;m not sure if you saw on a pair and a spare, but the idea of DIYing the Celine trio might be a good option for a cross body?
Joy said…
think you were pretty damn disciplined. a lot better than how i managed my purchases! i think its only natural that you 'reward' yourself by shopping. of course its not exactly a good thing but sometimes you do need to pamper yourself. just perhaps through other means vs. material goods?
Eileen said…
Please my friend, you are already very!

I am also looking for a plain leather crossbody bag, hopefully in burgundy. The reissue may be a bit too much for some days, I agree.

Over the new year, I got a pair of boots, the denim dress from Muji, and a printed skirt from IM (which is also something different from what I would normally buy).
But I guess, it is nice to add a bit of colour and print to brighten things up a bit.

I like how you did in 2012 and I hope to be as rational and calculated this year, hopefully!
Unknown said…
That's a very good exercise, and it your objective was 12, it's very good! I have to admit, I think I bought too many things in 2012 to be able to come up with a list like that on top of my mind so congratulations!

As for lists, it's really not an obligation, it can help for those who like it but if it doesn't feel comfortable for you I'm sure you'll find something else that works.
Andrea said…
what a good idea. making a list forces you to confront the good, the bad and the ugly of your own personal shopping habits. eek, i am so bad no matter how much i say "buy less, buy better, really wear it." i have the last 2 parts down... reading this actually made me go *gulp* why do i shop? lately, i've been shopping as a reward, when i'm stressed, sad, procrastinating. eeeep! maybe more navel-gazing at my own receipts and choice will, reading your blog. :)

-- andrea
Sue said…
I did not do as well as you. But what else did you expect? I really don't understand my own fascination with restricting purchases and understanding needs vs wants when I so blatantly do not subscribe to that school of thought. But I do so love to follow other people's adventures on how disciplined they are. And I "reward" myself if I think I haven't bought anything for a while - what perverse logic is that? I have to say though - I don't buy much on holiday infact I'm positively frugal when I'm abroad - probably because the clothes are different trend wise from what they are at home.
Nomadic D. said…
I'm going to have to join the ranks of folks here who are awed by your discipline. Seriously, I'm glad I don't have to list my year's purchases. At least, not next to yours. I'm super impressed.

I'm not a minimalist when it comes to shopping, and I don't think I ever could be, I just like it to darned much. But I am striving to be more thoughtful, conscious and considered when purchasing, and I think the goal of having a way to save up for a big ticket item is a great one. As for budgets and finances in general, I'm a total geek about it and love for keeping track of everything, you might want to check it out.
A├»ssa said…
All your points on shopping are so accurate. Iy's so easy to get trapped in this "addiction".
I splurged a lot during the last weeks of 2012. Sometimes on items I didn't need but mostly on useful but expensive items and beacuse I had a lot more cash at that moment I didn't really put brakes on anything I wanted... I can't say I regret that phase but now (that I'm broke), I'm back on track and on a ban for a couple of months.
Ammu said…
I agree with the others - you are tremendously disciplined and I love the items you picked up, they seem like good buys.
I did much more shopping last year than I had planned to, but what was eye-opening at the end of the year was the realisation that some of my impulsive, instinctive purchases turned out to be my best buys. And the more i agonised over a purchase, the less useful it turned out to be.
A few takeaways - scarves are always a good purchase, because I seem to get a ton of wear out of mine (although my closet is starting to resemble a scarf boutique!), same goes for delicate gold jewellery and beautifully-cut dresses. I need to stop looking at handbags -- unless I plan to give one away before buying any more. I have also come to terms with the fact that some of my work assignments require me to keep a small secondary wardrobe made of items that aren't expensive, so I don't mind getting them dirty, torn or worse.
miss sophie said…
chiming in with everyone that you are quite disciplined! i don't think discipline ought to get in the way of allowing oneself to enjoy the thrill of shopping (even the occasional retail therapy/ impulse buy). i wonder to what extent feeling guilty about splurging on something for oneself is a gendered thing....i'd like to think that it's definitely possible to shop conscientiously and with some restraint while still being able to sometimes reward oneself, and find pleasure in that :)
Fleurett said…
Wonderful post as always, Lin! I too think you are incredibly diciplined! I couldn't agree more with you, Maja, and Amanda when it comes to rewarding yourself with new stuff – but I guess that applies to all kinds of "diets" (wardrobe diet) like allowing yourself to indulge in unhealthy food.. Apparently, it's in our nature that humans work towards rewards and praise. I guess that's what drives us to work harder, to do stuff etc. I've already planned to buy the SC for LV bag whenever I get into university as a reward and an ICW/Cartier/Omega watch whenever I graduate.... insanely pricey items, I know, but at least they are additional goals to finishing school and getting a degree haha. That's how I would justify those potential purchases/rewards.
lin said…
Pret a Porter P: Laundry issues!

Amanda: Speaking of expensive things, I'd like to stop falling for them!

Maja H: I hear you on housing! I'll like to buy a place as well but committing to the down payment for one will mean something like 20 years of debt! I need a raise...

jamie-lee: I think so long as I can honestly feel I'm 100% behind everything I buy, the number is just a number. I feel like some of the stuff on the list I could have put down and walk away, and I want to cut that!

I actually really like the Celine Trio, and saw that amazing DIY too, but I feel a bit weird DIY-ing something so distinct to a brand...

Joy: I think sometimes I justify my purchases as a reward, and other times I think I can celebrate in other ways instead of shopping.

Eileen: I want something in burgundy too, seems like such a good colour accent for the neutral colours we love. I've been scouting around for something under $250 with no luck...

Can't wait to see that IM skirt in action, I'm intrigued.

Kali Vine: I think some years I definitely buy more, just replacing basics like T-shirts and stuff. So the figure is pretty arbitrary...i just felt like having something new every month should be enough for me, and I shouldn't really want more unless necessary or something good is too good to pass up.

Andrea: Writing it down does make me rethink what I buy and realise what I could have done without, hopefully I learn from it.

Sue: I have that feeling sometimes too! Reward not shopping with shopping. I'm afraid to think of what kind of crazy shopper I could become if I didn't discipline myself.

Nomadic D: I think everyone has their own set of circumstances so I think shopping habits can't be compared based on numbers!

Thanks for the tip about, will definitely check it out.

Aissa: My shopping always dries up in Jan and Feb too, haha, because I am paying for my sins in Dec.

Ammu: Thanks! I agree, more and more, the instinctive buys I didn't see coming are usually the ones I love the most. I think agonising over something usually means I know deep down something isn't quite right.

miss sophie: Thanks! I like splurging on myself, don't get me wrong, but I don't want to lean on rewards as an excuse too much - sometimes I am just greedy! I feel like I don't want to depend too much on material things as a source of pleasure, and if I want to spend I'd like to direct my money to more experiences.

Fleurette: Thanks! I have a couple of expensive things on my list to and having decided that I really want those things, I think this year I am going to be more disciplined about putting money away for them.

I have to echo what everyone has said. You're incredibly disciplined. In fact, I think your purchases are a smidgeon of most people that I know.
Lindsay K said…
Hi Lin, I agree with all the others. You are very disciplined in your approach to shopping. For me, I can honestly say that I don' know any other way. I'm not so concerned with numbers- I had several months where I didn't shop at all (there wasn't really anything i needed or that caught my eye) and then there were months where I bought three items. I think the most important thing is that i LOVE what I purchase. I'm disciplined when it comes to knowing what I want, what I'm willing to spend for it and not impulse buying or settling. At the same time, I know myself and my style well enough to trust my instincts. The pieces that I haven't deliberated over always end up being spot on. Would love to hear which items are on your dream list that you're saving up for.
lin said…
Marlene: Thanks! I think it still feels like too much when I sit back and assess, but what is considered "too much" really subjective anyway.

Lindsay K: Thanks! I agree about loving what you buy being the most important thing, and I think I get closer to that every year.

I do want to do a post about my wishlist, and how I plan to set aside money for them, but need to find the time to buckle down and write it!

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