How often have you bought clothing and ended up asking yourself, “What was I thinking?”

Last week I wrote about how I realized I needed to stop buying clothes … compulsively, irresponsibly. But just how does one do that? I stopped buying clothes for the whole month of January while I worked on defining my personal style using The Curated Closet.

Should I have been concerned when February 1st rolled around, that I went straight to the mall? Was it bad that I joked with the saleswoman at LOFT that having items shipped to my house might get me in trouble with my husband and her response was, “Well, you need to have a good relationship with your…UPS man. Mine hides the packages behind the bushes.”

Hahaha. he. um…

I thought I was ready to shop again, this time the “right” way. But it seemed like I fell right back into my old habits: buying things because they are pretty and new instead of buying them because they meet all my criteria and I actually need them. I thought about how many articles of clothing I have bought and then returned (or sold or donated.) I’ve had some success with eBay but mostly I send things to Thredup or donate to the local thrift store. But, ideally I wouldn’t have such high turnover in my closet.

3 EBAY AUCTIONS (click on images to buy):

img_4523  img_4526  img_4520

I decided that for me to make better choices when I shop in the future I should look at the past. It’s fun to go back through all the photos on your computer. My iPhoto goes back almost 10 years. There aren’t a lot of selfies from back then. Most of my photos are of other people, but almost all the photos of me have me wearing clothes I no longer own. When I found a shot of me in something I still wear, I think, “Nice choice. Well done.” I made a little collage of the “keepers.”

I can see the brands that work for me and the colors and silhouettes that I return to over and over. In addition to the above, I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of my white button down, jean jacket, navy crew neck sweater, black v-neck tee, black tank top, and black cropped skinny jeans. (I left off shoes and outerwear, I’ll save them for another time.)

Now the challenge will be to remember this when/if I go out shopping again. I need to try to avoid the usual pitfalls: Buying things because they’re new/on sale, because the salesperson said I should or because I tried on a bunch of stuff and don’t want to leave empty-handed. I also have to admit, and this is really humbling and embarrassing, that I have bought things because Pinterest, fashion blogs and fashion magazines said they were “must-haves.” Nothing is a must-have for everyone. I learned that only certain things look good on me and only I can decide that.

I think I’m making progress. To be continued…