Well, it's Tuesday December 15 2009. The official start of the challenge. And this is Blog Posting #3 (for what's happened earlier, scroll down to the bottom of the page and start reading upwards... in a strange quirk of technology, blog postings occur in reverse chronological order. If you already know this, then please roll your eyes now - I include this info bcz someone over the age of 35 may be reading this and not know how blogs work. Or they may just enjoy repetition).
Last Item Purchased. The photo (left) is of the last item I purchased before the challenge started. If you know me, you'll know that I have a full-blown fetish, a love affair, with animal print. And I'm not exclusive about it - I like them all: leopard, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, tiger, oscelote, reptile. Not a lot of Tasmanian Tiger to be found. Panther is all the rage in Melbourne and New York City but I don't tend to wear a lot of it (too harsh for my colouring). I purchased this dress in a rather fabulous pre-loved store in Brisbane city, called Revamp. I bought it on December 4 and it cost me $85. Fabulous cross-over style with some detailing on the side, and even though I don't wear a lot of short-sleeves (where are my Linda/Terminator 2 arms??? oh, that's right - you need to do exercise to get them!), these are great for this type of dress.
The Diva (Judy, my friend who is joining me on this 12 month challenge) tells me her last purchase was on December 10 and it was a grey and black asymmetric hemmed long-sleeve top in a sort of animal print with some bling on the shoulder. She got this fabulous item on sale in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane.
A Year in (Clothing) Review. This last year, 2009 that is, has been .... what is the word I seek? It's been so many things, it's hard to economise and give it just one. Challenging for sure -- financially things were different than in 2008 when I was doing lots of corporate leadership workshops for a huge client. That work ended (rather abruptly, I had whiplash for weeks after hearing the news) in December 2008. As a result, my 2009 was suddenly looking a lot less populated with places to go and people to see (and facilitate workshops for). We started a new business, I'm Listening Now, which was an exercise in exploring my own creativity and resourcefulness, and not without its own challenges. Anytime something big ends or starts, it's a period of transition, right? Well, that's what 2009 has been for us.
Where did the money go? I have been reflecting on what I've spent money on (and where) over the last year. And here's what I've noticed: most of my clothing purchases have been made while travelling, when I've been away from home. We were overseas 3 times this last year and I did way more shopping during those trips that I did when I was at home. When I'm at home, I rarely go trawling through the shops. If I do go shopping when I'm at home, it's rarely in that wander-y kind of way that happens when I'm travelling - I'm more focused. I go where I need to go, I get what I want, I go home.
And because there are a number of small shopping districts (and only one large shopping centre) on the Sunshine Coast where I live, the Gruen Transfer rarely comes into play (want to discuss the Gruen Transfer some more, perhaps in a future post? Let me know, as its such an interesting phenomenon about how people react in shopping centres, and how shopping centres are designed to disorient customers). My favourite store of this type is Timbuktu to Kathmandu in Noosaville - the most fabulous bead store in the world! (ok, maybe it isn't, but I say that with at least a little authority, having visited many bead stores in Australia and quite a few the US). It's located in a midnight blue building right next to a BP service station -- not an enterprise that lures me in very often, although the lube oil display is often quite attractive.
(By the way, 3 overseas trips sounds like a lot of travelling for "people in transition" right? Well, let me explain that I'm a volunteer board member on a professional association based in the US. I donate my time to this organisation and in return, they pay my way to attend specific meetings in the US, and in 2009 that happened to be two meetings - one in Dallas in August (oh the joy of being in the southwest in high summer! could we crank up the temperature guage just one more degree - from simmer to boiling - and while we're at it, make it DRY!) and the other in San Francisco in November (there may not be a heaven, but somewhere there is a San Francisco)).
Starting this challenge today feels like an important day because it's the day I've made the commitment to start on. But it doesn't feel like a big tough day. I didn't rush out yesterday and buy up big, I didn't get online at 11pm for any last minute purchasing. I haven't bought anything since the dress (in the photo above) on December 4. So whilst there is some emotion around Today Being The Day, it's a quiet kind of feeling.
When in Rome....Ok, so if you're interested in a bit of a review of what I've purchased when travelling this year, here goes. If this doesn't interest you, please feel free to skip this paragraph///. When I was in California, both earlier in the year (the March trip was a 10th wedding anniversary gift to one another, although I know how much Dan really wanted to buy me a large piece of jewellery instead... what a sport - going on a trip with me to California instead!!) and in November in San Francisco, I bought a few things including: animal print jacket x 2 (one kind of giraffe, the other zebra), Lucky jeans in black, AK jeans in dark denim ($18 from Ross!), fabulous 'bling' animal print belt, some underwear, those Converse shoes I spoke of in an earlier post, knit top or maybe two, earrings (about 4 pair - easy to transport home, no need for an additional bag usually), and some fabulous stuff from a great consigment store in Walnut Creek - animal print cardi/jacket and an animal print sheer silk shirt. And some fabric from Britex (the most amazing 4-storey fabric store on Union Square). That's about all I can recall that I purchased in California. In Dallas I also bought some things (summer stuff was on sale then, which was great for home with summer on the way) - white capri pants, black capri pants, some underwear, a silk cheetah-print shirt, a sheer silk shirt (great for summer with our hot sun - provides coverage for the arms and the silk means its cool; and this one was reduced), a butter-yellow jacket in soft cotton to coordinate with shoes I already have in the same colour, and a handful of things from two fantastic consignment stores - designer jeans for $20 x2, a Dolce & Gabanna silk shirt (new with tags) for $50, leopard-print low-heeled slides with rhinestones (new, never been worn) for $20. When I was in Sydney in October, Julie took me to the Paddington markets (she practically begged to take me, what could I do??) and I bought a silk kaftan-style cross-over flowing shirt thing that's clearly hard to describe (fabulous print/colours - my "warm light" colours with some animal print sprinkled through it).
Now that I type it out, it seems like quite a lot. It is a lot. And all to be added to an already full wardrobe - well, you can see my problem. I thought about editing that list of purchases, leaving out some things because once I typed it out (and it's taken me quite a few iterations, bcz I kept remembering items I'd purchased), I started to see exactly how much I'd bought. If my wardrobe at home was bereft, a veritable Mrs Hubbard's cupboard, it might be plausible how I could justify so many purchases. But my wardrobe at home was already plentifully stocked with lovely things. Items on sale and consignment stores are particularly delusion-inducing and alluring for me - it's almost like they're giving it away. Sitting here typing this now, I'm feeling a range of emotion - some pleasure at all those lovely things and some guilt, too. That's way too big a topic for this already long post, so I'll leave guilt and the wondrous gift it keeps on giving to another post.
If you're a shopaholic, you may have enjoyed reading about all those purchases. I know how much I enjoy reading about what other people are wearing and buying. Clothing is a joy! In novels, it's often one of the highlights if the author describes what the characters are wearing and packing for trips and washing and whatever else people do with clothing. So I'm guessing that at least for some of you, reading about all of those purchases was interesting and you enjoyed it. If you're not a shopaholic, god only knows what you're thinking as you were reading about all that; I don't even want to guess.
And they're off. A big thank you to those who have supported me so far -- read the posts, emailed and phoned me, offered support in various ways. And to those who haven't gotten in touch yet, I'm sure you have your reasons. (and if you're a close friend, they better be good!). I'm really looking forward to the interest this conversation is sure to generate. There's a lot to this topic and there are many experiences and viewpoints around it. Right?