I mentioned in previous posts that I’ve taken up running, and earlier this week I talked about running at the beach. This activity has spurred more new purchases than I thought it would! For example, here I am now hankering for a new pair of shorts. It’s been on my mind for about three weeks now. Not that I don’t have any bottoms to wear–if we’re going to be honest, I want shorts because I feel pretty confident about my legs now after about six months of hard work. It’s pure plain vanity, and I guess I could argue that it’s getting warmer and full pants are too hot to run in, etc. But no, I want shorts because I worked for my legs and I want to celebrate them. It’s not the best reason to justify buying anything, but it’s not the worst either. And there lies the rub. How much of my purchases are vanity-pleasing vs. fulfilling actual needs?
When it comes to looking at my purchasing behavior and patterns, I refer to Kali’s insightful writing over at The Nife en l’Air, specifically to her articles on simplicity. I am pretty sure I’m still a highly emotional buyer (I do have some brand preferences *cough* Uniqlo, Nike *cough*), but I am trying to slow my trigger pulling on purchases by waiting at least a month and doing extensive research online before buying. It’s helped to ensure that most of the new acquisitions are 100% well-liked and used as opposed to being dead weight in the closet. However, I still think I could be a more purposeful shopper. Let’s look at those shorts (and workout clothes) again. Here’s my current workout wardrobe:
|Adidas capris (2)||Zella mesh|
|Bike ankle zip leggings||Bras|
|Champion medium support (2)|
|Shorts||GapFit high impact|
|Nike Dri-Fit 7-inch inseam||North Face racerback|
|Nike Dri-Fit blue|
|Nike Dri-Fit black|
|Nike Element thermal zip|
*purchased in the last month
I filled some gaps in this area of my closet this month:
My two sports bras were fine when I was just primarily walking for exercise, but now that I’ve been running regularly, I need more support.
The North Face bra I got is similar in cut and style to the one above. It’s a basic racerback bra that compresses and holds me in. I’ve yet to test the Gap bra for running, but for jumping jacks and lunges and squats it is more than enough support and I even feel comfortable enough to wear it the whole day.
The Zella mesh tank (similar) was a lucky find at Nordstrom Rack. I was looking for sports bras when I found a mesh black tank with no external logos. I really liked the way it fit and I thought it would be a good alternative for when I could no longer run in Heattech tops due to the weather. It’s been a great addition thus far–I’ve only had it for two weeks but I’ve worn it five times already. I don’t know that buying a second similar tank will be a high priority, but if I find another tank for under $15, I might consider adding a royal blue or dark purple one to my collection.
I have been looking for a running jacket ever since January. After much deliberation and online stalking, I finally found that the Nike Element Thermal full-zip jacket that fulfilled my requirements: no hood, zippered pockets, and all black.
I am really happy with this purchase for several reasons: though the fit is a bit large (especially in the arms, this is a Medium), it is still slim enough to not drown me in fabric, and I can layer a thicker shirt underneath if I need to. The thumbholes are a happy, non-intrusive addition; the pockets are a godsend–I finally have a place to stow my phone. The Thermal fabric is soft, comfortable to wear, and is effective at adding warmth. I find that I like the jacket so much I’ve been wearing it out to non-athletic activities. It is worth the money I paid for it ($72 + shipping) and with good care it should last me a good couple years like its older Dri-Fit counterpart, which is going on four years now.
Which is vanity and which are needs?
In my opinion, proper foundational pieces like a sports bra, shoes, or a jacket are critical and worth spending the money on. Feet and breasts are body parts that get impacted directly/indirectly by the mechanics of running. I bought the best level of support I can afford (under $30, ideally) but I’m also interested in longevity. I thought the Champion sports bras would last a little longer than one year but they’re starting to stretch out/lose compression. Though I bought them on discount ($10-13 apiece) I still want a product that lasts, so I’ll be doing more research in the future on brands that have good value and performance. A jacket is also important if you will be running in inclement weather. I live in an area with great weather, but in the winter or early mornings there will be a few cool mornings. A layer that protects my neck and keeps my torso warm will be very useful.
Things like tops and extra shorts: I probably don’t need a running-specific tank top or shorts, but I want them. These are rewards and encouragement for me to continue with the activity, plain and simple. I think that’s OK as long as I am aware of my intent and that I keep an eye on my budget.
Have you ever examined your reasoning for buying something? I am curious to know how others prioritize their purchases–do you fulfill needs first, desires, or are the two closely intertwined?