As you may or may not infer, shopping has really taken a back seat in my life as of late, and for the better. My focus has been elsewhere, mostly in coffee and food photography. I’m also back in my half-marathon training after an injury–I’m pretty happy about that, as a forced 1-month hiatus was tough on the mind and body. But here I am, and there are a few things I’d like to talk about. First, let’s look at the state of the wardrobe in the second quarter of 2015:

2015 Acquisitions (as seen on Instagram):

January

February

Nine West Foodie monkstrap shoes 
Black Crane Pleats Dress in gray

March

Gap true straight and tailored crop work pants

April

Brooks Ghost 7 running shoes
Custom orthotics
Balega Hidden Comfort socks
Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light No Show Tab socks

April was an expensive month for running. My previously well-loved Nike Lunarglides didn’t give enough arch support and my feet ended up taking the brunt of it as I progressed in my running. I also needed to learn a lesson about getting enough rest and stretching. This resulted in a hiatus of a month and a half where I had to be off my feet while I healed and the somewhat-necessary re-hauling of gear.

I ended up with the Brooks Ghost 7 running shoe and a pair of custom inserts (not the heat-formed ones from the running shops but orthotics from a medical manufacturer) and I feel a lot more supported and stable while running. Granted, I’m not a doctor or expert runner, so I don’t recommend or endorse any particular way for anyone’s foot problems, but the important part is with this rig I can keep running. If I don’t make it to 13.1 miles it won’t be for the lack of trying every known solution.  If anyone cares to know more about that I’ll gladly expound on the topic. As for the socks I believe a few here mentioned Nike’s Dri-FIT and Balega; I am a recent convert to poly-blend running socks and I won’t look back. Hot spots (future blisters) at 5 miles is the last thing you want on your mind when you have to slog past 8 more. -eek-

May

Muji linen shirtdress

Hay gurl hay.

This linen shirtdress was somewhat of an impulse buy on Mothers’ Day. I spotted it while on a trip to Muji in Hollywood earlier this month and was enticed by the sea of blues and whites:

The lovely display at Muji Hollywood.

Muji’s sizing runs a bit on the small side. Thank goodness my mom was with me on this trip and suggested sizing up because 1. the small was a bit tight in the arms and chest; 2. linen shrinks. True to its nature, the dress shrunk 15% after the first wash–so that the Medium actually fits more like the Small on me now. The length is mostly unaffected but I notice that the shoulders and sleeve length is a bit shorter than before. Which works for me, but if you’re reading this and are new to linen, beware. Size up and go with an airier, loose fit because it will inevitably shrink. I don’t know how it would be affected if dry-cleaned; I hope someone who has dry-cleaned their linen will chime in the comments below. Another unforeseen (hah) complication: despite the dark color, this dress is a bit sheer. After scrambling around for a slip I make do with a Uniqlo Airism tee and an old cotton miniskirt from H&M (very thin) to cover the pertinent bits and to shield my skin from the somewhat-scratchy fabric. It’s not a perfect solution but it gets me through the day.

The last thing I want to touch on today is more a collection of observances re: shopping:

– I’ve replaced shopping expeditions with trips to coffee shops and going out to nicer lunches and dinners

– Shopping doesn’t leave me inspired or energized; often I am disappointed at the items on display, and I regret the trip out in the first place (why did I drive and stay out for two hours when I could have–gone climbing, taken a nap, write on the blog…)

– The best buying experience as of late was picking up my running shoes in a local business recommended by a fellow runner. I appreciated the personalized customer service of the attendant and her concern about finding the best pair for my orthotics and foot. She also worked hard to get the size and color shoe that I most desired.

A lot of the folks whose work I read (Kali, Maja, Fen, etc.) have all mentioned at some point going on a shopping fast or have self-imposed a type of restriction on certain activities/purchases. Though I myself am not on a shopping restriction, I’ve internalized the challenge somehow and I’ve been engaging in other pursuits to alleviate boredom. I window shop because I’m bored, or I feel down, and trying on clothes and looking at things gives me that newness, like something freshly bought will inspire/enrich my life. But nowadays even when I buy something completely necessary (better running shoes) or even when I indulge in optional buys (Black Crane dress, Muji dress) it doesn’t give me that same rush like before; I still appreciate having the option to wear said dress and present myself a certain way, but it’s no longer treated like a grail item. Is this herd mentality/online peer pressure, or maturity? Maybe a bit of both. I am noticing that the more satisfying, uplifting times are when I trade my dollar for an experience, such as food, drink, or an event rather than a physical, non-consumable good.

Drop me a line–are you on a shopping ban? Are you skirting the edges of the minimalist culture like I do, dipping unsure toes in talk of fasting, mindfulness, and the like? Leave me your thoughts and musings below 🙂

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20 thoughts on “State of the Closet: 2Q 2015

  1. A half marathon! Wow that’s awesome, good luck with the training. Good to hear you found a better shoe option too, definitely need to take care of our feet. I’m not on a shopping ban per se but I restrict my buys to those that fit the rules and have been on my list for a while! Although when I get back to Sydney, I might have to break some rules because Muji has opened while I’m away and really like the clothes they have!

    1. Jane, it’s a work in progress. My first potential half would occur next year in January (assuming it doesn’t sell out in the first 15 minutes–I may try the Star Wars half this year.) If and only if the feet hold up, and I don’t develop other crazy health problems will I continue in this path.

      It will be an adventure. At present, just getting past 6 miles with no aggravation of pain in the right arch is my immediate goal. I kinda fizzled out at 8 miles earlier this year. If I get past that I’ll be pretty excited for 2016.

  2. Good luck with your training! I was trying to work up to a 5k a couple months ago, and then got really bad runner’s knee, which still acts up today. 😦 So now, I just do really slow and easy runs, but still need to brace my knee. I have terrible endurance, ha.

    I’m definitely not a minimalist, but I’d like to think that I’m mindful of my purchases! I used to go on shopping fasts, but I hated the feeling after going shopping after one and feeling guilty that I had spent so much money on a ton of things. Nowadays, I limit my shopping to a few things a month, which spreads the guilt out, haha.

  3. I’m also in the category of a sometimes-sorta-minimalist. I think my larger motivations are not particularly minimalist though: it’s mostly with an eye towards my financial goals while still allowing me to shop for nicer things sometimes and I’m also motivated by how much I hate to move or organize things, and all of that is easier when one owns less. I generally frame my attempt at having a more thoughtful, conscious approach to shopping as a “shopping fast” (with similar “rules” to what Maja describes), but I’m not sure “ban” or “fast” is really the right word for it as I can and sometimes do a fairly large amount of shopping while still nominally following my own “rules.” It could be deemed a minimalist-ish approach to shopping, but I think its only “minimalist” relative to the less careful and larger quantity of shopping I was doing before.

    1. I enjoy your perspective about owning less to make moving easier–really impressed by how few boxes you had to move! When I lived in an apartment with roommates I still had a bike, quite a few Rubbermaid gallon boxes, and stuff on hangers to carry. 2 suitcases and a few boxes is quite impressive!

      ” “minimalist” relative to the less careful and larger quantity of shopping I was doing before.” –this. That I have mostly successfully resisted buying cheap tee-shirts and tanks is because I am trying to actively remember what I already own instead of forgetting and succumbing to that quick rush. Also, it’s embarrassing to see how many piles of unworn/souvenir tees I have from middle school (can you believe?!) to college. I just have these memories in cotton tees and logos and that’s hard to let go.

  4. That Black Crane dress looks AMAZING on you! I’ve been eyeing it + a few others this summer, but it makes such a difference to see another person (as opposed to model) wearing it. I have a planned window-shopping day coming up so I might have to give the pleats dress a go.

    Re: minimalism, I’m always so hesitant to put myself in this category even though I feel like most of what I buy fits and I don’t realllllly buy too much in say, a year. Right now I’m trying to focus more on saving, so I’ve been thinking about imposing a 1-item per month limit on myself this summer. I don’t know how realistic that is though? I think part of why I’m hesitant to embrace the minimalist label is that I still have impulse buys, sadness shopping, and other habits that always add objectively unnecessary items to my wardrobe.

    1. Alison,

      If you are considering the Pleats dress (with the longer sleeves like the one I have) do know that it does a dolman/batwing effect and on me I’m not entirely a fan of 3/4 sleeve lengths. Also my arms are pretty short. I end up rolling the sleeves to my elbows and letting the volume balloon out from there but be anchored by the roll (if that makes sense.)

      I am not entirely sure but I think the S/S version of the Pleats dress this year is short-sleeved. If it is the same fabric (linen-wool blend) DO NOT COLD HAND WASH if you don’t mind it shrinking in length. Though you may already know that from the recent dress you bought. My problem is I’m always trying to avoid dry cleaning bills but I’m not a fan of shrinkage on an investment piece.

      Also calling you out, Muji wool cashmere sweaters on terribad shrinkage despite “machine wash okay” instruction. Lies. :/

  5. It’s interesting what you say about feeling like wasting your time when you go shopping, thinking “I could be doing this and that instead”. This is exactly how I have been feeling this past year, that threshold when the prospect of owning something new doesn’t surpass the wish to do something else than shopping anymore. When I cracked 2 pairs of jeans in one week a couple of months ago, and needed to get at least one replacement, I remember taking at least 3 weeks before making myself go to the stores, because there was always something better to do instead. I guess that’s a big step in the simplification journey, realizing there is so much more to do than shopping, and having found these things we’d rather do 🙂
    Now I tend to “pack” things together when I have some material needs/wishes – an overall walk in the city involving restaurants and coffee shops and friends and visits and photography, and I’ll use the occasion to visit whatever store I need to buy something from. But you’re right, it does mean less spending on the long run, definitely!

    1. There’s so many better things to do, like eat (haha! terrible!) or go hiking or swim or climb–granted, overdosing on food or activities isn’t great either, but at least you did something.

      Re: shopping trips, I did have a good trip out to the stores to scope out new sneakers (not for running but just for goofing off) and the verdict is: it’s still good to see certain things up close, you get a much faster feel for construction and fit in person. Online shopping for shoes is probably okay once you’ve dialed in a brand’s fit and sizing, but I’m moving away from Nike so everything is a mystery right now.

      Ugh, to be cool with Flyknit/Frees…not happening for flat feet like mine apparently.

  6. I’m not on a ban as such but I’m a little out of love with what’s out there so if nothing else, that’s helping me stop the shopping. Infact I had a trawl of the ASOS site this evening thinking to make use of the 20% off across the site and I found nada. And even when I was in Amsterdam, I found little to tempt me .. till the last day when I found the most wonderful shopping street. However, I was also reading the Marie Kondo book on tidying so I’m kind of in abstinence mode and trying to make sense of what I already have. Besides, I hate rushed buys hence my astounding rate of returns.

    1. I agree with you on not much being out there worth the buying. Summer is so, so boring other than wanting more gray and black cotton tees–which I really shouldn’t buy since what do I need more of them for?

      I would like new black sneakers though 🙂

      How’s the Marie Kondo book going? Several of you have read it now; is it life-changing?

  7. I haven’t really bought much this year, not that I’m on a ban or anything. Truth be told not much has inspired me lately and I have come to realise that I actually have enough (haha what!). So these days when I get dressed I try to think of new combinations that I’ve never worn before with my existing wardrobe… it’s challenging and fun.

    Good luck with that marathon. Sucks to have an injury mid training but glad you’re back on the asphalt! I just received a new pair of Adidas Ultra Boosts – they’re performing way better running than my previous Nike Free Runs (granted these have been battered and abused quite a bit). Orthotics are great – I have some in my running shoes too due to a weak ankle, find it helps stabilise the foot.

    PS I almost totally avoid linen because of that shrink! I can never tell how much it will go, so I’ve never been brave enough to go there

    1. I think your brainstorming sessions are going well, Steph! I’m really enjoying your monochromatic ensembles of late; you do proportion and asymmetry well.

      I’ll have to check out those Ultra Boosts–my orthotic is so thick in the heel that it’s kind of tough to find a shoe deep enough to house it. Will have to check that one out.

  8. Hello Kristina 🙂
    I experienced the same thing about shopping as i stopped to buy impulsively because I was bored, tired or sad…
    Yesterday afternoon I was going to buy work clothes with my mini, but I enjoyed more the time spent with her than the crowd in the shops. In the end I bought something I didn’t event try because of it and back to homme I tried my purchases and nothing is ok. Totally disastifying. Now I just have to bring back these clothes 😉
    I really prefer this state of mind by the way. I prefer to live new experiences and share moments with others than buying stuffs now.
    My next challenge is to find more time for sport 🙂

    1. That’s where I am too. I would much prefer spending on a nice meal and dessert when out with a group of friends than dreaming up items to purchase. It’s much more pleasurable to share the reward/experience than it is to bring home the material good whose happiness shelf-life is so short.

      Good luck with incorporating sport or exercise into your routine! every bit counts, so anything you fit into your current schedule now will always be a benefit, even though it may not be immediately apparent 🙂

      1. Thank you Kristina for your encouragemnts (and sorry for the mistakes, thanks to orthographic corrector 😉 ).
        Actually I’m practicing yoga 1.5 hour per week and martial art 1.5 per week too (more than 3 hours before I become a mom ). But I feel I need to practice more to progress in martial art so that’s why I want to do more sport. And I also have an indoor cubicle life so I need to move from my chair 🙂

      2. You too huh? Ugh, the cubicle slump is the worst! I carry my sneakers and hat into work and go for walks on my breaks just to move!

        Which martial art do you practice? I’m in awe; that takes a long time to build proficiency in.

  9. Hello Kristina, I also bring my sneakers at work when the weather is nice 🙂 Sometimes I go on a walk during lunch break.
    I’m practicing kinomichi. This is a variant of aikido. It was founded in France by Masamichi Noro. But I’ve seen recently his son Takeharu Noro was teaching in San Francisco.
    You’re right long time is needing to become really good in martial art but I like it because you never stop learning 😉 And you can still enjoy practice even if you are a beginner I think. But time really flies fast : it’s already almost 10 years I’m practicing !
    I wish you to have a nice day 🙂

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