Shop ‘Til You Drop?

On Shopping and Blogging

A peek into my messy closet.

It’s clearance season, and I love a good sale — it’s sort of my thing. So far this month, though, I’m not really into it. And I think this is a very good thing.

Before I dive into my personal nitty-gritty, let’s make one thing clear: fashion blogging is materialistic. Whether you’re a consumer or creator or both, at one point or another, you have been focused on these material objects, whether they be clothing, accessories or beauty products. And that’s okay — it’s inherent in the subject, no matter your budget. And while it’s nothing to feel guilty over (fashion and shopping are fun!), it is important to be aware of it.

When I was in college, I was pretty frugal because I had no other choice. I was living in New York City, and starting my junior year, I no longer had a meal plan and was commuting at least 2 times a week to an unpaid internship without a part-time job on the side. I got by with a $400 stipend each semester, as well as help from my parents, who were also awesome enough to take care of my room and board and book expenses.  (Tuition was covered by an academic scholarship, but I still have over $25,000 in government student loans.)

Once I graduated and started working, my money habits understandably changed. For the first time, I could expect a weekly paycheck. I started paying about $300 a month on my loans before my grace period expired. And I started shopping, a lot. Well at least “a lot” by my standards.

On Shopping and Blogging

A screenshot of my “clothing” transactions on Mint. I think we can see a pattern.

I had good reason for this: my wardrobe needed a serious upgrade. I needed clothing that was a bit more professional (though my current workplace has a pretty relaxed dress code), and my style had also slowly evolved. A few months ago, I also slowly started purging my closet, something I haven’t done in years. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m at a point where I like and wear most of my closet. I think.

Which leads me to my current lack of clearance rack perusing. I have a (slightly) better understanding of what I like to wear and what I want to wear than I did even 6 months ago. With this, I’ve realized I don’t need a lot of the clothing I already have, and I certainly don’t need to buy more. Do I still have holes in my closet? Of course. But now I’m more inspired to pare down my closet than add to it. And when you read over 70 blogs on a regular basis  with this blogger and that blogger touting their most recent, remixable purchase  that’s not an easy place to get to.

So while it does feel a bit strange to not be shopping all these great end-of-season sales, it’s a bit rewarding too. I’ve still shopped for clothes, but it’s been for very practical items — which you’ll see next Friday when I post my January clothing budget and purchases in a Budgeting Bloggers linkup. Shopping smart isn’t just about saving money, and fashion blogging isn’t just about sharing your favorite “it” items. I think it’s a totally cool way to share your individuality and creativity with others, or else I wouldn’t be a participant.

Has this ever been something you’ve experienced — being more drawn to shopping after reading blogs (or similar mediums like fashion magazines), even though you already have more stuff than you know what to do with? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Sarah

  • adrianarenee

    Definitely agree! Since starting my Youtube, I have shopped a lot more so I’m glad my blog is more on the lifestyle side. But it definitely becomes an unhealthy habit.

    • Sarah @ Shades of Sarah

      Yeah, I average like maybe two outfit posts a month so I can only imagine if it was more of a daily thing for me!

  • Catie

    I can totally relate! I’m honestly in the exact same situation. I graduated from college in May, where I maintained a pretty strict budget. After a summer of interning and not making great money, I started my job in October and went sort of wild! Granted, I’m living with one of my good friends right now for very inexpensive rent and have no student loans, I still need to get back on a budget. I splurged on furniture for my place, professional clothes, and tons of other stuff once I started getting an “adult” paycheck, and I’m now realizing I need to limit myself and get on a strict 50-20-30 plan. You live and you learn! What part of Philly do you live in by the way? I’m about 30 minutes outside the city in a small suburb :)

    • Sarah @ Shades of Sarah

      No loans?!! Lucky!!

  • Cat

    Ah! You lived in NYC & now are located in Philadelphia?! Thats crazy I did the same move.. what a change. I miss Manhattan every day and Philly is just such a different experience. If you’re finding some cheap deals in the city let me know because I know its hard for me. The only place I know to find somethings is South Street or at Buffalo Exchange.

    • Sarah @ Shades of Sarah

      Yeah I haven’t really liked the thrifting here, but I didn’t like it in New York too much either! But yeah, I’m originally from South Florida, went to school in the Bronx and now I’m here!

  • Ally

    Yes reading other blogs has got me into trouble one too many times. I’m horrible about seeing something another blogger has blogged about and wanting to have it too. So I buy it when chances are I didn’t need it in the first place. This was actually my New Years goal for myself. Not get sucked into buying stuff just because I want it that moment. It’s definitely not easy.

  • Christine

    Ahh yeah, I’ve been paring down my closet too, which is sad because I think of all the money I could have saved instead of buying things I just ended up getting rid of!

    I’ve been reading a lot about the five-piece french wardrobe style of shopping (buy only five pieces every six months, unless they’re a staple that needs replacing) which sounds really attractive to me. . . Somehow I have to set shopping rules for myself, but it’s easier said than done!


  • Hannah

    I totally know what you mean; watching YouTube videos and reading blogs is always going to inspire a certain amount of spending envy, and I hate to say that it does make me want to buy things I probably shouldn’t or wouldn’t normally. And sometimes I feel like I should buy more stuff to have things to blog about, which is such a bad mindset to be in!

    There are some things I’m just addicted to, and for some reason I will always find an excuse to buy another dress I don’t need or a red lipstick even though I have hundreds…it’s a bad habit that I’m starting to break, but mostly due to not having any money rather than from having self-control!

    Hannah’s Haven

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