Monday, June 14, 2010

A year without shopping? (faut le faire!)

In my ultimate quest for passing the time (now that Hulu is making us pay to watch shows), I like to browse for fashion blogs. I already have my favorite such as (Hello Reiko!) but I am always looking for more because I have too much time on my hands. Recently, I discovered this interesting blog called It was two lady friends who decided not to shop for 365 days, an entire year. And their blog was dedicated to their journey. I read some postings and got literally blown away. And it inspired me to enter their challenge: stay an entire year without buying a single thing.

But let me explain to you why I want to do such a crazy thing.

- I am a shopaholic. I buy things that I do not necessarily need or wear just because I can buy it or it is trendy or on sale. I shop as an outlet, a way to relieve stress. Back in college, I would shop with my best friend after we finished exams as a way to relax. Some people would watch a movie, take an R&R, but she and I would shop until we drop (literally). Since then, it became a habit. Whenever I am stressed, at home or at work, I would shop.

- Due to my excessive shopping, I have no money and I am in debt. All the money I earned while working for a short period of time before giving birth was spent on clothes, shoes and bags. (but also on my son's tuition...). As a result, I have a closet full of clothes that I never wear -because most of those clothes are not suitable to my lifestyle of a stay at home mother- and a bank account in the red.

- I want to take this time off from shopping to learn a few things about myself, and about what is important for me. I want to learn about what I like, dislike, what I can wear and cannot. I would also want to learn to invest in finer things instead of cheap things. Let us face it, it is not in my plan to be a stay at home mother forever therefore I need more than jeans and tees and flats. Someday hopefully, I will be a career woman and I will need to look the part. But more than that, I am not 20 anymore therefore it is about time that I stop shopping at the Juniors department. I am not sure I can rival Rene Russo in the Thomas Crown Affair but she is my goal (her and Mrs Obama) as to what a stylish and elegant lady is.

- I also hope that by stopping shopping, I would get creative with the clothes I already own and take a better care of them. I am so messy with my clothes that it is hard for me to find them when I need them. And since I cannot find them in the mess that is my closet, I always end up buying something new, thinking that I do not own it. For example, I wanted to buy a light cardigan to cover my shoulders for when I wear my tube maxi dresses. I was about to buy a brand new one when I discovered (while cleaning up my closet) that I owned several already. This habit of mine costs me a lot of money already. And I am not about to repeat the same mistake.

Now, to stick to the no shopping for a year thing, I may need some rules. The ladies of 365 fashion rehab had some but I am inventing my own:

1- No shopping for a year means no buying a single thing for myself such as clothing, bags, shoes and accessories.
2- I can shop for items for my house, my husband and my children only when it is a necessity and not a hobby or a stress reliever.
3- Beauty essentials can be bought because after all I need to look and smell good. (I am not that vain but there are some products I cannot live without such as Olive Oil hair conditioning) Therefore hair products, deodorants, perfume, beauty creams are not off limits.
4- I can buy presents for my family and friends
5- And if the hubby or someone else buys me something without requesting it while we are say at the mall, it does not mean that I am shopping.
6- I am allowed to have a relapse (well, this is fashion rehab after all) on periods such as Christmas.

It will be extremely hard for me not to buy a single fashion item for a whole year. I am shaking even thinking about it. What will happen to me if I do not shop for an entire year? Will I die? Will I loose inspiration for my blog? Will I get bored of my already owned clothes? Will I succumb to temptation when I see something nice? I have no idea. Maybe I should stick to a period of time that is relatively safe such as 3 months. See! I am already having cold feet.
I am embarking on this journey because I need to do this for myself. This is not about someone else but just me. I need to grow up and cure myself of this obsession. Maybe I will get great things out of this experience. What? I hope to tell you in a year

Check out Ali and Perdy challenging and fun blog:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

If only I could afford that : Michael Kors Sheath Dress

I had a funny conversation with my husband when we were at Ross yesterday. He was looking for some shirts to add to his collection and I saw a white Michael Kors shirt with light blue vertical stripes ( so cute) for $14.99. I told him that I would get it for him for Father's day. And I added that he was lucky to get a MK shirt for that price. He had the audacity to answer that he did not know MK. Well, in true fairness, he is not into name brands. He always says that he'd rather have his name on the tag than wear someone else's.
Anyway, that made me think that so far I have not been lucky as to own a piece of MK fashion world.
I discovered MK while watching Project Runway. At the time, I have to admit that I did not know anything about him. But as the show progressed, I learned more and more about the designer. The fact that Heidi Klum was also sporting some of the designer's creations on the show did not hurt either. I became to appreciate the classic yet ageless style. Michael Kors is all about clear cut and perfect fit. The man knows how to dress woman.

Heidi Klum

There is only one thing that I want from the designer and it is its sheath dress. The fit is just so clean and so perfect. I have never tried it but I want it so bad I cannot contain myself. Obviously, the price tag is the only reason why I have not rushed to the nearest MK store to get it. Maybe someday, I tell myself while daydreaming. Actually, I am not sure that I have the body for a sheath dress by MK. The people he dresses are usually so petite or thin, the dress compliment their figure. I am thinking of Kelly Ripa, Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow and even Mrs O.

Michelle Obama

But since, MK claims to be designing for women of all shapes, I am pretty much optimistic. Hell, even the curvaceous MJB is wearing Michael Kors. So, I guess, if I loose a few pounds and get the money, the dress is all mine to wear.

Marie J. Blige

Check MK ready to wear dresses for this season at

Bargain Hunter

Yeah! I am cheap! I am not even going to try to deny it. Now, combine being cheap and being a shopaholic, what you get? A bargain hunter.
When it comes to shopping, I was a late bloomer. The first time I really shop for myself I was 18. I succeeded at a very important exam back in high school and blew $200 my Dad gave me as reward. After that the epiphany came when I moved to Japan, where I sure did shop a lot. But I was always on the lookout for bargain stuff because I did want to save for other important things. And I have to say that all the time spend checking and searching for stores made me a great Bargain Hunter. Here are some of my strategies I would like to share:

- Ask the locals!
I move a lot, so whenever I am in a new city, I like to ask people around for a great shopping place. I am also an adventurer because I would not hesitate twice to get on my bicycle, the subway or my car to look for places. I also look at a place when I see the sign or the commercial on TV. That is how I discovered Ross. Now I know some people who do not check things out based on the location. But get a good grip of yourself and try it out. You may find more than you are looking for.
Another thing that is great is that if you see someone wearing something you like, go ask her where she got it. People are always pleased when you do it because for them it appears as though they have a great sense of style. Who knows! You may even end up getting a new friend.

- Window shop
After years of checking malls, I finally realized something: they all have the same stuff, except the label is different. They do follow the same trends so maybe except for the color and slight design alteration, they have the same items. The item you are looking for can be overpriced in one store and really affordable in another. Therefore, it is vital that you take your time to look around. Besides, no one says that you have to buy it right now...

- Never pay full price for something you like at department stores or malls
Why shop at a department store or the mall, when you can get the same stuff at bargain shops such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross? I have expressed my love for Ross many times on this blog. But let me do again one more time: I absolutely love Ross. Since I discovered the shop back in 2006, I have found great pieces there. And they have brands too. It is my one stop shopping place. I get everything I want there and even more. Let us just say that even when I do bother to go to the mall, and really find something I like,I just end up saying to myself: let me look for it at Ross. Now the only problem with places like Ross or Marshalls is that you have to hunt for what you want. Those places are not well organized like Macy's. Therefore you have to dig for that valuable item you so want.

- Do not overlook thrift stores
I always used thrift or recycling shops (like they call them in Japan). When I arrived there that was one of the 1st thing I was recommended to check. I went there to find some gear such as a bicycle and left with a cute dress, a sweater and mini skirt. I have been hooked ever since. One of my favorite pass time in Japan was to go to recycling shops and check their inventory. I particularly enjoy their accessories rack. They had so many vintage bags and jewelry. It was amazing. Here in Houston, my one stop thrift store is the Goodwill. I have tried others but still found them overpriced. Goodwill is wonderful. I even got my husband (who does not shop at all) hooked. I find everything there from designer shoes, to furniture, to children books. Last time I was there looking for coats, I found a New York and Company wool tan coat, and Esprit and London Fog trench coats.(I am already getting ready for Winter). You can even get a Vuitton bag but you have to be extremely lucky. In fact, last time I went there praying to get myself one but I arrived to find that someone had bitten me to the punch. A lady with a Vuitton Bag was standing at the register ready to checkout. Sad! My only beef with Goodwill is that they should have a system where they give you a discount for donating or something. I did donate items there many items and I would except some kind of waiver when I shop. But since it is for a good cause...
** Flea markets can also be a haven for that vintage stuff **

- Indulge yourself from time to time
Sometimes, you just want to please yourself. So go for that overpriced dress or shoes you have been ogling at Macy's. Back in Japan, I would indulge at Zara because it was the only store where I did not have to hunt for my size. Japanese people being on the petite/tiny side, it was a disappointment to shop at their stores for my 5.4, 145 pounds frame. But at Zara (and sometimes Gap), I could find great pants that fitted well (and that I still own after 8 years). My advice is that once in a while, do not look at the price tag. Just buy it for the hell of it. Who cares about the price, if it makes you happy. However be sure that you will get a great use out of it because for such a price tag, the item should not sit a collect dust in your closet. As for me, I have to be honest. I do not remember the last time I really indulge myself.

- If you sure do not need it, do not buy it!
I should follow this advice more often myself. I have a list of things I need (or maybe just want) but for some reasons, I cannot stick to it. I am always distracted and I end up getting something completely different just because it is pretty or the price is right. Like that $5.99 tie-dye tube maxi dress I found yesterday at Factory 2 U (another cheap place). I did not really need the dress because I have other dresses. And I have been looking for jumpsuits recently. However I could not let it slide, it was so pretty. My husband payed for it (thanks honey!) but still, I do not need it. I will greatly use it this Summer though.

- Check local business areas
Usually in a city, there are places where you can get sets of stores that can cater to your need. I discovered Harwin in Houston. I love Harwin (Hilcroft, Harwin) that I call my Little India because they have so many Indian stores. They also have plenty of shops with that goody Chinese knock offs. In fact, at Harwin you can get a knock off designer bag for nothing (if you are into that stuff). What I like in Harwin are the shoes. I often shop at Outfit Outlet because their shoes are cheap and they even have sales racks. I found shoes there for $7 in the past. Harwin also has a $9.99 shoe stores. Harwin is also the best location when it comes to accessories. They have several shoes that just sell fashion jewelry. I only go to Joa Accessories because they have everything that I need and they give you a card that you can use to get discounts for the next purchase. They also sell wholesale.

There you have it! Now go and shop your butt off!

Bargain places:

Factory 2 U -

Goodwill -

Joa Accessories -

Marshalls -

Outfit Outlet Inc
5901 Hillcroft Street
Houston, TX 77036-3332, United States
+1 832-251-2322

Ross -

Target -

TJ Maxx-

Walmart -


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...