#redstyle – embrace your personal style

February 20, 2014

recently red envelope asked me to participate in their ‘#redstyle – embrace your personal style’ campaign. as i wrap up my nearly year-long shopping ban i decided it was the perfect opportunity to share my final thoughts on the experience. march 1st marks the day i will be debt-free and embarking on a new path of when and how i spend my money- and it’s nearly here!

for those who don’t know, in april of last year i enacted a shopping ban on myself in order to accomplish a purge of sorts and reach the goal of paying off all the debt i had accrued over the years from my ongoing habit of excessive shopping. the original plan had me paying off my debt two months ago but i am fine with the extra months that came about- i hadn’t factored unexpected expenses into my budget but overall i am very happy with the experience. for one, my will power got a major work-out and largely rose to the challenge, and being (almost) debt-free is an awesome feeling! the experience also made me take a long, hard look at how and why i shop, inspiring new models and habits for the future.

first off, i’ve vowed to stop supporting fast fashion. to me that means no longer patronizing those retailers that specialize in mass-produced collections put out on a weekly or monthly basis, especially when those items are made in china or india. to that point, unless i can verify that a factory provides safe working conditions and a living wage for their employees, i won’t be buying anything manufactured overseas. instead i intend to support independent designers who use domestic production facilities. this should see me buying fewer though arguably better made pieces that support small business and/or my local economy. heavy, right? maybe but in the end, i believe this approach will have a more positive impact on both my wardrobe and my conscience. second, i will be staying within my monthly allowance when it comes to spending- no more credit. i believe these changes will make me more mindful of what i’m spending my money on while creating a habit of making fewer but more meaningful purchases.

which brings me to my current style goals and wardrobe needs. as a child of the 80′s, i was five years old when madonna suddenly rose to fame on MTV (her ‘material girl’ single was my first ever vinyl purchase!) and i credit her early videos for my initial interest in fashion. imagine five year old me suddenly and desperately coveting lace skirts, jelly bracelets and over-sized hair bows! needless to say, that was only the beginning and akin to madonna, my style is ever-changing. the past year has been close to excruciating as my tastes have changed but my wardrobe has not.  in fact, i am finding huge gaping holes when it comes to casual wear as i had been focusing on my work wardrobe just before i enacted my shopping ban. so here is where i take stock of what i have that fits the aesthetic i’m moving towards now.

first up is the chambray shirt. undoubtably a classic piece, i only acquired my first last year. the verdict? i would live in it if i could, though i am still working out the many ways to wear and style it -

 

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- chambray shirt : jcrew / scarf : jcrew / belt : trouve / jeans : paige denim / booties : dv by dolce vita -

 

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- chambray shirt : jcrew / necklace : tiro tiro / leggings : sara bergman / flats : gap -

 

next is the shirt dress. i am obsessed with them and scored this one at the frances may warehouse sale last fall, making it one of my few shopping ban cheats. i just couldn’t pass up a $600+ dress on sale for $65!! now i want all the shirt / tunic dresses -

 

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- dress : les aperizes / belt : billy kirk / booties : bp. -

 

one of the areas i am most lacking in currently is casual evening wear, something easy and cute for drinks with friends, a fashion show or party. here are my current go to’s -

 

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- cropped jacket : fossil / peplum top : reif / jeans : paige denim / booties : bp. -

 

 

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- sweatshirt : everlane / dress : reif / : necklace : tiro tiro / booties : bp. -

 

when i need to fancy things up, i pull out this baby which is a little bit witchy and a little bit saucy french school marm -

 

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- dress : vintage / belt : trouve / booties : bp. -

 

my last look is inspired by my friend jessica who often rocks long, vintage skirts. she is easily five inches taller than me though and i am still undecided on whether this look works for me or just emphasizes how short and wide-hipped i am. either way, i am determined to work out the long skirt look this year -

 

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- sweater : jcrew / skirt : vintage / necklace : tiro tiro / shoes : bc footwear -

 

not forgetting accessories, my current collection is definitely in need of more friends and i am dreaming of breaking my shopping fast with a great statement necklace and a new bag (or five). here are my current fave pieces -

 

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- earrings : elysium jewelry -

 

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- earrings : ay marieke -

 

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- earrings : scarlett garnet -

 

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- necklace and rings : tiro tiro -

 

rs9-  clutch : seaecho -

 

so there you go. i definitely see my upcoming style transition moving towards classic pieces with a slight edge. in the next few months i’ll be focusing on solid basics, interesting tunic dresses, more vintage pieces and bad-ass accessories. wish me luck!

6 comments

  • Jessica

    Awesome Post! I love that trove belt! BTW, the secret to my long skirts is a high waist! Accentuates the smallest bits!

  • Anna

    I feel just as excited for April as you must be!!! I love all these outfits, especially the black shirtdress (it would’ve been a CRIME to pass that up!) and the black “witchy” glam dress.

  • Ilenia

    first of all you look amazing!
    then, highly admire the strength you had in banning yourself from shopping and being debt free. taking action it’s such a responsible, mindful thing to do that not everybody would be willing to go forward with. as for the style, I love everlane and tiro tiro. I struggle every month on the ‘quick and cheap’ buy rather than the well researched thoughtful and sometimes more expensive purchase.

    • admin

      thank you, ilenia!
      i really appreciate your kind words- the shopping ban has not been easy!! i definitely learned that shopping is an addictive behavior for me and as loathe as i was to make the break, i really felt like i needed to create a healthier relationship with my favorite past time. getting rid of my debt has been pretty sweet too!
      i expect that breaking up with fast fashion is going to be just as difficult but as i’ve gotten to know many independent designers over the last year, i feel like in the end i’ll be happier supporting them and growing my wardrobe with unique and well-made pieces, even though it means i’ll be buying far fewer pieces. there is a definite thrill to picking up something cute for $20 (or even less!), i just feel like those purchases are usually more frivolous than not. in fact, i can’t think of a single piece of clothing of mine that fits that criteria and lasted more than year, either physically or by keeping my attention.
      everyone is different though and i don’t judge! i just feel like this is the right transition for me right now.
      anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts! i am always very interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this issue.

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