My no-shopping month (and what I bought afterward)

As you might expect with a name like Cheryl Shops, I shop quite a bit. Probably too much. I had read Ann Patchett's column about her year of no shopping at the end of last year and it definitely stayed with me; a year of not shopping is probably unrealistic for most people (especially me, with the blog), but I figured I could do a month, especially so that I could shop in France and not feel guilty about it. I decided to not do any shopping in the month of August, until I landed in Paris on August 29th (to be fair, I started July 28th, so I had a full month). I was allowed to buy groceries, or to replace anything that ran out (like mascara or sunscreen), but no new clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. It was frequently a challenge to resist, but overall, a very eye-opening experience.

My biggest realization is how conditioned I've become to responding to email marketing. I get over 100 emails a day from online retailers, and it felt like I was continuously dodging enticing offers, from Reformation's (very rare) end-of-season sale to several "private" offers from Madewell. If you're trying to shop less, my advice would be to unsubscribe from as many email lists as you can. I actually fell prey to one promo in person—I wandered into the Anthropologie store in Carmel, CA, on "Anthro Day" and ended up buying my favorite body butter (which I justified as a replacement) and a travel toothpaste for 20% off. My other slip-up was at my work sample sale; I rationalized that I missed the last one and that everything I bought, I had wanted for awhile. I will note, however, that at my work sample sale, my pulse was racing and I felt almost euphoric; perhaps this was because I was doing something illicit (i.e. cheating on my no-shopping month), but I felt very aware of my physical reaction. I spent a little over $100 between the two slip-ups, which is a drop in the bucket compared to what I usually spend in any given month; I partly wish I were a little more strict with myself, but, well, it could have been worse, and I was happy with what I got.

Which leads me to what I bought in Europe. A month of not shopping made me very conscious about what I spent my money on. While shopping in the Marais, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris, I found myself questioning whether I really needed each thing, and I found that most of the time, the answer was no. What I did buy, however, felt very special to me. I have wanted an A.P.C. Demi-Lune bag for over a year now (I almost bought one a year and a half ago, in London), and decided Paris was the place to pull the trigger. I did so at the A.P.C. Surplus store in Monmartre; the purse was not discounted, but I was happy to find the price was much lower in France, especially with the VAT refund. I treated myself to a red pleated skirt too—it was something my wardrobe was lacking.

On our last day of the trip, in Geneva, I decided I wanted to shop some more, so I hit some of my favorite European stores. At COS, I got a striped top and cropped wide-leg trousers—all of the women in France and Switzerland were wearing wide-leg pants, and, well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I probably didn't need the tee, but it's very "me" and I've already worn it twice. I absolutely love the pants, and you'll see them very soon in an outfit post.

We had walked by a Zadig & Voltaire surplus store on our first day in Geneva, so I made sure to hit it. They were having a promo (here we go again!), so I got an extra 20% off the three items I bought: an ombre sweater, another striped tee (again, I didn't need it, but I will definitely wear it), and a really pretty scarf.

My final bout of shopping came at the airport duty-free at Charles de Gaulle, which, as a seasoned duty-free shopper, I can equivocally say is one of the best. I resisted the urge to buy champagne, Diptyque candles, and various other things, and instead settled on Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (which you can no longer buy in the U.S.) and my favorite tea, Kusmi BB Detox (only 12 Euros!). Also in this photo is a candle from Les Bains, our hotel in Paris, which smelled absolutely amazing. (I discovered on this trip that all the ritzy hotels in Paris have their own signature scents.) I will always remember our trip when I burn it, so that was totally worth it to me.

Long story short, I'm happy with everything I bought on my trip, but I'm really happy that I didn't shop for a month beforehand. It made me more conscious of what I did buy, and to be honest, my bank account probably needed a break. I definitely will be doing more no-shopping months in the future!


Carrie said...

Looks like you found some great items, I love the color of that knitted piece and the tea!


Anonymous said...

You're so lovely. I love your style so much! Such an inspiration..

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highlatitudestyle said...

I always have the feeling when one restricts oneself one overdoes it once the restriction is off. However, you bought great clothes after your "shopping ban." Thanks for sharing your post at the Top of the World Style linkup party.

Ruth said...

I am not one to restrict myself so much to not shop. I have become more thoughtful in my purchases and turn down many many items unless its really something I need or have been thinking to purchase! I like the outfits you brought with you!

Brooke said...

I love to shop so much, but I've often thought I should scale it back. As soon as I try and stop, one of those e-mails come through, you're right, they're so enticing! That's a great tip to unsubscribe if you're trying to refrain. Good for you making it the entire month without any big slip ups!

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Claire Justine said...

Great idea Cheryl. I try not to go shopping sometimes as Iknow if I do I will end up buying a few things. Love your shirt, what a great colour :) Thanks for sharing at #CreativeMondays, hope to see you tomorrow for our next blog hop.

Maureen said...

Great job on your no shopping month! I know those dang sale emails are tempting so I just delete them as fast my hands will allow me. Cute items that you bought during your trip and of course, my favorite is your APC bag. Can I just say love?!

Maureen |

Corina said...

I love to shop so much but your post inspired me so much. like your shopping too.
xo Corina