Shannon's Simplicity Search Post #7 - my personality

Well I've done a fair bit of thinking and working through both my closet and budget this past week and have come up with a significant problem - my personality.

I wrestle with what I want to achieve in terms of cutting back on personal waste, excessive spending, simplifying choices, managing clutter, etc. with who I am at my very core - someone who enjoys variety and introducing new items into my wardrobe. Somehow I need to find a balance.

I think I've really narrowed down and come to some conclusions about my current style regarding comfort and aesthetics. I would sincerely hope this will decrease purchasing mistakes and closet orphans. I will say that I am much more confident and sure in my choices these days than I ever have been before. That is in no small part due to YLF and all of you :)

So how does a gal who wants a few things to refresh her fall wardrobe deal with a small budget, not expanding her closet and making sure these items will fit for a while during her weight loss journey?

  1. I still plan on sticking with my previous commitment to the one-in, one-out rule. This has been working incredibly well for me since I started.
  2. I have made up a wardrobe budget with hubby's input. Because it is his salary that will be decreasing due to the change in work hours, he needs to have some say and input IMO. He knows my personality well (after 30 years together, he should!) so gets that I need a new "something" every now and again. I can either purchase one item per payday up to xxx amount, or accumulate that amount in order to purchase something more pricey. And I will be using the "jar" method for this - literally putting those dollars into a jar so that I can see what I'm saving/spending.
  3. I am quite smitten with several of the items in the fall 2014 Olsen Europe line (as per my post here and would like to add a few of those pieces. I do like being able to shop in a local brick and mortar store. The items that I am considering adding are in pics below. They are items that I can purchase to fit now but will fit for a while due to the style/silhouette, the fact that I don't lose weight quickly at my age and because the current trend is for a looser fit. And if any of the items successfully make their way into my closet, I will be practicing one-in, one-out in order to allow them in.

I am really happy with the earlier purging I did and am very pleased with what I've accomplished so far. I feel so much more in control than before and even with this slight concession (for lack of a better term) still believe I am sticking with my overall plan to simplify. Would love to hear your feedback on a) does my plan seem reasonable and still responsible?, b) what do you think of these items below for me?

If you've made it through all of this, I applaud and thank you :)  Putting all of these thoughts down has been absolutely crucial in helping me reach this point.

If you want to catch up at all on my series of simplicity posts, here are the links:

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • torontogirl replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, you are doing great and I love your idea - won't the anticipation of new items make them even more delicious?!? Like a kid at Christmas time! Congratulations on your amazing successes!

  • viva replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, I can relate to this entire post! To the value/benefit/relief that comes from cutting back, but to the challenge/frustration that comes from marrying that impluse with the love of variety and new things. I am very interested to see how your measured approach works. I've had a very big July and am planning a no-buy August (never easy for me), and I'd like to follow that with a more steady diet -- similar to what you are planning to do now.

    I also love that you came up with this plan with DH. I'm honestly not sure I could do that. While mine accepts my love of fashion, I'm not sure he could talk rationally and reasonably about spending related to it. (He still blanches at spending more than $30 on a pair of jeans.) So good for your DH!

    Lastly, I love the pieces you are considering. They seem so much in tune with your style and have flexibility for changes in your body.

    Well done.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    You are off to a great start, Shannon. Your strategy sounds fabulous and doable. 


  • Alana in Canada replied 5 years ago

    What Angie said.
    Those are amazing pieces from Olsen, Europe.

  • Alassë replied 5 years ago

    I'm really enjoying your simplicity series, Shannon.

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    You have a great plan, and have already had some success with it, which will make it far easier to keep moving forward.  I would encourage you to think in "seasonal" chunks, and be prepared for some ebb and flow.  As we've seen with Angie and Suz, sometimes a fashion season is a better match for our style and needs, and sometimes job changes or moves create a need for more purchases.   I think your recent style shift is a good example, too, and it's a blessing that you made some good purchases before your income change.  Your foundation is set, and "refreshing" a wardrobe is much more affordable than building one!

    Love the jar idea! It's hard to have a sense of money when we're slinging plastic all day.  Cash helps keep it real.  I does mean you might have to save up for a few pay periods before you can make a large purchase -- that could take some resolve if you find something amazing right off the bat!   I have a gallon jug of change at the moment -- it's our activity fund for our trip.  I'm guessing, from past years, that I have around $400 there, which will buy a raft trip and a horseback ride.  If I'm lucky, we'll have some left over for bike rentals!  Perhaps this year I'll save cash for my fashion fund, too!

    P.S.  Love your remixing of items to create a slightly edgier and more casual work look!  I'm thinking of changing it up this year, too.  I am by far the dressiest I know in my work environment, so I have lots of freedom.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Oh, wonderful! You are an inspiration Shannon. What great strategies and understanding of yourself and your needs. I think you'll do brilliantly and I adore your possible purchases!

  • replied 5 years ago

    This sounds like a plan, Shannon! The cash jar is a great idea. I need to do something visual like that, to make me think twice before buying little cheapies that really add up. Far better to decide what i really want and then save up for it. Good luck!

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    Just wanted to say I understand. I have this same push/pull with my desire to keep a lid on the numbers but my craving for variety.  I am still trying to find the right balance for me.  It's kind of crazy if you stop to think that just a few items a month (3) adds up to 40 new things in your closet each year!   Sobering.  
    Good luck!

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    I like your analyses.

    I think sometimes that we can also use that insight into the need for variety to think of other ways that we lack, or could increase, that sense of variety without having to actually acquire something new. Boredom can be everywhere! I get into ruts with recipes, outfit combinations, the furniture arrangement--people, places, and things.
    So, you can see if you have some of these other ways to add "spice" and things to look forward to each week and to give that sort of "brain stimulation" and fresh viewpoint.

  • Mona replied 5 years ago

    I am excited to see that your plan is falling in place quickly. These pieces from Olsen Europe are beautiful and will add a great dimension to your wardrobe. I was trying to look on the bay website for these and nothing came up. Are they selling this brand only at the store?

  • Nebraskim replied 5 years ago

    This shows great insight. I think that if you understand your motivations behind a big change of habit, it's easier to stick with it. And those motivations need to be intrinsic to you and not forced on you by some well-meaning other that says "clean is better, purge, purge."

    I am in my heart of hearts comfortable with a lot of clutter and stuff. This apparently bothers the entire rest of the world who are constantly telling me to be a minimalist and throw stuff away and how much happier I will be with less, etc. etc. Sorry, that's like telling someone who hates/despises/gags on eggplant that it's so delicious/you need to just try it/it will change your life/etc. etc. I am OK with how things are.

    I am kind of on a continuous purge cycle, typically filling a couple of bags a month with stuff that goes to the charity shop. And while I am  making some headway with not refilling the closet quite as quickly as it depletes, I will never be a 33-item person. Shannon, you have made some pretty dramatic changes over the past 3 or 4 years, so now you is putting on the brakes. And that is great.

    My introspection about my wardrobe is coming soon because I am leaving the world of the daily office in two weeks (a restructuring means I'm taking early retirement) and no longer need a work wardrobe. So I am no longer looking at the kinds of clothing I prefer because basically, I will be doing nothing but going to the gym and cleaning my house for the next 40 years. So my purging will include most of my work wardrobe. But it will come slowly I suspect as I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to those clothes and that lifestyle yet.

  • Susie replied 5 years ago

    I think that your plan sounds entirely reasonable and responsible without being too restrictive. I have a few pieces that I am considering adding yet (fall or year round items) and then I hope to be off shopping and buying for a few months. But, like you, I do crave the occasional new item so I am sure to feel a need to add some refresher pieces.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, coming to terms with our personalities is (I suspect) one of the biggest and most important aspects of developing a truly workable personal style. (As it is for most major endeavours in life, I guess!) So your realism and self-acceptance is key here. You are who you are and it is OKAY to like pretty new things! Who doesn't? :) 

    Still, I get it. I wouldn't say that two sides of my personality are at war, or anything that extreme, but I would say that I feel ambivalent about buying, editing, numbers, etc. 

    I do want a reasonably "contained" wardrobe. But also, I absolutely crave variety and "new" things. I don't think that is going to change any time soon. I suspect all my years of fashion deprivation are coming home to roost -- and with a vengeance. I'm also pretty sure that I won't be able to decide in advance how many items I can have new each season -- but the one-in-one-out rule will help somewhat. If my closet is the size I want (which it is, more or less) and if my core needs are met (which they are, pretty much) and if I love what's in there (which I do, for the most part) -- then the knowledge that something has to GO for me to bring any new items in should keep my buying somewhat in check. (She says, hopefully...) 

    I love the idea of the cash jar. You can also go back to the very old fashioned but not crazy idea of the Layaway if you are afraid your size might sell out. :)

  • minimalist replied 5 years ago

    Thank you for these posts, Shannon.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Viva - because we are revamping our entire household budget due to hubby's job situation, it seemed only reasonable for him to be involved in the portion regarding fashion/wardrobe.

    Beth Ann - I'm actually quite excited by the jar idea. I'm such a visual person and I think it's really easy for me to not equate that debit card with an actual dollar amount, you know? Good for you on your activity jug! That's a sizable amount you've collected )

    Mo - wow. I never even thought of it like that - a couple of items per month equal to an influx of 40 items into the closet! Sobering thought indeed.

    Mona - Olsen Europe is actually a company separate from The Bay - they just allow Olsen to lease a portion of the store to sell the items. Because they are separate, they do not list the items on The Bay website. In fact, you cannot purchase Olsen items from any other clerk/cash register in The Bay other than that located in Olsen and they have separate change rooms as well. But if you google Olsen Europe they have their own website so you can peruse their merchandise.

    Nebraskim - that's a huge change coming up for you but I'm sure you'll embrace it :)

    Suz - I didn't even think of layaway. I wonder if Olsen, because it's a separate company within The Bay, even has that? May have to check it out.

    Thanks for the input, comments and support ladies. I truly appreciate you allowing me to bombard you with these simplicity posts as I work my way through these changes :)

  • amiable replied 5 years ago

    I've been thinking about personality too.  Something clicked when I realized that I prefer routine in almost every aspect of my life.  I don't mind eating the same things over and over, as long as I'm using what I have.  It made me realize that I might like the same things in my wardrobe - having a few items that serve me really well instead of so much variety that I feel like is languishing.

    And so far it's holding true.  I'm starting my third week with less than 15 items in my closet, so far I'm not bored, and there's four items I haven't even worn yet.  I should write a post about what I'm learning :)

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Keep 'em coming, Shannon! I'm appreciating your whole journey. I for one totally identify with your endeavour - satisfying the need to keep things interesting, while keeping the closet in manageable shape.

  • Meredith replied 5 years ago

    Well done on devising a plan that takes into account your values, budget, and personality. I share your enjoyment of variety, and look forward to reading how you move forward.

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I'm enjoying these posts too, Shannon. I totally get where Suz is coming from, and you! I have two equal but sometimes opposing qualities that keep my wardrobe in a constant state of evolution and flux:

    1) the need for control, structure, order and organization
    2) the need for variety and visual stimulation

    I am not and likely never will be a closet minimalist. I love my big and varied wardrobe and am unapologetic about it. However, I also need my closet to make sense, to be organized, and to not get out of control. So I do review and edit frequently, and I shop frequently. This process may slow down as my family's situation changes (income will change, etc.), and I suspect as I settle more decisively into *my style* as I enter a new phase of life in my 50s, which are just around the corner (eep!). 

    So as you can imagine, your plan sounds very reasonable to me! And I love how cohesive and YOU those picks are that you found. Once again, I'm learning from reading these posts, so thank you for sharing your insights with us. 

  • Robidi replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your journey in these posts.  They have inspired me and challenged me!

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing....I look forward to reading your updates.

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I think it sounds like you have a great plan in place Shannon.

    For me I think I do okay with budget and closet size but I do "try" an awful lot of things that go back. And I tend to order one item at a time too often. So I probably just need to put a note on my computer that reads:

    "Returns : Painful and costly to pack, ship and track!"

    My UPS man would be happier I suppose - though I could say I help keep him in his job.

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    I'm really enjoying these posts too. As an "eclectic" I get it. Yet it is interesting that (for me) once this refining process gained momentum the need for variety diminished a lot. Yes I still want new things but I no longer want everything :) :)

  • missvee replied 5 years ago

    I really like the things you've highlighted from Olsen. They have some excellent sales and often reduce the price of new merchandise by 25% within a few weeks. ( You probably know this already :-). ). If I remember correctly they also price adjust, but the window is very small, maybe a week.
    You have a great handle now on your style and I'm sure you'll make some wonderful picks for the fall.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    I love the sound of your strategy!  I love plans and working to goals.  I fully relate to you in the sense of needing a little 'new' something on a pretty regular basis. In honesty, I would buy myself something, it might just be a scarf of earrings each pay:)

    Now, love this label you found. #1 and #2 are cool but I think they will date and you may get bored with them too quickly.

    #3 and #6 are stunning.

    I like #4 to go under #2 and I would be interested to see #7 on.  It's a bit sporty luxe and could be cool on.

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 5 years ago

    I changed my mind.  I do think you have a good plan and hope it works for you.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, thank you for sharing your thoughts and journey with us. Like you, I crave simplicity and variety at the same time. I am grateful to Angie and others for little new ways of wearing what is in the closet that provide just enough change and variety to keep things fresh without buying new. Examples are the faux/half tuck, rolling jeans and pants, and new-to-me color combinations.
    As far as the Olsen Europe line pieces, hear are my thoughts...1 and 2 have a similar vibe and are memorable. I'd suggest getting #1 to wear with a pencil skirt ( don't you have a striped tube skirt?) that will give the look of #2 , but be more versatile. #3 and #6 look like they would play similar roles. They look like they are the same color and even could be the same fabric, but different styles and lengths. #4 and 5 look rather similar in the photos, although 4 looks more like a knit top and 5 like a sweat shirt. I like #4 better but then I'm drawn to stripes.
    It will be inspirational to see how your plan gets put into play and how you feel about all this in 6 months.

  • AJ replied 5 years ago

    I've enjoyed your simplicity posts and think you have done a great job thinking it through.

    The cash jar is a great idea. I use cash for my clothing allowance and having that visual reminder of how easily it can all get spent has been crucial to planning my purchases.

    When hubby and I were dating, we were both servers at a restaurant. I needed a car and we started just storing all our coin tips in a tall container. When it was full, we were able to buy a decent used car...just from saving coins!

    Have you read these budgeting strategies from into-mind?

    I'm intrigued with both the 80/20 and the quarterly focus.

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    Hey, not to flog a dead thread, but I wanted to repost here what I posted on your original minimalism post:

    "Just my thoughts.... I have made these kinds of vows myself - when I am in "I need fewer and better items for simplicity" mode. Then I swing back to "I need cheap variety". I WANT to be consistent, but it is so HARD! It's like I need a "simplicity" capsule and a "gluttonous excess of variety" capsule. How do we reconcile these two paths?"

    Riiiiight? This is the KEY dilemma IMHO. I have not been shopping much lately at all. Bought only one item at NAS, not counting two pairs of jeans I replaced. The time and effort and money to find the perfect item just hasn't been worth it lately. But I know htat fever will return one day.

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