Everyone has a kryptonite, and one of mine is clothes; I like them. It's actually a little bit like food to me because even though food is necessary on a physical level and was from the beginning, clothes hold great importance since the fall. Many things work together in mind, body, soul and spirit and on this particular subject I tend to agree with Anne Shirley who said severely "Heaven grant me patience, clothes are very important." ** Even so now and then I take a break and go on what I call a clothes fast, though of course I don't fast from clothing entirely but take a break from shopping to reorient priorities and set good habits. For instance, I love to thrift-shop and take many opportunities to do so as the best tip for finding a bargain is to go often to catch it. It's truth, but it comes with another price tag; learning to say no to things you don't need when it's easy to rationalize to oneself that if the price tag is only $3.75 one should get it whether it's needed or not. The shocking thing was when I looked up reports on how much money I spent on clothes in 2015 (download Mint, it will prove to be a great decision) I discovered that I'd spent just shy of $1000 last year on clothes alone. Considering that I buy very little brand new that was all in small purchases with some gifts included. Now, I'm no genius, but it doesn't take much to figure out that I'm buying more than what an ordinary person would with that amount of money and probably don't need it all. Also, if I spend only half that I'd have enough for airfare to Guatemala next winter, and as I have a very substantial basic wardrobe created it doesn't seem necessary to spend more than that in the next year to save for something more important to me.
The Clothes Resolution
Not to buy any clothes with a short approved list of exceptions. This December a group of my friends have taken up a New Year challenge not to buy clothes for a minimum of three months to acquaint ourselves with innovation, creativity and saving money, and to extend the resolution for more time if feasible. I'd done it before for 6 months and while it proves a challenge indeed wasn't terribly difficult or unbearable at all the last time so thus I reason to myself that three months of not buying clothes won't be a problem this time.
That's not to say problems won't come up though, and something that has changed the way I resolve to do things is to identify the obstacle and a way to overcome it. This way you can prepare yourself against a hurdle that might keep you from finishing what was started or obviate it entirely. For instance, it is helpful to recognize that a few things have changed since my last clothes fast 4 or 5 years ago.
Obstacle 1: The constant temptation
I live in town, and the options are right there all the time vs having to drive 30 minutes for the same options like the last time 'round. Also, because of a wealthier area in general the selections are more tempting than in my old neighborhood. It is, for example, harder to drive by a bargain-filled, treasure trove of other people's castoff leather bags and silk shirts every day and not stop vs. having to make an intentional trip. This combined with the wealthier neighborhood than my last one means that I have found incredible deals in this area such as genuine leather products that "cha-ching" to the tune of several hundred if bought new. This has saved me money and served to convince me further that thrifting is worth the time it takes, in moderation. Still it takes effort to buy wisely, and this is in part what the Clothes Resolution is about.
Overcome it: Stop by shops to keep an eye out for deals of things I still need, but in general shop less and spend that time doing something equally interesting. Gift items that I find to people that need them more than I do, or might enjoy them more. I don't need all the leather bags in the world and there are plenty of people that love leather in my acquaintance.
Obstacle 2: Stress-shopping.
Assuming most of the people who read this are women you will identify with the occasional or constant feeling of not being pretty enough, or pretty at all which feeds the fear of not being loved or lovable. Situations, circumstances, feelings, hormones and.. stuff contribute to some times or seasons being way more stressful than others with the temptation to eat chocolate (read here) go shopping, watch Netflix, binge-exercise or eat, and cry unreasonably. There are times when the whole world is a howling wilderness and Target appears to be the salvation that will deliver you from your misery. Granted, it can help as can all the above remedies and may be good to use moderately as stress relievers, but it is equally good to make sure that these things are not controlling you or that you use them regularly as an excuse or worse, to the detriment of your time and resources. In the same way that a man might take more risk as a way to gain recognition and respect a woman will do endless things to her exterior to make sure she is appreciated and loved, and it can get out of hand.
Overcome it: in some part this won't be overcome, because we're not going to stop being women. What I am is what I am and sometimes are just going to be more rough than others.
BUT.. it is essential to learn that womanliness is not only in how we look. The rest of the world and marketing agencies work against that realization, but I dare say that we are our own worst enemies and true happiness will only be found inside the fact that we are more than what we look. No woman can be truly happy denying that or the fact that we will always care how we look. It's a strange paradox and we must simultaneously recognize that God created us to beauty, and therefore to be attractive and put time into this effort is not a sin, but also that as we are God's design our very first care and duty is to reach our full potential in Him and not of ourselves which women often attempt through other ways in quest of beauty and love (as men might do through respect and status) and in the Western world for all: career. Of course these things are important and we need them but God is All and in All.
All the things have to be given over to God, even the things that He has designed us to be. This should be so because we have all been marred and not one has escaped and therefore, if we really want to reach full potential we have to lose our life in Christ to gain life as He meant it to be. This is the only true way, as to gain it through any other way is an empty shell that we use to fool ourselves. For me if I see something that hinders that focus and the way to refocus comes through cutting off a place of insecurity and facing my fears I'm all in. Because you know, clothes really weren't the perfect design.
We are, because God.
** Context was more of the feminine enjoyment of clothing.