Friday, 1 November 2013

How much is enough?

There has been a lot talk recently about simplicity, quality not quantity and ethical shopping. I've been wondering, as I build my winter wardrobe... how much is enough?

I can't fit all my shoes in the bottom of my wardrobe yet I just put a pair of ankle boots in an online shopping trolley. My jumpers are bulging out of my jumper drawer, yet I struggle to find five tops to wear for a working week. Should I follow the common wisdom of spending eye watering amounts on a few perfect items and wearing them to death?

Well, no I couldn't bring myself to do that. I enjoy variety so I'd be bored silly. Plus, I think that no matter how hard you try, there will be some shopping mistakes. It'd be gutting to buy something super-expensive that just didn't work.

Janice from the brilliant blog The Vivienne Files recently posted that the real power shopping is:

Everything is

She is so right and I do try to follow this advice. I also have regularly clear outs and donate stuff to a local charity shop. Still... I struggle and I wonder how much is enough? How many dresses? How many skirts? How many shoes?

I think part of the problem is that there are so many niches. I bought wellies (gumboots) but I only wear them a few times a year. They're really useful, but they take up a lot of space.

I have grey ankle boots and beige ankle boots, but I could really do with some black ones too. (Actually I shouldn't have bought the beige ones - They're not as useful as I thought they might be).I have high heels in many of the colours of the rainbow, but I could collect dozens more to go with various outfits.

Recently we had a small cocktail party without all the equipment that we left behind in New Zealand - no cocktail shaker, no martini glasses or crystal tumblers, no fairy lights, no plastic ice cubes or wineglass charms... and you know what? It was fine.

Maybe another learning is that making do and multi-tasking and maybe even being slightly wrong are okay. What do you think?


  1. What a fab post. I couldn't agree more.

    I struggle with this question all the time. In fact every time I buy something I tell myself, "okay…that is the very last thing you need this year Suzanne. Seriously. So stop."

    Then every time I'm out I find something new that I simply have to have because I don't have one like it in my already bursting closet.

    I've come to acknowledge that until I get through this "phase" of over fashion consumption in my life that it'll never be enough. Ever. But that I need to learn to understand the reasons why I buy and what it is doing to me and the world around me.

    I've started by focusing more on thrift and consignment stores to ease off on the fast fashion. Kind of like a heroine addict easing off with some crack…

    This has become a full on addiction for me and the blogging is only fuelling that desire.

    If you find a solution let me know. My bank account and my husband would be eternally grateful.


    1. Thanks for your comment Suzanne - nice to know I'm not the only one struggling to balance this out...

  2. Such a great topic. I find myself telling my husband "But really, I don't have that much clothes." But I do. or "I don't shop that much." And... I don't. Not that much, in the sense that I only buy something new maybe once a month (somehow it has crept up from something every few months. How did that happen?) but certainly I do still shop for clothes a fair bit. I think just not going into shops helps and as you point out, making due helps (I do the "oh, but I don't have_____ in this color, when it is really okay that I don't too.), and having pieces that are classics probably helps. It is a bit of a balancing act and not one that I have found is always the graceful way of achieving!

    1. Hi Kristian - I know what you mean about going into shops. Somehow the very act of just casually looking about easily leads into 'Oh, but I really need one of those!'. Ditto internet shopping but it's much easier to put things in a shopping trolley and leave them a few days for sanity to return!

  3. Great post and you are sooo right. Of course... and everybody should agree... but... blogging doesn't help as Suzanne wrote ;-)

    I am kind of addicted to dresses and have a huge amount but wear them regularly, not only to the office but also for going out or just on a normal day.
    Online shopping adds to the whole situation especially when you live on the countryside and besides an H&M there isn't much choice... I don't own designer or expensive clothes but shop on a budget, look for sales or ebay from time to time and can say I do far less shopping mistakes now than I have done when I was younger.

    Yes, we _can_ do without the grey booties but we don't _want_ to and that's the key issue!

    Annette | Lady of Style

    1. And you look great in your dresses! There's also another layer of 'I need to look well presented for my job' but then how many different bits of clothing and accessories = well presented? I'm still working it out.

  4. I like the POWER idea, and I've become much, much more selective in what I purchase. But, like you, I want options so if it fits well and I wear it I keep it. If not, I either donate it or don't buy it in the first place.



I get really excited when I shout into the void and the void says "hello" back at me. Thanks for your comments!