Shopping Struggles

By February 19, 2014Fashion, Personal, Travel

Before we left on this grand adventure, I completely purged my personal belongings in the form of a garage sale. I was surprised to find that all of my worldly possessions could fit into my small childhood bedroom and that my formerly robust closet looked pretty emaciated.

I had complained for a while that all my clothes were outdated–there were still pieces from high school or the beginning of college–and I felt like a grown woman who was in desperate need of a new wardrobe. At 24, I felt embarrassed that I was still trying to rock outfits I wore at 16.

Leading up to our trip, I found it hard to find clothes that would transfer from the harsh Minnesota winter I was experiencing to my new reality of overwhelmingly hot, tropical temperatures in Thailand. I also wanted to save every last penny I had and would trick myself into thinking that the new top I wanted was completely frivolous.

As an ex-mall rat who wouldn’t feel accomplished if she didn’t come home with at least three new items, I’m not sure when my mindset shifted so extraordinarily about the way I viewed fashion and shopping. I think it happened somewhere around my junior year of college when I went overseas for an entire year on two separate study abroad trips. It seemed to me that if I was spending all of this money on traveling, I had to cut out spending on anything materialistic.

Three years later and the mindset is still stuck. Especially now that I’m abroad again. Of course there would be times throughout the years when I felt I deserved a special piece–a new dress for my birthday or graduation–but for the most part, my shopping habits have declined drastically.

But now that I’ve gotten rid of all the old clothes that no longer define who I am and have settled into what I’m sure will be my lifestyle for quite some time (and hopefully for life if I play my cards right), I’m starting to think about all of this in a new light.


{ My “wardrobe” }

Looking into my closet and seeing nothing but special occasion party dresses staring back at me, I’ve started to feel no guilt at all about craving a few new lightweight shirts that I can throw on with shorts to battle the Bangkok heat. And that slightly expensive button-up blouse that would be perfect for a job interview? I’d much rather cough up the extra cash than get laughed out of the interview wearing any of the looks currently in my closet.

Somewhere down the line I forgot that we don’t just clothe ourselves out of the desire to be the most stylish person in the room. In our society, we need to be clothed to be socially appropriate, to be taken seriously and at best, to tell a story about who we are simply by looking at us.

I’m sick of staying in my pajamas all day while I work from home for a lack of having anything better to wear. My boyfriend is sick of waiting around for me while I agonize over what to put on anytime we leave the apartment. I’m SO sick of not feeling confident when we eventually do.

While we get ready for a few months of traveling, I’m making a promise to myself to leave enough of my budget left over to pick up a few working pieces that can carry me through our trip. Not because I care to be the trendiest girl in Cambodia. But when I’m finally waking up to go explore the temples of Angkor Wat, the last thing I want to worry about is having something to wear.

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