I do not, in any way, obsess over clothing. My criteria for pulling clothes out of the closet on an average day are pretty simple.
- Is it clean?
- Is it stain-free (or are the stains really hard to see?)
- Is it in good-enough repair as to be within modesty limits?
If so, awesome! I put it on. I do have some clothes that I only wear to the gym, but for the most part my wardrobe is jeans (shorts or pants) and t-shirts. And I realize that makes me abnormal. This is why we have people like my friend Debbie Roes, who wrote an ebook (a large ebook, at that!) called UnShopping. I’ve interviewed Debbie on my podcast, I’ve guest posted on her blog, I’ve talked to her extensively, and I’ve come to a conclusion:
Debbie definitely thinks about clothing and clothing shopping in way, way, way more detail than I do.
Here’s the thing about the book – it’s genuine, and it’s practical. Let me explain what I mean.
There are certain principles that all of us minimalist/simplicity types agree upon. Less stuff. Less shopping. Better items. More enjoyment of what you have. All that stuff.
And that’s all well and good on paper. But in reality, there’s a ginormous chasm between “I have all this junk stuffed into my closet – what do I do?!?!?!” and “hey, look at my simple, minimal, Project 333-compliant wardrobe!” If you’re the sort of person who’s afflicted with compulsive shopping tendencies, this book could be a bridge across that chasm. The central thesis of the book is, roughly:
Don’t get your happiness from the shopping. Get your happiness from looking ah-may-zing in a carefully selected wardrobe of high-quality pieces that are perfectly suited to you.
Which is the “duh” part. It’s the part that nobody really disagrees with – at least in theory. I mean, who doesn’t want to look amazing? Who doesn’t want a stress-free morning because their whole closet is full of unmitigated awesomeness?
The “non-duh” part is the rest of the book, where the rubber meets the road and Debbie bridges the gap from “I wish” to “I did”. Over the last couple of years, Debbie has gone from the horsiest of clotheshorses to what she calls a “recovering shopaholic”. And from that experience, she’s well-equipped to help others start their own journeys.
She walks the reader through the way she thought and felt before, the way she thinks and feels now, tips and strategies that she employs to keep herself accountable, and strategies for dealing with difficult situations – all in great detail. The emphasis is, unequivocally, on not beating yourself up over bad decisions – but making better decisions as you move forward. Which, if you’re looking for a guide to lead you forward, is as good as it gets.
The one negative for this ebook is that there’s quite a bit of repetition. If you’re bouncing around chapter by chapter or section by section, this is great – you don’t have to be constantly navigating back and forth to understand what’s going on.
But if you’re reading it straight through, you’ll definitely find content repeated in successive sections. Sometimes a bit different, sometimes almost the same. Always applicable of course, but sometimes leaving you with the feeling “I just read that”.
Bottom line? I found it to be well worth the $5 I dropped on the Kindle edition. If you’re the sort of person that obsesses over clothes, whether or not you’re looking to go hyper-minimal with your wardrobe, I think you’ll find it worth your time and money as well.
If you’re interested in the ebook, the Kindle edition is here. And if you’re not sure you want to read a whole ebook, but would like to learn more about Debbie and her journey as a recovering shopaholic, check out her website.
Either way, you’ll be well-served.