Vest vs. Cardigan

March 9, 2011


Back in September, I made a commitment not to buy any new clothes during the fall/winter season – a small move to bolster myself financially. This is my honest update on how it went. Was I successful? Did I keep my commitment? Or did I falter?

I was hesitant to write this post because I did falter. But why should I try to hide or ignore that fact? Part of the point of this blog is to share my experiences. This is one of them.

For three months, I did great. Then, in December, the justification began to creep in. It started with a workout t-shirt. A close family member was seriously impacted by heart disease, which motivated me to work out more. Hey, if I have new workout clothes, I’ll be even more motivated! In truth, it was really just that the shirt was cute and I wanted it. And I wanted to look cool at the gym.

The rationalization for second item (a cardigan) was simply: My life is hard right now and I need a treat to make me feel better.

The problem is, it didn’t make me feel better. A thing can’t fix the problem. And my whole process was backward. I went out into the world with the goal of buying a thing to make me feel better. “I am going to buy something today because I deserve it.” So it was kinda doomed from the start. I don’t love the sweater. And I paid too much for it.

The vest (the third and final purchase) is a better story because I do love it. The justification door had already been opened by the cardigan when I spotted the vest in a store window. I had an immediate “that’s me” reaction – it’s a modern version of what I would have worn in high school during my slightly rebellious period. It gives me a boost of youth, comfort and funky happiness.

The fact that I caved actually taught me more than if I had succeeded. There is room in our lives for vests – things that speak to us and spark positive emotions. And we should try to eliminate the buying of cardigans – grasping at things that can never fill the need we hope they can.

At the official arrival of spring, I’m ending the embargo on clothing purchases. I still need to keep my spending in check in support of future career change possibilities. I hope the Vest vs. Cardigan metaphor reminds me to make more purposeful, enriching purchases.

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One Comment on “Vest vs. Cardigan”

  1. broadsideblog Says:

    I have a sweater I bought about 20 years ago, for which I paid so much money I still can’t quite believe it. But the minute I put it on (a black boiled wool cardigan, with beautiful beading, DKNY) I could not take it off again. Every time I wear it, I feel pretty….and feel happy I made the decision to buy something I truly loved, even if it was expensive.

    I lived in France for a while, and you will never shop foolishly again if you watch how French women slowly and carefully build their wardrobes.


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