Becoming Minimalist: The Case for Shopping Slow

It happens almost every week. 

I come across an item that I feel like I can't live without, and I'll obsess over it to a ridiculous degree. Maybe it's a pair of shoes or a new bag, or a dress. Whatever it is, the item of the week will dominate my thoughts in a pointless but addictive way, as only the desire for material items can.

(Good job, modern world. Nicely done, self.)

In a former life, I would shop quickly, without giving my purchases much thought. Assuming the item of the week was something fashion related (it always is), I would imagine myself wearing it a few different ways, then grab it and bag it.

Purchase complete.

But now, my shopping habits look a bit different. If you've been following this blog, then you'll know that after multiple, dusty moves throughout my 20s, I made a commitment to focus on the "fewer, but better" mindset that's become so on-trend these days. Quality over quantity, less is best, etc.

Perhaps the most prominent  aspect of my new preference for minimalism is my approach towards shopping. Rather than shopping the way I once did – thoughtfully, but quickly – I now shop slow. Very slow. Slow to the point that I analyze every purchase and give it a lot of thought before I spend my money.

It can be overwhelming to embrace the concept of shopping slow, but I assure you that it can be done. And once you begin, you might be surprised at how easy it is to change those overpowering, quick-to-buy habits of yours. This is how it's done:

 

1. Shop online only

Shopping in a brick and mortar store can be a better experience for a lot of reasons – especially if we're talking about an amazingly curated local boutique. But if the item you're longing for can easily be purchased almost anywhere – like, let's say, Tevas, my item of obsession this week – then you should make your purchase online. Shopping online allows you to take your time and think about a purchase rather than making a rushed, impulse decision in a store.

Furthermore, consider shopping at local, independent boutiques. Aside from the fact that you'll support a small business owner, you're also far less likely to encounter the overpowering marketing strategies, not to mention crazy loud Rihanna soundtrack and fluorescent lighting, that you might find at a chain store. A chain store's overstimulating atmosphere can make it hard to think straight – much less to think thoughtfully. 

 

2. Wait a week before you buy (or at least a few days)

Before you commit to a purchase, set a self-imposed waiting limit of three days. If you can do a week, then that's even better. Chances are that no matter how much you want something, you might change your mind a few days later when an unexpected bill comes up – or when you see something you want even more.

 

3. Review your wardrobe

I know – sorry. This one sucks, because it's all about facing reality aka not fun. This step is usually where shopping dreams come to die. But listen here: Before you make a purchase, look hard at what you already own. If you want to buy a new pair of black sandals but already have three pairs, consider how often you will realistically wear the new pair. Don't ignore reality and try to justify your purchase. Instead, imagine your new shoes in your closet and think about when you would actually wear them. 

The Pursuits of Happiness necklace, ACADEMY bangle, jujumade earrings

Shopping slow ain't for everyone, that's for sure, and there are downsides to shopping this way.

Giving a lot of thought to every purchase can lead to guilt for having spent money once you do finally make a purchase, and OCD-level obsessions about even the tiniest of product details.

No matter. In the end, your bank account and your closet will thank you for it. And aside from all of that very but mommm!-esque information, the good news is this: When you shop slow, everything you buy feels like a treasure.

And before you know it, everything in your closet will be something you truly love and are glad you purchased. Case closed.


Boutique Bucket List: Part I

If you're like me, you're obsessed with independent boutiques. Ordering a gift for someone is an absolute treat because it means I get to searching, usually online, for something from one of my favorite stores.

The thing is, a lot of these online boutiques exist live and in person, I've just never had the chance to visit. I have a dream of going on a boutique road trip one day where I'll casually (somehow) drive across the globe; energetically popping into all of my dream stores, befriending the owners, stocking up on fancy L:a Bruket candles, and Instagramming as I go.

In the meantime, I'll be dreaming behind a laptop if you need me. Here's my boutique bucket list for that one-day trip: 

GIRL & GRAAF - A super sweet Sydney-based  store that epitomizes all-things Aussie (in my mind, at least). Girl & Graaf is clean, bright, airy, warm and friendly, and stocks brands like Sugar Paper and Uashmama. P.S. - A few months ago, I profiled Girl & Graaf for KEEP.com!

Favorite Girl & Graaf finds: Lemon Tree & Mandarin Bench Spray (Bondi Wash, $20AUS) + a classic Panama Hat ($299 AUS). 

 

 

THE APARTMENTThe Apartment appears to be a fully stocked New York City apartment, complete with clothing, accessories, furniture, dishware, and more. The catch? It's really more or less a showroom for the online version of the retailer called The Line. The Apartment allows you to see the items in person and imagine them in your (less fabulous) home, and also to meet the designers and learn about their inspiration. Color me SO jealous.

Favorite The Line finds:  Fritz Hansen Nesting Tables ($2,197) + Pallas Mercure Jacket ($2,350)

 

 

POKETOThis is my online go-to shop for all things fun, gifty, and colorful. The shop opened it's brick and mortar outpost in Downtown LA's Arts District and was born out of the idea of "art for your everyday" - taking it off the gallery walls and into your everyday life. It's also run by an adorable husband and wife team who I'd like to hang out with.

Favorite finds: Linen Coated Trays ($18) + Pattern Pens ($4.50)

 

 

THE BROKEN ARMOf course a concept shop in Paris came up with the coolest store name of all time. Of course it also doubles as a cafe, is located in the Marais, and features designers like Kenzo and Carven. I HAVE to get to this store one day, even if I will be sweaty, awkward, and afraid of looking lame the entire time I'm there.

 

Coming up soon, part II of my boutique bucket list. Stay tuned, gang!


Let's Go Shopping!

Around this time of year, I get an itch to go shopping, says obvious person.

But between going home to Atlanta for the holidays, going to Amsterdam for New Year's, and, you know, choosing to be a fashion journalist rather than a high-paying career path, those pennies gotta' be watched, #KnowWhatI'mSayin.

But that doesn't mean that I stop wanting to shop. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. Here's a teeny peek at my winter wishlist

And don't forget to check out Daily Outfit, which is exactly what it sounds like. You won't believe  what this girl can do with a $1 sweater or a $2 turtleneck. (Actually you might - because I'm not doing any tricks, I'm just wearing clothes.)

Weekend Buys

This weekend was uh, ya know, not too shabby.

Friday spent sippin' wine at the Natural History Museum.

Saturday doing what we'll call "chic and cheap" shopping in Dalston. 

Sunday spent at Hampstead Heath + eating ice cream + starting on The Sopranos. 

 

Here are some of my finds from the weekend:

 

This animal skirt from Traid in Dalston + this Frida bag

 + 

These slip-on sandals purchased for £4 ($6) at the Ridley Road Market because they remind me of Prada

 + 

This button-up white t-shirt from & Other Stories

 + 

This scarf, also from Traid, that reminds me so much of Pedro Almodóvar and especially: 

All topped off with some green apple + carrot juice from Babble Jar in Stoke Newington. Yep, the weekend was not too shabby.

Stores You Should Know About: Amelia

I first discovered Amelia, a darling little shop based in Oxford, Mississippi, a few months back. I was immediately smitten by the perfectly curated selection of products and clean, well designed site, but became a bigger fan after buying some Sea Salt Soap and meeting Erin, Amelia's sweet owner.

The idea for Amelia sprung from Erin's previous life as a merchandise manager. For seven years, Erin found herself in different cities for work, spending her precious downtime looking for the perfect local place to find handmade jewelry, home wares, and good ol' fashioned gifts. It all fell into place in 2009 when a friend with a music venue had a spare room to rent, and Amelia officially opened up shop.

Sugar Paper Polka Dot Coasters, $26/£16

Sugar Paper Polka Dot Coasters, $26/£16

The shop, which rounds out to 187 square feet, is on the smaller side so Erin is constantly working to put her merchandising skills to work so that no space in Amelia goes unused, and boy oh boy does it show.

Son of a Sailor Polaris Necklaces, $46/£29

Son of a Sailor Polaris Necklaces, $46/£29

If you're in Oxford, you should stop by the Van Buren Avenue shop. If not, you can do as I do and shop Amelia's collection of cards, gifts, jewelry, travel, and home accessories online.

Russell + Hazel Camel Stash Sack, $35/£22

Russell + Hazel Camel Stash Sack, $35/£22

Kinfolk Magazine, $18/£11

Kinfolk Magazine, $18/£11

Cos And The Case For High Street Minimalism

There are several benefits to being an American expat in London.

Some are practical (national health care), some will become clearer the longer you're here (earning your salary in GBP is awesome, the weather truly does suck), and some are superficial (Boots, the general social acceptance of being drunk by 6PM on a weekday).

Another benefit to living in London is having access to the high street glory that is COS.

Cos And The Case For High Street Minimalism


You know the fancy section of H&M? Yes you do—it's the part of the store that's slightly minimalist, slightly more upscale, and has nicer fabrics. It's the part of the store that you never really shop from because it's too expensive and you're at H&M for Pete's sake

If you took that and crossed it with Zara, you'd get COS (which is actually a part of H&M, for the record).

Sure, it's a little more expensive but the design sure is good and the quality is better. This is what COS stuff looks like:


A little taken aback by the Scandinavian minimalist approach? Don't be nervous! COS has stuff like this, too:


 Not that I've ever bought anything there, but much like the fancy section at H&M, it's bound to happen one of these days. I am earning the pound, after all.

From here and, well, obviously here.

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound

This year has been an expensive one to say the least.

Every dime/10p I've earned over the past 10 months has gone to visas and plane tickets, which is exciting in a big picture kinda' way, but actually just expensive in an everyday kinda' way.

Needless to say, there hasn't been a lot left over for my favorite pasttime of internet shopping + wearing PJ's + eating raisins out of a bowl.  So, as soon as I get my first British paycheck I'm going to do some good ol'British High Street shopping.

Here's a few things I might buy:

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


ZARA Short Military Coat

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


Topshop Cut Out Boots

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


Joe Fresh Shell Tank

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


ASOS Suede Pocket Shirt

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


Land's End Long Pleated Skirt

I Want To Wear This: Fall Fashion and The Mighty Pound


ASOS Dress With Trumpet Skirt

P.S.–if you don't already shop at Land's End, you totally should. They have good quality stuff at decent prices and some of it is really cute...totes not just for moms (not that there's anything wrong with moms).

Gooo fall!

From here, here, here, here, here, oh—and here!