Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Blog Detox - Step 1 - Wardrobe

Over the past few weeks, I've been feeling the need to change things a LOT. I'm blaming Instagram. I've become weary of the endless 'must buy' & the latest 'got to have'. The M&S jumpsuit pushed me over the edge this week...it felt like a case of the emperor's new clothes.  It's an average jumpsuit...nothing offensive about it but nothing special either. And it's definitely nothing special now that pretty much 50% of my instagram feed has bought it. 

And I'm as guilty as anyone in this regard. I love to shop, especially the sales, and I share lots of it online. But my wardrobes are bursting. I have too much - bought and gifted - and I'm feeling stressed about it all and uncomfortable that the people who read this blog and follow my social channels are buying things that they've seen me wear whenever they don't need them or worse again, can't afford them.

I think shopping is actually creating a kind of stress for us all because we are spending time, money and effort that we don't have to spare, chasing items that we think we need because someone else has them and tells us we need them too. I don't know about you but I find so many of these things hang in my wardrobe and I don't actually end up wearing them very often.

Then I go on two weeks holiday with one suitcase and realise how easy it all is when you have less. Realise that I don't need the rest of my wardrobe - I can actually live with the suitcase full.
And because the one question I get asked repeatedly as a blogger is 'how do I create the perfect capsule', I know that many of you are in the same situation. Loads in your wardrobe and nothing to wear. 

Hands up to another confession - buying 'for the gram'. I've recently found myself buying stuff I don't honestly need because I want to have something different to take a picture of because that's what all the other bloggers are doing. I'm feeling that peer pressure and all that happens is that I end up with multiple similar items in my wardrobe.

I'm detoxing in several ways over the coming weeks and months and step one is the biggest wardrobe cull I've ever done. This includes items I've bought and some items I've been gifted, some quite recent, others I've held onto for longer. I love them all but I'm simply not wearing them enough and in most cases, I have similar multiple items. It's more than one woman could ever wear in a lifetime (well, in her 40's anyway).

Now I'm aware of the irony of selling stuff to you all as part of my wardrobe detox...I'm hardly encouraging you to practice the same approach if I'm suggesting you buy my stuff! Honestly, I'm not sure how to address this except to say that I'm giving over 50% of what I'm clearing out to charity. So I'm not selling off everything but I have some nice things that I know many of you would be interested in and at least as a preloved item, it's not going to be as expensive and I promise it's all very wearable. That's as good as I can do but please don't buy something if you don't need it or can't afford it.

The sale will go live on Friday at 10am on my Tictail store on this link (currently disabled - but you can bookmark it or refer back to this post on Friday morning). I'm still photographing things and I have to work tomorrow, so that's delaying things. I'll post about it on social media on Friday morning too though in case you forget!

This is just Step 1 - there are more steps to come, one of which is quite radical and I'm more than a little afraid of it but I know it's going to be the most empowering one of them all. Eek. 

See you Friday!
Ax
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38 comments

  1. I follow a Danish blogger called Use Less who has a small wardrobe and tries to buy clothes from more sustainable shops. She always looks great with only a capsule wardrobe. Good luck with the detox!

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    1. Oh that sounds good - I'll have a look. Thanks so much Bee x

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  2. I have a shopping problem too. I get bored of my clothes easily so I’m forever shopping...but forever living in similar items, just newer. And of course I have lots of things in my wardrobe that I wouldn’t wear every day but keep in there ‘just in case’. Mine truly is bursting at the seams - 1 double wardrobe full (including a pile of trousers about 3 foot high on the bottom of the wardrobe), 4 large plastic tubs under the bed, a mamouth drawer unit stuffed to bursting...and several piles all over the bedroom because everywhere else is full.
    THEN I also have several plastic crates in the loft containing my winter clothes, I switch things over as the weather changes.
    I can’t even do a capsule wardrobe for holiday. I week in Europe sees me taking two very large holdall’s full ‘just in case’ the weather changes. May half term is very changeable I suppose.
    Unfortunately most of my wardrobe is supermarket bought and primarni so the resale value is really not worth it. So I end up keeping it because I don’t want to just throw it away and I don’t think charity shops would get much out of my budget buying either.
    And yes. I bought that jumpsuit. Still to arrive and I’m fairly sure will be going back because I’m 41, size 12 with a flabby back and open backs do not suit me AT ALL.
    I may attempt to detox too....

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    1. Oh I'm a terrible 'just in case' person too. But there's a guilt in keeping all that stuff and that guilt can fuel more shopping. Don't worry about people not wanting what you have - just clear it out and get your head in a better space. Charity shops do really well out of good condition primark and tesco etc..it's a volume business for them. They need to constantly have new stuff to churn and they do get good deals with clothing recycling companies too so they will always find a place for it that gets them at least some income. Hope this helps a little - if you are local, I'd happily come and help you. I feel like there are so many women in the same situation - you're definitely not alone x

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  3. So true!!! I really feel lately that Instagram just encourages my shopping habit. I like to see suggestions and styling ideas, but now my feed is full of people wearing the exact same stuff (M&S jumpsuit as you say)!

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    1. I'm not sure how inspiring sharing the same stuff again and again can be but let's see...and it's not that I'm not going to shop again. I just want to buy things because I need them or really want them. Not for the gram! And I won't be buying the jumpsuit, just so you know :)

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  4. Love this. I've noticed that since I joined Instagram that my packages arriving have increased a Lot...it used to just be Boden. Thing is, I love watching the instastories...and we have few decent shops on the North Coast.

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    1. Yes - the pull is that I do love featuring beautiful local businesses and so I still need to work out how I'm going to get the balance right. Both for those who follow and for my head as well - I'm struggling with the volume of images I see myself. Need to scale back my own following x

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  5. Great to finally read a common sense approach! I find that when I see the latest ‘must have’ item or brand on every blogger it makes me want to avoid it and purposely seek out more individual pieces and brands. Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the journey!

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    1. Thanks Alison - I'm glad I'm not the only one. Indeed - watch this space. I'll hopefully have more time to catch up with the real life people I've missed catching up with, including you! Would love a September coffee date. Will PM you x

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  6. You beat me to it Avril! I have a draft blog post titled ‘the frenzy for first’ which is, in essence- everything you say here but perhaps not as politely! I refrained from publishing it as it needed a good edit to tone down the negativity... but yes, I’m so exhausted from the daily ASOS parcel try on’s Because ‘I thought you’d want to see it on a real person’ and some of the daily changing room try on sessions... we all try stuff on, order things to see... but it’s somehow all so uninspiring. Great post. X

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    1. Ah we are so often on the same wavelength my friend. I am looking forward to reading your post..and don't worry about politeness. I have a few more posts to come that aren't quite as diplomatic! I'm so glad that someone I respect who is in the same boat as me from a blogging perspective is feeling the same about the feed. Wish you were closer for a coffee Bean x

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  7. Couldn't agree more! So easy to jump on the bandwagon for that dreaded 'fear of missing out'which has even earned it's own acronym! I have had great 'heads up' on Instagram fashion pieces but also those ever so smug posts..."Hey look at this gorgeous dress I am wearing! Hey so sorry but it's now sold out everywhere! But aren't you all so envious of me!!"
    Well done, Avril for being one of the first to boldly say what we ALL have been secretly been thinking. Love the analogy of the emperor's new clothes :)

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    1. Oh thank you Paula - it's been so interesting to hear how many people are feeling the same. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for people who want to do the FOMO thing on Instagram - it's a free space for us all to share as we wish and there are loads of followers out there who want that content but I just know I need to step away from it for my own sake. I've probably been in this game for too long! But I see it as an opportunity to be on the same platform sharing something different so I won't walk away from Instagram...yet! Just lots of unfollowing to do for my head's sake! Thanks for taking the time to comment x

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  8. Can I just say I'm feeling the same too? I don't even post outfits on social but yet I'm still buying items I really don't need. Avril you have given me the inspiration to get moving on my own clear out. First up is the 3 storage boxes of vintage jewellery I keep saying I will wear - I am not kidding 3 full storage boxes! Cheers to a more wonderful more mindful life :) Ellen x

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    1. I'm so glad you feel inspired too. We can do this! Hope you get those storage boxes cleared out. Think about how great you'll feel that they will be worn by someone else and you'll have all that space back! Thanks for taking the time to comment Ellen, Avri lx

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  9. What a refreshing post Avril and I totally agree ) I love the way you find ebay treasures something I too have started and so much satisfaction finding a great bargain ( my latest BNWT white company linen shirt £21) instagram is such a shallow world (((

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I'm delighted that you've also found some eBay treasures...it's the best kind of shopping and kind of guilt free! Really appreciate the support x

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  10. Wow! Excellent to read this Avril - the words are so true. I get sucked into Instagram enabling and find it hard to stay away. I am organising a 'swooshing' party where we all bring good quality items we no longer need and either do direct swops or pay a small amount which will go to charity. I am managing however not to buy any more beauty products until my bathroom cupboard is empty though!

    We are a similar size so admittedly I am looking forward to your preloved sale!

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    1. Thank you for the support - blown away by how many people are feeling the same way. And loving the idea of the swooshing party! I'm away to google - sounds like a great way to refresh the wardrobe. Really appreciate you taking the time to comment x

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  11. I read this first thing this morning on the phone and couldn't write a comment. But everything you wrote, I thought, this is me all over. Just thanking you for voicing what I probably couldn't say so eloquently.

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    1. Thank you Sue - that means so much coming from you. You've always done the blogging thing so well - never got sucked into the commercial side of things. I'm taking inspiration from you and your beautifully curated and minimalist wardrobe x

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  12. Avril, I love following you. You have exactly the right approach - you are always stylish but it feels like fashion is just one part of your life. I don’t want to be critical of others but some bloggers seem so shallow and superficial, whereas you seem so warm and genuine and principled. Hope your detox achieves what you want it to x

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    1. Thank you for your kind words - they mean so much to me and I'm so glad that I don't come across as taking it all too seriously. Yours and all of these encouraging comments have helped me to realise I'm on the right path here. Not sure what the next step is but I'll work it out! Best wishes, Avril x

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  13. This post really resonated with me. I love clothes, style etc. always have done but When I kept seeing the M&S Jumpsuit all over Instagram and in the press, it felt like a Eureka moment - I didn't want it and I didn't feel the need to buy it. I was un-influenced!




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    1. Haha - love that term! Un-Influenced. Exactly how I felt too. You can have too much of a good thing indeed. Perhaps the famous jumpsuit will have a bigger effect than M&S planned? I know it's changed lots for me in the form of a much pared down Instagram - definitely a good outcome x

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  14. Hi Avril! What a wise and self aware post. The Emperor's new clothes is such an apt analogy. I've only been on Instagram since earlier this year, and as a garden designer I mostly post garden and flower images, but I' ve noticed that when I do post a photo of myself it gets significantly more likes. I wonder why people seem to respond so readily to pictures of other humans - I find lovely inspirational images of pretty things more interesting - interiors or flower displays for instance, but maybe I'm just odd!! I love style and clothes but prefer to invest in decent quality things that I love. I don't get the attraction of dirt - cheap supermarket polyester that's bad for our health, self esteem and our home planet. I don't believe either that it's all some people can afford - in our parents' and grandparents' day people often had very little money, but the overflowing wardrobe problem didn' t exist. As you point out it's why we buy that's changed. Don't feel too guilty about having several of the same thing though. Capsule wardrobes are all very well, but what are you supposed to do when your one white shirt is in the wash, your one good wool sweater's covered in animal hairs and your capsule jeans have got drenched because, well...we live in Ireland? I'd like to invite you to have a look at my account - it's annebyrnegardendesign - to see how I do things a bit differently. Instead of ' outfit of the day'(for which I'd need to be a lot more photogenic!) I do ' jug of the day' which is whatever I' ve found in bloom in the garden. Irony / de- following dilemma duly noted! Have a great day & best wishes for the sale - Anne x

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    1. Thank you Anne - such wise words and food for thought. Love what you do on Instagram and what a departure from the usual outfits and must-buys! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Avril x

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  15. I totally missed the M&S jumpsuit frenzy (and there was a very similar dress as well it looks like once I went down the IG rabbit hole). In all honesty, it makes me less likely to seek the item out.

    I know I'm not perfect, I wear the same outfit formula for work on a weekly basis (I do love pencil skirts) and in the past I would regularly add to my skirt collection. That's why I loved doing the monthly budget posts, it really made me stop and think because I had to "declare" my spending on the blog.

    Obviously now things have changed, divorced, living at my parents, I don't spend a penny so I understand why you need to detox. I moved all my clothes / shoes / bags in my car in a few trips and was cringing so hard saying don't judge me to everyone that helped...haha! Nothing like seeing it all piled up in the back of a car to make you think "I'm at capacity".

    Good luck Avril, interested to see how you get on.

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    1. Ah it's so lovely to here from you Lou - I read your honest and brave post over the weekend....such a time of change for you but it's lovely to read about the happiness it's all brought too. And actually, I'm sure a wardrobe you love is a comfort at time like this - you do have such lovely style and you've never let it slip at any stage throughout recent months. And I have always enjoyed your budget posts - they made me stop and think on many an occasion, especially when you've added up what you spent on a month. Anyway, onwards and upwards for us both - change is a good thing! Thanks again Lou xx

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  16. I feel like I haven’t been able to grow my insta account because I don’t have an endless procession of outfits to post. I used to think I was a fashionista till I joined it!!

    I love it for the friendships I have made and the daily inspiration but I hate the shallowness of outfit after endless outfit post especially the changing room variety.

    It’s actually made me unfollow some people.

    I often think some of the stuff I write about {sporadically} on my own blog must be pretty boring but then I look at my readership figures and have to remind myself it’s not all about Instagram. I even wrote a post about it myself a couple of months back.

    I’m sure you’ll find your groove of what you feel comfortable with xo

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    1. Thanks Sharon - you've articulated some of what's in my mind too. I'm so torn between being a help to people by sharing what's new in the shop and actually fuelling a ton of unnecessary shopping. I'm not sure what the balance is but like you, I'm not doing it for followers nor Instagram - a blog website will always be more valuable for content in the long term so it's better to focus energies on it rather than a transient social media app that is making lots of people miserable. I'm off to find your blog now as I'm keen to read your recent post. Thanks for the heads up x

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  17. Hi Avril

    This post really chimed in with my thinking. I don't 'do' IG for precisely this reason. I follow 4 or 5 fashion blogs, and have noticed since most of them have switched to IG and blog very rarely these days, my spending has decreased as a result. Do I feel bereft? No. Do I feel I'm missing out? No. I already have way too many clothes....why do I need more?

    I find the more 'stuff' you have, be it clothes, toiletries, jewellery, whatever, the more stressful it becomes. The pleasure of having something new is offset by the stress of finding somewhere to put it, and guilt of accumulating. I also find choosing what to wear becomes more stressful the more options you have. Someone has identified this as 'the tyranny of choice' and there's an interesting article about it here: https://www.economist.com/christmas-specials/2010/12/16/you-choose

    Sometimes more stuff just feels oppressive, and it's a wonderful, liberating feeling to offload to the charity shop. The hard part is trying not to refill the space you've made, in the wallet and the wardrobe!

    I think basically we've all been sold the idea that stuff = happiness. A lot of us are starting to realise it's exactly the opposite.

    Sorry to biffle on so much - goes to show how many people are reaching the same realisation!
    L x

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    1. Thank you so much - lots that resonates with me here, especially that term, tyranny of choice. So so true. I have spent less time thinking about what to wear since I cleared out. There's less guilt about not wearing things I wasn't wearing and actually this time round (I've cleared out before), I'm less inclined to fill the space again. Off to read that article - thanks so much for sharing and for taking the time to comment x

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  18. my favourite blog posts are where someone shows several ways of wearing one item or dresses one piece up or down. It always provides inspiration for something in my wardrobe. I have loads of clothes and never anything to wear (like most of us)!!! I don't need bloggers encouraging me to buy new stuff, I need to utilise what I have which is why I love these kinds of posts and why I started looking at blogs in the first place. Maybe this type of post is something you could consider doing instead of new new new???

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  19. I love this post so much I came back to reread it today. My wardrobe is bulging and full of crap. Have started a super clear out... the joy of teacher holidays means I have the time to do it. Also my makeup..... don’t get me started. Do I really need 30 lipsticks in pretty much the same shade?! Keep writing sense, Avril. It’s so refreshing x

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    1. Thanks Juli - will do (hopefully!) and yes...make up is another clear out area for me too. So easy to keep picking up bits here and there. Good luck with the clear out though I'm sure you're busy with the business over the summer. No stopping you - good luck with the Tropic! x

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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