I have a confession to make. I totally fell off my shopping diet wagon. I think I knew that it would happen. I haven't bought clothes since returning the Ben Sherman dress earlier this month, but I did snag a couple vintage patterns (about a total of $10) throughout the month. However, Anne and some old friends from Chicago (our friendships are old, they are young) planned to shop a couple hours and I almost did not break the pledge of no new clothes (other than accessories and shoes) but definitely broke the budget.
But luckily I can be self-forgiving. This is a pledge, not a prison sentence. I don't endorse self-flagellation, just learning experiences. I have to limit any more spending for a while. I have spent to the extent that I can't buy anything new until the second half of May (and I can't just change the rules just because I keep getting Korean wedding money from my parents' friends).
One thing that Sal told me in comments was that any kind of controlled shopping plan would help me learn about why I shop. So considering the context in which I bought more than I planned, I can identify the following conditions:
1) I was with old friends, and we were trying to cram in quality bonding time. We've shopped together in the adorable local shops in their neighborhood during this exact conference before. They help me be more adventurous.
2) I was enjoying their company and the fun of collective shopping
3) I was there for a professional conference, which tends to make me feel nervous about my abilities as a scholar (also, it makes me wonder how interesting looking graduate students end up looking so dull and boring in a decade or two?)
4) I really really like Chicago, and I justified the purchases because they were all in local and independent shops (although about 1/2 of them were in secondhand stores). I used to shop in smaller boutiques in Minneapolis, and I did not mind paying more than at a high street because I like going local. These stores, Alamo Shoes and Presence (both in Andersonville) have been around for a while, and they both rock.
So it seems I shop when when I'm happy with friends, and when I'm a little nervous, or excited. Luckily, my friends were very good about only recommending pieces that very versatile and wearable, so I will definitely use what I bought (and try not to be too guilty). I even got a second hand dress that will require some alterations but is very "me" (even Anne's fella thought so). Blokey knows that I've done some shopping, but he never judges or gets mad.
I'm a pretty lucky gal to have good friends like Anne, M, C, and K (who couldn't come but has been responsible for other great choices). They're honest and encouraging. Also, I realized while shopping that historically, my wardrobe has been very timid, as these ladies have been encouraging me to figure out a personal style that matches my weirdo personality more for years. Thanks for not giving up, ladies! (And we did not just shop, we also ate a lot of food at Anne's house.)
Finally, this is what I wore when I did my presentation. Which was the last panel slot of the conference, so I thought I could pull of jeggings. Even though the majority of folks (men) wear boxy, Washington bureaucrat suits, I was quite pleased with this outfit. I also liked the renovated decor of the hotel.
Jeggings: Hue (via Alamo Shoes, Chicago)
Striped top: Rodarte for Target
Jacket: Banana Republic
Nametag: Conference folks
(and for those wondering how I professionalized the Thursday plane outfit, here is another awkward hotel shot. This was Thursday's hotel room. I had to move around a bit. I got good mileage out of my old interview blazer).