The Side Effects of a Fashion Cleanse

eaton centreI’ve been doing relatively well with the beginning stages of my fashion cleanse and pushed the envelope even further yesterday. It was a test of sorts and it shockingly worked. I had it in my mind that I just needed one more thing – shoes – for my vacation, from J. Crew, and if you know J.Crew in Canada, the stores are rare – there are only four in the GTA, two of which are too far away. We’ll just say that J. Crew and me are like Gollum and the ring from Lord of the Rings….my preccciousssssss! I covet almost everything in the store.

On a beautiful sunny Tuesday, I headed into Downtown Toronto for some customer appointments and on my lunch hour, decided to stroll over to The Eaton Centre. Nope, couldn’t do things small scale, like the local mall, I had to head straight into one of the largest fashion centres in the GTA.

How is that for a test of will?

I was determined, oh so determined to stride straight into J.Crew and spend money. I had to buy something, anything! My need for fashion had taken over my deprived brain, I was on auto spend pilot. Into J.Crew I went, looking at all the pretty new spring arrivals and straight over to the “vacation shop” as they so fittingly call it. I picked up a beautiful fuchsia cashmere V-neck sweater, next I tried on the perfect straw hat, I carefully eyed two very different teal blue shorts before choosing one out of the pile to try on. Uh oh! It didn’t stop there, oh no, I found a cotton pencil skirt that had been on my wish list for a month….try it, try it, try it, my brain pleaded. Oh all right, I suppose it won’t hurt.

Into the fitting room I went, ecstatic that I had found two items that I previously had no need for…remember I went in for shoes, not shorts or skirts. I tried on the shorts…and something interesting happened…I hated them! I questioned for the first time in the store, what the hell I was doing – to myself of course, in my head.

Ack! Those striped shorts make my hips look bigger than they already are….yuck! Next up, the skirt, on it went, oh, it was pretty but again something strange happened. My mind said why would you buy this when the waist doesn’t fit right…why don’t you wait until you have the money and you slim down a bit more from your exercise plan? Hmmmm….yes, why don’t I?

I left the items hanging, right there in the fitting room, abandoned, like an old pair of sneakers past their prime. It was not over yet…my mind had to toy with me a bit more…check the sale rack! What!? What happened to Quality over Quantity? I’ll just end up with some crappy, tried on too many times piece of last season crap.

And with that, I left the store….and headed straight into Coach!

This roller coaster ride isn’t over yet. I walked in and out so fast, the sales woman barely had time to say hello to me. Like a bolt of lightning, not seeing what I wanted, I fled from the store. Lingering too long would only prove bad for my wallet.

With that, I left the mall abruptly without a glance at any of the other stores. I was proud of myself for surviving a trip to the mall and for the change in thought process.

I am now able to talk myself out of unnecessary purchases.

The next step? Talking myself out of going to the mall altogether. It was a great Tuesday. That, my friends is one of the side effects of a fashion cleanse.

What’s your story? Have you been able to talk yourself out of buying things?


  1. I’m lucky in that most of the smallest sizes at retail stores are just too big on me so they don’t flatter me in any way. My trouble is when I go to lulu lemon, it’s one of the only places where things fit right and they’re so beautiful and comfortable. I have managed to talk my way out a few times, but not always :/

    • Better to talk yourself out of things sometimes than not at all! 😉 Lululemon has some wonderful stuff don’t they? They’re my go to for workout gear now…I was sad when they got rid of their cycling clothes though. They were the only shorts and tops that fit right.

  2. So.. no J. Crew shoes then? Didn’t you say you needed them?

    For me it’s easier (now) to talk myself out of purchases. I’ve realized that putting actual restrictions: Not made in china, not a natural fabric blend… usually works to eliminate 90% of “urges”, and by that time I put it back because $200 for something that isn’t perfect is not my cup of tea any longer.

    • shoes. Yes, need a casual pair of runners that aren’t icky cross trainers, was looking at the plain Tretorns they have. I decided that I need a new purse more than I need the shoes…we’ll see how that goes, trying to put that off as long as possible as I’m not supposed to be spending on fashion. LOL! :) Sadly the purse is falling apart…

      I find that the no China thing is super difficult…I don’t know what it is but 90% of the clothes out there are made overseas. J.Crew stuff is…

  3. I too fall victim to the lure of shopping. Whenever I go to a store, I feel I must justify the trek by buying something.(the lack of shopping centers in NYC can make a visit to one by car incur a required purchase). I’ve gotten better about just taking things out my hands after circling the store for a bit but it can be so hard to say no, especially in my monthly Costco trips. But I know in the end, only buying things I need is the right way to go.

    • Oh Costco…such a dangerous place! I never walk out of there without spending $100 minimum. Luckily, I don’t have a membership and use my family’s only during the summer. Good on you for knowing the right way to go :)

  4. So funny, that exact same thing has been happening to me. I actually work in one of the offices on top of the Eaton Centre, so lunch hours are spent browsing the mall. I hadn’t bought anything in like three months which was unheard of for me, so these past couple of weeks I’ve been DESPERATE to make a purchase. I’ve gone everywhere and tried on everything and somehow managed to talk myself out of making any purchases.

    • Oh dear! I wouldn’t survive if I worked right at the Eaton Centre, I’d be there on lunch hours too. Glad to hear you’ve been able to talk yourself out of purchases. Good job!

  5. I’m pretty good at talking myself out of fashion purchase most of the times. But recently I’m in the mood to buy make ups. Sephora is like a quicksand to me. I get sucked into it the more I resist. I’ve been pretty good, but before I read this post, I was about to go to Sephora website. I’ll see if I can continue to resist.

    • Yep, I’ve been a victim of Sephora too. My trouble is they send you those samples, I try it then I want that item. One word: RESIST!!! :)

  6. I was thinking along the same lines as Save.Spend.Splurge. Soooo….. no shoes? Lol.

    You’ll probably find the experience will repeat itself as you keep it up. A lot of the time I’ll go to the mall to look for something/try something on and come out empty handed because it didn’t meet the standards I had mentally set for it. Or I’ll look at it and go “eh, I don’t actually need it…”. Sometimes if I’m in the mall for no other reason than I’m itching to spend money and consume, I’ll actually find I have a stress response and start getting anxious when I walk into stores. It’s definitely put the kibosh on my frivolous spending, and I have an easier time planning my purchases now. Good luck keeping it up :)

    • I know, I know, what’s wrong with me? Shoes and purses are a girls best friend. I’ll admit I sacrificed the shoes for a much needed purse. My winter season purse is worn out – literally – its damaged pretty badly.
      That’s the same for me, I get this need to buy something then I get all stressed out if I buy anything. I’m just enjoying my smaller wardrobe right now, it’s so much easier to manage.
      Thanks! :)

  7. I can’t believe you went to that mall out and walk out empty-handed. Even for me being fashionably challenged, I would have a hard time with that. I find that the best thing I can do is NEVER go into stores or malls or anything that causes too much temptation in the first place. I used to be that girl who would buy stuff even though I didn’t love it. Now I absolutely have to love it, even if it is from a discount store like Target, before I buy it. Nice job!

  8. My way is to avoid going to the shops, if I go to them I buy! Having said that I am attempting a shopping freeze in February and I have a trip to London scheduled!
    Well done for walking away!

    • Thanks! I hear you! If you go there’s too much temptation to buy.
      That’s amazing that you’ll get to go shopping in London! I love the Gap in the UK, it’s so different from North America. Hope you have a great shopping trip :)

  9. Yeah, I just don’t go into stores in general these days unless I need something — which I don’t! I’m happy with my minimalistic wardrobe and I don’t do impulse shopping when it comes to clothing anyways. I’m an impulse food shopper though!

  10. Michelle, how long is this fast? I think that if you keep going into Eaton Centre (I love that place!) that you’re destined to buy something :)

    I am in month 11 of a year long No Shopping Challenge…it is initially really rough because you feel like there are so many things that you are missing out on. Then you get further into it and start really working your wardrobe. I think you will be surprised by how much you have. I won’t lie…I’m looking a little raggedy right now and am feeling a little self-righteous…like a vegan who hasn’t eaten animal protein in 5 years. HARDCORE. You are totally able to rock this challenge. I didn’t even shop when I went to London or NYC last year. It wasn’t that hard. London is ridiculously expensive. NYC was harder. Good luck.

    • For 8 months until August is the fast. It has been super tough! I’ve gotten rid of most of the bad marketing emails, that will help.
      I’m believe I can do it, just have to stay strong! Thanks for the well wishes!

  11. Good for you for trying this out. You can definitely do it. I think the key is to take good care of the clothes you have and maybe use Pinterest to find new mix and match outfits. I don’t think I could do it. I love buying new summer dresses in the Spring and I love buying new ballerina flats in the Fall. I think you could give yourself a bit of wiggle room if you look for awesome deals and give yourself a limit, like $30 a paycheck. Can’t wait to read more about it.

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks! I’m hoping I can. I’m still having a lot of difficulty because like you, I enjoy having a few new things each season. Doing clothing consignment has been helping and I’m starting to invest in better clothing and trying to make it last.


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