to shop / rethinking shopping

I was overdue in cleaning my room by a few years. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t love shopping so much and had a normal amount of me-time. I didn’t have much time to do it, but I easily filled up 3 bags of thirty gallon trash bags before I left the country. Major thanks to the roommate for arranging a donation pickup! I cannot wait to go through another round of layoffs. I should’ve pulled a Steve Jobs uniform ages ago, for work, and saved a TON of money.

The plus of purging was that I could easily identify where not to spend my money:

  • High maintenance items, which means items that need to be dry cleaned for every wear or ironing is required. I rarely iron and am not a big fan of dry cleaning. I had some Forever 21 items that fell under this bucket. It pains me that I have $20+ F21 items that I only wore once!
  • Fast fashion:
    • Old Navy. Especially since I fell behind on returning within the generous return period.
    • Tops made of cheap material like modal/rayon blends, because they don’t last!
    • Gap. These weren’t unwise purchases. On the contrary, I got a TON of wear out of these $10-20 items, but they no longer have a purpose in my wardrobe and had to be let go. There was an amazing skirt in 2001. It was called the flirt skirt, a-line, knee length, lined, and had flattering seams. I got it in gray, khaki, black, and cream. It was on sale for $10 or less and they served me well probably through 2007. I haven’t worn it since. I also very sadly bid adieu to a cream blazer from the former-Marc Jacobs designer years. It fit well, was in perfect condition, and I even had to get it dry cleaned once when I got red wine on it in 2007, but I just don’t do puffed sleeves anymore and I rarely see those sleeves come off tastefully on an older woman.
  • Pants/shorts. The first to go when one gains weight!
  • Uncomfortable shoes. I think it is hard to find shoes that fit well and I can rarely determine if a pair will fit by just trying them on in store. I donated no-name shoes I bought in Taiwan department stores that ended up being super uncomfy and beyond repair. I thought they were expensive at the time — maybe $50 on sale. It’s better that I can’t remember the actual prices. Lesson learned to be super picky about shoes!
  • Super trendy items. When I visited Taipei a few winters ago, I picked up a scratchy dolman sweater that had a giant houndstooth print that I eyed while I was in the line for egg cakes. I probably paid $20-30 for it and never wore it and never will. I also cannot allow myself to buy anything else with sequins. It’s not my style.
  • No more t-shirts/tights/underwear/Uniqlo Heat Tech/leggings. I am an Petit Bateau addict. I think I’m set for a while and even have to start purging some of my PB t-shirts. I also accumulated a huge stock of tights/leggings/Heat Tech. Especially since there used to only be one Uniqlo in NYC and it sold out really fast!


Being out of the country has been nice in that there’s been less temptation and time spent online. I’ve barely shopped in Asia since I’m so disgusted by how much material goods I have and many items don’t qualify as a quality purchase. I’ve still bought a few things here and there and had them shipped to an alternate address. Aside from that, Kindle books are probably my highest expense.

Starting from the left…

Zara // window shopping – Packing for two months was hard — I stayed within a carry-on rolling luggage and only 60% of it is clothes. I think I need more bottoms or light summer dresses, so I had a nagging feeling to check out Zara. The nice thing about Zara is that prices don’t vary too much outside of Spain/Portugal so I wouldn’t feel super guilty about buying something in Asia versus the US. I finally got there this week (the Beijing Solana mall location to be exact). I kind of forgot that I rarely buy bottoms at Zara and have now added Gap to my to-do list. I ended up eyeing the red lace peplum top and the lace coat. The lace coat is much more expensive in China at 1299 RMB (USD $204) versus USD $169. As nice as the peplum top is 1) The button closure in the back is impossible to close without another person’s assistance and 2) red isn’t as versatile as a neutral nude or black.

Anthropologie // purchased – I still love checking the new Anthro markdowns/inventory flux and the 12 hour timezone difference makes it easier to check markdowns. The J.W. Hulme legacy shoulder bag I mentioned here came back into stock so I jumped (and am still crossing my fingers that it doesn’t get cancelled). I love Hanky Panky and Anthro finally marked the Bryna convertible bralette to 77% off. And returns are open – no time restrictions.

Adidas // purchased – I read raves about the Stella McCartney for Adidas asheni flats and finally snagged them in my size on Zappos. The alerts really do work. I haven’t seen these in person yet, but Zappos also has a great return policy.

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3 comments
  1. Albert said:

    Was forced to do the same thing recently when I moved. Tons of big fat winter coats and jeans to donate, keeping just the ones that fit me now.

    Other Koreans may give me the evil eye, but I refuse to waste time/$ on dry cleaning and ironing. Will no longer buy button up shirts that aren’t no-iron/wrinkle-free, unless they’re gingham, which hides wrinkles fairly well. You got me hooked on Lands End, but they haven’t launched wrinkle-free Canvas shirts, so I stick with tailored vs. regular fits. You can get them for less than $20 if you stack sale + coupon codes.

    Converse no-lace slipons are my fav shoe and perfect for airport travel. Easy to order once you got the size (-1 your usual size). But I’m still tempted by dress shoes… haven’t learned my lesson after returning tons of giant Zappos boxes.

    Will continue my love affair with Gap for $20 jeans and cheap polos… Until a Uniqlo moves into LA.

    • irene said:

      Purging is such a great feeling! I also wear wrinkled shirts on purpose =P It’s an in-look right? Sadly, the LE non-Canvas shirts for women are horribly cut. I need to check out Sanuks when I come back. Uniqlo is moving to SF first, I believe.

  2. pauline said:

    i totally agree on the pants/shorts and uncomfortable shoes! same with dry cleaning. i think i dry clean my clothes like once a year. haha.

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