Not me, not any of my friends have ever said: “I need to spend more money shopping for clothes.”
Instead, we’re all very good at justifying why we need (never, ever “want”) to buy another pair of shoes, jeans, sweaters, even jewelry.
Jill Chivers, then, is just one more killjoy who tells us we should come to terms with our emotional need to shop. But she goes one step further and tells us how to do so. But she does it in a way that’s gentle and makes sense, without scolding or tsk-tsking.
A former corporate trainer, she broke free of her $1,000-a-trip shopping habit and found a new career telling women how they can, too.
“I was spending about $6,000 annually: more than the average woman but less than the Kardashians,” says Chivers, an Australian native, was in the Bay Area recently as part of a speaking tour.
Her blog/website and personalized program, “My Year Without Clothes Shopping,” (myyearwithoutclothesshopping.com) is an online course of sorts that teaches women how to shop their own closets, borrow items they need and gives support when the willpower wanes. It’s a 12-month program that costs clients $287.
Chivers was earning a six-figure income and says she had shopping habits to match her big salary. The habits didn’t stop when she lost her job in 2008.
“I was not particular about where I shopped, I loved it all, from Bloomingdale’s to consignment shops,” she says, “I grazed widely.”
On her last big shopping trip, she came home with her day’s haul: two pairs of jeans, an animal print jacket, two animal print sweaters and a pair of shoes — “animal prints are my signature” — and tallied the take, just for kicks. She had spent a shocking $1,000.
So started her austerity program, a year of no shopping for clothes.
“It was a very blunt strategy,” she says, “I didn’t go to stores and flat-out avoided shopping for three or four months.”
She started blogging as an outlet and discovered that her focus and obsession with shopping began to shift. She also realized that many women, like her, often used shopping to soothe themselves, “sort of like a compulsive eating disorder.”
While that’s not a new, Chivers idea to create an online program to guide women through a year of no shopping is unique.
Some features of her program include a practical guide to building a workable wardrobe, how to buy items that last through fashion fads and seasons and organizing your wardrom so you essentially “shop” your own closet. She counsels women on how to getrid of clothes that they hang onto for one reason or another and urges them to incorporate special occasion items into their everyday wardrobe.
The first month, she prepares them for the year ahead, “is there a gap in your wardrobe? If so, can you borrow the item? A sunhat, yes, a swimsuit, no. What about utility items? Like underwear?”
Clients get one free pass, and only one, to use anytime during the year.
She gave herself the same deal but ended up not using it, even in the midst of the holiday shopping season. When the year ended, she had no urge to go on a spree. Instead, she bought much-needed underpinings.
“In the end, it’s about practicing conscious shopping so that you will be mindful when you go back to the stores,” she says.
Category: Fresh Style