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71 Dresses In 71 Days: Week 10

I’m like a man, parched with thirst crawling over the endless sand dunes of the Mojave Desert. Except I’m doing it in 71 dresses.

My No Shopping Project is coming to an end. A few months ago I decided to take a real look at my shopping addiction by pulling every single dress I own out of my drawers and closet to count how many I actually have.

Can you guess how many?

I suspect the title of this post gives it away. I’ve worn a dress-a-day ever since and haven’t spent more than 18$ on myself (meaning wardrobe, jewelry, hair products, shoes, underwear, bras or mechanisms that vibrate) in, as of today, 71 days.

Now, full disclosure, I did get a little shopping thrill by purchasing loft beds and desks for my daughters and outdoor patio furniture for our house. Having said that, these were items that were long on our TO DO list. My girls are getting older and needed more study room and we needed somewhere nice to sit outside.

But shopping for myself has been a no.

I’ve been successful because of this blog project. Each time I want to navigate over to my favorite clothing site I stop myself short because looking IS buying. If I’m at the mall buying a gift for a birthday party or a graduation, I don’t go into any of my trigger stores. I try not even to look at the display windows.

Recent research on Addiction revealed that the brain becomes conditioned to respond to certain stimuli that actually makes it near impossible for an addict not to relapse. This is why, when drug addicts go to rehab, they are stripped of anything familiar that can trigger the addictive reaction; these familiar items include all people, places and things connected to the addiction.

It’s an attempt to recondition the brain to new stimuli and short-circuit the addiction synapses. That sounded really smart, right? I didn’t even look that up on google. You can check my cred on the internet.

(But I am really smart, in case you were wondering).

So, in taking myself away from temptation I’ve managed to change my behavior. At least in the last 70 days.

Once this project is over my goal is to start keeping a journal of all purchases. For myself, my daughters, our home and gifts for others. I’ve tried to do this in the past and failed. I’m hoping this newfound sobriety will be motivation enough to keep it up.

Here are my last batch of dresses.

Dress #64. A Boden summer dress. I'm beginning to think it's a bit young for me.

Dress #64. A Boden summer dress. I’m beginning to think it’s a bit young.

Dress #65. This one is from Anthropologie and while I love the color and cut, it too seems a bit young.

Dress #65. This one is from Anthropologie and while I love the color and cut, it too seems a bit young.

Dress #66. It's hard to tell, but this is a great dress. It has two really long wrapping pieces which make it possible to wear this dress eight different ways.

Dress #66. It’s hard to tell, but this is a great dress. It has two really long wrapping pieces which make it possible to wear this dress eight different ways

Dress #67. I wore this one to the Expressing Motherhood show I was in. It's not great for days I'm bloated however.

Dress #67. I wore this one to the Expressing Motherhood show I was in. It’s not great for days I’m bloated (which is code for “ate pizza”) however.

Dress #68. An Anthropologie maxi on sale for 50$.

Dress #68. An Anthropologie maxi I got on sale for 50$.

Dress #69pic

Dress #69. I bought this dress at the French Connection on a trip to London four years ago. It makes me feel half my age. So it makes me feel 12.

Dress #70. I also got this Mad Men-esque dress during the same trip to London.

Dress #70. I also got this Mad Men-esque dress during the same trip to London.

Dress #71. This is my very last dress! I purchased it for under 50$ at Zara. It always makes me feel trim and efficient.

Dress #71. This is my very last dress! I purchased it for under 50$ at Zara. It always makes me feel trim and efficient.

Ladies — it is done.

I should have posted 72 dresses as my mom gave me an Anthropologie gift card for Mother’s Day and I purchased Dress #60 with it. But when I looked in my drawers I realized I labelled a bathing suit cover-up a dress. It’s not really a dress as it can’t be worn solo without showing the lady bits which have a tendency to run rogue. I’ve given my lady bits a lecture and told them to stop chasing cars like an untrained puppy. Sigh. What can you do?

Finally, I want to say Thank You for taking this journey with me. In 71 days I spent 18$ on myself. A slight slip-up. But it was good to know that I could turn the spending faucet off. I may begin with a shoe and skirt No Shopping project very soon.

One of the best things this project did for me, besides staunching the cash flow, was to show me what I have in my closet and how it looks on me. I could instantly see what works and what doesn’t and it made me excited about the wardrobe I already have.

In the following gallery I will indicate in the caption which 11 dresses I donated to Out Of The Closet which benefits AIDS research. xo S


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13 comments

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  1. Rosie Carrillo
    Rosie Carrillo 24 May, 2013, 12:39

    Brava! It was fun to observe…..Happy (Not) Shopping! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  2. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon 24 May, 2013, 13:34

    Good on you, Shannon. It’s never easy to break a habit/addiction, but you did some good work here. Plus I loved the posts!

    Reply this comment
  3. Ginger Kay
    Ginger Kay 24 May, 2013, 13:58

    Well done! I like all of these, so I’m not voting this week. I thought of you the other day when I saw Boden on Zulilly, but I did not mention it because I didn’t want to sabotage your project.

    I love your taste in dresses. It’s been fun seeing all of them.

    Reply this comment
  4. Chloe Jeffreys
    Chloe Jeffreys 24 May, 2013, 14:03

    You are lovely, and I loved almost all of these dresses on you. Thank you for taking us on a journey through your closet.

    Reply this comment
  5. joanne
    joanne 26 May, 2013, 15:29

    Sweet Shannon,
    I must say your wonderful series inspired me to look in my closets and wear things that had just been hanging there – embarrassed to say, some still with the tags. It was prescient in that the dresses and skirts I found made dealing with one working arm an easier task while dressing and other things bathroom-related. (I know, TMI.) I’ve also discovered some fabulous accessories that belonged to my late mother or were gifts from dear friends. I’ve vowed to use/wear these fabulous things – at least once – and donate the ones I can part with.
    I just wanted you to know that your posts have inspired at least one over-consumer to rethink what I already have, and to purchase more thoughtfully.
    That said – ditch #64 & #65 – not your color, and side ruffles are for teens, respectively.
    Thanks for your inspiration.
    XOXO
    Joanne

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 26 May, 2013, 20:16

      Hi Joanne — it’s so good to hear that this dresses saga has some merit other than for just for me. And I’m happy to report that I’ve purchased nothing new yet. It’s just been two days, but my knee jerk wasn’t a spending orgy. XoS

      Reply this comment
  6. Lady Jennie
    Lady Jennie 28 May, 2013, 12:15

    Fun! You really do have a fab wardrobe.

    Reply this comment
  7. Donna
    Donna 28 May, 2013, 12:15

    I agree with you and Joanne that #64 and #65 can go. Would *love* it if you did the skirts!! Congratulations on the project.

    Reply this comment
  8. Linda
    Linda 19 November, 2013, 02:15

    Shannon, I just stumbled upon your blog because it’s now 2am and I was about to peruse my favorite online stores (again!!) and decided to search “online shopping addiction” and found your blog. At least you keep your purchases. I’m on an endless cycle of buying and running to the Fedex, UPS, USPS to return 80% of my purchases! It eats up my weekends that I should be spending with my daughter! It’s good to know that you have become aware of your habit and I don’t think you were vain at all for wearing your dresses. It would have been great if we were the same size and I can just use you as a virtual “body double” to see how dresses would look on me! Anyways, thanks for sharing your journey!

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