New Year’s Resolution #2: the important stuff (Happy New Year)

I’m spending New Year’s Eve at home in comfy clothes (long-sleeved cotton T-shirt from J. Crew, American Apparel leggings, knee socks) and it’s not likely that I’ll be awake past 10 p.m.  Part of me wishes I could get all dressed up and go out, but I don’t enjoy going out anyway, and the dress I would wear hasn’t come in the mail yet.

All joking aside, New Year’s Eve is a time when I usually reflect on what I’ve done in the past year and what I want to accomplish by this time next year.  One thing I know for sure is I want to spend the next year putting less energy into the things that are not important (namely, things) and more energy into the things that do count.  Beyond my family, boyfriend, and friends, I haven’t quite figured out what those things are.  Once I do, I’ll be good.


New Year’s Resolution #1: dress like Zooey Deschanel

While I was in bed yesterday with my lingering Christmas stomach bug, I watched (500) Days of Summer on my iPhone.

I love this movie. It’s quirky, its different, it’s not all wrapped up nicely in a neat little package like most romantic comedies. I especially love Zooey Deschanel’s wardrobe.

I don’t especially look like Zooey (for starters, there’s that whole Asian thing, and I’m about 3 inches shorter, 15 pounds heavier, bigger-chested, and much smaller-footed—but we’re both allergic to eggs, dairy, and wheat gluten), but this is a style I can really get behind. The first time I saw this movie, I immediately thought Anthropologie, but according to this article, her wardrobe was a mix of affordable pieces from Old Navy, Gap, BCBG, and a ton of vintage. I think I need to get smarter about shopping.

It would be a little single white female of me to want to be Zooey, but how could I not? She’s just so adorable.


Happy Holidays (and Happy Shopping)

This year, Christmas was such a whirlwind that I forgot to be Grinch-y. I spent a total of 24 hours in Ottawa: I drove up the morning of Christmas Eve, spent Christmas Eve with my family (when we had Christmas dinner and presents), went back to my parents' place for Christmas morning, then drove back to Toronto with my sister and brother-in-law for a Christmas dinner of Peking duck at a Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, I experienced that Christmas dinner again at 5:30 the next morning when I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug (will not be eating duck again for a very long time).

So no in person Boxing Day shopping for me, but that's fine because it's usually a zoo anyway. But I did take advantage of J. Crew's free shipping and extra 20% off sale items to buy the dress I've had my eye on for a while. I tried it on in Chicago last month, but I decided not to buy it because it was $250 at the time and because I didn't have anywhere to wear it. I still don't have anywhere to wear it, but it's $80, and it'll be something to have in my closet to pull out for a cocktail party. Or maybe I'll just have to throw my own cocktail party so I have an occasion.


A week of outfits


  • Purple-print knit dress – Banana Republic
  • Long black cardigan – Club Monaco
  • Black tights – Wolford
  • Belt – Club Monaco
  • Black ballet flats – Tory Burch (given to me by my sister)


  • Teal bamboo tank top – Oqoqo (defunct eco sister company of lululemon)
  • Orange cardigan – Club Monaco
  • Brown tweed pencil skirt – Benetton
  • Brown tights – Wolford
  • NecklaceAyala Bar (bought at lou lou luv in Vancouver)
  • No shoes, but there’s a Hunter rubber boot on the floor next to me

By Thursday and Friday I was so exhausted, I had to sit down on my messy bed instead of standing up in front of the mirror. But hey, you can actually see my shoes.


  • Orange sleeveless ruffle top – Club Monaco
  • Grey cashmere sweater – Club Monaco
  • Black pencil skirt – Club Monaco
  • Black tights – Wolford
  • Black kitten heels – Franco Sarto, via Town Shoes
  • Silver necklace – Hilary Druxman


  • Teal cashmere sweater – Club Monaco
  • Brown lace-trimmed cami – Banana Republic
  • Brown tweed pencil skirt – Benetton
  • Brown tights – Wolford (tights and skirt same as Tuesday)
  • Brown Mary Jane heels – Aldo
  • Turquoise necklace – Beadgirl


  • Fuchsia knit cardigan – Rachel Pally
  • White lace-trimmed cami – Banana Republic (I have three of these, in white, brown, and black)
  • Jeans – Citizens of Humanity
  • Black ballet flats – Tory Burch
  • Necklace – Tsunami (local Toronto designer)

Posting all these outfits at once has made me realize a few things: I am a big fan of Club Monaco clothing (Friday was the only day I didn’t wear anything that came from CM), and wow, I do have expensive tastes. I’ll try to justify that to myself but saying it’s all about quality, but oy vey. The only way this would be worse is if I were head to toe in couture.


The green-eyed monster.

So I started this, had a little blip of about 3 weeks where I didn’t post anything, then I’ve posted four entries in two days. Procrastination is something I struggle with. I do have the best of intentions; I did intend to keep this up regularly as a means of letting out my emotions through words rather than through my credit card.

And it did work for a little while, even when I wasn’t posting. I went through my closet, I looked at what I owned, realized I didn’t need anything, and stopped shopping, aside from some jewellery from J.Crew and Hanky Panky thongs when I was in Chicago.

But then I gave in and bought the iPhone. I don’t regret that in the least; I love it, and I have no idea how I lived without it, even though I’ve only had it for two weeks.

Then in the past week things got worse. I was pre-menstrual, which never helps, and then I started feeling inadequate about my job and my career. I’m stuck in a contract, dead-end job with seemingly no chance of advancement, but I don’t know what else to do, and it’s not like there’s much available right now anyway. Meanwhile other departments are getting re-organized and people are getting promoted. So what’d I do? What I always do: I ate, and I shopped. At times like this, I wish I did enjoy thrift shopping, because it’d be way cheaper.

I did buy some beautiful things, and truthfully, they did make me feel better about myself. But it doesn’t change how I feel about my job, it’s a temporary fix. What do I do next time?

More work ahead, obviously.

Casual Friday

  • Grey cardigan – Banana Republic
  • Black lace-trimmed camisole – Banana Republic
  • Black leggings – American Apparel
  • Black boots – Rudsak (bought on sale, then taken to the shoemaker to have an insert sewn in to accommodate my wide calves)
  • Necklace – J. Crew
Last month, we received a pdf file on acceptable dress code at work. Some of it was pretty clear (women can’t wear midriff-baring tops; men can’t wear muscle shirts), while some was rather vague. For women, it’s acceptable to wear button-down shirts, sweaters, cardigans, and tops. “Tops”? What does that involve? It’s not acceptable to wear T-shirts, but what kind of T-shirt was unclear. I understand why we shouldn’t be wearing T-shirts we’d wear to the gym to work, but what about a simple short-sleeved top? That’s a T-shirt, isn’t it?
Anyway, the leggings may be pushing it a little. The pdf didn’t explicitly say no leggings, but it did say no spandex. This is the third Friday I’ve worn leggings to work (ever since I decided I’m not too fat to wear them), and no one has said anything to me about it.

Winter has finally arrived in Toronto. It’s –8C, but feels like –17. My Soïa & Kyo coat gives me a little 60s mod flair, and, more importantly, keeps me warm.

My love affair with pho is long and deep, but not that deep.

I've decided I could live on pho, so I should probably just move to Vietnam. In the interim, I'll content myself with bi-weekly trips with to Golden Turtle on Ossington, which has the best pho I've had in Toronto. (I've heard that celebrity chef Susur Lee goes there.)

However, I don't think I could love pho quite as much as Anthony Bourdain:

I don't wax poetic about pho with saxophone music in the background. I certainly don't talk to it. But I expect that's coming soon.


What I wore today

This is my first attempt at posting my daily outfit. I took it in the mirror (so it’s backwards), with my new iPhone (yes, I caved in and bought one), and my face is hidden (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

  • Black cardigan – Club Monaco
  • Grey tank top – Club Monaco
  • High-waisted skirt – Club Monaco
  • Black tights – Wolford (Satin Opaque)
  • Labradorite and silver necklace – made by me, materials bought at Beadgirl


damn you, Apple.

The want-y monster rears its ugly head again. I was this close to buying an iPhone today, because I felt like it. Do I have the money for it right now? No. Do I want to wait? Oh, hell no.

I figure this overwhelming desire to buy something would come back now that I’ve stopped buying clothes. I ask myself all these questions, like do I need it, do I have to buy it now, and the answer is always a resounding no…and yet I must have it.

I would so fail the marshmallow test.



Is it possible to have so many clothes that the overwhelming choice is as bad as having no choice at all?

If my closet inventory has taught me anything, it’s that I don’t lack anything. I have a great wardrobe, I have some great pieces and I dress well every day. But still some days I open my closet and stare at it like I have nothing to wear. Maybe I’m better off with only a few choices, so I know what I have, and I’m able to remix better.

I used to work with a very stylish girl who wore the same few pieces (a black cardigan, a button-down shirt, a skirt) every day, and she always looked great. Stacey and Clinton in their book Dress Your Best stress quality over quantity:

Instead of buying five sweatshirts at thirty bucks apiece, buy one cashmere sweater that fits you wonderfully. So what if you wear it a couple of times a week. Your coworkers aren’t keeping track of your wardrobe. And if the are, they should be fired because they’re not paying enough attention to their jobs. What matters is that you look good in your clothes, not that you have seven different-colored sweatshirts for every day of the week. (pg. 11)

I used to notice that she wore the same pieces all the time, but I didn’t hold it against her. In fact, I think that’s something I should try.

But now that I have this huge closet, could I really go back and try that?


I want to know what’s in my closet.

(Bonus points to anyone who recognizes the title as a line from the movie Monsters Inc.)

Note: this is my fall/winter wardrobe only.

  • 1 pair of jeans (Citizens of Humanity, hemmed to wear with flats because I never wear jeans with heels)
  • 5 skirts (Club Monaco, Benetton, Jacob)
  • 3 pairs of trousers (Benetton, Esprit)
  • 5 dresses (Kensie, Velvet, Banana Republic, Theory)
  • 13 sweaters – 8 cardigans, 1 turtleneck, 1 cowl-neck, 3 v-necks
  • 9 tank tops/camisoles
  • 2 button-down shirts
  • 3 various tops

Jesus.  It all becomes rather appalling when it’s actually all written down with numbers attached, and I’ve even put together yet another bag for charity.  With this amount of volume, I could have 4 weeks worth of different outfits.  It’s actually kind of obscene.

And yet, I’m missing some key pieces: a good jacket/blazer (but I don’t like jackets, I much prefer cardigans) and a LBD.  If I must shop, shop for those?

A new (pay)day

Usually when payday rolls around, I think, woohoo!  What do I get to buy this week? 

No more.

Stick to the budget.  Try to buy groceries once.  Be happy with what I have in my closet.

Coming soon….what exactly is in my closet?


It begins.

My name is Rachel, and I’m a shopaholic.

I love clothes, shoes, jewellery, makeup, hair products…

I’m pretty much a typical girly girl, but I’m not a princess. I wear skirts all the time, but outside of work I tend to live in lululemon yoga pants and running shoes, a habit that I’m desperately trying to break.

I’m a firm believer of buying quality clothes, even if they cost more. I’m a self-acknowledged fashion snob—I don’t thrift, I don’t do vintage, I don’t shop at H&M or Target/Wal-Mart.

But the end result is that I have a huge chunk of consumer debt, and I need to figure out how to be happy with what I have (and really, who I am) so I don’t dig myself in any deeper.

I’m 31 years old, I have a B.A. and M.A. in English literature, I work in telecommunications in Toronto, and other than my love of fashion, I’m a lover of words and a foodie with allergies.

Initially I planned to write a blog about how I’ll give up shopping for a year, but after 10 minutes of laughing hysterically on the floor, I gave up on that idea. I know myself and what I can do; I can’t give up shopping entirely, but I can learn to be happy with what I have and get out of debt.

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