I have broken my no buy - now what?


You may recall that upon receiving Meta’s Airline JSK, which became my main piece number 50, I decided not to buy any more. This lasted all of 3 months and I am currently waiting for piece number 51 to arrive (it’s a preorder), as well as seriously pondering piece number 52. If now isn’t the right time to create some sort of a plan of action for going forward, then I’m afraid things will descend into pure chaos.

Photo by Jeff Stapleton from Pexels.com

Option 1: Stop buying things

The biggest con, the one that should be holding me back and helping me with not buying more, is storage space. Whilst there are always ways to squeeze a few more things, the worry over the rails inside my wardrobe is pretty serious. As much as I would love to move somewhere with more storage, this isn’t magically going to happen without a significant pay rise, so I need to make do with what I have. The obvious solution of selling something to make the extra room is also out of the question, I simply cannot bring myself to part with anything that I own.

Image by Monstera from Pexels.com.

Then comes the fact that the more I own, the more things will need wearing. As you’ll know, I’m not the type to let pieces linger in limbo until “the right occasion” comes along, the fact that I own so much is part of what pushes me to wear things as often and as regularly as possible. No-one has a crystal ball to predict with absolute certainty what will happen, but with the 50 that I currently have I’ve been able to wear each piece at least twice during the year, some more. Adding more means taking the wear time away from what’s currently with me, which then makes it harder to justify owning so much.

Lastly, although I may seem like a lifestyler to some, I still don’t fully agree with that label as applied to myself. There are other styles and clothes which I enjoy wearing and which I would like to expand into. Obviously buying more lolita takes not only the time away from that, but also the available funds. Whilst some items likely will remain interchangeable, this goes mostly for things like blouses and shoes, less so for dresses and skirts. As much as I love lolita fashion, this isn’t the only look that I would like to present to the world.

Option 2: Only get things from my wishlist

In a way this would seem like the best approach, right? Seeing as there are some dresses that I’ve already been pining after which have eluded me, only allowing myself to add those is like completing that dream collection. Looking at what’s still left on my wishlist, there is a good mix of fancier pieces and more versatile ones, more classic ones and sweeter ones. For a perpetually indecisive person like myself who can’t settle on one style, even a handful of those would make pretty good additions to what I already have.

Where the wishlist is at right now.

And the upside to going with that approach is that my wishlist as it stands now has been curated over quite a number of years. There are items on it that I’ve thought about for two, three, five years, and been mentally planning how I could wear them. These are the main pieces which survived the numerous wishlist purges and which I could wear pretty much straight away. Plus, thanks to having my wishlist colour coded and clearly prioritised, I’m not likely to overspend on something since I know how much I’m willing to pay for each piece.

On the other hand, wishlists constantly fluctuate. Even mine, despite all of that careful thinking and curating, has gone from including something one moment, and then excluding it the next. Between me sharing my 2021 wishlist and the first reassessment post three things have made their way on there, so who’s to say that the current wishlist is really the final one?

Who could've predicted that this would come out and that I'd want it as much as I did?
Image from Violet Fane's Instagram.

Besides, a strict wishlist like that - or even a more flexible one - can never account for new releases. Sometimes someone brings out something you never anticipated wanting, could never have predicted to come into existwnce, so there was no way for it to be included in the wishlist. Even with the cooling off period that would feel like a bit of an impulse buy or like breaking my resolution if I went with this as my plan of action.

Option 3: Only get pieces for daily wear

The flipside of this is to actually allow myself the pieces that I’ve been thinking about already, just not necessarily in lolita ways. As this year was progressing and I’ve been thinking about finding a sustainable way of wearing lolita regularly but not giving in to the pressure of having to photograph every single thing or to force myself to turn everything into a look, I’ve slowly started to get somewhere with that. I also realised that a number of the pieces that tempt me are items that I can see myself wearing regularly on a more casual basis: things that offer comfort, ease of wear, versatility, and that low-key factor of not being too flashy. After years of telling myself to get more OPs, this is finally the stage where I can imagine this actually happening.

This OP has been on my mind a lot recently.
Image from Wunderwelt.jp

Of course, the obvious thing here is that a fair number of things from my still valid wishlist don’t fit into that category. Would they get an automatic pass, like they do now? And what about those unpredictable items yet to be released? This approach basically sounds like what I am doing already, so where is the cut off point here? As much as I would love to get a few things that can be worn daily and not worry about how lolita they might be, this way doesn’t really put a limit on the wardrobe additions, which is what I am trying to accomplish here.

Having said this, what I can imagine happening is that if I moved towards something like this, a few of the pieces that I own now would migrate towards this daily-ish, ‘doesn’t always have to be a look’ category. It’s comforting to know that the things already in my possession can do both, that I can fancify them if I need or want to, but also tone them down. By moving more into that daily-ish wardrobe, even though they’d be getting worn more than the other ones, it would also kind of free up my ‘when did I last wear this’ spreadsheet to focus on making sure that the fancier stuff also sees the light of day. It would also take away some of that pressure of ‘but every time I wear this it looks exactly the same’ - because then that wouldn’t matter, it’d be a daily piece in regular rotation. And that is quite tempting from a purely practical standpoint and not just the one which potentially gets me more to being a lifestyle lolita.

Option 4: Split and commit

By this I mean splitting my wardrobe into two seasonal ones: spring/summer and autumn/winter. Plenty of people already do that, regardless of what fashion they wear, and I could easily have two vacuum storage bags and keep them somewhere while they’re not needed. Smart, practical, sensible, still allows for adding things and for keeping them in rotation, especially since I think at this point I’ve done enough proving that even my seasonal things can be worn outside of their designated seasons. And it could also stretch into the other styles I would like to wear, since a few of those pieces are very much leaning heavier into s/s or a/w.

Most of us put certain things away for the times they're not needed, so maybe doing that with my frills is the way forward?

What stops me here is the unpredictability of British weather, as well as the fact that some things are amazing for layering when that becomes necessary. I have lived through pretty mild winters, pretty cold summers, pretty chilly springs, pretty warm autumns. And except for heatwaves, the weather in Britain is generally on the mild end, perfect for layering lots of thinner layers and taking them off or throwing them on depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors. Except for a few particularly obvious pieces, deciding which item will belong to which season would be a difficult exercise and inevitably some choices would backfire. For example, how would you class Crystal Dream Carnival? It’s cotton, but also jewel tone. It’s OTT, but not seasonally themed. It also has loads of detachable parts which I could use with other pieces (and have in the past). And what about my BtSSB Dreaming Sherbet skirt? Even though it’s obviously meant for summer due to how light the fabric is, what’s there to stop me from wearing fuzzy bloomers and thicker tights underneath for warmth? Nevermind the fact that it works great as an underskirt with some of my shorter dresses. Practicality of certain fabrics or lengths aside, I also don’t want to end up in the stereotypical divide where everything that’s dark coloured ends up being an a/w item and everything light coloured becomes a s/s only piece of clothing. I enjoy being colourful all year round, regardless of season.

Where the hell would something like this, which was worn in literally every season, fit?

Having said that, this is a minor point in this particular debate. Yes, committing to a seasonally split wardrobe doesn’t take away from regular rotation, but does that really tackle the core problem here of ‘when do I stop buying more’? Hmm, kind of yes because it solves the storage problem by removing certain items for several months at a time from the wardrobe. But also kind of no because whether I buy something for the season we’re currently in or the next one, it’s still another thing added. Do I then impose another arbitrary number, no more than X pieces for each season? Or do I just go with the flow, carry on with the 48-hour wait for impulse buys and a pass on wishlist things, until things start to become a problem again? Plus there’s the added practical downside of everything needing to be at least ironed and potentially washed after spending however many months in vacuum storage bags, and who has the energy to do that?

In the end

None of the above approaches are fully ticking the boxes that I had hoped they would. None of them are perfect for what I need on their own, even if they have lots of good points about them. Which leads me to think that I am most likely to end up with some sort of hybrid solution - and knowing how well I respond to accountability, if I can merge these into something that can then be tracked somehow, it would help me stick to them. Because the truth is that looking at lolita fashion (or any fashion) in terms of needs is never going to work since these are not needs to begin with. It’s all about managing the frivolities and making sure that they don’t take over everything else. And potentially about being that little bit more ruthless with what gets to stay than I am currently being…

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