A Truly Momentous Occasion

You might want to sit down and grab a beverage. This might take a little bit.

This is my closet.


First things first – the fact that I didn’t re-fold every damn sweater in my closet before posting this photo is huge for me. HUGE. I mean, you are reading the blog of a girl who recently downloaded a friend’s Twitter profile photo, photoshopped a bothersome corner and emailed it to her. SHE DID NOT REQUEST THIS.


But really, folks. The corner was bothersome! One-eyed (precious) baby head staring at me!

These are the types of inconsequential things that plague me. (Believe it or not, my husband is 100 times worse than me. In fact, it’s his detailed aesthetic that has completely transformed me into a person who does things like the above. I BLAME YOU, D.)

So, yeah! OCD. Back to the sweaters. Look at the droopiness! The crookedness! The non-color coordination! Good God, this is hurting me deeply. Do you know that my first job out of college was the Assistant Manager at Ann Taylor? It goes without saying that this bitch can FOLD.

Back to my momentous occasion biznass. I am officially not shopping until April 10th. (cue fanfare) This is most likely NOT going to last, as I am afflicted with Retail Power Consumerism.

Most notable characteristics of RPC:

1) Knowing more about your UPS driver than your extended family.

2) Possessing a vast knowledge of a retail store’s inventory – more than the actual sales associates themselves. (Dear associates at J. Crew, when I ask you to grab the Dream Silvie Dress in Charcoal, I expect you to know what in the hell that means. The catalog should be your bible. GAH. Your Bright Papaya Jane flats look great on you, though!)

3) Refreshing your internet browser 156 times at 8:59pmPST before the day of a big online sale.

4) Purging your closet at least 2-3 times per year and still not wearing 65% off your belongings.

5) Constantly emailing with a group of fashion enablers. I happen to have four. (Just last night, we exchanged 17 emails between 6:39 and 6:55pm. It’s shameful, really.)

I know what some of you are thinking, though. That closet isn’t half bad! It’s not large, it looks totally manageable and is not over-flowing with random crap. Right?

Well, let me show you the other side of the closet. You know, the one that SHOULD be my husband’s side. (Riiiiight. His stuff is totally in Wito’s room.)


Okay, this is ridiculous. Starting at the left side of the photo and continuing until you see the clear, plastic hanging bag is my collection of jackets. OH MY GOD WHO NEEDS THAT MANY JACKETS? Must I remind you of where I live? Let me give you a hint – it was 83 DEGREES YESTERDAY. Look at all of those plastic boxes filled with shoes. I never wear those shoes.

However, that’s not all! See the following cabinets above my closet?


Those are filled with plastic bins of more clothes. Shocking, I know!


What are all of those clothes doing up there? Seriously. This photo also demonstrates my practice of buying certain styles in multiples. The stack of clothes above the bin is made up entirely of J. Crew Bermuda shorts. I’m pretty sure I own every color. (NOT NECESSARY!)

I also become a tad bit obsessed with certain brands. It seems after finding my perfect grey bag last year, I couldn’t STOP buying Hayden Harnett bags.


Again, NOT NECESSARY. And maybe a little weird.

Have I proven my point? The shopping needs to stop. I don’t think Wito’s college fund can be fueled by the resale of Hayden Harnett bags.

I’m not going to lie – for me, this is going to quite a challenge. Between my time spent online and this writing job, I am pretty much surrounded by purchasing opportunities, but I’m going to give it a good college try. (Thanks to my friends Joslyn and Susan for the idea. Now, can you two come to California and hold my hand?)

However, just because I’m not shopping doesn’t mean I’m not looking. In fact, I am introducing a new whoorl category entitled “What I’m Not Buying Today” where I will, well, show you what I’m not buying today. (See the link up in the top navigation bar!) Maybe YOU will buy it and I can live vicariously through you! YES, BRILLIANT!

In closing, when I told my lovely (yet dangerous) enablers of my new plan last night, the lovely Metalia wrote a little song to the tune of Goodbye, Lover by James Blunt for the occasion. (She’s the Weird Al of our time! But, you know, prettier. And normal.) Hold up your lighters, my friends.

Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?

‘Cause I saw my bills, but “needed” that cardigan.
Yes I saw I was blinded, and I knew you had won.

So I took what’s mine, by eternal right.
That Sylvie dress, perfect for Date Night.

It may be over, but it won’t stop there,
So I’m stopping for now, because I need to repair.

You touched my heart, you touched my soul.
But I’ve changed my life and all my goals.

And love is blind and that I knew when,
My heart was blinded by you.

I’ve purchased pea coats in bright red.
Shared my finds on the internet.

I know you well, I know your smell.
I’ve been addicted to you.

Goodbye to J. Crew.
Goodbye to Gap.
You have been the ones.
You have been the ones for me.

So, the question remains. Who wants to join me? COME ON! We can cry to one another on a weekly basis!

  • slynnro

    January 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I gotta say, I was shocked today to see that email had reached a chain of 30 by early this morning.

  • kat

    January 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    omg, the sales people NOT knowing their inventory bugs the crap out of me. if i worked at jcrew, i’d know it all. because i love it all.

    i too have a problem with jackets. i’m at 15. and i had to stop. but when i told my sister i was on a jacket freeze for at least a year, what did she do? give me *another* jacket for my birthday. sigh.

    um. i also have a problem with multiples. in fact i get mocked by friends for it. because if i find something i love in one color…i cannot just buy one.

    eek. i’m not sure i could give up shopping until april 10th. that’s a *long* time. seriously. maybe i could give up for a month. baby steps.

  • Moose

    January 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    If you ever find yourself with an inexplicable urge to trade one of those HH bags for homemade brown sugar cookies, CALL ME.

    (Oh, how I long.)

  • Kristabella

    January 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Wow, that is a lot of clothes!

    My closet is tiny and there is only one. So I have to purge or just not buy new things. That’s mostly because I’d just rather wear yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt every day, but sadly I’m not allowed to.

  • Calee

    January 14, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Next Step: The Whoorl garage sale/craigslist extravaganza/ ebay blowout. Just let us know if you ever want to make some space in that closet. After your 5 fall essentials or whatever you called it post, I removed 50% of my clothes from my closet (but didn’t get rid of them just in case) and I haven’t missed them.

    There’s something incredibly liberating about paring down your clothes and refusing to buy more for a time.

    Good for you.

  • Kaleigha

    January 14, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Wow. I am impressed with your will power. I am also praying that IF you are getting rid of some of clothes, that they will somehow make their way to Portland (shameless plug). I’m a poor newlywed, help me.:)

  • ali

    January 14, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    i am sooo guilty of #4.
    i guess living in CANADA helps with the rest of the numbers. shopping in canada BLOWS. we have no jcrew. (gasp!)

  • hillary

    January 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    my Dream Silvie Dress just came yesterday and I never want to take it off – it may be the softest, most comfortable piece of clothing I own

  • Tera Stephens

    January 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I will tell you the secret that makes the non shopping super easy…..
    You get pregnant. Maternity clothes have come a long way but the reality is, still not that cute! Do it soon and you can have all of mine!!
    Problem solved! And the huge closet purge when I found out felt like mainlining heroin! Now I have 5 weeks to go until I refill that empty closet. Problem begins again!!!

  • Rhi

    January 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I don’t want to join you, but I NEED to join you.

    But, am I allowed to spend gift cards?

  • whoorl

    January 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Yes! Good point. I am allowing myself to spend the gift cards I received for Christmas.

  • Rebecca (Bearca)

    January 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Sarah, oh so many thoughts are spilling out of my brain right now reading this. In no particular order:

    – the Twitter Photoshop Incident (TPI) has been cracking me up ALL WEEK LONG. Honestly, I find the fact that you took it upon yourself to edit my profile pic so damn funny. And the fact that you just posted it to your blog is EVEN FUNNIER. High hilarity.

    – It’s a good thing we are meeting at a bar tomorrow instead of South Coast. I’m just saying. There are no limits to my enabling.

    – Metalia is a genius.

    That is all.

  • jcristg

    January 14, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    It appears you have two pairs of identical green flip flops. Hey, I’m not one to judge… it just struck me as funny.

    Those are actually the same ones! I just took the photos at different times.

  • Abigail M. Schilling

    January 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Dude! I made this decision on December 1 after I realized I hadn’t received a GapCard Silver bill WITHOUT a $20 gift coupon in months. Like over six.

    So, yeah, I STOPPED on December 1 and… wouldn’t you know I’m STILL ALIVE.

    It has actually made things a lot easier. I don’t need to argue back and forth with myself about buying something because I just can’t do it. I have to prove something to myself and I will, dammit!

    (Dear Gap and Old Navy, please stop sending me emails about your 75 percent off sales. I DONT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.)

  • Barb @ getupandplay

    January 14, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    To answer your question of who needs that many jackets, the answer is of course, Suze Orman!


  • Green Is The New Dots

    January 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I respect your willpower (I wish I had it) and look forward to seeing what you’re not buying so that maybe I can (even though I shouldn’t). And I too have a coat addiction. I live in CHARLESTON, SC. It’s cold enough for a coat about 12 days out of the year. Upside: I have a different one for each day.

  • Carrisa

    January 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I feel the same as Rhi (shocker). I don’t want to join, but I know I need to join. Although I can say now that I think I’ve found someone who shops more than me. Your HH duster bags up there look an awful lot like my Fossil ones.

    Your idea for posting what you’re not buying is brilliant. So if this is like a group thing you’re starting, count me in. I’ll slap a button on my blog and participate!

  • Leticia

    January 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    My problem is so opposite. I am so cheap it HURTS to buy stuff. And, I only have 1 jacket…and please hold yourself, it is my son’s old jacket that is a “hoodie” type jacket but with a zipper. I know. I should be ashamed, but just am too cheap to spend. I keep reading blogs of people that are a little “free-er” with their money so I can feel like its ok to spend on myself. So, pat yourself on the back. You are teaching me that I deserve to have nice things too and that its ok to splurge, sometimes. :o) (I need to buy a jacket.)

  • Nicole

    January 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Good for you! I dont shop often, we just cant afford it…three kids, one income. But I dream….boy do I dream and I make do with what I have and make combos I wouldnt have otherwise.

    Are you going to do anything with the money you save…donate or sponsor a child or something?

    Yes, I am going to donate it to a child. His name is Wito. ;) (I’m going to put in his savings account.)

  • SleepyNita

    January 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I just tossed 43 items from my closet to the good people of goodwill…… I have another 50 maternity items to go to charity next week. Freeing up that space is liberating. Also, need to shop because am now smaller then I was before pregnancy #2 and in dire need of pants. Need pants and a haircut. Badly.

  • Chris

    January 14, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    April 10th? Try me, cause I am not buying any clothes or shoes (excluding those for running as I am not willing to sacrifice my metatarsals) until January 1, 2010!!!
    I have more than enough to wear to get me through the year (and beyond). I had decided this on Christmas Day and ma amazed how many people want to do the same, on the same scale or smaller.

  • Joanna

    January 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I’m joining the challenge. It’s always amazing to find out what you never really needed all along.

    My dad is a business reporter and can’t stop urging everyone to buy, buy, buy (and thus stimulate the economy, free-market style). Maybe the solution is to encourage the wealthiest five percent of the country to step up their shopping while the rest of us dial it back?

  • Maggie

    January 14, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I’m doing it for all of 2009, and have offered my personal shopping services to friends, because as much as I enjoy having something new to wear, I prefer the ACT of shopping. It’s truly crazy.

  • Kim Yamaguchi

    January 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Ok so I can’t help because I love everything I’ve ever seen you post. You have the clothes that I only wish I had. I’m totally living vicariously through *you* so I can’t buy the stuff you post and have you live vicariously through *me* because I think we’d cancel each other out.

    But this post totally cracked me up and still made me jealous. (in a good way)

  • Jennifer R

    January 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Wow. You must be my long lost sister. I have the same obsession with clothes, and I have a ton that I haven’t worn. I mean we have rooms full of clothes!!! There are only two of us in this house, we have five bedrooms and clothes in every one.
    Don’t feel bad about the handbags, I have the same obsession with Coach. I could fund my unborn child’s college with those things too.

  • Miguelina

    January 14, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    See? I have the opposite problem. I hardly ever shop. I got into the habit once I started getting pregnant, and I’m looking to start spoiling myself again.

    Call me after April 10.

    (Just kidding. You can do it, Whoorl. You’ve got enviable willpower.)

  • Heather B.

    January 14, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I was just upset that I turned off my laptop for emails 4-32. Damn.

    You can do it! WE can do it!

    Actually I really shouldn’t support you all that much because of your awful HH enabling. Butthead.

  • Jolie Steele

    January 15, 2009 at 5:42 am

    I’m in! I just purged my closet yesterday. I need to keep it de cluttered for awhile (and also stop SPENDING) so I will give it a go!

  • paula

    January 15, 2009 at 7:20 am

    i too am on this quest. my problem is not clothes shopping for myself. it’s clothes shopping for my 3 year old. her closet, which is huge, overflows with things she doesn’t wear. she probably dresses in more designer clothing than i, pitiful really. I also have issues buying things i will use one day and never do.

  • Assertagirl

    January 15, 2009 at 7:25 am

    When I find something I really like I buy it in three colours, too. Good luck with your non-shopping!

  • Susan

    January 15, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Godspeed, my friend. We can do this. I think.

  • Kate

    January 15, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I’ve been on a “shopping fast” thus far in 2009 as well, though not as formal as yours. I like the idea of setting those boundaries (and telling everyone), it will probably make things easier for you!

    On another note, I just got my first HH bag (Havana – just before the calendar turned to 2009) and it is true love. That may be the hardest part of my “not shopping” gig!

    Good luck!

  • Legallyblondemel

    January 15, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Hi, found you via the fashion enabler, SLynnRo.

    Just wanted to offer a slow clap for the dual challenge of not shopping until April, while beginning a “What I’m Not Buying” column. To that I say “Hell to the no” for myself, but I will enjoy and admire your quest.

  • Angella

    January 15, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I might join the challenge if only to have something different to model for The Working Closet Flickr Pool. I currently rotate between two pairs of jeans and a handful of tops and sweaters. I cannot promise to quit shopping yet…am heading out for a day at the mall with my girls on Saturday ;)

  • TheSpectrum

    January 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I am in! Crying, but IN!

  • Amanda

    January 15, 2009 at 9:03 am

    I just IMed my girlfriend and told her I was relieved that I wasn’t the only one doing this!

    I started my spending freeze in December and so far I haven’t slipped up once. I have wanted to, believe me, but I’m finding the longer I go, the less I feel the need to buy….even though J.Crew is yelling at me “GO NAO TO BUY SALE ITEMS! 20% OFF SALE PRICES! WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMOREEEE?”

    I started my freeze b/c in early December I found out we were expecting so in an attempt to show my husband I can go without buying new clothes (or shoes or jewelry) he might feel more comfortable, you know, leaving me home by myself with little to do come August. ;)

    Stay strong sistah! It does get easier!!!

  • Amanda

    January 15, 2009 at 9:06 am

    ps: this shit is totally off once the kid arrives and i have an excuse to browse Crew Cuts. ;)

  • Kate

    January 15, 2009 at 10:23 am

    First, I think you should have a “yard sale”of sorts here on your blog to purge your unneccessary shoes, bags, jackes, burmuda shorts etc. But you’re probably a damned size ZERO or something. ;)

    I have seriously considered doing this…and that’s a start, right? But…but…but oooohhhh….it’s HARD.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    January 15, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I would have done the same for the Twitter photo. In fact. anyone who needs that who I am following please see me.

  • Marin

    January 15, 2009 at 10:41 am

    If you feel like donating any of your collection to a certain broke college student (*cough* *me*) I would maybe worship at your feet and praise you forever on the Internet. Every day.

    I think it’s a really, really good idea to take time off from buying. Not just for you, though, for everybody. Including me.

  • Annady

    January 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Ha! I just had to admit that I can’t do it. I am going to seriously limit my spending though. There’s no reason to have shopped enough to become a Luxe card member at Banana Republic last year.

    Although I am absolutely stingy when it comes to spending on everything else. Please, just eat the beans and rice I bring to a party because everything else is just too expensive to eat.

  • sunny

    January 15, 2009 at 11:40 am

    hi whoorl,
    I noticed that I wear a lot less of my clothes and even less variety (i.e. suits, jackets, scarves, heels) because I no longer have an office job and I’m a SAHM. Maybe this is also true for you? G Paltrow has an article up on her site about reusing clothing articles for a chic mom “uniform”: http://goop.com/newsletter/3
    (note: some of her content annoys me but this one is pretty good :)
    Best of luck! I know you can do it!

  • Cassandra

    January 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Came from Joslyn’s blog link. Nice closet. I’m in on the no buy spree too. First week has been relatively easy. But then my spring catalogs are starting to come in the mail. And I haven’t left my house to go to any major temptation stores yet. So we’ll see how I do. I’m with you on multiples. I have some J Crew chino shorts. 3 pairs of the same style in different colors. Good luck with your no spend spree. We’ve got a nice sized support group, so we can all pull through… (my no spend rules basically focus on clothing, since that’s where I overspend.) I’m pretty much just going to bury my nose in books for the next 3 months…

  • Cassandra

    January 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    P.S. Just saw your blog post about loving Sun Valley and it made me glow with a little pride. I’m from that pretty little valley and those mountains were my home for the first 21 years of my life. Glad you liked it. It is extremely beautiful. I miss the clean air.

  • gorillabuns

    January 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    i need to do this with children’s clothing. i’m not sure I can.

  • Michelle

    January 15, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Hi Whoorl – What about taking the things that you are thinking you don’t necessarily need, and auction them off on Ebay or auction them off here at Whoorl? You could take that money, and put it into Wito’s fund for school, or tuck it away when you are going to begin shopping again :o)

  • whoorl

    January 15, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Hey, Michelle! I am going to sell several of my J. Crew suits and jackets from my pharma sales days on eBay, but I need to finish taking photos, measurements, etc. :)

  • diane

    January 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    You mean we are not supposed to buy multiples of something if we truly love it..I just thought I was being smart!

    I just recently began a closet purge, so much stuff.

    Good Luck and I look forward to what you’re not buying.

    Oh yes! Buying multiples is totally smart! Just maybe not when you buy NINE of the same thing (hence the J. Crew Bermuda shorts).

  • Cassie Boorn

    January 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I will so join you in this! I will not post pictures of my closet because well…I was not born to fold. I will tell you though. It makes me cringe. How about making this MORE exciting???
    All of the clothes you don’t wear.
    post them on ebay
    link them here
    let us (i mean them, the ones not shopping) empty your closet
    come april…you will have a new shopping fund?

  • Miss Virginia

    January 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Please – oh please – send us the link to your ebay sales or do it here… you have the bestest stuff!

  • Jora

    January 15, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I so respect you for doing this. Something I should join in on, but I fear I do not have the strength.

  • Kerri Anne

    January 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Go go gadget will power!

    (You will totally rock this. And I’m excited to see what you’re not buying, because like Miguelina, I have the opposite problem. I need to learn to buy clothes for me when I need them, especially for work. I always think about buying them, and then just don’t. Big promotion = more business meetings = I really need to get my proverbial shit together, fashion-wise. I have a serious tendency to scrimp always and while sometimes that’s great, only having ONE pair of dress pants that are even nice enough for work? LAME, Kerr.)

  • karen

    January 15, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I’m with you! I too have a propensity to buy different colors of the same thing and have run out of closet space (it’s so bad that I’ve taken over the closet in the guest room too!). I recently marked emails from old navy, gap, victoria’s secret (damn semi annual sale!) and any other place that might tempt me as spam so I don’t see them anymore! I figure once I’ve been good for a while then I can allow them to grace my inbox once again.

  • samantha jo campen

    January 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I’m in, and I’ve been in for over a year because we have no money because we have a baby with medical bills and only one income. So if not shopping for ANYTHING other than the necessities needed to live makes me hang with the cool crowd then I’m game.

  • Sarah

    January 15, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I think you might be my idol. I don’t think I have the strength to stop shopping, but I desperately need to.

  • […] very lovely Sarah at Whoorl has posted a list of what she calls the most notable characteristics of Retail Power Consumerism, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when you’ve taken it to the next […]

  • Becky

    January 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Next time you purge can you PLEASE mail me some (or all of) your clothes?? I love clothes but I am way too cheap to actually buy stuff. I’ll pay shipping!!

  • Vicki

    January 18, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Ooh I am totally in! I just told my boyfriend last night that I was giving up shopping for the month of February, but I might try and go for longer!
    Good luck! Maybe we should start a support group for all the non shoppers in 2009!

  • Jennifer

    January 21, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Nope, not in. I’m one of the 3 commenting here who hate to shop and need more clothes. My husband just got a job and after 4 years of the grad student lifestyle my wardrobe needs serious help. I feel immensly guilty that I can’t live with what I have in this economy, and I’ll be doing some editing and altering to try and make more of what I have work, but I need to do some shopping as well. I am going to try and think things through vs making impulse purchases. And I’m going to try and buy things that will last more than a season. But I’m pretty clueless about where to start. How do I go about finding some fashion enablers?

  • jenB

    January 22, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I have been thinking about this a lot. Since Susan has been writing about it and other people are talking about not spending and purging. I, like you, could never wear everything in my closet. For one, no sundresses while there is snow on the ground.

    Sadly, I cannot do it. I am not ready. I got rid of so much stuff when I lost weight last year, I am back to accumulating like the apocalypse is coming. I can’t think of how to get over this. I need someone to unable me. Or talk to a therapist.

    Regardless, I am finding this discussion interesting.

  • Heidi

    January 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Count me in, girlfriend.

    I was kicking around a wardrobe-related New Year idea when I read this, and Got Inspired. I’m now over a week into my own fast (here’s my post on the topic: http://www.heidizone.com/2009/01/shopping-fast.html) … so far, so good.

    The former Cultural Studies geek in me is intrigued by the way you have substituted the consumption of desired images (“What I’m Not Buying”) for the consumption of the things themselves, but that’s a post — or perhaps a graduate thesis — for another day.

  • Karen W

    February 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I know I’m a late reader of this post but I am glad that you love Hayden Harnett. I do feel a little guilty that I told you about them and that you amassed a collection!