I signed up for Jill’s program feeling desperate. Despite repeated attempts to stop clothes shopping and a lot of self-laceration, I had achieved a bad habit over several decades, leading to unsustainable credit-card debt, serious cheating on the family finances and, of course, a lot of guilt.
Jill welcomed me to the rest of my life. Her program is practical, positive and sustaining. It asks for commitment and sometimes asks hard questions, but it’s also fun and very informative. I can’t speak too highly of what it can achieve if you go with it.
Jill and her well-chosen colleagues are superb on clothes, finances, personal development, ethics, and much more. Always interesting, every week the program produces some new ideas and food for thought.
I was 58 when I started – old enough to know better, you would think, than to be in such trouble. Well, I just wasn’t. But during the year of MYWCS I learnt really basic things that helped to change me and how I live: for example, the real reasons why I was shopping, understanding myself better, and techniques that work for not shopping. Some of it was hard – there were tears during some of the weeks – but all of it was constructive and the lessons I’ve learnt have stayed with me (I’m writing this about six months after completing the program).
I also discovered that I’m a better person than I realised. It wasn’t just completing the program that made me wake up to this, it was sharing my story with a couple of supportive friends. Oh, yes, did I mention that I have friends? Waking up to the fact that I’m likeable was a huuuuuge part of my year, after I’d spent so long berating myself for being wicked. Jill’s continuous support was a major part in this realisation too. She understands what we’re going through because she’s been through it as well, so her perceptive and intelligent commentary is immensely helpful.
So, away with Calvinist guilt and hello liberated Robyn! The new me has a small but nicely curated wardrobe of clothes that I like wearing and that I feel look good on me. That has led to a new-found confidence and a practical but enjoyable approach to occasional, conscious shopping. Like Francesca, I have learnt that ‘I am enough, I have enough, and I am not alone.’
Robyn Colman is a cat-lover and retired copyeditor who battles inner chaos and a messy desk. She also reads at industrial speed, listens to jazz and chamber music, and loves C17th Dutch and Flemish art.
When I found Jill and her website, I was immediately drawn to her honesty and thought-provoking concept. Shop My Wardrobe sounded great and as I was $22 000 in credit card debt with nothing except a walk-in wardrobe full of unworn clothes to show for it, I knew I had to take part.
My story is probably not uncommon. Saddled with sexually transmitted debt from an ex-husband who did a “runner ” on his debts, a shopping addiction that leapt out of control during the height of my unhappiness and a lack of self-control, I knew I had to be part of ‘shopping my wardrobe’ and start to address my debts.
As a result of participating in this program I have come to understand that “I am enough“. I don’t need 50 animal print jackets or two hundred pairs of jeans to validate myself as a human being. Spending thousands of dollars on credit for clothes I didn’t even want, but which for a nano-second made me feel important, just wasn’t worth it.
What I like most about this program is the fact that is is non-judgmental. I received a lot of criticism for what I had done with my money, but never once did I feel I had been a “naughty girl” by Jill. I love that Jill walks her talk and has brought together real people, with real ideas — doable ideas — and all wrapped up in an understanding and caring manner.
The other major benefit of doing this course has been that I have not felt alone. I have felt completely supported and have loved receiving personal emails from Jill herself. It’s like having someone in your corner, watching your back. I also have started to save at last! I have also been inspired to document my activities on my blog. Whilst the saving and the debt paying is a slow process, it is now happening as a result of Jill’s fantastic program.
The program is a fair price and I would recommend it to spendaholics and shopaholics like my former self. I’d also recommend it to people who can definitely afford it but still spend as a hobby or just by habit. Having lots of clothes does not make you stylish – I have totally learned this from Jill. So whether you desperately need this program or are merely curious I would encourage you to go ahead and join.
The best bit is Jill herself, so warm and accommodating. I have through the course of the program finally come to realise I am enough, I have enough and I am not alone. If you only do yourself one favour this year, GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!
Francesca Tulk is the Tasmanian Minimalist. As part of her mission to “take control of being a grown up” and rid her life of superfluousness, Francesca decided to take control of her possessions and finances…no more shopping!
When I initially read about Jill Chiver’s Shop Your Wardrobe program I signed up immediately.
The most important change Shop Your Wardrobe has brought into my life has been the realization that I do not need to buy things or spend money to enjoy life or feel better. Somewhere along life’s journey, I forgot how to say “no” to myself when it came to spending. Jill’s program has provided me with tools to help me say “no” to over-shopping and to enjoy it!
Just a few of the skills and concepts I’ve learned so far include:
1. How to create wonderful clothing capsules that make dressing fun, sharp, and efficient.
2. How to identify what I really need in my closet. Within the first 5 weeks I was able to identify a number of key issues in my current wardrobe: I had almost no T-shirts’s in neutral/solid colors, at least 75% of my garments were dark in color and made of wintery-heavy fabrics, most of my camis and Ts were much too tight and could not be worn alone (rendering them much less useful).
3. Clarifying my values. The depth of this program blew me away. You think it is just about clothes (and that material alone is enough to make it worth doing the program). But it is also about learning who you are, what is most valuable to you, and where you want to go in life.
4. How to be a Wardrobe Warrior by letting go of unused ill-fitting items, using what works, and being creative.
I have struggled with money and over-spending for years, which has led to a lot of negativity, frustration, and fear surrounding money, myself, and my future. I have a long way to go before I effectively contend with some of these challenges on a deeper level but Shop Your Wardrobe has set me in the right direction and I am making progress as a result.
Now I can proudly report that I have made only two clothing purchases in the last year – a huge change for me! And I have purchased no fabric!! Sewing is a favorite hobby of mine and I found that I was collecting fabric, rather than actually sewing it, so I made a choice to include fabric shopping in my Year Without Clothes Shopping.
This program has sometimes been fun, sometimes challenging, but always real. And Jill is real too. She has replied personally to me and she is always positive, constructive, supportive and thought-provoking.
The resources, tools, and materials available throughout this program are so far above and beyond what I ever could have imagined.
I already know that, when my year is complete, I will have made significant and positive changes in my life. And it won’t end there. I will be returning to lessons I want experience more fully.
I would recommend this program to anyone who wears clothes and wants to improve their financial status. It is that good.
Tamara Shapiro lives in Denver, Colorado.
I Am Wearing More of my Wardrobe, More Often
For me, this program has been about making the most of the clothes I have, learning to make better choices in the future and shopping in a more conscious way. Realising that I already have enough.
I have found real value in the assessment of my wardrobe, my style and learning what suits me. I have now been working from home for about 18 months and was in a bit of a transition from a wardrobe of work clothes to ‘suitable clothes’ for working at home that weren’t all trakkie daks and ‘sloppy’ clothes.
This program has helped me to identify my style and the clothes that no longer work for me or that I no longer need and given me the ‘permission’ to move them on. I have also found new ways to combine the clothes I already have and given them a new lease of life!
Even though I have less clothes now than 6 months ago, I am happier with the wardrobe I now have and find it is more workable/useable. I am wearing more of my wardrobe more often.
This program helped me identify the reasons I shop and when I shop most (boredom is a big one!) and every week, I looked forward to the lesson arriving in my Inbox and reflect on the topic during the next week.
My favorite thing I gained from the course is feeling confident about what suits me and why. The program ‘gave me permission’ to let go of some things that I had been hanging onto and not wearing. The ‘Wardrobe Warrior’ sessions were great for that.
I am confident that I won’t fall back into old patterns and although I have been shopping since I finished the program, I have used a list and then when I got those things, was happy to stop.
Thanks again for a worthwhile 12 months! I would receommend this program to people who are not sure what clothes they need for their lifestyle and who tend to make impulse buys they later regret. It is very beneficial and enjoyable!
Sarah Watts lives and works in the beautiful Illawarra region of New South Wales.
My Confidence Has Been Reawakened
I would never have invented such a challenge on my own. One month’s abstinence from clothes shopping maybe. But a whole year? Never!
So why did I want to do this program for a whole year?
These were my reasons in Month One and they saw me through the entire year:
- It was a challenge, especially the whole year part.
- I needed to break the cycle of shopping so much. I like to shop; its the BUYING that I really needed to cut back on.
- I wanted to save money.
- I was curious about what I would do with my time if I didn’t shop. At first, it felt like withdrawal to stay away from stores. After a few weeks, I went back to the stores, but with a new consciousness. I looked but did not buy, and could walk out knowing how much c**p I would have bought were it not for this enforced behavior change.
- I wanted to see what I could learn about myself. I learned that I can shop without buying; I can enjoy my clothes all the more for having fewer of them; I can be much more satisfied with one great piece instead of 10 mediocre things; I can spend less time on clothes and more time on more important things.
Committing to the program for a year seriously motivated me to change my clothes shopping habits.
The results were amazing:
- I cut my “just browsing” time by at least half, probably more.
- I know from my bank records that I spent 80% less on clothes in 2011 than in 2010 (I started the program Dec. 22, 2010.) – this equates to saving over $8000 – that’s a LOT of money!
- I cleaned out my closets, found a few pieces I had forgotten about, rescued and revamped several key items, and donated a lot of nice things to charity for the benefit of others who need them way more than I do. My closet space has improved and I feel I can ‘shop’ in it now
- I still like shopping but I found that I don’t need to buy nearly as much as I used to. In fact, I am now twice satisfied when I go shopping. Once when I don’t buy something, and once when I do. When I don’t buy something, I feel that I have made a good decision, saved money, spared myself and my closet the stuff I don’t need, won’t remember, and definitely won’t miss. When I do buy something, I have the experience that it was a good use of money, and I have worn it with pleasure.
- I am much more aware of my taste and style being classic, which helps keep me feeling well-dressed even in my well-worn things. When I find something I like in a store, it is a good bet I already have more than one item just like it in my closet. This realization keeps me from buying lots of things that I used to just because I could, things that would quickly pile up as they fell out of favor for one reason or another.
- MOST importantly, my sense of confidence that I can do what I set my mind to has been re-awakened and confirmed.
Apart from the weekly material, the other thing I liked most about this program is that Jill responded personally and promptly to me which was amazing in light of all that she is doing to grow her business. Jill has ultimate street cred, and her personal take on what we participants go through during the year is truly invaluable.
This program is a great one for anyone who would like to change their shopping habits, spend less money, and fully utilize the clothes they do have. Many would also benefit from the other lessons on color, style, psychology, ecology, sourcing, and other aspects of acquiring and maintaining an individual wardrobe.
Thank you, Jill, for offering such a creative, meaningful, and strong support system for those suffering from a shopping addiction! It definitely worked – and is working – for me.
Barbara Beizer is a coach and leadership development expert who helps people accelerate change and navigate key transitions in their lives and work. She divides her time between Washington DC and New York City.
I Know What Looks Good On Me
I love what Jill is doing with the Shop Your Wardrobe program. Jill is a wonderful storyteller. The course emails are always entertaining, and contain direct and indirect lessons. She explores all sides of the issue she is focusing on. I started noticing I would think a lot about them. She gives suggestions for simple action steps, with worksheets and other things to help.
I’m starting to see how my attachment to things is based on associated emotions. I have clothes that no doubt look awful on me, but I keep them and wear them because of how they feel or what they remind me of. Jill’s course is teaching me there are other ways— like what works as a wardrobe. What looks good on my current body type. What fits properly. How to think strategically about building a wardrobe that works for me. I’m starting to feel hopeful that I won’t have to dread every clothes shopping trip.
The course doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s always interesting to read the lessons. And you might be surprised as I have been to find all sorts of ways it helps. The course is affordable and very well designed. Yes, I am also seeing some great instructional design and delivery models!
As the months have gone by, the lessons seep into my consciousness. I notice what makes someone look fabulous in their clothes in more detail. I understand how they are emphasizing their best qualities. It used to be a mystery.
I’m also more aware of why I look frumpy when I don’t pay attention. Especially as my hair goes gray and my body shape shifts with getting older. The Shop Your Wardrobe course has helped me realize why the more intense colors I looked fabulous in when I had red hair no longer look great with my softer tones.
It used to be if I had an event where I had to look good, I would go to an expensive department store and pay more than I could afford because they had the staff to help me. Now I feel more confident to find pieces I already have and perhaps add something simple to freshen the look.
Great job Jill! I would definitely recommend this program to others!
Christine Martell is an artist who facilitates creative processes for groups and individuals. Her company, Visuals Speak, helps people see more clearly through the use of visual tools that unite both sides of the brain.
I can’t believe a year has gone by – thank you Jill for this program! As soon as I heard about this program, I joined it. During my Year, I got rid of lot of unworn items from my closet and now my closet is much neater – I love it. I’ve also been able to combine new outfits together using existing pieces – when I receive a compliment on how I look, that makes me feel great. So I really have been able to “shop my wardrobe”.
I had tried a few things before joining this program and knew I had negative feelings that I was covering up with shopping and that I could manage my money better. Now, I feel better about the way I spend money and feel I have many more choices that I didn’t have before. Thanks very much for your program, I’d recommend it to anyone who needs it.
Dr Penelope Hooks is a psychotherapist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She believes the greatest satisfaction is to see people learning to understand themselves in a deeper way.
My Finances Are Finally In Order
Before I joined the Shop Your Wardrobe program I didn’t really have any preconceived notions about it – I was just looking forward to learning ways to tame my lack of control when it comes to shopping. I’m glad to have discovered that the Shop My Wardrobe Program isn’t just about shopping — it’s so much more. For me, this program has helped me pay more attention to prioritizing myself. I’m finally getting my finances in order. My favorite lessons were those on body types and how to dress for your type – it’s made me more conscious of how to pick clothes that flatter my body. Thank you Jill!
Michelle Howard is a mom of a special needs little boy. Her experience as a special needs parent has led her to share ways to reduce stress for caregivers.
Doing More With Less
I don’t have a huge wardrobe but Jill’s program has taught me how much mileage I can get from just a few well-chosen pieces. I’m a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom who loves being home best of all. When I do my weekly errand day, my kids and I love to hit a thrift store or two. Thrift stores and fabric stores are a weakness, I admit. Since working through the Shop Your Wardrobe weekly inspirational emails and lessons, I find myself in those places being a lot more choosy. And that’s a good thing!
Instead of walking out with a bagful of so-so choices, I either bring home nothing or something killer. In one of the early weeks of the program, Jill said we could buy one thing, but it had to be something that would cause physical distress to be without it. Emotional distress doesn’t count. That week, I didn’t bring home anything. I knew Jill would be proud of me – I was proud of myself!
Jill’s Shop Your Wardrobe course has inspired me to question many of my purchases, even non-wardrobe items. This has definitely been a change for the better. I’m grateful for this course and the difference it’s made in my life. One of the main things I’ve learned is that I prefer to live with a few items of quality rather than a mountain of junk. Thank you, Jill!
Wardeh Harmon teaches traditional methods of healthy food preparation, to help you get more from the real foods you already eat. She and her family homestead and homeschool in Oregon.
Value, Inspiration and Support
Jill is the kind of gal pal who would loan you the shirt off her back – literally! We were at conference together for a week when I became so tired of the clothes I had packed that I asked her if I could borrow a little something to jazz things up — meaning just a little scarf or a necklace.
The next thing I knew, Jill had restyled my outfit with one of her animal print blouses. I looked great, and then to top it off, she said I could keep it until we saw each other again. Now, you might be thinking, ‘what’s the big deal?’ The big deal is that we live 7,000 miles apart! When it comes to generosity, kindness, warmth, and the remarkable ability to build 20 cute outfits from the contents of one suitcase, Jill is the gal pal I can count on.
The value, inspiration, and support Jill provides in this course is amazing, but it doesn’t surprise me a bit because it’s who she is.
Jennifer Selby Long lives in San Francisco, is an award winning writer and helps already successful leaders skyrocket their leadership impact.
I Am Not Alone
My shopping habits have far outstripped my income for several years. Since I became moribund enough to receive a government pension, I have suddenly developed an entirely new perspective on money!! I had tried to discipline my endless desire for self decoration /aggrandisement, a recent phenomena I attribute to getting older, but without noticeable success. I was thus delighted and inspired when you drew my attention to the challenge and I started reading your blogs.
Reading your inspiring words a couple of times a week has had three marked effects on me:
- I realise I am not the only person on the planet with this particular affliction
- I feel there is help and support at hand
- I am having a wonderful time revisiting my original wardrobe and appreciating what is in it instead of just blindly adding to it.
I would urge anyone who feels their shopping habits have gotten out of control to join this program and see for themselves the support, humour and camaraderie that you provide there.
For those who sign up immediately, they will discover that it’s there to support you when you decide enough is too much!
Judy Glen lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, and is a Diva of International Proportions.
I Feel Better About Myself and Who I Am
Here is why you should take Jill’s on-line program to learn how to Shop Your Wardrobe:
I am lucky enough to have had my friend and colleague from Australia, Jill, stay with me for a 2 week period in October. I was so intrigued by the work she has been doing with regard to Shopping Your Wardrobe that I put her to the test: could she actually take the things in my closet and help me put them together in new and fabulous ways, without having to buy more?
If you are like me, you have a lot of clothes, but you find yourself saying, “I don’t have anything to wear” a great majority of the time. Well, here it is three weeks after her departure, and I am still finding things in my closet that I don’t remember even owning! And I am wearing things that I have never worn before because I did not know how to put them together to create a look that made me feel great. Well, I do now!
I must have at least 60 more outfits than I did before! The only things I really added were accessories, like a couple of colorful camis and scarves. That’s it – Jill helped me create what feels like a whole new wardrobe, out of my existing pieces. She is a master at mixing and matching – I’ve never seen anything like it! And I was sceptical before we started – it just didn’t seem possible.
I am able to quickly zero in on the colors, fabrics and styles that suit me, and spend more time trying on the things that I look good in (I like to look in the mirror when that happens), rather than wasting time trying things on that I like, but that look awful on me (that doesn’t feel good when you look in the mirror).
Jill taught me how to take my basic black, brown and grey wardrobe, belt it, accessorize it, and change it up so that I look just that much more put together. I have been able to maximize what I already have, and gathered up two bags to give away….. I really don’t have that dreaded feeling of “what will I wear?” anymore. And overall, feel better about myself, how I look, and who I am…. Thanks Jill!
Cindy Stengel Paris is the Founder and President of The People Skills Group, a Philadelphia-based company that helps people work better together!
Transformed My Relationship With Clothes
How do you know if you are onto something good? You look at how it makes you feel. Jill’s help transformed my relationship with clothes and color by helping me find a system that makes me feel good and allows me to bask in others’ recognition of how good I am feeling. By connecting me with a color palette, Jill made it possible for me, rather than my clothes, to shine!
I initially resisted the idea as too limiting. I soon discovered that having clear parameters on what to buy and wear freed me to be more creative both with what I had and with what I purchased.. Knowing that whatever I selected would co-ordinate with many other items in my wardrobe let me explore new styles, mix and match more boldly and just plain have more fun with clothes! Not to mention that a color structure meant having more time for creativity because my shopping hours were used more efficiently and my shopping dollars were spent more wisely.
I urge you to connect with Jill and let her connect you to your true beauty – it’s worth the investment!
Katherine Hirsh is a published author and skilled educator who lives in Germany and colours the lives of all she touches!
Freed From The Tyranny of Fashion Magazines
I totally recommend spending a year without clothes shopping. I tried it myself in 2009 because one look at my wardrobe showed me that there was really nothing I lacked clothes-wise. I wanted to save money and stop wasting all the gorgeous clothes I owned but didn’t wear. The whole year all I bought was a pair of trainers for exercise as mine were genuinely worn out.
It was liberating to be freed from the tyranny of fashion mags, shopping malls and changing rooms and I didn’t look shabby either because I started wearing all the clothes I’d been saving for special occasions that never happened.
Jill’s energy and enthusiasm for this topic is infectious and her blog is a delight!
Annabel Candy lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and writes blogging tips and more at Get In the Hot Spot.
I Don’t Need This!
When I first heard about your challenge via the blogs I couldn’t believe that you would actually do this to yourself or that you would last on it! Boy, have you amazed and inspired me! At the time I heard of the challenge, I was living out of a suitcase and my short term memory had lapsed badly since I had just packed up all my clothing a couple of weeks before. When I came to unpacking my boxes and boxes of clothes, I realised that I needed to join the challenge of no shopping for 12 months.
Since joining the challenge, I have had one near miss. It was a lovely grey/black animal print double breasted thigh length coat. I picked it up walked to a mirror and then tried it on, turning this way and that and started to continue walking through the store. “What was I doing?” I don’t need this!!!!” I quickly hung it back on the rack and almost sprinted away.
I’m feeling more and more confident about being successful on this challenge. So much so, I am seriously considering aiming for 24 months without clothes shopping. Thank you for inspiring me and creating this amazing course!