I am a self proclaimed materialistic human being. I love things. I have expensive taste, I attribute that to my grandmother, who rocked a designer bag my entire life. I have, in the last few years accepted this but an improved approach. If you are interested in how I turned my love of "things" into the term I am coining as just a little bit #boujee, then this post is for you. I plan to give you a little insight into how I am turning quantity into quality, how I am prioritizing what I love, who I love, and finding my happy. Oh not to worry, this does still involve some #basic indulgences, some overpriced champagne, and always a great handbag.
As I referenced my expensive taste stemmed from my grandmother. I would spend hours watching her "get ready" when we were together. It was my absolute favorite past time. She would go through her skincare routine using the most beautiful products, apply her makeup, and let me watch in aw. She was and still is the classiest woman I know. She always prioritized her appearance but not at the expense of having ACTUAL depth and I will forever be striving to do that exact thing. You know, present yourself to the world like you give AF and then actually give AF all at the same time. This balance is a difficult one, more difficult then I would of imagined as a young girl, she made it seem so effortless. Inexpensive Levi's, a modest vehicle, minimal "things" but always a few select items that she deemed as "worth it". This did not just apply to material items. Time together was scarce growing up based on distance but when we were together it was QUALITY time. Playing dress up, reading books, letting me do her makeup, letting me watch her get ready while she would discuss grown up topics. She always chatted with me as if I was her friend rather than her granddaughter, it always made me feel special, like I was a part of her "grown up" club. She had a small tribe of people she held close, and her club was in fact exclusive. We rarely "shopped", and frankly she rarely bought me anything. I remember getting a card for most birthdays and sometimes a small gift but often not. Her time was her gift, she would make every minute worth it. I have memories of the items she valued over the years, her jewellery, her handbag, her wallet, and her relationships. She carried the same soft leather black coach wallet until I was 20 and took care of her selected quality things. She took care of her skin using high end treatments, and quality skincare, she stayed away from the sun and prioritized her health by always being mindful of the things she ate. Noticing a theme? I truly attribute my slow realization of #qualityoverquantity almost exclusively from her.
My late teens into my early twenties I was more materialistic than "classic". The journey to today has been filled with too many things versus the RIGHT things in all aspects. Too many friends instead of quality relationships. Too many low end clothing items that were trendy vs timeless and often ruined with the first wash #foreveruntilyouwashit was a favorite store of mine. Too many drinks, too much makeup, the list goes on. I had a closet FULL of clothes with nothing to wear, a phone full of contacts with no one to call when I wanted to be my real self, and enough makeup to fully equip a drugstore. The only thing minimal in my life was my bank account, my feeling of self satisfaction, and conversations that involved more than "hey do you wanna go for drinks?"
The journey to today (which is still ongoing) has not been concise, as in one day I woke up 5 years ago and was like "I have too much stuff, I need to downsize!" Its been slow and not at all linear. I have gone through "phases" with a reoccurring theme of always reverting back to old habits. Old habits: unsatisfied? buy something. The new habit I am continually trying to form: unsatisfied? wait, evaluate, self reflect, and call someone you respect, love, and if then you still want to "buy something" then ok maybe check out your list of "wants" and see if any of those things are really "worth it". Review the #badorboujee checklist you have made for yourself.
- How long have you wanted it?
- Is it something you already have?
- Is it something you will likely want/wear in 2-3 years?
- Is it a staple piece that will never go out of style?
- Are you buying it because you want instant gratification or is it something that you will enjoy long term?
This approach has really been a priority in the last year, since getting married. Our wedding in 2016 almost felt like an amazing final chapter in our "small wants" story. We started to realize that we are entering the "bigger wish-list" chapter and this means LESS day to day spending. Less instant gratification of a new shirt, and more longer term satisfaction, buying our dream home, saving for our future offspring (eek), and focusing on the relationships that mean the most. As I have gotten older, I have really started to reflect on the the "things" I really want. This is where I have realized how much I valued my "quality" time with my grandma, the way she valued certain things but never at the expense of her bigger wants. She curated a life of realistic "luxury". She kept her "club" small, she saved more than she spent, and she gave AF when it mattered. I am slowly starting to realize that if you want to have quality in your life you have to eliminate so-so friendships, daily frivolous spending, and focus on building a valuable life and not one that just has monetary value.
I have learned this is not a clear cut "spend on this, save on this". This is a personal journey. If you are like me and have #hermes taste with a #wang budget you need to choose wisely. For me, a classic designer handbag can make any neutral outfit feel expensive, a quality champagne because one glass of Veuve is worth it, and figure flattering denim will pay confidence dividends for years. Here are a few of my main tips for making a few adjustments if you are like me and you want a little LESS quantity and a little MORE quality in your life.
- Purge your closet once a month: I suggest taking this in baby steps, don't just take an all or nothing approach. Eliminate some of those "trendy" items you haven't worn in the last 60 days, and keep the things you are second guessing. For now.
- Every time you buy one clothing item, get rid of one. One in one out rule is golden. It will make you think about if you have something you are willing to get rid of.
- Buy ONE quality piece vs 10 "inexpensive" things. Those inexpensive items may seem like keepers right now, but they will likely shrink, loose shape, or be #tired quickly and you will be left with a closet full of out of style, misshapen space fillers. This will leave you standing in your closet naked, and frustrated with "nothing to wear" but that bandage skirt from sirens you wore once and a pair of low rise jeans that flatter NO-BODY.
- Buy Black, White, and Taupe basics. #enoughsaid
- Stands alone and is of actual substance...
Scroll through your contact list and reflect: this may be the toughest tip on this list. It isn't as easy as "purge once a month" this will take time, involve some hard conversations, and may leave you feeling a bit unclear. I saved this one for last because it is the hardest, and the most important. As an #adult (am I even considered that yet?) you start to realize how scarce your time is after career, volunteer, kids (if you are brave enough to have them), and spousal time. The time you have left (if any) is valuable. Make it count, prioritize the people that bring out your BEST self, you know, the humans who no matter what you say will still love you, support you, and give you back the same effort you give them. Negative people breed more negativity so even if you have a friend that is consistent does not mean they are consistently good for your life. When you #makethecut some will be easy, some not so easy, and others downright impossible. Do it, your new new self will appreciate the extra time.
In closing, I want to re-iterate, I am not an expert (but who is?) on minimalism, self improvement, finding your "why", or always getting this life thing "right" (is that thing?). What I do hope you takeaway from this ramble is: less can be more, you should #giveaf, it's ok to be a little bit #boujee, and finally and maybe most importantly #saynotolowrise.
Yours truly in all things NEW NEW,
Follow me for daily nonsense and mostly my weiner dog @mandimnewman